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17 Best Museums in Cologne, Germany

17 Best Museums in Cologne, Germany

Want to travel and head to the western part of Germany? Cologne is a fascinating town blessed with unique natural features, picturesque sceneries, a dynamic atmosphere, and many fun things to do! There are also many attractions and museums in Cologne that should not be missed!

Cologne is a stunning destination in Germany that provides a great indoor and outdoor travel adventure. A massive collection of historical artifacts, cultural and art objects, and documents can easily be discovered in this charming town’s museums.

Many museums and galleries across the city preserve and showcase a range of exciting things to find. Visiting the best museums in Cologne will let you discover such masterpieces and learn more about the city.

Best Museums in Cologne, Germany

Museum Ludwig

Museums in Cologne

Address: Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Museum Ludwig was established in 1976, first as a private institution from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. It is situated in Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln in Cologne, Germany. To explore the city hassle-free, get a KolnCard and save money as you travel. 

The museum is devoted to the display of modern art. Such art forms include pop art, abstract art, and surrealism. Works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are also on display in the museum.

Cologne city decided to construct a dedicated “Museum Ludwig” to store up works crafted in 1900 after Peter Ludwig, a chocolate magnate, gifted about three hundred and fifty modern artworks.

The building where the museum is housed today was constructed or designed by Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer, who were both architects, and in 1986, it officially opened. The museum stands very close to the Cologne Cathedral.

Two museums (the Wallraf Richartz Museum and the Museum Ludwig) used the same building until 1994, when they were both separated, placing the building on Bischofsgartenstrasse at Museum Ludwig’s sole disposal.

Collections in the museum include the display on Josef Haubrich, a lawyer whose collections came through from 1914 to 1939. Haubrich donated his Expressionism collection to the city immediately after the Second World War ended.

Other art collections include exhibitions by Picasso, groups by Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene, etc.

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Wallraf-Richartz Museum

Address: Obenmarspforten 40, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Wallraf–Richartz-Museum, fully known as Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud (in German), is one of the three critical museums in Cologne, Germany. The museum is located in Obenmarspforten 40, 50667 Köln, Germany.

In the museum is an art gallery displaying a collection of medieval to early 20th-century fine arts. The museum was established in 1871.

Later, the museum traces its origin back to 1824, when Franz Ferdinand Wallraf’s collection of medieval arts was brought to Cologne by inheritance.

The first building that housed the museum was a donation from Johann Heinrich Richartz before his death. The museum’s current structure housing was constructed in 2001 based on a design by Oswald Mathias Ungers.

Before now, some donations had been made towards improving the museum’s collections, most notably that of Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig in 1976, which overtook the twentieth-century art exhibitions. A permanent loan of some other art collections came on in 2001.

Gerard Corboud, a Swiss collector, made this permanent loan. He’d given out more than one hundred and seventy works of his impressionist and postimpressionist collections. This instituted Fondation Corboud into the name of the museum: “Corboud,” to honor Gerard Corboud.

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Museum of Applied Art Cologne

Address: An der Rechtschule 7, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Museum of Applied Art Cologne is a decorative arts museum known in German as the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, abbreviated as MAKK.

The museum was established in 1888, and it wasn’t until 1987 that it stopped being addressed as Kunstgewerbemuseum, which means Decorative Art Museum in German. The basis of art exhibited in the museum originated from Ferdinand Franz Wallraf’s collections and those of Joseph de Noel.

Over the years, the exhibitions expanded using endowments. The building that originally housed the museum, a Neo-Gothic building on Hansaring, was destroyed in 1943 during the Second World War.

In 1989, the museum relocated to An der Rechtschule, where it is permanently housed in a building formerly owned by Wallrad Richartz and built by Rudolf Schwarz and Josef Bernhard in the middle 1900s. There are over one hundred thousand items exhibited in the museum.

These items are exhibits of European applied art from the tenth century until now. This collection is arranged chronologically by the era in the museum, and the entities involved include furniture, small sculptures, decorative carpets, and other forms of decorative objects. Collections also include porcelain, weaponry, jewelry, and architectural exhibits.

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Roman-Germanic Museum

Address: Roncalliplatz 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Roman-Germanic Museum, RGM for short, and Römisch-Germanisches Museum (in German) are archaeology museums in Cologne, Germany. The museum was established in 1946 and went into its current building in 1974.

The museum represents a wide range of Roman artifacts from the Roman settlement of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, upon which the new Cologne was built.

