Berlin, 26 June 2019
After reviewing the report of the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR) and following intensive discussion, the Board of Trustees of the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (SHF) decided in a meeting today to open the Humboldt Forum in stages beginning in September 2020. On 12 June 2019, the SHF and the BBR had announced the postponement of the opening, originally planned for late 2019.
Minister of State for Culture and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Monika Grütters, commented: “Ever since I took office I have dedicated myself passionately and vigorously to the great cultural undertaking that is the Humboldt Forum. This project, so significant for Germany as a cultural nation, is a subject very close to my heart. It is a great disappointment that we now find ourselves unable to open in the Humboldt jubilee year of 2019, the more so since this ambitious project is already in the home straight and has experienced virtually no major complications during its seven years of construction. Thus it is more important than ever to muster all our strength in order to work towards the new opening date.”
Grütters continued: “In particular, the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning should not slacken its efforts with respect to the Humboldt Forum now that we are so close to completion. I expect those responsible at the Federal Office – as well as the political heads of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, under whose remit this falls, – to give the Humboldt Forum the priority that a project of such outstanding importance deserves. All those involved are now called on to concentrate on the important issues, optimize processes and make the necessary resources available. For my part, I will dedicate myself at the political level to ensuring that the project managers receive added support and that all available resources are mobilized in the construction sector in order to bring Berlin’s project of the century to a successful conclusion.”
The Board of Trustees confirms that the Humboldt Forum will open in several stages according to the outline laid down in a board meeting on 20 November 2018. Specifically, the basement, ground floor and first floor will be fully and permanently accessible starting in September 2020. These spaces will house the first two special exhibitions, the exhibition areas on the History of the Site with the Archaeological Cellar, Panorama Room, Sculpture Hall and Palace Cellar, the function rooms, the foyer, the Schlüter Courtyard and the catering facilities and shops. On the first floor, visitors will be able to explore the Berlin Exhibition by Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin, the section allocated to the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Akademie’s working areas.
In subsequent phases the public will gain access to the permanent exhibitions with the collections of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the temporary exhibitions on the second and third floors. In late 2020 or early 2021, the exhibitions in the west wing featuring the South Pacific boats and the Palau houses will be opened to the public along with those showcasing cultures and themes from Asia, Oceania and Africa. They will be followed in mid-2021 by parts of the east wing presenting cultures and themes from the Americas and other regions in Asia and Africa as well as the temporary exhibitions.
The postponement is due to defects and delays in completing certain technical facilities, especially the air conditioning and ventilation systems. The latter are largely attributable to the troubled state of the construction industry and resultant personnel shortages at the construction companies. Additionally, functional testing of some building services revealed defects in the electronic control systems. These defects are currently being rectified.
The Board of Trustees is confident that construction work and technical services, including the correction of all faults and subsequent adjustment, testing and acceptance of the building services, can be completed by summer 2020. Subsequently, internal operations can begin on a trial basis. According to the new timeline, the building will be passed by the construction authorities in late August 2020 – a prerequisite for opening the Humboldt Forum to the public in September 2020.
About the building project The competition for the construction project was held in 2008, followed by the planning stage. Construction commenced in June 2012, with work on the shell construction beginning in March 2013. Until spring 2018, the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees lay with the then Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). After the new government was formed in 2018, the chairmanship was transferred to the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). Until the building’s completion and handover, responsibility for the construction measures remains with the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI). Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss is the owner of the building.
The Board of Trustees has fifteen members. Five of them are appointed by the German Bundestag. The Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Foreign Office each appoint one member to represent the Federal Government. The State of Berlin and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz each appoint two members. Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin each appoint one member. For additional information, please see: humboldtforum.org/en/pages/foundation-council
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