Cologne has numerous museums to offer, some of which are world-class. While the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud inspires with works of medieval painting and an important collection of Impressionism, the Museum Ludwig has the largest Pop Art collection outside of the USA. The glass collection of the Roman-Germanic Museum is unique in the world, and in the Museum of Applied Art, design objects are closely related to works of fine art. The Museum Schnütgen presents important medieval sacred art, which is housed together with the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum and its ethnological collection in the Museum Quarter on Neumarkt.
The city is an important international art center. With the Art Cologne it hosts the oldest art fair in the world, which today is one of the world’s most important art fairs. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum for Classical Art and the Museum Ludwig for Modern Art enjoy an international reputation. There are also museums for medieval art, East Asian art and applied arts (see section Museums ). The Kölnischer Kunstverein, founded in 1839, offers contemporary art funding and exhibition space. Over 100 galleries and art dealers are on site, e.g. B. the Kunsthaus Lempertz, the galleries Karsten Greve, Boisseréeand Jablonka. Some famous artists live in Cologne, such as Gerhard Richter and Rosemarie Trockel.
Cologne has many museums. According to the city of Cologne, no other city in Germany operates as many museums from its own budget as it does. The most important art museums are the Museum Ludwig, in whose postmodern building complex that clearly defines the Rhine front, modern and contemporary art is housed, and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which moved into its own building in the heart of the historic old town in 2001 and sells art shows the epochs from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. One of the most recent new museum buildings is the Archbishop’s Diocesan Museum in Kolumba, which, erected over the remains of a Romanesque church ruin, shows works from different eras.
Contemporary art can be found in the Kölnischer Kunstverein and in the Museum of Applied Arts, which also houses a large collection of design pieces. The artothek Köln for young art, the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum, the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst and the Museum Schnütgen for medieval art, which has been expanding since 2010 into a new building complex occupied together with the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, are pioneering in their direction is. The latter is the only ethnographic museum in North Rhine-Westphalia. TheSculpture Park Cologne shows outdoor sculptures of the present time.
The flagship of Cologne’s historical museums is the Roman-Germanic Museum, which exhibits art, jewelry and everyday objects from the Roman and Merovingian eras. The former Roman governor’s palace and the mikveh, the medieval Jewish cult bath on the town hall forecourt, are connected. Extensive excavations are being undertaken on this site to unearth the foundations and basements of medieval Cologne. When the work is complete, the House of Jewish History will be built here.
The history of the city of Cologne is presented in the Cologne City Museum in the Zeughaus, while the nearby EL-DE House as the NS Documentation Center of the City of Cologne (NSDOK) documents the history of Cologne under National Socialism. Also worth mentioning are the Agfa Photo Historama for historical photography (part of the Museum Ludwig since 2005), the Jawne exhibition room about the former Jewish high school in Cologne, the Cologne Fortress Museum and the Fragrance Museum in the Farina House, the birthplace of Cologne water.
In the Rheinauhafen there is the Chocolate Museum in a building from the 1980s and the German Sport & Olympia Museum, which is housed in a former customs hall from 1896, on over 2000 m², directly on the Rhine. Other, mostly private and foundation-supported museums are the Geldgeschichtliches Museum, the Cologne Carnival Museum, the Beckers ° Böll Artists Museum in the Kunsthaus Rhenania, the Odysseum, the Radio Museum, the Rheinische Industriebahn-Museum, the photographic collection of the SK Stiftung Kultur, the dance museum of the German Dance Archive Cologne, the theater studies collection Schloss Wahn and the wine museum.
The Rhine metropolis with over 1,000 living and working here, visual artists, several universities, colleges and training institutions in the field of Art, the Central Archive of the international art trade, as well as numerous art and cultural festivals, price data and -verlagen an important historical cities in Germany. Art Cologne and Photokina are among the largest art fairs in the world.
The main collections of the museums in Cologne are the 2000-year history of the city and the Rhineland, as well as applied and visual arts from antiquity to the present. In contrast to many other regions in Germany, the Rhineland has few court collections. Characteristic of the Cologne museum landscape is the importance of the city collections, often based on civic initiatives.
