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My perfect Berlin summer hangout: Thomas Köhler

Looking for a more tranquil setting to enjoy the last days of summer? The director of the Berlinische Galerie Thomas Köhler lets us in on his favourite Berlin summer hangouts.

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Photo by Lydia Goolia. Thomas Köhler, director of the Berlinische Galerie.

At the helm of the Berlinische Galerie since 2010, art historian and curator Thomas Köhler relishes morning peace, surrounded by the modernist beauty of the Kolbe Museum.

“Some of my favourite places to spend summer mornings are the Georg Kolbe Museum in Westend and Haus Am Waldsee in Zehlendorf. Both are museums for modern and contemporary art and both have very nice outdoor areas. The Kolbe Museum’s two buildings are from the 1920s and worth seeing just for their unique modernist architecture. One of them, the sculptor’s workshop, now houses exhibitions, while at Kolbe’s former home you’ll find Café K. From the terrace there you can admire the buildings and Kolbe’s sculptures scattered around the beautiful garden. Another place with a similar allure is Haus am Waldsee. The city villa is emblematic of Berlin’s 1920s bourgeois living culture. It makes for a very pleasant and contemplative Saturday or Sunday trip within the city. After visiting the museum you can go for a stroll in the garden, where the direct access to the water of the Waldsee is magnificent – although I wouldn’t want to go for a swim there. Once, as I was sitting by the lake, I was stunned to see someone come out of the water on the museum garden’s shore. I was even more stunned to discover that it was a lady I knew who lives close by and goes swimming in the lake every day! Personally I’d rather stay dry and have a nice slice of cake baked with love at the museum’s café, Delikatesserie Brohm, which also has an outdoor space with brilliant sculptures on permanent display. I’d recommend taking advantage of the cool morning hours by riding to either one of these museums by bike. At that time of day both will be nearly empty and you can pretend they’re open just for you!”

The Berlinische Galerie opens Original Bauhaus on Sep 6.