The museum is an archaeological site that secures the original place of a town villa in Rome, where there are giant mosaic remains of Dionysus planted in the basement, with the other Roman Road outside. Also, the tomb of Poblicius (about AD 40) is reconstructed in the museum.

The museum has many extensive Roman glass collections from funerals and burials. The Roman-Germanic Museum inclusively tries to portray the Roman cultural heritage of Cologne. The museum collections were initially housed in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne until 1946.

The museum houses the largest locally produced glassware portraits ever found in any museum, dating back to the Roman period. Cyclone Kyrill blew a sheet of plywood on a January night in 2007, and as a consequence of his action, damage was done to the Dionysus mosaic. Within a week, however, this damage was fixed.

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Käthe Kollwitz Museum

Käthe Kollwitz Museum, Cologne, Germany

Address: Neumarkt 18-24, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Käthe Kollwitz Museum Neumarkt is one situated in Neumarkt 18-24, 50667 Köln, Germany. It is known to be the museum with the most extensive collection of exhibits by Käthe Kollwitz, a German artist born in 1867 and died in 1945. Käthe Kollwitz happens to be the number one woman in history to be elected into the Prussian Academy of Arts.

Her works, even though the earlier ones portrayed real-life illustrations, have been associated with Expressionism. The Käthe Kollwitz Museum was established on April 22, 1985, during an event that showcased the Käthe Kollwitz Collection of the Kreissparkasse Köln, which was the same day the Käthe Kollwitz’s death marked forty years.

The museum is housed on the top floor, a structure designed by Hans Schilling, the Cologne Neumarkt shopping arcade. Collections began in 1976 when the museum’s bank acquired about two of the artist’s lithographs.

These lithographs were joined with 60 drawings that the Kollwitz family had acquired in 1983, and the museum was set to begin displaying its exhibits. The museum also has a section of the specialist library for academic research.

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Address: Cäcilienstraße 29-33, 50676 Köln, Germany

The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum is an ethnographic museum located in Cologne, Germany. An ethnographic museum displays its exhibits of ethnographic works. Being shut down for some years, the museum reopened to the public in 2010.

The foundation of the museum collections emanated from over a thousand hundred ethnographic items belonging to Wilhelm Joest. Hence, his name was incorporated into the title of the museum. Wilhelm Joest used to be an ethnographer before his death.

His collections had been left to Adele Rautenstrauch (Joest’s sister) after he died in 1897. For the record, the museum returned a tattooed skull of Maori, which had been in its possession for a decade and ten years, to a delegate of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa situated in Wellington.

The skill of the Maori in question was bought by Willy Foy, a London dealer who was the first director of the Raustenstrauch Joest-Museum in 1908.

Up until now, the museum has permitted the admission of visitors who can come into it for different purposes: recreational purposes, academic goals, sightseeing, and cultural development.

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Address: Kolumbastraße 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Society for Christian Arts founded the Kolumba in 1853, and by 1989, there was a change in administrative power to the Archdiocese of Cologne. Formerly, the museum used to be known as Diözesanmuseum, which is German for Diocesan Museum.

The structure where the museum is currently housed was based on the design by Peter Zumthor and was inaugurated in 2007 by Joachim Meisner.

Initially, the site was the spot for the Church of St. Kolumba before it was destroyed in the 1940s during the Second World War and restructured in 1950 by the chapel nicknamed Madonna of the Ruins. There are sixteen rooms for exhibitions in the museum, where quality artworks are displayed.

These exhibitions come in light gray brick walls and clay plaster, casings and fittings of steel, Jura limestone floors, terrazzo, mortar, poured mortar shell ceilings, furniture, textiles and leather, and curtains of leather and silk.

Other collections are drawings, paintings, sculptures, religious icons, and decorative art. Highlights of these other collections are the collection of rosaries, Leiko Ikemura’s works, Madonna with the Violet, and the ivory crucifix of the 12th century in Romanesque Rhenish or Mosan style.

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Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum

Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum, Cologne, Germany

Address: Im Zollhafen 1, 50678 Köln, Germany

The Deutsches Sport and Olympia Museum is a sports museum and is also referred to as the German Sport and Olympic Museum. The museum stands in the heart of Cologne and represents the sports world with various artifacts and items.

The building in which the museum is occupied is a historical building, dating down to having been built so many years before. Some artifacts and collections exhibited in the museum date to have existed for over two thousand years.

For some, it is as long as the Olympic history of Germany has lasted, including ancient Greek athletics exhibits. The special exhibitions of Deutsches Sport and Olympia Museum represent historical and contemporary sports themes.

