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Science in motion

The Humboldt-Labor of the Humboldt-Universität in the Humboldt Forum

Humboldt Labor
How do rooms affect people?
Photo: Daniel Becker - Stiftung Humboldt Forum im
Berliner Schloss

On 22nd November 2017, Sabine Kunst, President of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), Neil MacGregor, Director of the Founding Directorship, as well as employees of the HU provided insight into the current plans for the future Humboldt-Labor in the Humboldt Forum. They put the plan for a vibrant, new space for knowledge and science into concrete terms using a number of examples. The considerations and approaches are also summarised in a brochure.

The HU will open its Labor in the Humboldt Forum at the end of 2019. On the first floor of the Berlin Palace, visitors will be able to experience science and take part in current research themselves – over an area of around 1,000 square metres. The close substantial and structural connection between the HU and the Humboldt Forum represents a unique combination.

Open stage for excellent research

At present, five cluster initiatives of the HU are participating in the national competition for excellence status; four of which are supported by the HU together with the association partners of the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin and Charité – University of Medicine Berlin. These research initiatives bring together life, natural and social sciences with humanities and provide the first starting point of research for the Humboldt-Labor in addition to other selected fields.

Citizen science, serious gaming and science slams

The Humboldt-Labor will offer visitors a wide range of scientific topics and approaches. For instance, they will be able to engage in serious gaming to learn in an authentic and entertaining manner. They may carry out their own observations, measurements and data analyses – following the ideas of citizen science. Young researchers will be able to present research projects in science slams. Established forms of scientific communication, such as public lectures and presentation series, are to be combined in an exhibition programme that is constantly updated.

The Humboldt-Labor will be characterised by how it addresses scientific searching and cognitive processes themselves. All scientific disciplines involve measurements, calculations and assessments. But how can the subjective perception of stress in everyday urban life be measured quantitatively, for example? How do we deal with errors, deviations and interruptions or standardising practices in taking measurements? These kinds of questions are also relevant for the Humboldt Forum exhibition programme.

Networking hubs with the world

A tonal dimension and the important variety of languages are provided by the sound archive – in addition to the phonogram archive of the Ethnological Museum of the Berlin National Museums – which will be housed in the Humboldt Forum as the scientific collection of HU. Here, too, the inventories will be interpreted with representatives of the societies of origin. However, the sound archive will not only serve as a networking hub with the rest of the world, it will also connect the other rooms of the building, such as the Berlin exhibition, the listening room of the Ethnological Museum or the sound workshop in the mezzanine of the first floor.

A new cultural city district will emerge in the heart of Berlin with the Humboldt Forum at the end of 2019. The stakeholders include the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) with the Ethnological Museum and the Museum for Asian Art of the Berlin National Museums, the Berlin Cultural Projects with the Berlin City Museum, the Humboldt-Universität and – playing a leading role – the Humboldt Forum Foundation in Berlin Palace. The Humboldt Forum is already present throughout the entire city with a varied programme of exhibitions, discussions, performances, workshops, films and artistic interventions.

Quotes on the future Humboldt-Labor

Sabine Kunst, President of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Humboldt-Labor opens up a plethora of opportunities for the sciences in Berlin. It will be the location where we exercise our societal responsibility and communicate scientific research in clear language to the general public. It truly is a stroke of fortune that the Humboldt-Universität is entering the Humboldt Forum as stakeholder. We could not imagine a better platform to showcase our excellent scientists and researchers. We look forward to presenting the fascination of scientific work with a large and diverse audience – in the Humboldt-Labor and in collaboration with the other stakeholders of the Humboldt Forum.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the Founding Directorship of the Humboldt Forum

With the Humboldt-Labor, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin will be able to ‘publicise’ in the truest sense of the word. It will share its questions, findings and enthusiasm with the wider public and the other stakeholders of the Humboldt Forum. It is especially this increasingly intensifying interplay of science with the general public, the collections and the arts in the Humboldt Forum that will allow the centre to become an entirely new type of institution. We all look forward to putting this into practice!

Lavinia Frey, Chief Culture Officer of the Humboldt Forum Foundation in Berlin Palace

What public cultural centre has the privilege of having a university as one of its driving forces? Indeed, the composition of stakeholders in the Humboldt Forum is internationally unique! As the Chief Culture Officer of the Humboldt Forum Foundation in Berlin Palace, I am particularly delighted that now, as the construction is visibly nearing completion, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin will also be presenting its ideas for the centre. In the Humboldt Forum, the sciences will be showcased to the wider public and a genuinely encyclopaedic wealth of content offered. At the foundation, we welcome this development with great pleasure and curiosity!


The Humboldt-Labor. Science in Motion. Thoughts and Approaches, November 2017
Publisher: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, represented by its President, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst

Download: Brochure in English (PDF)

Further information

Website The Humboldt-Labor – Science in Motion

The Humboldt Forum

Press contact

Hans-Christoph Keller
Spokesperson Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Phone: +49 30 2093-2332