Hauptstadt der Spione – “Capital of the Spies”. This is a book, which you can buy at the souvenir store of the German Spy Museum (Deutsches Spionagemuseum) in the heart of Berlin. The formerly split city gives a great opportunity to have a look into the lives of agents and spies, diplomacy and all the tools and technology used to gain an advantage in regards of your own level of information. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I just felt I had to give the place a try.
German Spy Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located at the Leipziger Platz (“Leipzig Square”) in Berlin, which is right next to the very famous Potsdamer Platz. That proximity also leads to excellent public transport connection via bus, underground, S-Bahn commuter rail and even regional trains. There are a couple of other attractions around as well.
The museum is opening every day, from 10:00 to 20:00 hrs. Standard admission is 12 Euro per adult. However, as there are capacity limitations during Covid-19 restrictions, I would rather recommend to book tickets online. Booking ahead or for unpopular time slots significantly recudes the admission.
German Spy Museum – The Visit
Before you head into the main space of the museum on the first floor, a display on both sides introduces you to the history of espionage, which is in fact starting in very early ages. On the main floor, you also get into contact to people like Leonardo da Vinci, who were dealing with the topic way before the very modern era. However, the museum’s key exhibition is rather concentration on WWII and later times – the times before 1935 are dealt in a rather brief way. From then on, there are a lot of (original) exhibits, but also interactive displays, where you can explore methods used on your own. The museum is bilingual, German and English.
The Cold War and the conflict between East and West gave a significant increase of importance of agents and espionage. The museum is doing a really great job to illustrate it to the visitor. Specially trained divers or fully bugged rooms – this place is giving you a very good impression of the amazing techniques and proficiency used to go for an advantage in level of information. There are numerous items which show how you can hide items to spy out the enemy.
The Bridge of Spies
A very detailed section of the museum is dedicated to the Glieniciker Brücke, which has been used to exchange spies and agents. The bridge between both parts of Berlin is thus also known as Agentenbrücke – “The Bridge of Spies”. You learn how these spy exchanges worked out – but also about the people which in fact could pass the bridge from one side to the other. Finally, the museum shows you examples of modern day espionage and wiretapping technologies.
German Spy Museum – Services
The museum offers free lockers. It has a large, quite diverse and interesting souvenir shop, which goes far beyond the typical touristic stuff. There is also a cafe. During my visit, it was closed due to Covid-19 regulations. There are also interactive games, which are rather for entertainment reasons, e.g. a lazer maze.
German Spy Museum – My Viw
A museum about espionage sounds a bit like a tourist trap – but the German Spy Museum is really doing a good job. The place is indeed entertaining, but they also provide a lot of good information. The Covid-19 concept overall worked out well during my visit. You should at least allow for one hour for the visit – if you want to dig deeply, 90 minute is minimum. I definitely recommend the visit.
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