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Spy Museum – Deutsches Spionagemuseum

a cup of coffee

The Capital of Spooks

tl;dr: A well designed private museum with lots of things to actively try out that is definitely worth the entrance fee.

Located at Potsdamer Platz – or Leipziger Platz to be precise – a few years ago a new, privately funded museum about spycraft opened its doors. We were invited for a chat with the director and produced a rather positive video about it, and a not-so-positive blog post. Our biggest complaint then were the exorbitant ticket prices. Not surprisingly the company behind it went bankrupt before long. New management came in, changed things and noticed, that our blog post is a bit behind the times and convinced us to give the place another shot.

Turns out they were right to ask for a re-evaluation of our judgement. First of all, tickets are now reasonably priced at 12€ with various discounts available. Secondly they successfully optimized the exhibition itself.

 

Is this the coolest staircase or what? These are fully functional displays in the steps.

Is this the coolest staircase or what? These are fully functional displays in the steps.

German encryption device from World War I. The inscription translates as "All useless activation of the 'kipper" is prohibited"

German encryption device from World War I. The inscription translates as “All useless activation of the ‘kipper” is prohibited”

Lip reading test at Spy Museum

Lip reading test at Spy Museum

Fun and games. You can dress yourself up as a spook or whatever you like and take a photo home for free - really nice souvenir.

Fun and games. You can dress yourself up as a spook or whatever you like and take a photo home for free – really nice souvenir.

There's a whole section about fictional spies and public reports about real-live ones that sound like they were made up.

There’s a whole section about fictional spies and public reports about real-live ones that sound like they were made up.

Teenie, tiny cameras from the 60s and 70s.

Teenie, tiny cameras from the 60s and 70s.

a group of people standing in a dark room

That was the fictional online persona I created with an installation, throwing colourful balls in a machine. In the end; i was a bearded (hipster type), burka-wearing Erdogan-fan who liked 4-chan, primark and bitcoin.

That was the fictional online persona I created with an installation, throwing colourful balls in a machine. In the end I was a bearded (hipster type), burka-wearing Erdogan-fan who liked 4-chan, Primark and bitcoin.

Glienicker Brücke: Made famous worldwide by the Tom Hanks movie "Bridge of Spies" was the location of just a handful of exchanges between the East and the West, but has a prominent model at the Spy Museum

Glienicker Brücke: Made famous worldwide by the Tom Hanks movie “Bridge of Spies” was the location of just a handful of exchanges between the East and the West, but has a prominent model at the Spy Museum

I couldn't add my love for Bob the builder in the end....

I couldn’t add my love for Bob the builder in the end….

So, on the one hand, they made it much cheaper and therefore more accessible and on the other hand they carefully revisited the exhibition itself – strengthening what worked well and getting rid of things that didn’t. Now there is even more interactive installations to try out. You can not only test your skills as a super burglar in the laser-tunnel, but try yourself at lip-reading, dress up as a spook with a floppy hat, look for bugs in a small room and much more.

They kept a lot of the physical exhibits and there is still a lot of text and video to explore but it is not as overwhelming as it used to be, something the youngsters will surely appreciate. All in all, the experience is much more seemless than before. Instead of just adding stuff like enigma machines and micro-cameras until the space is full, the different aspects of the larger theme are gearing into each other as pieces of a larger whole.

FACTS Deutsches Spionagemuseum

Leipziger Platz 9

10117 Berlin

U-/S-Bahn Potsdamer Platz (map)

open daily 10 – 20 hours.

tickets 12 €/8 €; groups (10 and above) 9 €; family (unlimited kids if they’re yours) 35 €.

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