The Futurium describes itself as “Futurium is a House of Futures. Here, everything revolves around the question: how do we want to live?” Naturally, you visit such a place with high expectations. To cut the story short, the Futurium does not meet the self-claimed goal. I visited the Futurium in October 2021 and was more than just disappointed.
The exhibition is disillusioning. There are very few stops showcasing a glimpse of each topic the Futurium tries to address. There is no vision. There are no examples of solutions being implemented, just creative ideas. Nothing more.
One example is the exhibit about the river Emscher which explains the river’s journey of becoming a clean river again. The risks of flooding for the surrounding areas and cities as a result of the extensive coal mining are not mentioned at all. You cannot talk about a single point of interest in a complex system of natural and geological dependencies.
A number of examples of how we want to live in the future are described in the subjunctive. This applies to examples of energy production, green cities, or environmentally friendly construction. I’d expect a Futurium to be more visionary, talking about action plans for society and governments to act upon.
The Futurium does not show anything new. The “House of Futures” showcases thoughts that were developed in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of the Club of Rome’s report on The Limits to Growth. The Futurium shows that we are still at the same point as forty to fifty years ago.
According to the website, Futurium is an independent and non-profit organization. There is a joint board to scientific advisors who, in my opinion, are primarily used for providing well-known names for the institution.
The exhibition leaves me with the impression that companies sponsoring the institution misuse it for green-washing their real brands.
The Futurium Store
Before leaving the Futurium you pass the usual museum store. And this is where it gets really embarrassing for the Futurium. While learning about your impact on nature and resources and the requirements of staying sustainable on the first floor, you can buy superfluous knick-knacks made out of plastics, produced in the far-east, and shipped to Berlin.
There is also something positive to say about the Futurium, it has free admission.
When visiting Berlin, spare the Futurium. There are more appealing places of interest that are worth a visit.