Covid-19 or not, Berlin has recently seen a whole bunch of new openings when it comes to attractions and transport infrastructure. From the former Royal Castle to the brand-new airport, from a new underground line to the reopening of the renovated New National Gallery, Berlin will be an attractive destination for tourists in 2021.
Much like for the rest of the world, tourism in Berlin has suffered from the pandemic last year. In a recent interview to a local newspaper, Burkhard Kieker, the head of Visit Berlin, the city’s official tourism organisation, gave a forecast total of 11 to 12 million overnights in 2020. This would be a drop of 70% over 2019.
However, the Visit Berlin CEO remained optimistic in his interview. Kieker believes in a mathematical formula, “vaccination plus six months” to bring back travellers. Demand should thus return from the second half of 2021 as there is a strong demand for travel around the world. Kieker stressed that, “by 2024 at the latest, we will have overcome the crisis.”
Berlin can for sure capitalise on its power of attraction. Especially as a range of new infrastructure and events will certainly lure travellers to be back to the German capital.
There is a great deal of curiosity about Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) which finally opened its doors to the public at the end of October 2020. The new air gateway to the capital is the final point to a soap opera that has lasted for a dozen years.
Last year, the Berlin transport sector was indeed the source of numerous innovations. Early December, the city finally inaugurated its newest underground line, the U5. Tourists are likely to enjoy the metro line connecting Berlin central station (Berlin Hauptbahnhof) to Alexanderplatz. The line runs right through Berlin’s historic centre with the Brandenburg Gate, the Red City Hall and the Museum Island connected together in a five-minute ride.
Stations are considered true works of art for their architecture. They will then be the best way to admire Berlin’s grandest project which was completed in December: the Humboldt Forum.
Berlin’s former baroque Royal Castle is back… with the Humboldt Forum
This new cultural institution is located in the reconstructed Berlin Royal Castle, which used to be the residence of the Hohenzollern family. The baroque masterpiece was demolished after World War II. It first gave way to a parade square for East German communist-style celebrations. In 1976, the prestigious “Palast der Republik” opened. The building became the centre of East Berlin social life and also the house of parliament. The building closed its doors after Germany’s reunification and was demolished to give way to the Royal Palace’s return.
The baroque shape of the castle is closing a gap in the historical heart of the capital, although the reconstruction is a mix of historical and contemporary façades. In a corner of the structure, interior designers even paid tribute to the old Palast der Republik with a fresco and elements of decoration saved during the demolition.
Being right across the Museum Island, the new Forum for Art, Culture and Science covers 36,000 square metres and is home to various institutions. They will open in stages over the course of 2021, starting with the Humboldt Lab and the Berlin exhibition Berlin Global. By the end of the year, the splendid collections of Ethnology and the Museum of Asian Art will welcome their first visitors.
Across the Humboldt Forum, the construction of the “Schlossfreiheit” open staircase is planned for summer 2021. It will provide not only seats, but at a later stage, a swimming pool on the river.
Another exciting event will finally take place at the New National Gallery. Built by US architect Mies van der Rohe in the 1960s, the building was fully renovated over the past five years. It will host an exhibition on Alexander Calder for its reopening during the summer.