West:Berlin – for more than forty years, this island city was both a political focal point of the Cold War and a highly-subsidised “showcase of the West” designed for the East. At the same time, it was an open city and a creative microcosm with international resonance. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the half-city lost its special status, its prestige and its symbolic charge.  Since then, however, the city's West has started shining again. It is becoming ever more present in the public consciousness – and with it the varied history of the old West Berlin. This was reason enough for the Stadtmuseum Berlin to devote a major special exhibition to this theme in the twenty-fifth year following the fall of the Berlin Wall.



14.11.2014 – 28.06.2015

Opening Times
10am–6pm, Tuesday/Thursday–Sunday | 12pm–8pm, Wednesday

Poststraße 16 | 10178 Berlin
Show museum on map.

Adults: €7.00 / Concessions: €5.00 (booklet included)
Free admission under 18
Free admission the first Wednesday of each month (booklet €3.00)

Special ticket
Adults: €9.00 / Concessions: €6.00 (booklet included)
Authorises for the visit at Ephraim-Palais and Märkisches Museum from 14.11.2014 until 28.06.2015

1961 Amphicar © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Michael Setzpfandt
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Phil Dera
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
The Golden Book of Berlin © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
WEST:BERLIN © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Nikolaus Becker
Hörlounge / Hotel Bogotá © Stadtmuseum Berlin | Foto: Michael Setzpfandt


This cultural history exhibition examines the real face of the highly diverse environments in West:Berlin. It also explores the pathos and mythology surrounding the “Island of Freedom”, and spans a period from 1945 to 1990. The spectrum of the city's historically unique free spaces is the exhibition's leitmotif.

With over 500 exhibits from the history of daily life and culture in Berlin, as well as several media productions, the exhibition offers an emotional “time travel” with unexpected associations and encounters, rediscoveries and surprises.

The exhibition is organised around four topics: politics, economics, society and culture. Individual “islands” are assigned to each one – starting with the protective role of the allied powers and the connection to the West, continuing through division, transit, economy, daily life, urbanity and neighbourhoods and concluding with alternative scenes, lifestyle and culture with international resonance.

The exhibition will present artistic approaches by people such as Fred Thieler and Rainer Fetting as well as the “Geniale Dillentanten” and Stephen Willats and photographic works by Will Mc Bride, Nan Goldin, F.C. Gundlach, Gisèle Freund, Nelly Rau, Herbert Maschke and Gerhard Ullmann. Visitors will also have the opportunity to discover the West Berlin-produced Amphicar, Knautschke the hippopotamus, one of the stars of the Berlin zoo, and – in an audio lounge – the “Sound of West Berlin”.

“In Berlin, every day brings with it some kind of change. Whatever you do, you hit your head three times a day against a brick wall called reality”
Jim Rakete


Between Global Politics and Navel-Gazing

• Liberators, Occupying Forces, Protectors
• Separation and Division
• From and to West:Berlin
• Freedoms and Free Spaces


Between Innovation and Subsidies

• A City on a Drip
• Made in West:Berlin


Between Provinciality and Cosmopolitanism

• The West:Berliner Mix
• Berlin Air
• We are Somebody Again
• Studying – Protesting – Rebelling
• Living Better
• Alternative and Autonomous


Between Tradition and Experiment

• Art in the Microcosm
• The West:Berlin Stage
• The Showcase of the West
• The Meeting Point of the World


The Flyer for the exhibition

Get all information about the exhibition program in one flyer.

Download Flyer (PDF)

Download press release (PDF)