Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

What is the story behind the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Walking Tour

In the heart of Berlin, Germany, stands the iconic and modernist masterpiece known as the Neue Nationalgalerie. Designed by the world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this gallery is a testament to the architectural brilliance of the 20th century. Let’s delve into the history, architecture, and significance of this remarkable cultural institution.

The History of the Neue Nationalgalerie

The Neue Nationalgalerie was commissioned by the Federal Republic of Germany and built between 1965 and 1968. It was intended to house contemporary art collections and serve as an extension of the Alte Nationalgalerie, which housed older artworks.

Devastated by the bombings during World War II, Berlin faced numerous challenges in its reconstruction. The Neue Nationalgalerie symbolized the city’s resilience and commitment to the arts. It became a prominent cultural landmark that merged post-war German identity with the modernist architectural movement.

The Architecture of the Neue Nationalgalerie

The building’s design is a perfect amalgamation of simplicity, functionality, and elegance. Mies van der Rohe, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, created a structure that emphasizes open space and harmony with its surroundings. The building consists of two main elements:

Glass Pavilion

The upper level of the gallery rests on eight steel columns supporting a glass roof. This innovative design allows natural light to flood the exhibition spaces while providing an unobstructed view of the sculptures and paintings housed within.


Beneath the Glass Pavilion, there is a lower level called the plinth. This area is composed of a black granite facade, contrasting with the transparency of the glass roof above. The plinth provides additional exhibition spaces, as well as various functional areas such as storage, offices, and a cafeteria.

Mies van der Rohe’s minimalistic style, characterized by clear lines, open spaces, and the innovative use of materials, made the Neue Nationalgalerie a pioneering work of architecture in the 20th century. Its design has inspired countless architects and continues to resonate with visitors to this day.

The Significance of the Neue Nationalgalerie

Beyond its architectural brilliance, the Neue Nationalgalerie holds immense cultural and historical significance. It houses an impressive collection of 20th-century art, including masterpieces by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Max Beckmann.

Moreover, the gallery’s exhibitions and programs contribute to the vibrant cultural scene in Berlin. From temporary shows to retrospectives, the Neue Nationalgalerie continuously engages visitors with thought-provoking and diverse artworks.

Visiting the Neue Nationalgalerie

If you plan to visit the Neue Nationalgalerie, here are a few tips to enhance your experience:

  • Check the opening hours and current exhibitions before your visit to ensure you make the most of your time.
  • Consider booking your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to avoid long queues.
  • Take advantage of guided tours or audio guides to gain deeper insights into the artworks and the history of the gallery.
  • Don’t forget to explore the beautiful surrounding area of the Kulturforum, which houses other cultural institutions such as the Gemäldegalerie and the Philharmonie.

By visiting the Neue Nationalgalerie, you will not only marvel at its architectural brilliance but also immerse yourself in the world of modern and contemporary art.

In Conclusion

The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin stands as a testament to the creative vision of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the resilience of the city itself. With its innovative design, world-class art collection, and contribution to Berlin’s cultural landscape, it continues to captivate audiences from around the globe. Whether you are an art enthusiast or an architecture aficionado, a visit to this iconic gallery is an experience that should not be missed.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free