Grown on sand

History(s) in the middle of Berlin

The origin of Berlin lies in the Mitte district. Built on Märkish sand, the two cities of Cölln and Berlin grew together here in the 14th century to form a twin city. In the 19th century, parts of today's district became a centre of industry. From 1871 the central administration of the German Empire was located here. Industrialization and population growth made Berlin at times the third largest city in the world. Especially in today's Mitte district, the infrastructures, street grids and building complexes that were created at that time are still omnipresent and familiar today. Fascist planning during the Nazi era, destruction during the Second World War and demolitions in the divided city or new buildings after reunification followed: Each era has left its traces.

The exhibition "Gewachsen auf Sand" (Grown on Sand) therefore tells of the interplay of forces that shape the urban space of Berlin's Mitte, dissolve it, and allow it to emerge anew again and again. It brings together examples of urban planning, urban society and urban culture from the last 250 years.

Architectures, institutions and infrastructures determine the way people live together here. Through protest and resistance, city dwellers could and can also claim their right to shape urban space themselves; they are not powerless. Like sand, the city is always malleable.

Which urban planning concepts of the past have shaped today's Mitte district up to the present? Which moments of emancipation of citizens have influenced the question of how we want to live today? These questions will be asked in the newly designed Mitte Museum and we invite you to discuss them with us. The history of the building and that of the collection will also be thematized and presented in a newly created area.

Runtime: from May 2021

Takes place here:

Similar events

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Vahine no te Tiare. The Woman with the Flower, Detail, 1891 – Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Vahine no te Tiare. The Woman with the Flower, Detail, 1891
© Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Paul Gauguin – Why Are You Angry?

Paul Gauguin – Why Are You Angry? at the Alte Nationalgalerie looks at Gauguin’s oeuvre – which was also shaped by Western, colonial ideas of ‘the exotic’ and ‘the erotic’ –, juxtaposing the works with historical material from both Gauguin’s past and... more

Order online
Helmut Newton's Private Property – Raumansicht
Helmut Newton Foundation

Helmut Newton's Private Property

Under the title "Private Property", the Museum of Photography is showing Newton's cameras, its own collection of photographs and art, its library and parts of its Monte Carlo office, as well as numerous publications of Helmut Newton's photographs. more

Order online
Büste der Königin Nofretete, Neues Reich, 18. Dynastie, Amarna, Ägypten, Um 1340 v. Chr.
© SMB / bpk / Jürgen Liepe

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection has a chance to present itself on a scale never shown until now, with over 2 500 exhibits on display in the Neues Museum's northern wing over three floors, covering 3600m². more

Order online
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Potsdamer Platz
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Jörg P. Anders

The Art of Society 1900–1945

The Art of Society shows some 250 paintings and sculptures created between 1900 and 1945 by artists including Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Lotte Laserstein and Renée Sintenis. more

Order online

The help page for the event calendar answers common questions.. Information about coperations and imprint can be found on our page about partners and terms and conditions.