Museums in Cologne

Eight municipal and many ecclesiastical, company and private museums are the basis of Colognes fame as a centre of art of international standing. The municipal museums exclusively originate from private foundations.

The broad scope, ranging from Asian art to the latest contemporary works attracts millions of visitors. The most spectacular new museum building is the Wallraf-Richartz Museum/Museum Ludwig, between the Cathedral and the Rhine, with the underground concert hall, the Philharmonie, built by the architects, Busmann and Haberer, in 1986.

Once a year, nighthawks can combine art, culture, and party: There are about 30 museums and cultural institutes participating in the Long Night of the Cologne museums and providing a special programme until the break of dawn.

Unusual insights can be expected - not only in Cologne´s museums - at the »Day of the open monument«. Once a year since 1993, usually at the second Sunday in September, a lot of normally closed historical buildings stay open for visitors.

Current exhibitions

Roman-Germanic Museum

Ostasiatische Kunst

Municipal Museums

The new pearl amongst the municipal museum temples in Cologne is the Wallraf-Richartz Museum by the renowned architect Oswald M. Ungers. Opened in January 2001, the building presents art from the Middle Ages and the Baroque period through to the Expressionists on soil that is rich in tradition. The staircase follows the historical path of the "In der Höhle” lane where the Cologne painter Stefan Lochner lived in medieval times. A module measuring 97 centimetres forms the basis of the whole cubic volume of the building, which is derived from the crossing square of the neighbouring Roman church Alt St. Alban. 2,700 qm plain is available for the permanent exhibition extending over three floors. Founded in 1824 on the basis of a private patronage of the arts, this nucleus of all Cologne museums can today look back on a 175 year history and has now finally found a new and secure home.

The Ludwig Museum is now being renovated and restored to its original state of 1986, whereby the elements that were added afterwards are being removed. Together with the Philharmonic, the Ludwig Museum wants to reposition its exposed urban location in close proximity to the Roman-Germanic Museum and the cathedral. On October 23, 2010 the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum presented itself for the first time in its spectacular new home at Josef-Haubrich-Hof.

 Sales Guide Cologne:
Museums in Cologne


Chocolate Museum




Other Museums

Along with the whole municipal art collections, a series of church and private museums have established themselves in Cologne.
These include both the very popular Chocolate Museum, whose chocolate fountains not only make children’s hearts beat faster, and, for example, the German Sport and Olympia Museum, on the roof of which the highest sports field in Cologne is situated.

»Kolumba« is the art museum of the archbishopric of Cologne. As combination of place, collection and architecture it allows the visitor to experience two millennia of western culture in one building housing art from late antiquity to the present. The architecture combines the ruins of the late Gothic church St. Kolumba, the chapel »Madonna in the Ruins« and the new building designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.

Yet such unusual collections as those of the Keramion in Frechen or the Museum of Cologne Carnival Decorations also cast their spell over a lot of visitors. In 2007 a Wine Museum opened its doors. And new attractions are already at the planning stage.

Not a conventional museum but an interactive technology presentation is the »Odysseum«. The »Odysseum« is a mixture of science centre, amusement park and research center which is to make know­ledge experienceable and science comprehensible. In a jungle-like artificial world of plants, visitors explore the emergence and the basic principles of life; they experience how technical and social progress turned mankind into a global force; in a technical environment resembling a network one learns how technology processes information; a special children’s town offers an attractive environment for learning and playing.
In the GeoMuseum – Cologne’s only natural science museum – there are not only
meteorites, gemstones and synthetic crystals, but also a large showcase with corals and three spectacular fossils.

Museums & Exhibitions