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A year-round ticket to see the greatest art ... in the world

One of the things I love about the town I currently live in is the fact that it is definitely not Berlin.

Granted, that is true for almost every town on this planet, but it is especially important here, in Potsdam, capital of the German federal state of Brandenburg, and so close to the town in question that indeed a Berlin train ticket can take you all the way through Potsdam. (This is emphatically not true the other way around, and the idiocy of the public transport regulations are just one of the many many things one can dislike about Berlin.)
High point of Berlin Transport: Some of the adverts

There is just one thing that I truly wish we had as well - a great art museum. (And Sir Simon Rattle, if we're being honest.) There are several smaller ones, and occasionally there are special shows in other museums that are well worth visiting. But a dedicated art gallery that I could buy a season ticket for and visit whenever I am in need of inspiration - that is something only the really big cities have. (And I was certainly not going to buy a seasonal ticket for Berlin - and countless metro tickets to go with it!) I grew up in Dresden, and I never realised how much of a luxury the truly astonishing collection of museums there really is. (There had to be upsides to fighting on the wrong side of wars and bankrupting the people by collecting tons of stuff after all.)

But suddenly, earlier this year, I lucked out - Potsdam opened its first big art gallery!
I say 'suddenly' because I am terrible at following local newspapers. In truth this has been in planning for a few years.) The Museum Barberini is housed in an excellently rebuilt old palace, and showcases a small collection of art from the GDR as well as big changing exhibitions.

The people in charge decided to spoil my family and me by making their opening exhibitions "Impressionism: The Art of Landscape" and "Modern Art Classics". This has resulted in a sudden influx of visitors who 'just wanted to see' me ... 'oh, and could we visit the museum as well?'
Yes. Of course we could. I have a seasonal (read: yearly) ticket now anyway, so why not make good use of it?

A touristy tourist doing touristy things (I love you mum.)

There is something to be said for seeing art "in the flesh". The difference to seeing it on a screen or in a book somewhere is akin to experiencing music live instead of listening to a studio recording. It feels more immediate, more vivid. It's like a barrier has broken down, leaving the artwork free to communicate with you. There's something intangible about seeing something in 3D, about standing directly in front of something that someone else has made, that someone else has put a lot of thought into. Something that has touched lives in ways you could not imagine today.

For me as an artist, being able to regularly go to an art museum means the world. I can go to get inspired, I can go to study how the masters did certain things, I can go to get a sense of perspective, I can go to let the talk of other visitors wash over me and try to comprehend the meaning of art in other people's lives.

I am happy that Potsdam has its own art museum now. (And a tiny bit smug. But I can still visit the galleries in Berlin from time to time - there can never be too much art!) And I am happy for everyone who gets to visit it, or any other art museum for that matter. I took the museums for granted while I was growing up, and didn't realise how much of a gift they truly are. I do now, and I will cherish it.

There is only one downside to a yearly ticket: It is a plastic card, and it functions as your ticket. Mine is a lilac-ish colour and actually looks quite nice - but that is of course nothing compared to the superb excerpts from exhibited artwork that function as regular tickets and work spectacularly well as bookmarks or for decorating your journal.
Ah well, you can't have everything.

A lovely lovely ticket ... and a card that promises lots of adventure.

To visit:
Museum Barberini
Potsdam Tourist Bureau
Plugging my hometown: Dresden - State Art Collections

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