Cologne City Museum
The Cologne City Museum tells the impressive history of the city from the Middle Ages to the present on approximately 2,000 square meters. The museum is housed in the historic armory. The armory, which was built by the imperial city of Cologne as an arsenal, was built around 1600 in the Dutch Renaissance style. The Cologne City Museum offers an insight into the intellectual life, economy and everyday life of the city of Cologne and its inhabitants from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The Ludwig Museum was founded in 1976 through the donation of around 350 works of modern art by the Ludwigs. It was supposed to be the first museum in Cologne to exhibit contemporary art. In addition to Pop Art works, the Ludwigs also gave the museum an extensive collection of the Russian avant-garde from 1906 to 1930 as well as a bundle of several hundred works by Pablo Picasso on permanent loan. Picasso’s works have meanwhile passed into the museum’s possession through two generous donations in 1994 and 2001.
The modern department of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museumwith the expressionist collection of the Cologne lawyer Joseph Haubrich formed the basis for the collection of contemporary art and has meanwhile also been integrated into the Museum Ludwig. Roy Lichtenstein’s “Maybe”, Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Boxes” or George Segal’s “Restaurant Window” – icons of American Pop Art – are among the museum’s best-known works.
Museum of East Asian Art
The Museum am Aachener Weiher, which was founded in 1913 as the first special museum of its kind in Germany, leads with its collection into the distant, fascinating world of Chinese, Japanese and Korean art. The museum’s founders Adolf Fischer (1857-1914) and his wife Frieda Bartdorff (1874-1945) brought together an important collection of Japanese art that forms the basis of the museum’s holdings. These include outstanding works of Buddhist painting and wood sculptures, Japanese screen painting, color woodcuts and lacquer art. Further treasures of the Museum of East Asian Art, which are recognized worldwide, are Chinese sacred bronzes, first-class pieces of Buddhist sculpture, bronze art, ceramics from China, Korea and Japan as well as Korean celadons from the Koryô dynasty. As part of the permanent exhibition, the Museum of East Asian Art changes the presentation several times a year. In addition, special exhibitions from its own collections are shown.
The museum building is one of the most beautiful and important monuments of classical modernism in Cologne. The flat, single-storey building was designed by the renowned Japanese architect Kunio Maekawa (1905-1986), a student of Le Corbusier, and has an exhibition area of 1,390 square meters. Part of the museum is a cafeteria that is also accessible outside of its opening hours. Here you can take a break and enjoy the view of the Aachener Weiher. But even more interesting is the view of the museum’s inner garden, which was designed in the style of traditional Japanese meditation gardens according to the plans of the Japanese sculptor Masayuki Nagare (born 1923).
Museum of Applied Arts Cologne
The Museum of Applied Arts Cologne has been located in the former building of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum since 1988. The exhibits include furniture, ceramics, glass, jewelry and textiles from the late Middle Ages to designer objects from the 20th century.
At the end of October 2008, the Museum of Applied Art Cologne opened its new design collection. For the first time, a German museum offers the opportunity to view design not in isolation, but in close relation to works of fine art. “Art and design in dialogue” – that is the title of the permanent exhibition – shows the complex interweaving of industrial design with contemporary artistic developments against the background of contemporary and art history.
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud
In the center of Cologne is the Wallraf, the most important art museum in North Rhine-Westphalia. The modern building houses one of the world’s most important collections of medieval painting with works by Cologne’s Stefan Lochner in the center. Further highlights are the masterpieces of the Baroque from Rubens to Rembrandt, from Murillo to Boucher, and German painting from Caspar David Friedrich to Max Liebermann. With the Fondation Corboud, the Wallraf owns the most extensive collection of impressionist and neo-impressionist art in Germany. Monet, van Gogh, Cézanne and Edvard Munch.
As a museum with an international reputation, the Wallraf shows several top-class special exhibitions each year. A separate exhibition floor is available for this in the basement. In addition, by prior arrangement, visitors can view individual works from the graphic collection, which comprises around 75,000 sheets, in a separate presentation room. The enjoyment of art is complemented by useful presentation aids (including interactive screens), a well-stocked museum shop and a stylish museum café.
