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Pre-program in March and April: Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic – Humboldt Forum | 17.05.2024-16.02.2025

Editors’ Choice

On May 17, 2024, the Humbolt Forum will open the special exhibition “Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic”. The pre-program for this exhibition includes a concert by The Resident Music Collective from March 28th to 31st, 2024 and the performance “Space Play” by the artist katrinem on April 13th, 2024.

Image above: Visual of the exhibition “Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic”, © Stiftung Humboldt Forum in Berliner Schloss; bpk / Gerhard Kiesling

The Palace of the Republic stood where the Humboldt Forum is today until 2008. Until 1990 it was the seat of the People’s Chamber and a place of representation for the GDR, but also a place for everyday culture with modern design, art, theater and discotheques, restaurants and cafés. The palace stood in the Federal Republic of Germany longer than in the GDR: many people still fondly remember the temporary cultural use in the gutted building in the early 2000s. From 2006 onwards, the demolition in the Federal Republic of Germany took place. What for some was liberation from a representative building of the GDR’s unjust state, others saw as an erasure of history and devaluation of East German life’s achievements.

With the program The Palace of the Republic is present, the Humboldt Forum is setting a program focus this year – 50 years after the construction of the Palace of the Republic began and 35 years after the fall of the Wall. The starting point is the encounter with the ambiguous place, which for many is also a symbol of the end of the GDR. It is an occasion for stories and conversations for a critical examination of the meaning of identity-forming places and for a discussion of political and social developments and participation – beyond Berlin and Germany.

DEEDS.NEWS-Stiftung Humboldt Forum - Wikimedia Commons - Istvan
Palast der Republik © Wikimedia Commons / Istvan, CC-BY-SA 3.0

28. March until 31 March 2024: Gong and Circumstance – The Resident Music Collective concert

With its new concert programme, the Resident Music Collective refers to the exhibition Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic, which will open in Mai 2024. Music has played a major role in the Palace of the Republic, from the laying of the foundation stone to its interim uses between 2003 and 2005. The Marstall building, where the administration – and surveillance – of the Palace of the Republic once sat, is now home to the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. For this reason, students and instruments from the university will be playing in the 15-piece ensemble, which will approach the phenomenon of the Kulturpalast in many voices. Palaces are characterised by a façade that stands out in comparison to its urban surroundings; a palace façade can be read like a musical score.

Great Hall, Foyer with Glass Flower, Bowling Alley, Youth Club, Milk Bar, Theatre in the Palace – these places resonate in the memories of those who experienced them – and are unheard-of spaces of possibility for posterity. A cultural centre becomes a palace of the people through the possibility of participation, which the audience has in this unusual, transtraditional concert.

The Resident Music Collective, founded in summer 2021 for the opening of the Humboldt Forum by musicians from Berlin’s diverse urban society, always invites you on a journey of discovery with music beyond tradition.

On 13. April 2024: Participatory Performance: Sound and Steps at the Outline Marking of the Palace of the Republic

What were the dimensions of the Palace of the Republic, which stood where the Humboldt Forum is today until 2006? How shaky was and is the floor? What does shuffling while walking have to do with civil disobedience?

On the occasion of the special exhibition “Blown Away. The Palace of the Republic”, the contours of the building will be brought to the ground. The sound and performance artist katrinem developed a listening and walking experience to mark the opening of this outline. Stride, shuffle and walk with her and 24 trained spatial performers in the footsteps of the Palace of the Republic.

katrinem is a trained musician and composer and works as an international sound and performance artist based in Berlin and Linz.

An essential feature of her artistic work is the tangibility of sound and space. In her artistic research, katrinem has been investigating the walkability of cities for pedestrians and the associated perception of space since 2004. Two perspectives of her approach are: the observation of places (Place Studies) and self-awareness in space while walking (Path of Awareness). Both work formats have been realised in many cities worldwide.

From April 13, 2024: Outdoor & digital: Re-Set. The Palace of the Republic in Augmented Reality

QR codes are applied to the floor plan, which create the palace virtually – simply scan the QR codes with your cell phone and discover seven striking insights as augmented reality: views of the east and west facades, the foyer, the espresso bar, the People’s Chamber and the Great Hall.

DEEDS.NEWS-Stiftung Humboldt Forum - Deutsches Historisches Museum - digitale Reproduktion
Performance by an FDJ singing group in the Great Hall of the Palace of the Republic, view from the stage into the audience, © German Historical Museum / digital reproduction: Stiftung Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace

Ab 17. Mai 2024: Theater spectacle Build up! Tear down! – Theater spectacle about the Palace of the Republic with Excerpts from DER BAU by Heiner Müller und FRANZISKA LINKERHAND by Brigitte Reimann

The approximately 30 years of existence of the GDR prestige object are the focus of a theatrical journey through time in which the history of the “Palace for the People” comes to life. The play explores its significance as a cultural, political and identity-forming place. 100 Berliners bring the Palast der Republik back to life at its historical location. An ensemble of citizens, contemporary witnesses and choirs in cooperation with the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music will bring the building back to life in a sensual theatre happening and vividly bear witness to the traces that this lost place has left behind. Premiere is on 17 May 2024.

