12 November 2018

A Weekend in Saxony: DDR-Museum Pirna

After hiking in Bad Schandau, I still had quite a bit of time left during the afternoon before sunset. So I headed back toward Dresden, but I stopped in Pirna along the way. Fortunately, my transportation options were running on schedule: I first caught a bus from the centre of Bad Schandau to Bad Schandau train station, which connected well with a bus that goes to Pirna, and once I got to Pirna, I hopped on to another bus that would take me close to the DDR-Museum Pirna, which is the thing to see in this town. With my area ticket, I could just hop on and hop off any train or bus within the area boundaries.

Anyway, about half an hour later, I reached the DDR-Museum Pirna. This is a museum that more or less immerses the visitor to life back in the German Democratic Republic. As a kid, one of the first pieces of news I was aware of and remembered was the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember reading about it in the newspapers, which my dad brought home from work every day. Beyond that, I checked out some museums here in Berlin showcasing life in the former East Germany. Nevertheless, it was more a historical encyclopaedic fact for me, rather than a reality, unlike plenty of people in Germany nowadays.

So I checked out this museum, and I must say, what I saw was interesting.

It's more of a gallery where visitors walk through various rooms showing different aspects of life in the former East Germany. There's not much text, so there's less reading and more observing. You can stand in the midst of a former East German classroom. You see artefacts of Interflug, the defunct East German airline. You look at furniture and interior design of flat living in East Germany. And you look at vehicles, Trabants, and other outdoor activities that were common back then.

Yes, there's a part of it that feels like a Disney theme park. But the interesting thing is that all of these items were someone's reality just a few decades ago. It's bizarre to think about it like that, now that we're in the age of smartphones and iPads.

In any case, I spent a good hour here. After wandering through the exhibits, and checking out the various rooms, I headed back to Pirna's train station and caught a train back to Dresden, where I called it a day.


  1. Same as you, one of my oldest memories regarding the news is learning about the fall of the Berlin wall. It's a very vivid memory, actually. I watched a German movie a few years ago about people in the East trying to recreate life back then for a woman who was in a coma and had no idea about the fall of the wall. It was a great movie.

    1. Zhu,

      I know the movie you're referred to: Goodbye Lenin! I watched it several years ago as well, and absolutely loved it!