Firstly, I always recommend cycling as the best means of transport when visiting Berlin. A visit to this fascinating museum by bike also has the added value of the experience of the eastern neighbourhoods where people lived and still live around the massive Stasi HQ enclosure. At August 2013 entry fees were 5 Euros each with an additional Euro for permission to photograph- which we paid without a gripe as this is such a rich but inadequately funded archive, housed in the former Stasi headquarters and comprising Erich Mielke's private office suites complete with kitchen and washrooms, conference facilities and even instructions as to how he liked his breakfast cooked- a strict 4.5 minutes for his boiled egg...There is so much here, so simply and powerfully presented that the oppressive nature of the Stasi's reach is palpable. The retention of original fixtures and fittings, padded doors, wood panelling and even sickly looking plants, is what makes this so special. The detail extends to a chilling peep inside a vehicle equipped with cells, personal histories, equipment and techniques and the fascinating spy-ware: buttonhole cameras, infrared lined Trabants, and even watering cans and tree trunks kitted with cameras and sound recording equipment. The extent of the Stasi operation was about 1 in 5 either informing, volunteering or otherwise serving the SED Ministry for State Security. Some 90,000 people worked for or were connected to Stasi and it operated from 1950 until 1989. The homely touch of net curtains throughout, even in the vehicles, make it all the more sinister. In this day and age it puts an interesting prism through which to view the Snowden and Manning cases. If you're holidaying in Berlin then you know this great metropolis comes with rich and not always lighthearted layers of history. That's what makes it so fascinating and it's the key to the city's resilience. This is one of its gems and well worth a trip.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.