Press Portal

An entire year of openings

Humboldt Forum set to open in stages from 17 December 2020

The four partners of the Humboldt Forum presented their detailed timeline for the opening in a press conference today. The Humboldt Forum will open to the public in four major phases. Over the course of a year numerous exhibition openings and a variety of different kinds of events will reflect the diverse content of the programming – from exhibitions and projections through guided tours and talks to artistic interventions, dance and film. Alongside the Humboldt Forum’s three core themes – the history and architecture of the site, the Humboldt brothers, colonialism and coloniality – the focus will also be on current socio-political topics right from the outset. The inaugural year begins on Thursday, 17 December 2020.

Construction work is almost complete, and the Humboldt Forum will open as planned before the year’s end. “We are becoming the Humboldt Forum,” General Director Hartmut Dorgerloh said at today’s press conference, with the emphasis on “becoming”. “We are delighted to welcome visitors to more and more sections of the house, bit by bit – and to be able to finally test its full potential and its assorted facilities.” At the start of the opening year, the focus will be on the architecture and the site. During the first two weeks after the opening, visitors can explore the new urban space every day except 24 and 31 December. Initially, from January to the end of March 2021, the building will be open to the public four days per week. Regular operations will begin at Easter 2021. From then on, the Humboldt Forum and its programme of events and educational activities will be open to visitors every day except on Tuesdays. Special Covid-19 precautions, which are subject to change in response to current developments, will be in place for visiting the museum and when attending events.

Opening of the new urban quarter

The new urban quarter of the Schlüterhof and the Passage will be open around the clock from 17 December 2020. Artists from Berlin’s international community will use the facades of the Schlüterhof for large-format video projections, while the gateways will house sound installations facing the courtyard. Presentations about the history of the site will be on show for the first time in the Palace Cellar and on the ground floor, while information about the Humboldt brothers, who inspired the name of the building, will be on view in the Passage.

Start of the programme and trial operations

Three more exhibitions will open in January 2021, while the programme will begin in stages on a trial basis. The exhibition Have a Seat! An exhibition for children (3 January to 24 October 2021) will occupy pride of place on the ground floor, demonstrating that children and families are an important part of the Humboldt Forum’s audience. 

On 7 January 2021, the interactive exhibition After Nature will open in the Humboldt Lab on the first floor. "We want to thematise the complex interrelationships between environmental changes and social upheavals. Therefore, we are exploring new avenues of exchange between science and society in the Humboldt Lab”, explained President of the Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin Sabine Kunst at the press conference. 

Also, on the first floor, the exhibition BERLIN GLOBAL will open on 16 January 2021 as a co-production of Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin. “In this exhibition, we will tell stories about Berlin and its connections with the world. We have chosen an unusual and contemporary concept with which we hope to reach a wider audience than just classical museumgoers,” said Moritz van Dülmen, CEO of Kulturprojekte Berlin.

From mid-January onwards, Hall 3 facing the Spree will host weekly dialogue and lecture formats, both live and online, that will begin turning the house into a forum. Series of critical debate will address several issues on a rotating basis: the challenges facing ethnology collections, explanations of scholarly discourses and current socio-political issues.

Start of regular operations

Regular operations will commence at the end of March 2021 with an expanding programme of events and educational offers. Alongside daily guided tours about the Humboldt Forum and the history and architecture of the site, various series of events will also be launched at this time. Currently in planning, moreover, are the first artistic productions, both in-house and with external partners, a family programme for all generations, and productions and programmes dealing with the collections and the exhibitions. Discursive formats, artistic interventions, dance events and film screenings will be added gradually to widen the programme. The workshop spaces on the first floor, which are set to open their doors during a festival weekend in April, will provide another 1,000 square metres for a varied range of educational and scholarly content.

Between 13 May and 24 October 2021, Terrible Beauty. Elephant – Human – Ivory will feature a special exhibition, a theme day, a film series and a discussion and educational programme focusing on the fraught relationship between people, elephants and ivory. Curated in conjunction with national and international partners, the events deal with our use of ivory on a number of different levels to highlight its socio-ecological impact.

