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How do we pollute our environment? Why do we pollute it more than we used to? What can we do to change this? Find out more in the Environment exhibition!

Exhibition closed

The second half of the museum is currently being renovated, which is why this area has been closed since July 2022. The modernisation of the exhibition is scheduled to be completed in 2028, the 125th anniversary of the museum's founding.

Human Activities and their Consequences

Ever since humans have walked the Earth, they have interfered with their environment – through arable and livestock farming, deforestation and the construction of settlements, traffic routes, power plants and industrial facilities. At the same time, the global population has grown and continues to grow. There has been a rise in prosperity, leading to the increased consumption of energy and raw materials and creating waste and pollutants in the process.

This exhibition presents various aspects of environment-related research, technology, cultural history and politics. It starts by examining the causes of environmental pollution, before guiding you through the history of environmental awareness. It addresses water, waste and recycling, the effects of air pollution, and climate change. Finally, it tries to identify technical and social solutions.

The information in the exhibition is from 2010. While the statistical data is no longer up-to-date, the scientific foundations presented by the exhibition and its fundamental message are still valid today. Until it closes (scheduled 2022), we will be carrying out various activities and programmes in the exhibition relating to the environment.

7.77 billionThe world’s population in 2020

583.9 trillionGlobal energy consumption (in joules) in 2019

4.8 tonnesAverage CO2 emissions per capita in 2018

Exhibition Themes

  • History
    The relationship between people and their environment varies in the different cultures around the world, and has changed over the course of history.
  • Growth
    The growth in the world’s population, the increasing consumption of energy and raw materials, and the production of waste are all causes of environmental pollution.
  • Water
    Clean drinking water is an increasingly scarce resource. At the same time, the amount of waste water is so high that it has to be purified at wastewater treatment plants.
  • Air
    Air pollution has dropped in some parts of the world thanks to the use of technology – but this is by no means the case everywhere.
  • Climate
    CO2 and other greenhouse gases caused by human activity are one of the major causes of global climate change. We must act now!
  • Fishing
    Due to high levels of fishing in recent decades, the oceans’ fish stocks, which were once considered inexhaustible, are reaching their limits.
“"We’ll need a lot of luck and drastic action to stay below 1.5 degrees."”
Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, November 2017

Special Objects

Atmosphere globe.

A new Look at the Climate

Complex interactions within the Earth system

Atmosphere Globe
The population growth curve in the Environment exhibition.

Growth Curve

The growth in global population. From the beginning of human history to the present day, around 77 billion people have lived on the Earth.

Growth Curve
The column of waste in the exhibition.

Our Waste

In 2018, German waste generation amounted to approximately 420 million tonnes.

Column of Waste
Model of a kitchen from the period around 1990.


Energy consumption – a measure of prosperity. Energy is an essential part of our lives. We consume it directly.

Energy Consumption
Bianchy thermometer.

Environmental Analysis

Bianchi thermometer and gas detection tubes. Environmental analysis now and in the past.

Environmental Analysis
Model of the Gut Marienhof wastewater treatment plant.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

What is waste water and how is it cleaned?

Wastewater Treatment Plant
Statues of Eve, sandstone statue from the 16th century and plaster model from the 20th century. The sandstone statue is a late Gothic representation of Eve and has been corroded by acid rain. The plaster model next to it shows how the statue looked originally, before it was corroded.

Statues of Eve

Acid rain: an environmental problem of the past?

Acid Rain
GENVEX heat recovery unit.

Saving Energy in the Home

“GENVEX” heat recovery unit.

Heat Recovery Unit

Activities around the Environment

For School Groups

Activities and materials for teachers and school groups


Bookable Group Activities

Activities for families and groups

For Groups

Supporting Materials and Publications


  • Exhibition area: around 300 sqm

Any Questions?

  • Dr. Sabine Gerber-Hirt

    Leitung Hauptabteilung AI Naturwissenschaften / Kuratorin für Umwelt und Deutscher Zukunftspreis Leitung des Ausstellungsbeirats und der Abteilung wiss. Volontäre / kuratorische Leiterin der Ausstellung Landwirtschaft und Ernährung

    Deutsches Museum
    80306 München

    Telephone +49 89 2179 565
    Fax +49 89 2179 99350
    Email s.gerber-hirt@deutsches-museum.de

Do you have organizational questions?

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