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Sofa sightseeing: tour Germany’s cultural institutions from home

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

The travel, tourism and cultural industry are fighting to survive during the COVID-19 epidemic and for those of us with wanderlust, the world has gotten a whole lot smaller. Many flights have been cancelled and cultural institutions have been forced to close their doors to the public.

Berlin's Museum Island. Photo: nick_photoarchive via Pixabay

However, the tourism industry refuses to be beaten that easily. Instead, many organisations have spread hope and happiness across the world by bringing culture to audiences at home via virtual tours and online performances. Of course, it’s not quite the same as being there in person, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment.

Although the majority of cultural institutions are closed to the public in Germany, many of them are moving online, helping us to maintain access to culture, despite the limits on travel.

Here are 10 German cultural events and virtual tours that are now available online:


1. Bayerische Staatsoper: Munich’s Bavarian State Opera offers countless online performances to the public. There is a live concert scheduled for every Monday night up until 13th April, consisting of performances by singers and solo instrumentalists, as well as chamber music and dance, all free of charge. On 11thApril, there will also be a livestream of opera performance, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas.

2. Berliner Philharmoniker: The world-famous German orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, is providing a digital concert hall for its audience. They are offering more than 40 live music broadcasts and hundreds of archive concerts for free, if you sign up by 31st March!

3. Online concerts: Many musicians across the world, such as Russian-German pianist Igor Levit, Coldplay's Chris Martin, and John Legend, are conducting live concerts from their homes for all of their fans in isolation.


4. Pergamonmuseum (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin): Situated in Berlin’s Museum Island, the Pergamonmuseum, which houses art treasures such as the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate, is offering a free virtual tour. The tour is really interesting to click through, as you can see the whole collection as you roam the halls, as well as read in-depth descriptions of each item.

5. Gemäldegalerie (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin): Berlin’s famous art museum, the Gemäldegalerie, which holds one of the world’s leading collections of 13th to 18th century European paintings, is offering free virtual tours to the public.

6. Alte Nationalgalerie (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin): Berlin’s Old National Gallery, comprised of a collection of Neoclassical, Romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork, has moved to digital tours.

7. Deutsche Museum (München): Munich is home to the world’s largest museum of science and technology, which is now giving free digital tours to the public.

8. Deutsches Meeresmuseum (Stralsund): The Stralsund museum of oceanography is providing virtual tours of its maritime and oceanographic exhibitions to the public for free.

9. Biennale für aktuelle Fotographie 2020: Germany’s biggest cultural photography festival has moved its three photography exhibitions online: When Images Collide, All Art is Photography, and Between Art and Commerce.


10. Panorama cities: Although this is not necessarily a new thing, you can take (admittedly slightly out-of-date) virtual tours of German cities, so you can go on those city trips in your living room, no travel required!


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