Germany between World War II. – this is roughly the mission of the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany – or Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, how the place is named in German. The museum, which is driven by the state (and is typically just referred to as Haus der Geschichte) is located at the Museumsmeile (Museum Mile) in Bonn. A very interesting place, which I definitely want to share with you on Flyctory.com.
House of German History – Location & Admission
The Museumsmeile is located South of the city center of Bonn, not too far away from the former German parliament. For example, I have visited and reviewed the Bonn Marriott hotel, which is just a short walk away from the House of German History. The museum has a direct access to the Heussalle / Museumsmeile underground station, which is serviced by lines 16, 63, 66, 67 and 68. There are parking opportunities around, but I would definitely recommend to go for the public transport option.
The museum is open every day but Monday. From Tuesday to Friday, the museum is opening from 9:00 to 19:00 hrs, while door open between 10:00 and 18:00 hrs on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free (which includes temporary exhibitions). The Haus der Geschichte is also driving other museums like the Tränenpalast in Berlin.
House of German History – The Visit
The House of History is telling the story of Germany starting with Nazi Germany and the consequences of WW2. The organisational kick-off has been in the 1980’s, but the museum opened in 1994 and covers the story of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the German Democratic Republic between 1945 and 1990. One of the first major stories told is the Air Bridge (“Luftbrücke”), which has been necessary when the Soviet Union tried to limit the transport of goods to West Berlin. You also learn about how the Grundgesetz, the German constitution, has been defined and how the Western German parliament Bundestag became active. Of course, you also learn about the Volkskammer, the parliament of the GDR.
The riots on 17th June 1953, which have been turned down by Soviet military, are of course also illustrated. Thereby, the museum is documented in German, all key information is available in English as well and you may use an audio guide, especially as a German non-native. You chronologically walk through time and thereby meet stories of East and West – like the importance of the Leipzig Trade Fair or the West German victory at the Soccer World Cup 1954.
The Berlin Wall
As I grew up in West Germany, I am more interested about background how the GDR tried to influence youth, e.g. by their youth organizations. The erection of the Berlin Wall and the famous speech by John F. Kennedy in the city are of course also explained.
However, the museum is not only featuring the “big stories”, but is also putting a focus on topics like mobility, consumption, cultural topics, but also the anti-baby pill. There is also a nice illustration of comparisons between East and West, especially on the sports side. Thus, the Munich 1972 Olympic Games is of course part of the Haus der Geschichte as well.
The 1980’s: Getting Closer To The German Reuinion
Willy Brandt kneeing for forgiveness at the Warsaw Ghetto, East and West working closer together or the consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe, which also boosted the importance of the green party in Germany – there are a lot of stories the museum tells about one of the most exciting decades of German history, the 1980’s. Finally, all these events lead to the reunion of both German states. The House of German History hosts a lot of original documents and contracts, which are still very special and impressive to me.
From there on, the museum tells the story of unified Germany. Unfortunately, it feels a bit like the museum ran out of space or underestimated all the interesting stories happening thereafter. You do even find very up-to-date topics like the Syrian Refugee situation, but they are featured with a relatively small amount of information, compared to other parts of the museum.
House of German History – Services
The museum cafe is very popular among visitors. The museum is also driving a souvenir shop, which is selling typical tourist stuff, but also quite some literature.
House of German History – My View
To me, the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland is one of the most remarkable museums I visited so far in Germany. The post-1990’s situation is a bit thin, but that just leads to a small negative impact on the very enjoyable, informative – and free – visit. If you are in Bonn and have sufficient time (I would at least suggest three hours), have a visit and enjoy all the fascinating items in display. Definitely a Top Pick!
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