Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities, is well known for its art scene. The city is home to more than 30 museums and 100 galleries with world-class collections and in 1967, Cologne hosted the world’s first art trade show.
Here is an overview of some of the best museums in Cologne, from modern art, and historical collections, to a culinary museum that is a treat for visitors of all ages. As an added bonus, all museums are in walking distance from Cologne's Old Town and the Cologne Cathedral.
Visit all of Cologne's best museums to get inspired.
Museum Ludwig focuses on art from the 20th century, showcasing paintings, sculptures, drawings, graphic art, and photography. The exhibition includes German Expressionism, Bauhaus, and Russian avant-garde, as well as an extensive collection of Picasso paintings. Museum Ludwig also houses the largest Pop art collection outside the U.S., with masterpieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
The building also houses the Kölner Philharmonic beneath Heinrich-Böll-Platz. Under the shadow of the Kölner Dom and Hauptbahnhof (main train station), you might notice the site because of the security guards tasked with the difficult task of keeping people walking over it during performances.
The address is Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln. Check the museum's website for opening hours and admission info.
Visitors of all ages can satisfy their sweet tooth in Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. Germany's Willy Wonka Factory showcases the 3000-year long history of the cocoa bean around the world. Displays in English and German take you through the museum's greenhouse with live cocoa trees all the way to a mini-production area for chocolate bars.
The highlight of the fun and informative exhibition is a 10-feet high chocolate fountain. Luxuriate in the smell of molten chocolate in this glass showcase on the Rhine River and don't leave without sampling a chocolate dipped wafer.
The museum's address is Am Schokoladenmuseum 1A, 50678 Köln. Check its website for admissions information.
This is one of Cologne’s oldest museums dating back to 1824. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum has 700 years of European art, from paintings of the medieval period, and Baroque, to German Romantics and French Realism.
One of the many highlights is the museum's wonderful collection of impressionist art, the largest of its kind in Germany. One of its most famous pieces is the Kind zwischen Stockrosen (Child among staked roses) by Berthe Morisot from 1881.
More interestingly, this museum was the site of the discovery of a major forgery. On February 14, 2008, the museum announced that On the Banks of the Seine by Port Villez by Claude Monet was a forgery. They still have the forgery, along with five authentic Monet paintings.
Its located at Obenmarspforten 40, 50667 Köln. Check the museum's website for visitor's information.
As one of the weirdest museums in Germany, perhaps it is not surprising that a museum exploring the origins of perfume can be found in Köln. Local perfume, also known as Kölnisch Wasserv or Eau de Cologne, has been produced here since 1709. It is the oldest fragrance factory still standing and has housed the registered office since 1723 and the original cellar vaults where scents were produced can still be visited.
Note that the museum can only be visited with a guided tour and reservations are encouraged. The tour is available in a variety of languages including English and German.
The museum is located at Obenmarspforten 21, 50667 Köln. Check its website for information on opening hours and fees.
If you are a history buff, don’t miss the Romano Germanic Museum which explores the rich history of Cologne. The city was founded in 38 BC by Romans as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium and this museum displays a large collection of artifacts from that time. These offer fascinating insights on how people lived 2,000 years ago.
Located at the foot of the cathedral, highlights of the Romano Germanic Museum include the Dionysus mosaic, created in honor of the Roman god of wine, the world wide largest collection of Roman glasses. There is also an impressive array of sparkling medieval jewelry.
Check the museum's website for openings hours and admissions information.
Museum Schnütgen is famous for its many treasures from the middle Ages, primarily Christian religious art. It presents an excellent collection of art from the 5th to the 19th century, about 2,000 objects in a 1,900 sq. meters of gallery space. That is only about 10% of its 13,000 total items and the museum has expanded to share more of its works.
The space itself is unique as it was a Romanesque church - one of Cologne's oldest. Founded in 881, it still includes murals from 1300. The museum is dedicated to medieval research and is an important institute in the field.
It is located at Cäcilienstraße 29-33, 50667 Köln. Check the museum's website for admissions information.