Budget Blowouts and Delays Blight Germany’s Major Arts Projects

In Hamburg, the spectacular glass-peaked Elbphilharmonie concert hall was delivered seven years late in 2017. The bill: €798 million, compared with an original budget of €186 million. In Munich, the cost of renovating the Deutsches Museum, one of the country’s most visited, has spiraled. The federal government and the state of Bavaria earmarked an additional €300 million in November—on top of the €445 million already approved.

In Berlin, where a new airport is also running almost a decade late, the Humboldt Forum, a showcase for the city’s non-European art collections, has been delayed for a year and is €49 million over budget. The new museum, in a reconstructed royal palace, is projected to cost €644 million if it opens as scheduled this September.

But even that delay and budget overshoot will be modest compared with the renovation of the Pergamon Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island. The work, originally scheduled for completion last year, is now likely to extend beyond 2023. The projected cost has escalated to €477 million, up from €261 million at the outset.