Visiting the DDR Museum in Berlin

This guide will help you make the most of your visit, including how to get to the DDR Museum, ticket prices and how long to spend at the museum. The DDR Museum is one of Berlin’s most recommended museums, giving an interactive insight to life in the Soviet-era German Democratic Republic (GDR) or rather, East Germany. Purchase skip the line tickets here.

TIP: The DDR Museum is included either for free or at a discount with both the Berlin Welcome Card and the City Tour Card.

 

PLAN YOUR VISIT

The DDR Museum is packed with fascinating windows into life in another time, which we’ll discuss in the What To Expect section below, but first, it’s worth setting out your plan beforehand; this section clarifies arrival times, transport options, ticket types, and various issues that merit consideration.

Hours of Operation

The DDR Museum is open 365 days a year with long hours unaffected by holidays; 10am-8pm every day except Saturday, when it closes at 10 pm.

Best Times to Visit

If you arrive at the museum before midday or after 4 pm on any day except Saturday, you’re likely to walk straight in, particularly if you’ve booked an online ticket beforehand (we’ll go into the options in the ticket section later). It’s worth aiming for these times if you don’t want to risk overcrowding, an issue we’ll discuss at the end of this section.

DDR Times

 

If this doesn’t fit with your schedule, you can cut time by booking an online ticket, which specifies only which day you’ll arrive, and allows entrance without talking to a member of staff; you simply bring up the ticket on your phone (remember to set its brightness to full) and scan it upon entrance. Check out Google Maps Popular Times function if you want to double-check the Museum’s business hours.

 

DDR Times Midweek

 

How long does a visit take

It would be hard to go through the museum in less than 2 hours due to the massive variety of content. Online reviews consistently report staying for at least 2 hours, with some staying as long as 4 hours, so it may be worth getting food before going in if you really want to read and interact with everything (eating food inside is not allowed).

Security

The riverside promenade through which most visitors access the museum is accessible only by stairs, so wheelchair users are asked to contact the museum beforehand (Tel. 030 847 123 7 31) in order to access the side entrance.

Other than this there is little to worry about; entrance does not require a bag check, though you will be required to pay 1 euro for a locker if your bag is considered too big by staff. You can also consider storing your bags or luggage at one of the many convenient bag/luggage storage shops in the area. 

Families

The museum is great for families with kids. There is even a kindergarten room filled with toys and unlike most museums, you’re encouraged to touch and play with them. For older children, many computer simulations and videos can provide plenty of entertainment and education. Some parents may want to be wary that there is an exhibition on the popularity of nudism in DDR times, which features images of adult nudity.

Crowds

Lack of space is the most common complaint about the museum in online reviews. The museum itself is small with narrow corridors and lines can appear for the more popular exhibits, whilst crowds can make reading the compact space’s fold-out exhibitions harder. If you follow our recommendations for timing in the Best Times To Visit section you shouldn’t have many issues, but those who struggle with confined spaces may want to give it a miss or arrive upon opening at 10 am.

 


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HOW TO GET TO THE DDR MUSEUM 

The DDR Museum is a hard-to-miss destination – unless you’re on a boat! The entrance is below the road along the banks of the Spree River, just across from Museum Island, opposite its enormous Berlin Dom – the Catholic Cathedral.

While the official address of the DDR Museum is Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, the entrance is actually on the lower level of the pedestrian footpath, Vera-Brittain-Ufer, which runs next to the river. You’ll see a lower section closer to the water that looks as if it’s just for boarding the sightseeing boats, but the entrance to the museum is on that level. It is well-signed area pointing you down the stairs to the museum entrance.

Public transportation

If you are new to berlin’s public transportation system, be sure to check out our post about Navigating Berlin’s public transportation system.

The DDR Museum is easily accessible by public transport. It is an easy, roughly 8-minute walk from Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station (S3, S5, S7, S75).

Alternatively, you may walk from the Alexanderplatz station (RB14, RE, RE1, RE2, RE7, S3, S5, S7, S75, and U2, U5, U8), which takes around 11 minutes.

There are also many tram and bus stops nearby.

Nearby Attractions

The DDR Museum’s location is right near Berlin’s Museum Island. You may want to consider combining your DDR visit with one of the other nearby attractions, particularly if you want to balance out its information-heavy nature with something more visually spectacular, such as The Berliner Dom or The TV Tower, which are also part of several tourist discount passes. Other options include Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Aquarium, and Hackescher Markt.

 


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TICKETS AND DISCOUNTS

This is one destination that’s definitely worth booking an online ticket for, as they don’t restrict entry time, allow faster queueing, and moreover are cheaper! Children under 6 go free, and VIP tickets are available, which are usable on any day a year after purchase and allow queue cutting. Remember not to delete or throw away your ticket, as you need it to leave.

  • At Ticket Booth
    • Adults: 9.80 €
    • Concessions: 6.00 €
  • Online Prices
    • Adult: 8.50 €
    • Concession: 5.50 €
  • VIP Tickets
    • VIP-Ticket, Adult: 12.50 €
    • VIP-Ticket, Concession: 8.50 €

It is also possible to book a group booking in which case you may request a tour guide, free quizzes for children, and even a visit outside of normal opening hours. Online reviewers seem to appreciate this as a well-priced option, though the occasional complaint turns up that the tours are too long; if you’d like to skip one of the many exhibits a single ticket may be better.

Purchase tickets here.

TIP: The DDR Museum is included either for free or at a discount with both the Berlin Welcome Card and the City Tour Card. 

 


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WHAT TO EXPECT 

The DDR Museum is one of Berlin’s best-reviewed destinations, due to partially to its in-depth exploration of history, and heavily due to the playful way it does this, incorporating many interactive elements. Reviews are consistently good, with mostly 4 and 5-star reviews. It is included in most Top Museums to visit in Berlin travel guides.

The DDR existed from 1949 until 1990 and was a heavily monitored, closed society, within which the socialist government controlled and put under surveillance many aspects of the residents’ lives, in ways that are hard to imagine for Westerners. This museum provides a hands-on experience for what life was like for East Germans. 

The most popular exhibit amongst reviews is a walk-in recreation of an apartment in the era of DDR rule, which shows visitors how hundreds of thousands of Germans in state-designed apartments lived. Tired of walking around? Have a seat on the couch in the living room and watch some television. Hungry? Make a snack in the kitchen. There is also a small table and chairs with some games and a typewriter.

It’s also possible to sit inside a Trabant– the infamous East-German manufactured automobile, for which there was sometimes a decades-long wait list! The real car allows you to get behind the wheel and simulate driving through East German streets. You may want to skip this exhibit, however, as the wait can be long and there are few instructions.

Visitors are likely to appreciate the variety of written information, which hits some serious notes, before slipping into a more playful, relaxed tone in exhibits on smaller-scale aspects of life. The only aspect that may irritate some visitors is the consistent anti-Soviet values; the museum leaves little room for debate on the morality of the DDR.

Other interactive experiences include visually designing your own ‘new socialist human’ which will be graded and then can be printed for you to take away, working an old-style train ticket machine with keepable tickets, playing a digitised version of the first official Soviet board game, and looking up the most significant DDR occurrence of your birthday.

 


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