Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin

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Zeughaus, Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 30/20304-444

The German Historical Museum, or its German acronym DHM (Deutsches Historisches Museum), is located at the far eastern end of the well-known Under den Linden boulevard, and is almost next to the prestigious Humboldt University. The Baroque-style building is also known as the Zeughaus (arsenal) as it was completed in 1730 as an arsenal by the Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg (later King Friedrich I) for the Prussian army.

Selected items from the Museum’s numismatic holdings are integrated with the permanent exhibition that covers the history of Germany, divided into 27 time periods from 100 BC to 1994.

Time Periods Marked by a Pillar with Coins

Each time period is marked by a square pillar, which as part of its design, usually includes one or more coins or medals from DHM’s 80,000-item numismatic collection representative of that period. In some instances, additional numismatic specimens are integrated nearby with historical artifacts for that period. Most of the text is in both German and English.

Some of the numismatic contents in the DHM’s permanent exhibition on display are:

  • 100 BC–500 AD: Celts, Germans, and Romans. A silver denarius of Augustus, 2 BC; a bronze sesterce of Nero, 54/68 AD; a bronze sesterce of Hadrian, 132/134 AD; and a bronze follis of Constantine I, 328 AD.
  • 500-900: Charlemagne and the Kingdom of the Franks. An 814/840 silver denier of Emperor Louis the Pious illustrates the long enduring symbolism of the cross and church on coinage.
  • 800-1500: Medieval Ways of Life. A 1338 gold écu d’or of Emperor Ludwig IV of Bavaria was the first coin with the double eagle shield.
  • 900-1500: Emperor and Empire. The Golden Bull of 1356 confirmed the elector’s right of coinage. Mainz, Cologne, Trier, the Palatinate, and territories bordering the Rhine formed a coinage union. Unearthed gold guldens and silver groschens are shown.
  • 1600-1650: Crises and War in Germany. A 1648 silver medal by Engelbert Ketteler on the Peace of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Year’s War; a 1634 silver medal by Sebastian Dadler on the burial of Gustav II Adolf of Sweden, who lead his army on the side of the Protestants in the Thirty Year’s War. Nearby are coins from the Kornöd Hoard of 259 coins, hidden in 1640 during the Thirty Year’s War and found in 1956.
  • 1789-1815: From the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna. Shown are examples of various assignats of the French Revolution.
  • 1815-1848: The Congress of Vienna and the Era of Metternich. An 1814 medal by Leopold Heuberger of the Congress of Vienna showing the profiles of the Holy Alliance monarchs: Emperor Franz I of Austria, Czar Alexander I of Russia, and King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. Also on display nearby is Napoleon Bonaparte’s bicorn, or cocked hat, sword, and spurs taken from him at his 1815 defeat at Waterloo.

Mark and Pfennig replaces the Thaler and Guilder

  • 1850-1871: On the Way to National Statehood. Type sets of both coins and banknotes of 1871 of the newly unified German Empire, based on the gold standard, are shown. The longstanding thaler and guilder have now been replaced by the mark and pfennig.
  • 1918-1925: The Difficult Beginnings of the Republic. Shown are examples of banknotes of the period of inflation, such as a 1-mark note equaling one trillion marks in 1923 prior to the 1924 reforms.
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