Another highlight of the opening year will be the participative community and dance project Moving the Forum. Our bodies – our position – our dance. Berlin-based professional dancers and amateur dance groups will be invited to participate in several months of public rehearsals and open up the Humboldt Forum through performative exploration and movement within its spaces. The project will culminate in June 2021 when, over the course of a weekend, choreographic works will be performed throughout the Humboldt Forum.

Opening of the Ethnologisches Museum, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and Roof Terrace

In late summer 2021, the west-facing sections of the second and third floors will open with the exhibitions of the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiastische Kunst of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Director Lars-Christian Koch said: “In addition to the history of the collection, religious issues, contemporary art and much more, special emphasis will be placed on the dialogue between cultures and on critical engagement with the legacy of colonialism.”

With the opening of the west wing, the Oceania exhibition as well as parts of the Ethnologisches Museum’s Africa collection will be on display. The Museum für Asiatische Kunst will also open. The opening of the east wing will follow at the turn of the year 2021/2022 along with the rest of the exhibition areas of the museums. At this point, visitors will have access to a wide-ranging cultural programme spread over 30,000 square metres.


Further information

Opening hours

17.12.2020–03.01.2021: open daily (closed on 24 and 31.12.2020). 

04.01.–26.03.2021: Thu-Sun.. 27.03.-31.08.2021: Wed-Mon.

Entrance fees

Tickets with a time slot for the first phase of opening can be reserved from the beginning of December on our website at Further information on booking options for various formats will also be released in December. 


On the ground floor, a shop will be open in the Passage and another at Portal 3 from 17 December 2020 onwards.


The Lebenswelten bistro will open on the ground floor on 17 December 2020. In addition, the Berlin Café will open on the first floor on 16 January 2021. Further gastronomic offers will follow in the course of the opening year.

Publications and digital content

The following books will be published by Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss in December 2020 to coincide with the opening:

  • The Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace, Prestel, 248 pp., € 49: 

An opulent coffee-table book with special emphasis on the building and its construction.

  • Humboldt Forum: Short Guide, Prestel, 96 pp., € 9: 

An overview of the contents of the Humboldt Forum and its participating institutions.

  • History of the Site: Exhibition Guide, Prestel, 184 pp., € 15: 

A guide to the history of the site and the historical Mitte district of Berlin.

  • Vom Kloster zum Humboldt Forum.  700 Jahre Geschichte und Architektur. Ein Buch zum Tasten, Sehen und Hören (German version), inclusive design, € 19.90: 

An inclusively designed hands-on sensory book about the history of the site, complete with audio description.

Additionally, visitors will be able to access multi-media stations, visitor guides and other digital content.


The Humboldt Forum is a brand-new venue for experiencing, learning and encountering, inspired by the eponymous Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt and their delight in exploring the world and perceiving it as an interconnected system of nature and culture. One institution, four partners: The diversity the Humboldt Forum strives to achieve is already inherent in the synergy of the four partners, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK) with the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (SMB), Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin as well as the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (SHF).


Press Contacts

Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss
Press and Public Relations Department


Bernhard Wolter
Head of the Press and Public Relations Department

Tel.: +49 30 265 950-230


Michael Mathis

Tel.: +49 30 265 950-525


Michael Mathis
Press Officer

Tel.: +49 30 265 950-525


Mirko Nowak
Head of Marketing and Opening Communications

Tel.: +49 30 265 950-520



Ethnologisches Museum und Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz


Stefan Müchler
Press Officer (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin within the Humboldt Forum)

Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit Humboldt Forum

Tel.: +49 151 527 515 84


Timo Weißberg
Press Officer Dahlem

Tel.: +49 30 266 42 6803



Berlin Ausstellung
Kulturprojekte Berlin und Stadtmuseum Berlin


Franziska Schönberner
Press and Communications, Berlin Exhibition

Tel.: +49 30 24749-750



Humboldt Labor

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Boris Nitzsche
Press Consultant Humboldt Lab

Tel.: +49 30 2093-2945