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Does the Neues Museum in Berlin actually have a standard name? In German, I see it as "des Neuen Museums", "Im Neuem Museum", "Das Neue Museum", where apparently to me "neue" is treated both as a proper name (written with the first letter capitalized) and as a normal adjective at the same time (declined accordingly). Does this happen with any other proper name of anything (newspaper, city)? What name should we use when writing about it in English (Neues, Neue, ... Museum)? I had the impression that proper names should be treated as an immutable unit (for example, "in Der Spiegel gelesen" and not "im Spiegel").

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    "I had the impression that proper names should be treated as an immutable unit" Well, your impression is wrong. Generally, such proper names are declined.
    – user6495
    May 23, 2023 at 13:17
  • From the Related side bar: german.stackexchange.com/q/43544/3237
    – Carsten S
    May 23, 2023 at 14:11
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    In English I just call it "the New Museum" May 24, 2023 at 2:03

2 Answers 2

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Yes,
"Neue" in "Das Neue Museum" is an adjective, and is declined like one, but it is capitalized because it is part of a name..


Standard Name and usage

The museum's "standard name" is "Neues Museum" - in Nominativ case. But as soon as you use the name in a sentence, you will have to adjust its adjective accordingly.

In contrast to names of people, an article is needed:

Das ist das Neue Museum. Not: Das ist Neues Museum.

Which is different from names of people, for which both is acceptable but the definite article is avoided. So it's the other way around:

Das ist Peter. Das ist der Peter.


Rules

Articles, Pronouns, Prepositions and Conjunctions are written noncapitalized in names, unless they're in first position.
Adjectives can be written capitalized or non-capitalized unless they're in first position, then only capitalized.
Nouns are capitalized.

Yes, this is totally normal. Names follow the rules listed above. So you will find

Ich gehe zur Alten Post.
Auf der Webseite der Gesellschaft für deutsche/Deutsche Sprache...


Exception to the inflection

An exception are non-inflectable adjectives, which are often derived from place names and part of a name as well.

Ich lese die Berliner Zeitung.
Ich esse ein Frankfurter Würstchen.
Ich habe dem Frankfurter Würstchen (dativ) ein Frankfurter Würstchen (akkusativ) des Frankfurter Würstchens (genitiv) gegeben. (This sentence is just a demonstration).

Dudenband 4, Randnummer 109 Dudenband 9, Seite 272

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  • @user253751 Thank you. I removed the whole point because it's an English question I'm not able to answer anyways. May 24, 2023 at 2:00
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Does this happen with any other proper name of anything (newspaper, city)?

Yes, it does. I would say it is the standard behaviour. So I don't share your impression. Examples include:

  • Der Spiegel, im Spiegel, nach Informationen des Spiegels
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine (Zeitung), in der Frankfurter Allgemeinen (Zeitung)

One example of the behavior of an "immutable unit" that comes to mind is the name of the band Die Ärzte who make a point of having their name not declined, and say something like das neue Album von Die Ärzte.

Other examples include names where treating the name literally would make no sense. Given a restaurant called Drei Linden, you would say Ich arbeite als Köchin im Drei Linden.

What name should we use when writing about it in English (Neues, Neue, ... Museum)?

Arguably, this question could be considered off-topic here, as one could argue it requires understanding of English rather than German. As English has nearly no declension left, I would recommend always using the nominative case:

  • We are going to the Neues Museum
  • The exhibition at the Neues Museum

and so on.

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  • Jetzt denkt ihr sicher, was ist bloß mit Die Ärzte los, sind die jetzt plötzlich auch Ökos? Also further reading specifically about street names where that seems to vary considerably by region: bastiansick.de/kolumnen/fragen-an-den-zwiebelfisch/…
    – wonderbear
    May 23, 2023 at 15:42
  • In Salzburg, there is a cinema called "Das Kino" which is always referred to as such, "Der Film läuft im Das Kino". May 25, 2023 at 9:00

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