German Sport & Olympic Museum
The German Sports & Olympics Museum is located directly on the Rhine next to the Deutzer Brücke. Two floors deal with all aspects of national, international and Olympic sport. A journey through time awaits the visitor, starting with the ancient Greek athletes, via gymnastics father Jahn to the sport greats of the present. The tour is interactive in many places.
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum: Cultures of the World
The innovative exhibition concept dispenses with the division into large geographical areas that is common in comparable buildings and instead takes up topics that move people all over the world, but which they encounter in their own way depending on regional and cultural characteristics. The comparative approach emphasizes the equal existence and equality of all cultures and provides food for thought and dialogue approaches. The inclusion of our own culture in the comparative consideration contributes to the relativization of one’s own point of view.
3,600 square meters of exhibition space invite you to take an astonishing and insightful journey of discovery, and multimedia stations encourage active discussion. Events of all kinds complement the themed course. They help to sensitize visitors to the perspectives of other cultures and enable them to experience the museum as a place of encounter, dialogue and social participation.
In the middle of Cologne city center, the Schnütgen Museum invites you to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the Middle Ages. In one of the oldest churches in Cologne, the Romanesque Cäcilienkirche, the full splendor of medieval works of art unfolds in an atmospheric setting. In addition to unique sculptures and precious treasure art, visitors can admire rare textiles and glass paintings from eight centuries and discover new facets of the Middle Ages over and over again.
Cologne also has something to offer for cultural unicorns. The Schnütgen Museum is home to a very early depiction of the mythical creature: a precious cushion plate from the 15th century shows a maiden with a unicorn. In the Middle Ages, the idea prevailed that a unicorn could only be tamed by a virgin. If you’ve had enough of it, it’s worth taking a stroll through the rest of the impressive collection of medieval works of art such as goldsmithing, glass painting, ivory and textiles.
The Roman-Germanic Museum was completed in 1974 above the site of the world-famous Dionysus mosaic and is located right next to Cologne Cathedral. The collection conveys a lively picture of Roman culture on the Rhine on three floors. Everyday objects such as vessels, coins, toys and other finds from the early days of settlement in the Rhineland can be seen. A special highlight are the world’s largest Roman glass collection with the three-colored slide-in cup (around 330/340 AD) and a considerable collection of Roman and early medieval jewelry.
The museum not only serves as a presentation space, but is also the Office for Archaeological Monument Preservation of the City of Cologne. It fulfills a threefold task: research facility, archaeological archive of the city and public collection.
Hans Imhoff, a passionate chocolate manufacturer, had a dream for a long time: he dreamed of a chocolate museum with a fountain in which chocolate gushes incessantly. The Chocolate Museum was opened on October 31, 1993 after only 13 months of construction. It became a success in German museum history that was never thought possible: with around 600,000 visitors a year, it is one of the most popular cultural institutions in Cologne.
The most extensive presentation of the history and present of cocoa and chocolate worldwide is located on more than 4,000 m². Here, the diversity of the 5,000-year cultural history of cocoa, but also modern chocolate production from cocoa beans to pralines, is shown. A walk-in tropical house, natural history information on cocoa, exhibits from the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, an important porcelain and silver collection from the Baroque period and numerous old machines from the industrialization period await the visitor. In a glass chocolate factory and in the chocolate atelier, visitors can experience how chocolate products are manufactured industrially, but also individually by hand.
NS Documentation Center Cologne
The permanent exhibition in the EL-DE-Haus deals with the history of Cologne during the National Socialist era. It makes the main features of the Nazi system visible in the specific local form.
The “Gestapo prison” memorial in the basement of the house is one of the best-preserved detention sites from the Nazi era. Here more than 1,800 wall inscriptions testify to persecution, torture and murder. The prisoner cells and inscriptions of the prisoners are the most direct and haunting reminder of the horrors of the Nazi era associated with the EL-DE house. As a memorial, the former Gestapo prison forms the focal point of the NS Documentation Center and is a cultural asset of national and European status.
