Best cultural resources in German to enjoy from home

Germany has a lively and muti-faceted cultural landscape. From electronic and hip-hop music festivals, to world-renowned orchestras and museums, the country’s eclectic cultural offering means there’s something for everyone. Berlin is especially known for its thriving music and arts scene. The capital is famed for its edgy vibe and is the hot spot for all things contemporary art.

With the current home confinement going on, it might be more difficult to enjoy everything that German culture has to offer. Don’t despair! We’ve compiled a list of our top online resources to enjoy German culture at home. Whether you’re the festival-goer type, or prefer strolling around museum galleries – we’ve got something for you.

Here are some ideas of cultural activities you can enjoy at home. Keep reading, or click below to jump to the sections that interest you most:

For the music lover

From Beethoven to Paul van Dyk, there is no doubt that Germany is a powerhouse when it comes to releasing music of all genres. You might think that the only way you can enjoy this during the home confinement is through your Spotify account, but that’s not the case. Indeed, artists and organisations are coming up with new and innovative ways to share their music and engage with their audience.

Musicians are turning their homes into improvised music studios
Artists are turning their homes into music studios and offering hours of live streaming performances
  • Berlin is well-known for its club culture, but the industry, like many others, has been hit hard by the home confinement rules. United We Stream is a platform through which you can enjoy live DJ sets, music and performances. Organise a flatmate quarantine party while encouraging the club culture during the closures.
  • If you’ve ever wanted to experience a live performance from the home of artists such as David Guetta, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney, now is the time. In the current crisis, artists are turning to virtual concerts, which you can happily enjoy from the comfort of your own home. The Eventim website has compiled a list of the top musical live streams happening on their #Zuhausekonzerte page.
  • Calling all classical music lovers – the Berlin Philharmonic has launched their Digital Concert Hall, where users can enjoy concerts from home. Simply redeem the free voucher code BERLINPHIL on their website, and enjoy a 30-day access to their online resources.
  • The Schinkel Pavillon, usually home to a lively programme of exhibitions, is currently vacant as a result of the pandemic. The institution has made the best of its empty space and opened it up to musicians for the Concerts in Quarantine series. You can live stream the musical performance of a different artist every Monday and Friday at 8:30 pm.

For the live performance enthusiast

Although theatre companies and opera houses have closed their doors for the time being, you can still enjoy live performances online. These free online resources are the perfect way to experience a live performance without breaking the bank.

The Berlin State Opera
The Berlin State Opera has put together a rich digital offering to enjoy from home
  • The theatre company Berliner Ensemble has launched an online initiative, BE at Home, where viewers can stream performance recordings. A new featured performance is released every Friday at 6:00 pm, and is available to watch for one week.
  • The Munich-based theatre company, Munich Kammerspiele, is also making some of its internal recordings available online. Enjoy a new recording every day at 6:00 pm.
  • The Berlin State Opera has put together a digital offering, so you can still enjoy operas and concerts at home during the quarantine. To keep you entertained, the programme changes every day. A new video is released daily at noon, and is then available for 24 hours.

For the art connoisseur 

Home to more than 6,200 museums, Germany has an incredible wealth of cultural institutions for its residents to choose from. Although museums are currently affected by temporary closures, you’re still spoilt for choice when it comes to their online resources.

The Bode Museum in Berlin
The Bode Museum’s virtual tour lets you explore this institution’s luxurious architecture and impressive collections.
  • The Berlin State Museums, an organisation comprising museums, research institutes and libraries, has launched #SMBforHome, which aims to make museums accessible, even throughout this crisis. Initiatives include virtual tours of institutions such as the Bode Museum, the Altes Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Kunstbibliothek Berlin. Follow the #SMBforHome hashtag on social media to stay up-to-date on all communications from the Berlin State Museums, or find out more about their museums’ initiatives below.
  • Known for its Byzantine art and numismatic collection, the Bode Museum is one of the most monumental buildings on Museum Island in Berlin. The museum’s virtual tour lets you explore this institution’s luxurious architecture and impressive collections.
  • An imposing neoclassical structure, the Altes Museum hosts the antiquities collection of the Berlin State Museums. Install the Google Arts & Culture app to go through the virtual tour of this prestigious museum.
  • The Pergamon is Berlin’s most popular museum. This institution is especially well-known for the imposing buildings it houses, such as the Pergamon Altar. A virtual tour of the Pergamon Museum is available on the Google Arts & Culture app. If it’s the altar that interests you, you can admire the impressive museum centerpiece through the detailed 3D model.

The Berlin Kunstbibliothek is one of Germany’s leading cultural institutions, and is known for its extensive Art History literature collection. The Kunstbibliothek’s new exhibition, Trade:Mark, which focuses on the work of the Stankowski + Duschek graphic design studio, can be viewed online through a 360-degree virtual tour.

For the bookworm

Avid readers can also take advantage of online resources at this time. With less distractions from the outside world, now is the perfect time to sit back, relax and immerse yourself in a good book.

  • The ZLB Berlin, one of the largest public libraries in the capital, has made its online collection available to everyone. In an effort to make library resources more accessible during the quarantine period, you can now register for a free library card online. The ID is currently free for 3 months, and will give you access to a wide variety of e-resources.
  • If you need a bit of extra motivation to keep up with your reading, joining a book club can be a great way to keep yourself accountable. It can also be a good outlet to meet new people and socialise during the quarantine. Rebel Book Club is a non-fiction book club present in 6 cities, including Berlin. The meetings usually happen face-to-face, but have been replaced by virtual discussions for the time being.

In addition to the specialised resources detailed above, some websites have compiled generic lists of the top online live streams per day. Berlin (a) live helps you find the best live streams, from DJ sets, to comedy and poetry. Their website is constantly updated with upcoming events, so you won’t miss out on anything. Another great online resource is the Dringeblieben website, which offers a broad range of live streams, including concerts, book readings, dance performances, guided meditations, and much more. As is the case with most of the websites mentioned in this article, the resource is completely free to access, but viewers can support the artists with a donation if they wish to do so.

We hope that these online resources come in handy and will help you get your culture fix during the quarantine. If you’d like to find additional online resources, German cultural institutions have been using the #ClosedButOpen hashtag to share their initiatives during the Covid-19 crisis. Make sure you check out the hashtag on Twitter to get the latest information.