Hetty Berg to lead the JMB as Director for a further five years

Press Release, Mon 25 Mar 2024

Even before the expiry of her five-year period of office, Hetty Berg has signed her extension contract as Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) with the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Claudia Roth.


Dr. Margret Karsch
Press Officer
T +49 (0)30 259 93 419


Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

Claudia Roth explained: “Hetty Berg has demonstrated exceptional leadership in enhancing and advancing the Jewish Museum Berlin’s role as a beacon for Jewish life in Germany. Berg’s inclusive approach has effectively showcased the richness and dynamism of Jewish culture to a wide-ranging audience.”

“In light of the concerning rise in hate crimes and violence targeting Jews and Jewish institutions especially in the last months, the Jewish Museum Berlin’s exploration of antisemitism throughout history is more crucial than ever. Berg’s dedication has garnered widespread acclaim, underscoring the importance of her vision and direction for the museum’s future.”

“I am delighted that Hetty Berg has agreed to an early extension of her contract, signaling a promising trajectory for the JMB. Her extensive expertise, innovative spirit, and foresight are invaluable assets that will ensure the museum continues to fulfill its important role.”

Hetty Berg said: “I am honored by the confidence placed in me to head one of Europe’s greatest Jewish museums, located in a city that is so central to German-Jewish history. I see this as a mandate to make sure that the JMB remains – and continues to develop – as a public space for reflection on Jewish culture in the past and present, on the diversity of Jewish viewpoints, and on the history of relationships between Jews and their non-Jewish environment. I am looking forward to working with this wonderful team in the coming five years!”

The record visitor numbers in recent times show just how fruitful Hetty Berg’s work has been. Paris Magnétique was one of the three most successful temporary exhibitions in the JMB’s history, and in 2023 the museum attracted 729,559 visitors – the most for any of the past thirteen years. Hetty Berg has also succeeded in increasing the proportion of visitors who are from Germany, thus anchoring the JMB more deeply in German society. Before she took office, the share of visitors from Germany was 27 percent; it is now 42 percent.

A curator and museum manager from the Netherlands, Hetty Berg took up the directorship in April 2020. The JMB’s new core exhibition Jewish Life in Germany: Past and Present opened in August 2020, followed in June 2021 by the Children’s World ANOHA, where children aged three to ten can immerse themselves in the story of Noah’s Ark. Admission to both exhibitions is free.

Under Hetty Berg’s leadership, the JMB has staged large temporary exhibitions: in 2021, Yael Bartana – Redemption Now; in 2022, “We Dreamed of Nothing but Enlightenment”: Moses Mendelssohn; and in 2023, Paris Magnétique: 1905–1940 and Another Country: Jewish in the GDR, the first large-scale exhibition exploring Jewish experience in East Germany. This year will see the opening of Sex: Jewish Positions and Access Kafka. For 2025, a large exhibition on twentieth-century Jewish craftswomen and female designers is planned.

Hetty Berg has brought new attention to the Eric F. Ross Gallery’s rooms on the ground level of the Libeskind Building. Internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions showcasing different elements of the museum’s collection are now regularly shown there. Frédéric Brenner – ZERHEILT: Healed to Pieces opened in the gallery in 2021, Etgar Keret – Inside Out in 2022; since February 2024, the Eric F. Ross Gallery has hosted “My Verses Are like Dynamite”: Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret.

Alongside exhibitions, Hetty Berg places special emphasis on education and communication. “Especially in these times of conflict,” she says, “we need to work against polarization and contribute to productive ways of handling diversity. Our thematic guided tours and workshops enable us to reach many young people and adults inside the museum. And further afield, the JMB on.tour project brings a mobile interactive exhibition into classrooms all across Germany, giving students the opportunity to engage actively with the diversity of Jewish culture, religion, history, and contemporary life.”

The Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation, founded in 2001, is funded entirely from the federal German culture and media budget. For many of the museum’s projects, however, third-party funds are required – for example, to expand and digitize the collections or for educational projects. Here, too, Hetty Berg has been fully involved and made her own mark: “Since 2022, the JMB has been pushing ahead with a digital transformation. The whole team and all areas of the institution are engaging in that process. At the heart of our digital strategy are digitizing the collections, augmenting our social media communication, and driving innovation in our online offerings. For instance, at the end of this year we will launch the Digital Workroom, where we offer school students and teachers a range of digital options that can be used to design teaching content interactively. We aim to establish the JMB as the most important platform in the digital space for all themes around Jewish culture, and to be part of the lived reality of the younger and future generations.”

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