Berlin's Futurium museum was swarmed by visitors before the COVID-19 pandemic with an interesting exhibition, a future laboratory and a forum for dialogue. Now the museum is set to reopen in March but guests have to prebook online before visiting it.
The museum encourages its guests to discover diverse future perspectives and possibilities on how we want to live in the coming days in a playful way. Before the pandemic broke out, people were crowding to get into Berlin's new Futurium museum.
Lengthy queues were forming on weekends, outside what looks like a giant floating metal box, located close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and the main train station.
After reopening in mid-2020 following Germany's first lockdown, the museum was again forced to closed for four months along with others like it across much of Europe.
Now galleries, museums, memorials, zoos and botanical gardens in Germany are being allowed to reopen to people with online bookings as part of relaxations to the country's ongoing lockdown, even as restaurants and bars remain closed.
Futurium museum has also announced it is reopening its 3,000-square-metre (32,291 square feet) permanent exhibition again on March 20, although all visits must be prebooked online in advance.
Entry to one of Berlin's newest museums is free until 2022 and the permanent exhibition asking "how do we want to live?" attracted tourists and locals in great numbers in the short time it was open.
All those tourists crowding in were looking for answers, it seems – and there are plenty inside, also about the future of the city itself.
Opened in September 2019, the building housing the museum was originally conceived as a showroom for the German industry.
It has since morphed into an educational undertaking, with the government holding 80% of the shares.
The museum seeks to help people understand the biggest questions about the future, encourage discussion and nudge people into action, according to its catalog.
The exhibition is divided into three main sections, covering nature, man and technology. The nature area addresses how to protect and conserve the environment in cities.
In Berlin and many other cities, vacant areas are being sealed off for construction, as living space as the steady influx of people continues. That disappearance of nature will have consequences for people's well-being and biodiversity.
The exhibition provides some ideas. One feature on display is the GraviPlant project – a rotating plant supply system that makes it possible to plant trees on house facades when there isn't enough green space on the ground. Such plants would also help prevent buildings from getting too hot in the summertime, too.
The exhibition returns repeatedly to Berlin, asking for example how traffic can be organized differently, and how to imagine participatory cities? What sustainable building materials are available? These questions and more encourage visitors to think about the Berlin of tomorrow.
The exhibition presents numerous options for action on the important questions of our times, but it does not impose a particular set of answers.