Archaeological Zone – Jewish Museum
Since Cologne was the capital of the province of Lower Germany in Roman times, there are still impressive testimonies from this era. This includes the praetorium (governor’s palace) under the town hall or a piece of Roman sewer. The Middle Ages are also present through the mikveh, the ritual Jewish bath. The mikveh was one of the oldest and most important settlements of Jews on German soil.
In the future everything will be integrated into the archeological zone with the Jewish Museum under and on the Rathausplatz – one of the most spectacular cultural projects in Cologne. A new museum area is being built on an area of approx. 7000 m². At the original locations, visitors encounter monuments from two millennia. From the huge ruins of the Roman governor’s palace to the remains of one of the most important Jewish city quarters in Europe, the secular heart of Cologne’s city history will be presented.
The artothek – space for young art offers the opportunity to borrow works of current art. Works of art can be easily selected from their collection of 1,400 works, in which well-known artists such as Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Martin Kippenberger and many young artists are represented, and can be taken into your personal environment for little money. In this way, the quality and content of the artworks can be experienced in a unique way over a period of 10 weeks in the home or office.
In addition to lending, the artothek offers a place for exhibitions of young art with space to experiment. The exhibitions change every two months with current positions by Cologne artists and international guests. They range from painting, drawing, sculpture and photography to video installation, spatial work and performance. A changing jury of experts, including curators from KOLUMBA, Museum Ludwig and Kölnischer Kunstverein, ensures topicality and quality in the selection of artists. In cooperation with Art Cologne and the City of Cologne, winners of the fine arts will find a forum for their presentations in the artothek.
Kolumba is the art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne. Founded in 1853 as the Diocesan Museum in Cologne, it has been called “Kolumba” since 2004. Two thousand years of occidental culture can be experienced here – works from late antiquity to the present. Particularly noteworthy is the unique architecture. Kolumba was built on the ruins of the late Gothic church of St. Kolumba and the chapel “Madonna in the rubble”, conceived and designed by the award-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
The art agent
Anne Scherer alias the art agent has been curatorial in the field of street and urban art for years and is a proven connoisseur of the scene. After curating the first CityLeaks Urban Art Festival in 2011, she opened her own gallery on Maastrichter Straße. In their spacious cellar vaults, they regularly present exhibitions by well-known street artists such as Smash137, Vhils, Maya Hayuk, Tilt, Swoon, Boris Hoppek, SatOne or Hense, many of whom have already been able to immortalize themselves in the streets of Cologne with their own murals. Constant new discoveries, like this year Agostino Iacurci and Know Hope, enrich the gallery program as well as the German pop art greats Stefan Strumbel and Jim Avignon.
The gallery on Pfeilstraße is the “home” of two veterans of Cologne’s street art scene: “Banana sprayer” Thomas Baumgärtel, who has been spreading his banana stencil in Cologne since the 1980s and xxxhibition, who is on the streets with ever new motifs and materials of the Belgian Quarter. Xxxhibition has already laid several of its floor slabs on the sidewalk in front of the gallery and thus leads passers-by straight into the gallery. Gallery owner Gerard Margaritis also represents a large number of artists, ranging from well-known domestic street artists such as EMESS, mittimwald, Alias, LET, Van Ray and Decycle to international protagonists such as AVone, Mister P and Tankpetrol. Murals, stencils and paste-up works by 30works artists can be found mainly in Ehrenfeld and in the Belgian Quarter.
In the new premises in Ehrenfelder Lichtstrasse, gallery owner Nils Müller, himself known for his photographic documentations of the graffiti scene, shows not only young, contemporary art but also works by renowned urban artists. These include the American Mark Jenkins, known for his lifelike figures, as well as his compatriot Brad Downey, one of the protagonists of urban hacking, or Hendrik ECB Beikirch, who has set new standards with his portrait work in XXL format. Beikirch’s largest mural in Cologne is hidden in the back yard of the old gallery location at Bismarckstrasse 70. The pop-up gallery POP; 68, which regularly hosts smaller exhibitions, still exists next door.