A wide range of sporting activities may be performed in the museum, including other activities such as multifaceted tours. The museum gives room for an education section, where visitors are taught about sporting facilities of the aged time, and so on. The museum is used to host a few sports and Olympic events.

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Museum for East-Asian Arts

Address: Universitätsstraße 100, 50674 Köln, Germany

The Museum for East-Asian Arts was founded in 1913. In German, it is known as Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln. It is the oldest and first specialist museum of its kind in the country.

The Museum for East-Asian Arts focuses on displaying exhibits of Asian arts. Such collections in the museum include those from China, Kora, and Japan. The critical founders of these collections were Adolf Fischer (de) and Frieda (de), his wife.

The current structure in which the museum finds a home was constructed based on an architectural design by Kunio Maekawa, Le Corbusier’s student, in 1977. The outbreak of the Second World War posed a few destructions to the museum.

A total of seven hundred and sixty items were lost at the time. The museum’s current director, Adele Schlombs, had successfully assembled Chinese and Japanese calligraphy collections by Heinz Gotze, who was the academic publisher of Heidelberg.

Some museum exhibits include Chinese ceremonial AX, poems, reply poems, begging bard with a greyhound, and printed albums.

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Cologne Chocolate Museum

Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50676 Köln, Germany

The Cologne Chocolate Museum is near the Cathedral of Cologne in Rheinau Harbor. The place where the museum sits was once the territorial (during the medieval times) for Cologne’s anchor and terminals near the Rhine boatmen. The old Sing Bridge has been renovated to meet up with the new harbor quarter of the Rheinauhafen.

Attractions to the museum start with large models of coca trees and a very high (about ten meters high) tropical greenhouse. Visitors to the museum learn practically the processes involved in planting, harvesting, and processing cocoa.

This knowledge lengthens evenly to observe how these cocoa products are distributed worldwide through the stock exchange markets. Visitors inclusively get the chance to journey through thousands of years of cocoa history, including getting to know of the ceremonies and festivals under which cocoa is a pushing force.

Bets are equally let to gain knowledge of producing cocoa beverages and wine. Get your very own entrance ticket to see and taste delicious chocolates.

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Kölnisches Stadtmuseum

Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, Cologne, Germany

Address: Zeughausstraße 1-3, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, translated in English to mean The Cologne City Museum, is a historical museum in a former historic armory near the Prussian Old Guard Armory.

Banana graffiti owned by Thomas Baumgartel is displayed in the museum. Baumgartel’s collections featured in the Kolnisches Stadtmuseum are about three hundred and fifty thousand items.

Exhibits range from collections of the Middle Ages down to the present day. Exhibitions include textiles, coins, furniture, graphics, the seal of the city from 1268, military, paintings, and so much more. There is usually a regular permanent exhibition presented in the Alte Wache.

The Kölnisches Stadtmuseum has lived through many names and buildings within the city. It is believed that even the museum’s current location will be changed soon for a new facility in the “historic center.” The museum first started in Hahnentorburg in 1900.

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Duftmuseum im Farina Haus

Farina Duftmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Obenmarspforten 21, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Duftmuseum im Farina Haus (English: The Fragrance Museum in the Farina House) is a museum close to the Cologne City Hall and faces the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which is also located in Cologne.

The Fragrance Museum in the Farina House records perfumes from long ago. Johann Maria Farina, the world’s oldest known perfume factory, established in 1709 and still in existence today, was once the occupier of the building that later became the museum’s abode in Obenmarspforten.

Exhibited or displayed in the museum are photos and documents of the perfume products and their plagiarism attempts from the factory’s first existence until the current age. Besides, some exhibits display perfume production’s developmental stages and marketing channels through a glass showcase.

During the two hundred and fortieth death anniversary of Johann Maria Farina, the owner of the perfume factory who had inspired the museum creation, the Farina House was honored as a Selection Location among the list in the Federal President’s project. Other exhibits or collections include 1723 desks, showcases, etc.

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EL-DE Haus

Address: Appellhofpl. 23-25, 50667 Köln, Germany

The El-DE Haus is a museum situated in Appellhofpl, Germany. Officially, the museum is known as the NS Documentation Center of the City of Cologne.

The location of the museum used to be Gestapo’s headquarters. Before this, the building first served as sales or business premises for Leopold Dahmen, a jewel,r before renting it from him in 1934 by the Nazis, who turned it into the Gestapo’s headquarters.

