21st – 24th May 2024
Berlin is undoubtedly one of the most exciting cities in Europe. Its vibrancy comes from the marriage of old and new, the rebirth and renovation of a city newly reunited – a city where cutting edge, experimental architecture houses ancient treasures. This trip will chart the turbulent history of Berlin starting with the glory days as the capital of the Prussian Kingdom under Frederick the Great, through the cultural era of the Weimar Republic to the years as the headquarters of Hitler’s Third Reich.
There will be the opportunity to see a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic. Combining great art and architecture with world class music and literature, this is one of our best short courses.
Tuesday 21st May
Our flight lands in Berlin at midday when we will be met by our private coach and taken directly to lunch in the rather civilized Wintergarten Café in the Literaturhaus. Close by is the Käthe Kollwitz Museum which houses her most intensely moving works. The collection of drawings, etchings and sculptures implore you to share the artist’s deep compassion for the poor and oppressed. We will continue exploring 20th century Berlin with a visit to the Gedächtniskirche, looking especially at the interesting renovation – a theme which will run through our time in Berlin. Our coach will then take us to our hotel and we will have supper in a good restaurant nearby.
Wednesday 22nd May
We will start the morning with breakfast at Käfers, on the rooftop of the Reichstag with unrivalled views across the city. We can then walk across the Tiergarten, taking in one or two memorials as we go, before coffee. We will visit the magnificent Gemäldegalerie, home to one of the world’s finest collections of European art from the 13th to 18th century. The collection includes works by Jan van Eyck, Bruegel, Dürer, Rubens, Vermeer and Rembrandt. After a short stroll we will have a well-earned lunch.
After lunch we will visit the newly restored Neues Nationalgallerie (it is confusing that both East and West Berlin had their own National Galleries, names which are still used today). This museum houses the great modern collections in a thrilling building by the modernist architect Mies Van der Rohe. Walking back to the hotel we pass through The Wall and past Check-Point Charlie and some other buildings that survive from the Nazi era.
In the early evening we will board taxis for the KW Institute of Contemporary Art and the gallerista part of town. The programme for May ’24 is yet to be published but usually this space holds fascinating, if not baffling, exhibitions. Supper at Clärchens Ballhaus which seems barely to have changed since the 1930’s and which defines the ‘Dinner Dance’ as throughout supper, couples get up to waltz or foxtrot around and around.
Thursday 23rd May
The Alte Nationalgalerie on Museum Island houses an excellent collection of 19th century paintings and includes works by Caspar David Friedrich, Adolph Menzel, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Arnold Böcklin as well as a good collection of Impressionists. Very close by is the Bode Museum of Sculpture and one of the greatest collections in the world.
After lunch nearby we will go to the Neues Museum which was brilliantly refurbished by the British architect David Chipperfield and which houses the most wonderful Egyptian collection, including the sublime Nefertiti. Nearby is the Dom, or Cathedral of Berlin. In the evening, for those who would like to go, there is a concert at the Berliner Philharmoniker of Schumann and Shostakovich.
Friday 24th May
For our last morning we will walk along the Unter den Linden by way of summary of our visit, passing the Humboldt University, the Neue Wache memorial by Kath Kollwitz and the Babelplatz memorial. There are also a cluster of interesting newly built embassies close to the Brandenburg Gate and, if we can secure permission, an elaborate design for a bank by Frank Gehry. Close by is the extraordinary Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. For an early lunch we will go to the House of World Cultures in the Tiergarten where there are thought provoking exhibitions of forward-thinking architecture and international policy. We can also have a good lunch here before boarding a private bus bound for the hotel and thereafter the airport.
Tuition – The trip will be led by Nick Ross and Grant Rogers. Nick has taken many trips to Berlin and it is one of his favourite places to visit. Grant lives and works in the city and so has an insider’s knowledge on the best spots to eat, drink and see.
Hotel – We will stay at the Wilmina Hotel, perfectly located in lively Charlottenburg surrounded by good restaurants and cafes. The listed building has been beautifully renovated with modern clean lines, a leavy courtyard garden, roof terrace and if the weather is kind – a swimming pool.
Flights – We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. We recommend buying the following flights with British Airways:
21st May London Heathrow 08.25 – 11.15 Berlin Brandenburg BA0982
24th May Berlin Brandenburg 16.55 – 17.50 London Heathrow BA0985
Transport – We will have a private coach for the airport transfers. While in the city we will take the very efficient S and U-Bahn.
Concert – Thursday 23rd May – Berliner Philharmoniker
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor
Clara Schumann – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in A minor, op. 7 – Beatrice Rana piano
Dmitri Shostakovich – Sympnony No. 7 in C major, op. 60 “Leningrad”
Please let me know before tickets come on sale on 18th February.
Dinners – Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone. We will adjust the bill for those who have not had wine or beer.
Ability – There will be quite a bit of walking on this trip, but it will be easy to call a taxi for the longer stretches should you need to. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.
Cost – The fees are £1700 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, notes, reading lists, watch recommendations and local advice. Not included are the flights, suppers and travel insurance. The single occupancy supplement is £150 (double room for single use). Please state on the form if you would be happy to share if available. The group will not exceed 16 people.
Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay a deposit of £600 per person via bank transfer.
If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)
NB you must buy your own train tickets.