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From London to Berlin

Kate MüserApril 8, 2015

Neil MacGregor has said he will step down as director of the prestigious British Museum. He's set to advise the Humboldtforum tasked with reconstructing Berlin's City Palace.

Neil MacGregor, Copyright: Jason Bell/British Museum dpa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

After 13 years at the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, 68, announced Wednesday (08.04.2015) that he plans to retire from full-time work in December 2015.

"It's a very difficult thing to leave the British Museum. Working with this collection and above all with the colleagues here has been the greatest privilege of my professional life," said MacGregor in a statement.

The art historian, who speaks fluent German, will chair the advisory board for Berlin's Humboldtforum and aims to help the institution draw "on the outstanding resources of the Berlin collections, and become a place where different narratives of world cultures can be explored and debated."

The board is responsible for guiding the reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace, which is being rebuilt according to a design by architect Franco Stella and is to house the legacy of German philosophers and scientists Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt. The cornerstone for the Palace was laid in 2013 and the project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Berlin City Palace construction site, Copyright: picture alliance/Daniel Kalker
Construction on the Berlin City Palace is underwayImage: picture alliance/Daniel Kalker

MacGregor will also be working with the CSMVS Museum in Mumbai. He has contributed extensively to British radio and television over the years and said he will be working on with the BBC on a new series on faith and society. One of his BBC radio projects, "A History of the World in 100 Objects," became a bestselling book in 2011.

Before becoming director of the British Museum in 2002, the Glasgow native served as editor of the Burlington Magazine and director of the National Gallery.

In this interview with DW from October 2014, Neil MacGregor explains why he's a "fan of Germany" and what the UK still has to learn about its European neighbor.

Journal Interview - Germany Exhibition - A New View of Deutschland?