Lockdowns Have Forced Yet Another Delay to the Opening of the Perpetually Beleaguered Humboldt Forum in Berlin

In a statement, representatives said they hoped to welcome visitors as soon as possible.

The Humboldt Forum will remain off limits to visitors in the immediate future. Photo by Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images.
The Humboldt Forum will remain off limits to visitors in the immediate future. Photo by Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images.

The opening of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, scheduled after many delays to open on December 17, has been pushed back yet again due to the lockdown rules announced last week in Germany mandating that all cultural venues remain closed until at least December 22.

The opening of the institution, which will hold the Berlin state museums’ ethnological and Asian art collections, will instead be live-streamed on December 16 to offer viewers a look at the building’s interior and parts of its opening exhibition.

“The extended measures are correct and necessary, and they present us all with special challenges,” the museum’s general director, Hartmut Dorgerloh, said in a statement. “Though a visit in person will not be possible, we would nevertheless like to celebrate the completion of the Humboldt Forum.”

The institution was originally slated to open in fall 2019, but was delayed due to technical issues with the building. The rescheduled opening for September 2020 was further delayed due to logistical complications. A small but alarming fire at the building this summer presented yet another setback.

The $700 million cultural project has also been at the center of debates around restitution and the legacy of European colonialism. Its collection contains items culled from Germany’s former colonies in Eastern Africa, as well as hundreds of Benin Bronzes, known to have been looted by British soldiers from Benin City in 1897.

The museum, built to emulate the former Prussian palace, an emblem of Germany’s imperial prowess before the Second World War, has been the site of protests over its holdings and its design. But private money has still poured in. On Saturday, November 28, the museum announced it had received €105 million in private donations for the building of its facade, which features a Christian quote and a golden cross.

In a statement, the Humboldt Forum foundation said it hoped to welcome visitors as soon as possible.


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