ART & So
The former museum for related art has recently been operating under the catchy name “KUNSt & So”. The small but fine art space in Genter Straße is under the direction of Pola Bergmann and Jantina Lipphardt, who have increasingly shown works by local and regional street artists in a cozy atmosphere since they took over in 2014. In the course of the “WallStreet” group exhibition in summer 2016, the location in the heart of the Belgian Quarter has developed into a monthly meeting point for Cologne’s street art scene. Over the past few months, the artists have left their mark not only inside, but also in the entrance area and courtyard in the form of countless paste-ups, stickers, stencils and small murals – much of which should be well known to the attentive observer from the streets of Cologne.
This new space for street art is also a restaurant! In addition to culinary street food delicacies, there are changing exhibitions by local street artists and graffiti crews on two floors near Rudolfplatz. Due to the many murals on the walls, the spray can installations as well as the countless canvas works and stickers, the rooms are sprayed with creativity, but do not change the cozy living room atmosphere. Small concert and theater evenings also regularly expand the program. Works by participating artists can be purchased in the Kunstbruder Shop on Roonstraße 96 or in their own online store.
The street gold initiative launched by Cologne street artist Tim Ossege alias SeiLeise sees itself initially as a forum for street art in and around Cologne. But exhibitions are always part of the concept. For the past two exhibitions in the Kulturbunker Mülheim, the who’s who of Cologne’s street artists was presented with a selection of works. Together with their colleagues from all over Germany, the artists insisted on leaving their mark on the entire Mülheim district. A lot of street gold can be discovered outdoors, especially around the Kulturbunker, Carlswerkstrasse and below the Mülheimer Brücke!
Artwork and building 9
Characterized by the rough industrial charm of the old KHD factory buildings (Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz Werke), a special cultural biotope has developed in the extreme south of Mülheim over the past twenty years. The best-known is certainly the concert and party location in Building 9, where there are first-class concerts almost every day and changing party series find their home on the weekends. The building has been an institution among Cologne music and party fans for years. Immediately adjacent to it is Germany’s largest self-managed artist and studio house with the work of art. About 150 artists from different backgrounds work here in their studios.
In addition to the regular days on which the local artists open their rooms to the public, In order to present their current work (as well as for Mülheimer Nacht), there is also an in-house exhibition room with PiK (project space in the work of art), in which artists from outside can also repeatedly show their work. On the south side of the work of art you can also see murals of Erosie (to CityLeaks, created in 2015) and the Office for Subversive Architecture (parking bags and lanterns on the wall) and from the neighboring zoo bridge you can admire other works of art on the roof of the studio building (also at night).
Fragrance house 4711
The gallery in Glockengasse is a lovingly and visionarily designed exhibition on the success story of 4711. Experience a completely new room concept on the 1st floor of the traditional house in Glockengasse No. 4711: The interior design redesign in 2001 means that the gallery is also an exhibition space. and modern conference and presentation room.
Equipped with the latest multimedia technology, the room is ideal for workshops, training courses, conferences and meetings for up to 60 people and is therefore ideal for companies, associations and other organizations that want to give their events a special setting.
Cologne Museum system
The museums of the city of Cologne have been administered by the Cologne Museum Service since 1965. The Museumsdienst is an institution of the Cologne city administration and one of the leading institutions for museum education in Germany. Among other things, he is responsible for marketing the museums and is also involved in the strategic development of Cologne as a museum location. The museum service initiates, coordinates and controls overarching projects with a focus on the social dimension of art and culture.
Further museum-related, municipal facilities are the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne, as well as the Art and Museum Library of the City of Cologne (KMB) with the Rheinisches Bildarchiv (RBA).
Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (MAKK)
Cologne City Museum (KSM)
Museum Schnütgen (MS)
Museum of East Asian Art (MOK)
Roman-Germanic Museum (RGM)
Museum Ludwig (ML)
NS Documentation Center of the City of Cologne in the EL-DE House
Cologne Cathedral Treasury