Saturday, October 26, 2013

Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin

Exsquisite Book from Verlag Militaria

Someone recently asked me for information about places to visit whilst on a trip to Berlin and the first thing that came to my mind was paying a visit to Potsdam (accessible via the local tram or bus from Berlin) and spending time at Frederick's palace of Sans Souci.

Next on my list would be a visit to the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, located in the old royal arsenal building, also known as the Zeughaus. While searching for information on this museum, I stumbled across this book that was published a few years ago, one that I have been meaning to purchase, but never got around to it. It features the SYW militaria collection at this museum. Check out the link below to the publisher's web site (Verlag Militaria) for more information on how to order the book.

Finally, no trip to Berlin would  be complete without a visit to the Berliner Zinnfiguren store to view the extensive collection of SYW flats and military history books. See the direct link to the store's website in the left hand column of this page.

I will leave it up to your own Google skills to find out where these three sites are located, but they would be my recommendations on places to visit while in Berlin.

About the book

824 pages (linen bound with a protective cover, it comprises two volumes in a slipcase), ca. 1500 colour photographs and illustrations, Format: 29.5 cm x 26 cm

The authors

Daniel Hohrath, with additional contributions from Judith Zimmer and Elisabeth Boxberger


€ 129,90


978-3-902526-51-9 (English)
978-3-902526-50-2 (German)


This work represents a new basis for the study of the Army of the Prussian King Frederick the Great; it is an indispensable standard work for anyone interested in the military and cultural history and the crafts of that era. It depicts the uniforms of an army whose military successes laid the foundation for the rise of 18th century Prussia as amajor European power, and which, like its royal commander became the military ideal for all of Europe. Their particular style and the grandeur of their equipment were widely copied, and – uniquely for that day – collected by Frederick’s successors for posterity. The result of those efforts is the world’s best collection of 18th  century uniforms, now in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, located in the old Royal Arsenal, the Zeughaus. Here, for the first time, all of the more than 200 items are presented and described individually and in detail, with high quality colour photographs and precise measurements.

Many of these original pieces were previously unknown, or had been seen only in drawings or poor quality old photographs. Supplementing these illustrations are photographs of items from other European collections. The total of some 1500 photographs shows an almost complete series of fusiliers’ and grenadiers’ caps, along with such items as cuirassiers’ coatees and hussars’ dolmans, sabretaches, caparisons, cartridge boxes and hats. There are also several uniform coats, including one worn by King Frederick himself.
In addition, this work includes a complete reproduction of the Lace Pattern Book of 1755, a manuscript containing the original embroidery and braid patterns of over 100 Prussian regiments, which is kept at the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Finally it contains reproductions of the portraits of a large number of Prussian Army officers of the Seven Years’ War period, many of them previously barely known; most are from the Field Marshals’ Hall of the Prussian Military Academy in Groß-Lichterfelde. Also shown are drawings and black-and-white photographs of items from the old Zeughaus Collection that have since been lost.
The text includes explanations of the uniforms and their development, and short histories of each regiment in the Old Prussian Army. It is prefaced by historical essays on the Army of Frederick the Great and the history of the Zeughaus Collection, and includes an in-depth examination of the materials, designs and production methods of the uniforms and trimmings, from the point of view of modern textile conservation.


  1. I absolutely agree to all of Jim's recommendations. I'd like to add some advice, though it's not concerning Berlin but other interesting parts of Germany. Burg Hohenzollern is the ancestral home of the Prussian kings. Located in southern Germany (Black forest) it is the place where Frederick the Great and his father were buried until their bodies where transfered to Sanssouci. While being there why not trying original Black forest cake and Schnaps? Secound: the German Zinnfiguren Museum on the Plassenburg in Kulmbach, near Nürnberg. There are more than 300000 flats in displays with up to 20.000 miniatures. Every secound year in Kulmbach is held the biggest pewter figure fare in the world.

  2. Tremendous! Great advice all. Thanks!


  3. Salut together!

    I am knowing the Museum in Berlin, i helped a young friend who work momentary for his dissertation about the topic :"Development of German late gothical armor" with foto-shooting around mid-europe, 'driving' and research; one visit was in Berlin, also there many fine armor in the archives.
    Anyway so we could also see some original uniforms of FII. now presented in that fine book (In the archive the uniforms are hanging like in clothes shops. ;)).

    Some important aspects of the uniform pieces. Those are nearly all from 1786, for shape and style very important comparing to par example SYW. The coats are more slim-fitted and lapels (if present) with collar forming one line. Also the collars are for most uniforms collar-dummies, not real collars (easier to manufacture, lowering costs^^). Different to uniforms before 1770's. Füsilier caps also different to 20 years before. The head part is more pointed, higher than in SYW, there it was more 'rounded'. On one example you see the difference between a cap from the 1740's to 1786. If i compare that to Dorn/Engelmann books then i must say they illustrate more a leter Füsilier cap than for SYW used. Bleckwenns schematics are in shape really better fitting.

    Why nearly all parts 1786? After FII died the later Friedrich Wilhelm III a 'fan' of FII collected at once as possible equipment and uniforms of the legendary army as he could get (also vests, trowsers and coats of commons), clear....from the year 1786. Anyway he needed some decades to complete his attempt. Its something unique in 18ct history that someone really collect nearly all parts of an army, not only highlights. The wanted monument of that army was outfit and equipment, appearance.
    About one third of the presented collection survived the second world war (at least). Many coats of the infantry, nearly all Grenadier and Füsilier caps, sadly few musketier hats. Also clear the shape of the hats also different to SYW, in SYW more triangular.

    Menzel made his drawings according to those pieces, so clear Menzels soldiers looking also more 'Bayerischer Erbolgekrieg'-like.

    But here in that publication (two books in a hard-case) you can see the materials those uniforms were made; and the Pattern book from 1755 contents original pieces of all regiments for all ranks, looking like new, nearly perfect condition, not only illustrated, drawn.

    Best regards.

    Btw, i read a review about the english version (i have the german) there is told the english translation shall not be as good as the original german text. Ok thats something i cannot control, yet ^^.