Station: [1] Hemp


Hello and welcome Berlin‘s Hemp Museum – where you can discover everything about growing, processing and using this versatile plant – along with its history, the legal situation and the culture associated with it. 

Since we opened the Hemp Museum in 1994, we‘ve continuously updated the exhibition to reflect the current state of the science and the social discourse. This is the only exhibition of its kind in Germany.

Hemp is an annual plant, so it‘s sown early in the year and harvested at the end of the year. Hemp grows almost everywhere on earth and has different names in every language. If you’re talking about hemp in a scientific or medical context, it’s generally called cannabis. In agriculture, or when you’re dealing with the plant as a raw material, it‘s usually known as commercial or industrial hemp.

Long before the birth of human history, hemp probably originated in the Altai Mountains, a massif in the north-west of China. From there it spread in a south-easterly direction to the Pacific, and westwards to Europe.

People discovered early on that the fibre formed by hemp stalks is very resistant to tearing, the seeds are highly nutritious nut fruits, and the flower resins are useful in treating the occasional ailment – all beneficial qualities.

Throughout the cultural area known as the Old World, hemp was commonplace as raw material for yarn, rope, cloth and textiles. It was simply one of the absolute essentials. With the discovery of the Americas at the latest, hemp spread throughout the world. It wasn’t until the first third of the 20th century that the plant’s possible intoxicating effect suddenly loomed large, and hemp was progressively banned.

But why? That's one of the things you'll discover here at the Hemp Museum ... along with the reason why hemp is now experiencing a revival.

All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch