€200 Million Appropriation Clears Way for Berlin MoMA

Berlin's new modern and contemporary art museum is to be built behind the existing Neue Nationalgalerie Photo: Harald Kliems via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin’s art scene continues to grow. After over two years of controversy and political wrangling, the Bundestag’s budget committee has approved €200 million for the construction of a new museum for modern art in Berlin, the DPA reports. The plan was confirmed by the SPD political party’s budget expert Swen Schulz on Thursday. The new building is expected to open in 2021.

The confirmation brings an end to years of uncertainty first about whether Berlin would get approval to create its new museum at all, and later regarding who would pay for the creation of the institution (see “Will Private Sector Fund German MoMA?“). Great debate has also occurred over the eventual location of the new museum.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation had campaigned for a new space for years, but was particularly spurred by the donation of 150 surrealist master works to the Nationalgalerie by 84-year-old German businessman Heiner Pietzsch. The compact Neue Nationalgalerie only allows the museum to show one third of its collection as is, and Pietzsch’s donation came with the caveat that the works be placed on permanent display.

The proposed 14,000-square-meter space is to be constructed behind the existing Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie. Along with the existing Nationalgalerie collection and Pietzsch’s donation, portions of the collections of Egidio Marzona and Erich Marx will also go on view. The Neue Nationalgalerie will be renovated by British architect David Chipperfield beginning next year (see “David Chipperfield Erects a Forest in Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie“). The renovations are expected to last three years.

Germany’s Culture Minister Monika Grütters called the budgetary committee’s approval a “huge success” for Berlin’s museums and cultural scene.

The president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parziner, explained that the new building would greatly expand the museum’s possibilities. He said together with the Nationalgalerie the new building the area would become the “museum island for modern art,” referring to the group of classical museums in Berlin’s Mitte district.


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