Gestapo, at the time, was a secret police unit. The museum documents the Third Reich. Even when ninety percent of the entire building was destroyed during the Second World War, it is surprising that the building did not suffer any damage due to the war.

The war ended, and the prison cells and torture rooms where political enemies and forced laborers were treated were used as storerooms for wartime paperwork and files.

Many execution courses and deaths due to poor hygienic conditions occurred in the building. Until now, prison inmates’ inscriptions are still on the walls of the cells. The museum won the Best in Heritage award in 2006, making it the second museum in Germany to have won such.

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Cologne Archeological Zone

Cologne Archeological Zone

Address: Obenmarspforten 1, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Cologne Archeological Zone is a museum in Obenmarspforten 1, 50667 Köln, Germany. Represented in this museum is the history of Rome and Germany. Such representations come in the form of Praetorium (the governor’s palace) and the Roman sewer.

A mikveh, the Middle Ages Jewish bath ritual, is also represented in the Cologne Archeological Zone museum. For a very long period, the museum functioned as the most vital community for the Jews in Germany.

The new museum is still under construction, and when it is rounded, it will incorporate all these sites into it. It will occupy a space of land measuring about seven thousand square meters.

This occurs to be the most remarkable cultural project the city of Cologne has ever embarked upon. Visitors can see monuments aging for about two millennia in the original sites. In the new building, the cosmopolitan center for the history of Cologne will be here.

Such will vary from the impressive ruins imposed on the governor’s palace of Rome to what is left of one of Europe’s most crucial quarters for the Jews.

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Dom Treasury

Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

The Dom Treasury is located right inside the Cologne Cathedral. Dom Treasury’s geographical setting is nearest to Dom Banof station. It is the biggest and probably the richest in all of Germany.

The Dom Treasury was initially built to keep collections of relics. These relics can still be seen in the Middle Ages section of the treasury, where costly, artistic treasures of great value are kept. The objects exhibited, however, are still in ecclesiastical use.

The place has had a whopping positive review by visitors, describing it as beautiful, stunning, gracious, a good experience, etc. Its architectural structure has been praised for being a masterpiece as well.

The place is a wonder; how much higher can human genius reach? The Dom Treasury is full of incredible works of art and treasure. One can see or witness the Sunday Mass on a grand scale from the Dom Treasury. The building is ancient and has survived both the First and Second World Wars.

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Rhenish Industrial Railway Museum

Address: Longericher Str. 214, 50739 Köln, Germany

The Rhenish Industrial Railway Museum is a railway museum that was established in the year 1987. The museum focuses on preserving the long history of industrial rail vehicles.

The museum equally provides research opportunities and documentation of its history. Amazingly, the Rhenish Industrial Railway Museum comprises about seventy locomotives of gauges formerly used in other industries.

This makes the museum the one with the most extensive collection among museums of its kind in the entirety of Germany. Primarily, the locomotives on display in the museum are the Deutz locomotives manufactured in Cologne and those from Arnold Jung’s locomotive factory.

The ground where the museum is now situated was a train station, which was closed in 1975 by the then-German Federal Railroad. Over the years of the Rhenish Industrial Railway Museum’s stay in the space, it has expanded its look. The Rhenish Industrial Railway Museum took over the track systems that Deutsche Bahn owned in 2001.

The museum is run by the Eisenbahn Museum Köln eV. The museum is open to visitors interested in viewing its exhibits only once a month on a Sunday.

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Wine Museum Cologne

Wine Museum Cologne
Image by TripAdvisor

Address: Amsterdamer Str. 1, 50668 Köln, Germany

The Wine Museum Cologne is a beverage and wine museum showcasing one of human’s most outstanding achievements. Wines of different kinds represent different cultures and are offered (in some cultures) to other gods.

In all traditions, a god or gods stand for wine and drinks. The Wine Museum Cologne offers visitors the opportunity to walk on the path blessed by great Roman and Greek gods with the knowledge of the production of wine.

The museum focuses on providing visitors or researchers who care to learn comprehensive knowledge of the science of wine, known as enology. The indoor areas of the museum feature such concepts that illustrate the steps involved in the growth of the wine, cellar technology, and wine development, a collection of the wines available in the world, and the fundamental facts to know about them.

The wine museum gives one a feeling, taste, and knowledge of what wines consumed in years, decades, and centuries past are like. Aside from wine tasting, you may also taste delicious German beer with the guided brewery walking tour in Köln, Germany. 

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