Visit the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiter l'Alte Nationalgalerie à Berlin

Are you an art lover? Don’t miss Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie, whose secrets we reveal in this article!

The Alte Nationalgalerie, or Old National Gallery, is certainly one of the most important museums in Berlin and Germany. Together with the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Bode-Museum (Bode Museum) and the Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum), they form the Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum, which resembles a temple dating back to antiquity, is home to some of Europe’s masterpieces of classical, romantic and impressionist art from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Planning a trip to the German capital? We’ve put together all the information you need to know before visiting the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin!

History of the Alte Nationalgalerie

Histoire de l'Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Photo Credit: De aldorado / Shutterstock.com

The Alte Nationalgalerie was founded in 1861, thanks to banker Heinrich Wagener’s bequest to Prussia of over 260 works, including paintings by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Caspar David Friedrich. The bequest stipulated that these paintings should be exhibited publicly in a suitable location.

The Greek temple-shaped monument was conceived by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861, and designed by architects Friedrich August Stüler and Johann Heinrich Strack, both pupils of Schinkel. Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie was inaugurated in March 1876, after 10 years of construction.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), the museum lost many works and suffered extensive bomb damage. It was only partially renovated and reopened in 1949. During the period of the divided Germany, some paintings were stored in other galleries, but the collection was reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). In 1998, Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie closed for renovation, before reopening in 2001 to mark its 125th anniversary.

Originally, the Alte Nationalgalerie housed the entire National Gallery collection. Today, works from this collection are divided between the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (Friedrichswerder Church), the Berggruen Museum (Berggruen Museum), the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art at Hamburg Station), the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery), the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg (Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection) and the current Alte Nationalgalerie.

What to see and do at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin?

Que voir et que faire à l'Altenational Galerie, Berlin

Photo Credit: De Takashi Images / Shutterstock.com

Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie is a harmonious ensemble, its rich collections a match for the monument that houses them. So, what is there to discover in this museum with such a singular history? Which artists and artistic trends are highlighted?

The monument

A visit to Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie begins as soon as you arrive, at the bottom of the steps of this monument in the shape of a Greek temple, raised on an enormous pedestal. You’ll notice its superb sculpted portico and impressive columns, but also the sculptures that decorate the monument. The most imposing of these is a statue of Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV on horseback, dating from 1886.

Permanent exhibitions

Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie is divided over three floors to house the 1,800 paintings and 1,500 sculptures that make up its permanent collection.

  • Second floor

On the second floor, you’ll start your visit in the Sculpture Room, featuring the famous sculptural works of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker (1881-1883) and Johann Gottfried Schadow’s Princesses Luise and Friederike (1795-1797). Then there are paintings by Romantic painters John Constable and Gustave Courbet. Finally, a room is dedicated to the German artist Adolph Menzel, considered one of the most famous Berlin painters of the second half of the 19th century. His work includes The Iron Rolling Mill (1872-1875).

  • Second floor

The second floor focuses on Impressionism, with works by German painter Max Liebermann, and French precursors Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir. Also on display on this floor are paintings by German artists Hans von Marées, Anselm Feuerbach and Arnold Böcklin, one of the leading exponents of German Symbolism. A version of the latter’s Isle of the Dead (1883) is on show at the Alte Nationalgalerie.

  • Third floor

On the third floor, you’ll find works from the 19th century, including The Monk by the Water (1808-1810) and Country Landscape, Morning (1822) by Caspar David Friedrich, or The Gothic Church on a Rock by the Sea (1815) by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Or paintings by Carl Blechen, and frescoes by the Nazarenes – painters from Germanic countries in the early 19th century – for the Casa Bartholdy in Rome.

Temporary exhibitions

Temporary exhibitions are also staged on a regular basis, and are usually open for several months at a time.

How do I get to the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin?

To visit the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, head for the heart of the German capital, and more precisely the Museum Island, on the banks of the Spree. Choose the means of transport that suits you best from :

  • Subway: U-Bahn U6 to Friedrichstraße station
  • By train: S-Bahn S1, S2, S25 or S26 to Friedrichstraße station, or S-Bahn S3, S5, S7 or S9 to Hackescher Markt station.
  • Streetcar: M1 or 12 to Am Kupfergraben stop, or M4, M5 or M6 to Hackescher Markt stop
  • Bus: Bus TXL to Staatsoper, Bus 100 or 200 to Lustgarten or Bus 147 to Friedrichstraße

Opening hours & Admission to the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin

SCHEDULES

Before visiting the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, please note that the museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 10am to 6pm, and until 8pm on Thursdays.

Please note:

– Ticket sales and last admissions take place no later than 30 minutes before the museum closes.

– Each year, the museum closes on Christmas Eve, December 24, and on New Year’s Eve, December 31.

RATES

Prices for visiting the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin are as follows:

  • Adults: €10
  • Reduced rate (students, disabled people…): €5
  • Free for children under 18

Don’t hesitate to buy your tickets online to save time!

Good to know

We have included some additional information that you may find useful before your visit:

– There’s a Museumsinsel pass that gives you access to all the museums on the Museum Island for €18 standard rate and €9 reduced rate.

– The Alte Nationalgalerie is included in the Berlin Pass.

– Guided tours are regularly organized at extra cost, but prior registration is essential.

– Unless otherwise indicated, photography without flash is permitted in the museum.