Berlin has many museums and memorials that narrate the history of the Berlin Wall and German division. However, you can have the best experience and learn the history of old Germany up close by visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial.
The Berlin Wall Memorial, or Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, was built in the year 1998 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Federal State of Berlin. The Berlin Wall Memorial is one of the finest museums in Berlin. It stands as the central memorial site of German division right in the heart of the city. The memorial is divided into three main parts: the visitor center, an outdoor exhibit, and a documentation center featuring a lookout tower.
You can start your walking tours of Berlin Wall Memorial at the Nordbanhof S-Bahn station. This is the starting point of the Berlin Wall. You can find many informational displays and exhibits here that tell the story of the railway stations that became “Ghost Stations” due to restricted access. The visitor center here features a help desk, a small bookshop, an introductory film, and interactive guides that detail the events that led to the construction of the Berlin Wall.
The outdoor exhibit is divided into four sections – Area A: The Wall and Death Strip, Area B: Destruction of the City, Area C: Building the Wall, and Area D: Everyday Life at the Wall. Each of the areas is further categorized into specific sections that describe different subjects. You can explore public reactions, dramatic events, and even many escape attempts around the construction of the Berlin Wall. The exhibits here also depict what the division meant for its residents and how its construction and demolition affected the city.
The documentation center in the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer describes the story of the Wall, why it was built, and how it was destroyed, using many multimedia displays, maps, documents, and interviews. You can learn more about the history and life in Berlin at the time by exploring the exhibits at the documentation center. You can also find a short history of the memorial itself here, which highlights its struggles to preserve the original section of the Berlin Wall amidst public animosity and the interference from the neighboring parishes.
The outdoor exhibit stays open every day from 08:00 am to 10:00 pm, while the visitor center and documentation center are open to public access from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. The Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station remains open on all days throughout the day and night, except from 01:00 am to 04:00 am. Admission to the Berlin Wall Memorial is free.