Last Saturday, the 30th Lange Nacht der Museen („Long Night of the Museums") took place. In spite of freezing temperatures and onset of winter we opened our museum until 2.00am again this year. Many night owls who are interested in culture took the opportunity to visit the Berlin museums at a late hour and to get an impression of how the different institutions presented themselves.
The general theme of the Lange Nacht der Museen at all museums and cultural institutions in Berlin was "Frederick the Great".
Therefore we used the opportunity to apply ourselves to the special topic of the connection of GDR history and the Prussianism. In the 70s the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) discovered the positive aspects of the Prussian customs. Performance of one's duty, regime, discipline and dedication were in great demand. Besides, the leadership was looking for traditions that extended beyond the GDR. Therefore, since 1980 King Frederick II. is allowed to be Unter den Linden in the form of an equestrian statue. Also, the National People's Army referred to Prussian traditions.
In two lectures Dr. Stefan Wolle, historian in chief of the DDR Museum, explained exactly which connections there were between the GDR and Prussia. At different levels he shone a light on the relations and stated how the Prussian virtues played their part in GDR everyday life and military.
We were excited about the great interest and the numerous visitors who couldn't be stopped by the onset of winter. In additon to the visit to the museum, everyone who braved the cold was rewarded with a wonderful winter atmosphere: On the museum's terrace there was hot wine punch and bratwurst in front of the scenery of the illuminated Berliner Dom, as refreshment for the nightly museum marathon.
It was snowing outside, inside several dishes containing potato were served and tasted - true to the motto "Prussia, the GDR and the potato - a nutritious piece of history". But the guests didn't only get their money's worth culinarily - they had the opportunity to test their knowledge and win several prizes at the quiz which was especially created for the Lange Nacht der Museen.
We were happy to be part of the Lange Nacht der Museen again and therefore also of an already 15-year old Berlin tradition. We're looking forward to the next Lange Nacht der Museen on the 25th August this year on which we will celebrate "750 years Berlin" with many institutions in Berlin. Until then we concentrate on our daily business :)
Translation: Silvana Wrusch