Humboldt Forum


Press release

Berlin, 18 May 2019

Today the door of the Tresor techno club became the first object destined for the Berlin Exhibition to move to the Humboldt Forum. This also marks the beginning of the work installing this exhibition on the first floor of the Humboldt Forum. A joint project by Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin, the exhibition covers 4,000 square metres and focuses on Berlin’s network of relationships with the world at large.

“I am delighted to receive the famous door of the Tresor techno club as the first exhibit of the Berlin Exhibition. Construction work on the first-floor rooms destined for the Berlin Exhibition was completed in March this year and the spaces are ready for the exhibition to be installed. As the building owner, Stiftung Humboldt Forum carried out additional redesign and construction measures in the southern part of the Berlin area to create large suites of rooms which are now available for Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH to use for an innovative exhibition design. Stiftung Humboldt Forum will continue to work closely with all Berlin institutions to facilitate the installation and logistics of the exhibition. We look forward to a creative exhibition and constructive cooperation before and after the opening,” said HANS-DIETER HEGNER, the head of construction at Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss.

The 2.3-metre steel door once secured the safe of the former Wertheim department store, which was expropriated by the Nazis and subsequently destroyed during World War II. After the reunification, a world-famous techno club called Tresor (which means “safe”) became the emblem of a new Berlin. When the club closed its doors in 2005, new buildings were erected on the Leipziger Platz site and the vaulted cellars were demolished. Among the exhibits that will be on show, the Safe Door is a uniquely eloquent symbol of the city’s chequered history over the past hundred years. This extraordinary witness to history is one of the Humboldt Forum Highlights: selected exhibits that provide a glimpse of the thematic diversity visitors will be able to experience in the Humboldt Forum.

MORITZ VAN DÜLMEN, manager of Kulturprojekte Berlin, adds: “We’re gearing up here, the first exhibit has arrived! The Safe Door is an extraordinarily eloquent artefact of contemporary history that evokes the Golden Twenties and recalls persecution and war in our city’s darkest years, but also tells of Berlin’s division and illustrates the appropriation and use by subcultures of places that became unexpectedly accessible after the reunification. It is thus ideally suited for illustrating the story of Berlin and its turbulent history to Berliners and international visitors alike. The door’s arrival is an important milestone on the way to the opening of the Berlin Exhibition.”

The central theme of the Berlin Exhibition is Berlin’s links with the world. Expansive installations, extraordinary staging and surprising objects will testify to Berlin’s distinctive DNA in around 4,000 square metres of exhibition space, telling of war and revolution, free space, fashion and entertainment, boundaries and entanglement. All these facets of Berlin’s history remain interlinked with the world to this day. The exhibition makes these links palpable. The rich and varied range of exhibits bring together a multitude of voices and histories.

PAUL SPIES, director of Stadtmuseum Berlin and curator-in-chief of the City of Berlin in the Humboldt Forum, says: “Everything is connected with everything else, albeit occasionally separated by doors. However, we are using the Safe Door to create a connection. The door is to be located between the Free Space and Boundaries exhibition sections. Free spaces characterized the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. One of them was the Tresor club, arguably the world’s most famous techno venue. Boundaries such as the Berlin Wall had previously caused the steel chamber to disappear for decades. I am delighted that the door has now taken up residence in our exhibition spaces, but I am also looking forward to welcoming all the other exhibits and displays that are set to follow in the coming months.”

When it became known that the techno club’s days were numbered and new buildings were scheduled for the site on Leipziger Platz, Tresor club founder DIMITRI HEGEMANN removed the steel door with his own hands and put it into storage. Now he is loaning the historical object to Stadtmuseum Berlin. Comprehensive photographic documentation compiled by Dimitri Hegemann made it possible to have the door restored in preparation for the exhibition. The door frame complete with stepped door trim were reconstructed in order to ensure a stable mounting. Together with the safe’s deposit boxes, which will be set into a concrete-cladded wall, it constitutes the first exhibit of the Berlin Exhibition.

While the door is being installed, preparations will be underway for installing the exhibition, and these are set to continue throughout the summer. The large special exhibits will follow in autumn, such as the stereoscopic Kaiserpanorama, the spherical boles for the “Entertainment” room and the large-format globe that will form the centrepiece of the first room and that represents the exhibition’s leitmotif: Berlin and its relationships with the world. Additionally, various artists including street artists from New York will install their works in the exhibition spaces. The Berlin Exhibition will be completed with the arrival of the original objects, which are to be mounted in display cases just before the opening in 2020.

The Berlin Exhibition in the Humboldt Forum is a co-production of Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin. The exhibition’s design and contents were developed by a team led by Paul Spies, curator-in-chief of the City of Berlin in the Humboldt Forum and director of Statdmuseum Berlin. Kulturprojekte Berlin is responsible for realizing the exhibition as well as for communications.

Further information


Download the press release as a PDF
Press photographs


Kristian Müller & Jasmin Knich
SteinbrennerMüller Kommunikation
on behalf of Kulturprojekte Berlin
+49 (0) 30 4737 2192

Bernhard Wolter
Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss
+49 (0) 30 2659 50230