Federal and state buy Berlin Museum: Bittersweet socialization

The federal and state governments of Berlin end the nail-biter at the Berlin Museum of Contemporary Art. That costs 170 million euros, which should not have been incurred.

A group photo with Franziska Giffey, Sam Bardaouil, Claudia Roth and Till Fellrath

Press conference with aftertaste Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa

It is very good news, for art, for Berlin’s museums, for the public, “for democracy”, as Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth put it on Tuesday afternoon. Because the federal government as well as the state of Berlin are jointly setting the long-standing nail-biter to put an end to one of the most important museums for contemporary art in Germany.

The land and building of the Hamburger Bahnhof, which is now symbolically labeled with the addition “National Gallery of the Present”, are returned to public ownership. They previously belonged to the Viennese real estate group CA Immo. Now the director duo Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, who have been in place since the beginning of 2022, can finally set a safe program for their museum. Perhaps, so it is hoped, the structural funds would also be increased, for example to further expand the museum’s collection to include young, contemporary art.

But the press conference, to which Claudia Roth (Greens) and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) invited on Tuesday afternoon, still had something bitter about it. Berlin Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens), who was present, had to admit that. Because what the federal government and state of Berlin are now acquiring for the public with a good 170 million euros, you have heard before.

A decent “fillet piece”

The more recent history of the Hamburger Bahnhof, which actually served as a passenger station from 1847 to 1884, and the Rieckhallen, which were used for freight traffic until the divided Berlin, lists many failings of Berlin politics after the reunification. The Deutsche Bahn property was initially bequeathed to the state-owned Vivico GmbH. In 2007, CA Immo bought Vivico.

In the meantime, however, the city of Berlin had created an art location with the museum in the Hamburger Bahnhof, founded in 1994, and the Rieckhallen converted in 2004 for the private Flick Collection by the Kuehn Malvezzi office The development plan for the area was approved, which also envisaged high development in place of the flat, 250-metre-long Rieckhallen. CA Immo only had to allow time to use high market values ​​as arguments in rental and purchase negotiations for the museum.

The state of Berlin is now paying around 78 million for the Rieckhallen site and is also giving CA-Immo a state-owned site at Humboldthafen, which is valued at 25 million euros. The federal government, in turn, acquires the Hamburger Bahnhof for a good 66 million euros.

CA Immo originally wanted to exchange two plots of land, now it’s just one. But a decent “filet piece”. Right on the water, on a canal bulge near the Spree, with a view of the main train station and the government district, where the building permit for each additional floor alone weighs like gold bars on the property.

The development plan process for the Humboldthafen is still pending, and the city can still help shape the building rights here. The question during the press conference was whether a high-rise building could perhaps be built on the exchanged property. No, answer that Culture Senator Klaus Lederer (Left) decided.

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