The opening of the Humboldt Forum, a vast museum and events space in the reconstructed royal palace in the centre of Berlin that has been described by German Culture Minister as “the visiting card of the nation”, will be delayed until next year because the final stage of construction is behind schedule.
A delegation visit by construction officials concluded that “it is not realistic to make the building ready for use by the end of 2019”, according to a press statement. The central cooling system can only be switched on at the end of July and the restaurant on the roof is still under construction. Further work is still required in the basement and ground floor. The facades of the inner courtyard are also still clad in scaffolding.
“Over the past years, we have succeeded, unbelievably, in keeping this project on schedule and to budget,” Hartmut Dorgerloh, the general director of the Humboldt Forum, said in an interview with the Berlin broadcaster RBB. “Now our luck has run out a bit in the final phase.”
The delay comes as no surprise to Berliners, who have been waiting eight years for a new airport. The Humboldt Forum joins a growing list of construction projects that are taking much longer than expected, including the Pergamon Museum.
The new culture complex will house Berlin’s non-European ethnological collections and Asian art collections; a permanent city history exhibition; several spaces for temporary exhibitions; and, a laboratory run by the university. It aims to stage around 1,000 events annually and expects to welcome as many as 3 million visitors per year.
The opening was planned to take place in stages starting this year. A statement says that a new schedule for the opening concept will be presented on 26 June.