May 17, 2024 to February 16, 2025: Special exhibition

The exhibition Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic will bring the history and present of the palace to life on 1,300 square metres from May 2024. On display are objects from and about the palace, drawings, photographs and posters, audio and video interviews from the “Remembrance work in the Humboldt Forum” project and participatory activities.

The exhibition is dedicated to the various phases of the building: from its planning and construction (1973-1976) to its use as a multi-purpose political and cultural building in the GDR, its significance as the seat of the first freely elected People’s Chamber, its interim use and its demolition in the Federal Republic of Germany, which was completed in 2008. Numerous works of art, designs and furnishings from the Palace of the Republic illustrate the various uses of the building, including fragments of the sculpture Gläserne Blume (Glass Flower) and the painting Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag) by Willi Sitte.

The starting point is the encounter with the vanished site, which for many people is still a powerful symbol of the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). For many people, the demolition of the palace symbolises the way the Federal Republic of Germany dealt with the GDR legacy and its people, who experienced loss as well as the devaluation and devaluation of their own biographies. For others, the demolition is seen as an act of liberation from the GDR state and its dictatorial activities, while some are indifferent to the demolition. The exhibition uses numerous interviews to show the perspectives of people who worked in the Palast, who visited it or deliberately avoided it. Prominent and previously unheard voices have their say.

Families with children aged 4 and over can explore the themes of the exhibition in a playful way with a children’s booklet. Using simple explanations, search and creative tasks, it draws attention to specific exhibits. They can use the creative sheet to design a souvenir box, which they can then take home with them.

DEEDS.NEWS-Stiftung Humboldt Forum - Visualisierung des Palasts der Republik - Cyberräuber
Excerpts from the virtual model of the Palace of the Republic from the CyberRäubern, © Visualization of the Palace of the Republic: CyberRäubern

VR installation, events, tours and workshops

A varied programme of events and educational activities awaits you as part of the annual focus. Guided tours and workshops present the history and significance of the Palace of the Republic, provide insights into different perspectives and invite you to exchange ideas. Performances, films, concerts, lectures and discussions give you the opportunity to get to know the various facets of the Palace of the Republic. The Palast-Treff brings experts and visitors together for round-table discussions. The virtual reality installation Palace of Remembrance is a walk-in artwork that brings the spatial experience of the Palace to life.

Book publication

The publication Blown away. The Palace of the Republic positions the Palace of the Republic as an all-German topic and illuminates it in all its breadth, with topics such as architecture, building history, artistic positions, research and experiential knowledge. At the heart of the exhibition are numerous perspectives on the palace and its history from a wide variety of people, with discourses opening up the topic to a broad audience. With texts by Victoria Helene Bergemann, Aron Boks, Gesine Danckwart, Hanno Hochmuth, Dagmar Hovestädt, Zsófia Kelm, Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Yevheniia Moliar, Chen Shuyu, Gülşah Stapel, Oliver Sukrow, Bruno Torres, Uljana Wolf and curators from the Humboldt Forum Foundation at the Berlin Palace, among others. With photographic works by Tobias Kruse, graphics by graphicrecording.cool (Johanna Benz, Tiziana Beck).

DEEDS.NEWS-Stiftung Humboldt Forum - bpk - Max Ittenbach
View into the stair hall of the Palace of the Republic. Date taken: 1970s, © bpk / Max Ittenbach


Exhibition period: Friday, 17. May 2024 until Sunday, 16. February 2025
Opening hours: Wed – Mon, 10:30 am – 6:30 pm
Tuesday closed

Concert dates: Thursday, 28. March until Sunday, 31 March 2024
7:00 – 9:00 pm

Participatory Performance: Saturday, 13. April 2024
3:00 – 4:00 pm

Theater spectacle:
Friday, 17. May – Saturday, 18. May 2024
Monday, 20. May – Friday, 24. May 2024
and Friday, 31. May 2024
7:00 – 9:00 pm


Humbolt Forum
10178 Berlin

Concert: Hall 1, EG
Participatory Performance: Passage, Schlüterhof


Exhibition ticket:
Early Bird Ticket bookable until 16. May: Regular 9 EUR / Reduced 4,50 EUR
from 17. May: Regular 12 EUR / Reduced 6 EUR

Gong and Circumstance concert:
Regular 12 EUR / Reduced 6 EUR

Sound and Steps Participatory Performance:

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