The museum’s name Hamburger Bahnhof refers to the building’s original function as one of the first terminal stations of the rail system in Germany. It opened as the terminus of the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin in December 1846. The reconstruction and conversion of the neo-renaissance building by architect Josef Paul Kleihus resulted in the re-opening of the Hamburger Bahnhof on 2 November, 1996 with a 13,000 squaremeter exhibition surface after four years of extensive renovation. Since then Hamburger Bahnhof has consistently consolidated its reputation as one of the world’s most highly-regarded contemporary art museums. In 2004 the prestigious Friedrich Christian Flick collection encompassing around 2,000 works by 150 artists was housed in the refurbished former freight depots of the Lehrter Banhof which became the converted Hall, or East wing, known as Rieckhallen. As a long-term loan it will remain on display until 2011.
In 2002 the collection was again enlarged by the acquisition of Egidio Marzona’s collection of Conceptual Art and Arte Povera. The core elements of the museum’s collection stem from the legacy of Berlin collector Dr. Erich Marx who assembled some of the greatest masterpieces of the mid 20th century - works from contemporary giants such as Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly or Andy Warhol. Conceived as a showcase for the multi-media dimension of contemporary international art the scope of the museums’ exhibits encompasses other contemporary art forms such as film, video, design and photography with installation work from Nam June Paik and experimental work from artists such as Marchel Duchamp and Sigmar Polke. This weekend Hamburger Bahnhof parties its 20th birthday – with free entry for all. Join on in.