This is a guest post from Naddya, a Bulgarian expat living in Germany. Here she shares some of her favourite museums in the country. Trust us, these aren’t your every day, boring museums! Have a look and learn more about Naddya in the author’s bio below.
Do you think museums are boring? Have you visited a museum and wanted to leave approximately 5 minutes after you’ve walked in? Well, so have I!
Doesn’t it just seem plain wrong to take something out of its context, put it behind a glass with or without some boring explanation and expect visitors to be fascinated by the display? Luckily, the museum world is so diverse and collections are available for any taste or interest imaginable.
Some offer interactive content, while others are situated in the original surroundings of the industry they represent. I’ve gather a list of 10 fascinating German museums, which I’m sure will make you think differently about museum visits.
I bet I can make you so overjoyed with enthusiasm that you’ll start booking a trip and buying tickets online for your next museum visit by the time you’ve finished reading this post.
10 | 1st German Sausage Museum: It’s All About The Sausage
If you’ve ever been to Germany, you’ll know just how important Bratwurst (sausage) for Germans is. Every province and county has its own recipe, with Thuringia having probably the most popular one.
Every market, supermarket, festival, food cart, butcher, café, pub and restaurant serves the local sausage specialty. The weirdest place I’ve seen Bratwurst being sold? Inside Berlin’s Cathedral back in 2007!
The 1st German Museum of the Bratwurst must be then something very German and very fascinating, right? Even the street where it’s situated is called Bratwurstweg – Sausage Road!
Along with machinery for the sausage production, the collection also shows the oldest check found for a sausage feast, as well as documents and anecdotes about the sausage. To the museum belong a Bratwursttheater – Sausage Theater and, of course, Bratwurstscheune – Sausage Restaurant with typical specialties from the Thuringia province.
Category: Food industry
Address: Bratwurstweg 1, 99334 Amt Wachsenburg
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, holidays 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM (from April till October)
Tickets: Under 4: Free admission; Under 18: 1.50 €; Adults: 3.00 €
9 | The Potato Museum: Everything You Need To Know About Potatoes
What’s even more important and is served even more often on the German table than sausages? That’s right, potatoes! If it wasn’t for potatoes, the post-WWII Germany would have starved to death. Which explains the fascination with the vegetable and the numerous museums, dedicated to it.
The Kartoffelmuseum in Munich displays a collection on the history of potato harvesting dating back to the Inkas, market sceneries, art dedicated to or inspired by potatoes, different usages of the potato except as food and products made out of potatoes.
Address: GrafingerStraße 2, 81671 München
Opening hours: Friday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Saturday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tickets: Free admission
8 | German Museum For Hygiene: Experience Your Body Like Never Before
It’s a good idea to wash your hands before eating, but we changed the order a little bit here. This museum isn’t just about washing your hands and brushing your teeth, though.
Along with eating and drinking, the exhibitions concentrate on living and dying, sexuality, mentality, beauty and much more (find out the rest for yourself!). The museum is interactive and visitors are welcome to take part in different experiments in order to test their thoughts and feelings.
Address: Lingnerplatz 1, 01069 Dresden
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, holidays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tickets: Under 16: Free admission; Reduced admission: 3.00 €; Adults: 7.00 €
7 | Museum For Bathing Culture: Wellness And Spa Weren’t Invented Yesterday
It’s not all about fashionable bathing suits in this museum. The collection is unique in Europe. The range of displayed objects is from Roman toiletries to the interior of a medieval bathhouse, from curious inventions of the last century to modern beach fashion and current bathroom designs.
Numerous multimedia stations invite all visitors to experience with all their senses. Hopefully unique smells are not included in the tour.
Address: Andreas-Broicher-Platz 1, 53909 Zülpich
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Weekends, holidays 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tickets: Under 18: Free admission; Reduced admission: 3.00 €; Adults: 4.00
6 | German Carnival Museum: Let’s Party Like There’s No Tomorrow
Did you know that the carnivals in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Dusseldorf and Cologne all celebrate the same thing? It’s the time before pre-Easter fasting for Catholics begins and it’s the last opportunity to eat meat (carne) and to let loose. This is one of the top things to do in Cologne! If you time your visit for November, that’s the opening of Carnival season – although things really pick up between Fat Thursday and Ash Wednesday.
You can’t really compare the costumes in Rio with those in Venice and definitely not with the middle-of-winter costumes in the German cities on Rhine, but even though they’re not as beautiful and attractive as Brazilian or Italian costumes, German ones still deserve their own museum.
Amongst others, The German Carnival Museum houses one of the biggest collections of everything carnival-related: thousands of costumes, medals, literature pieces, masks and what not from medieval ages to modern times.
Address: Luitpoldstraße 4, 97318 Kitzingen
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Tickets: Under 6: Free admission; Reduced admission: 4.44 €; Adults: 5.55 €
5 | Colliery Zollverein: Industrial Culture In The Heart Of West Germany
This is not just a museum. It’s a whole complex and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The museum complex is situated on the grounds of the colliery, which was once a unique installation for processing hard coal.
Established in 1847 and closed in 1993, the coal mine and its grounds were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2001 and transformed into numerous museums in the period 2003 – 2006.
- Monument road: the authentic installations of the colliery, including a tour in the shafts
- Red Dot Design Museum: 1000+ products with incredible designs from all over the world
- Ruhr Museum: regional museum, showing culture, nature and history of the Ruhr region from fossils to mining
- Gastronomy: from currywurst to new world cuisine
- Event locations, including a casino: industrial style spaces for all types of events, open-air concerts, performances and workshops
- Ice rink: open in December on a 1800 m2 area between imposing coke ovens, rust-coloured pipes and high chimneys
1.5 million visitors per year can’t be wrong, this museum is more than worth a visit and don’t fool yourself in thinking you can see everything in a few hours. You’ll need at least a few days or a few visits, but don’t worry – you can also book packages with overnight stay.
Category: Mining Industry, Art & Design, History
Address: GelsenkirchenerStraße 181, 45309 Essen
Opening hours and Tickets: Find all relevant information here
Additional information: Plan of the complex
4 | Stained Glass Museum: Unfortunately A Dying Art
Have you ever visited a church or cathedral and stopped in awe to look at the colourful stained glass windows? Once upon a time stained glass was used in all churches and noble homes. Nowadays it’s unfortunately a dying art.
The museum is one of a kind and along with the history of stained glass production, displays art from the 20th and 21st century on 7 floors in a sunlit building, which once served as a grain mill.
In this museum you can see the same windows as you see in cathedrals in front of your face, not somewhere high above your head, where you can’t distinguish any detail of the scene depicted. You can even take a workshop in making your own stained glass art pieces. And you’ll learn that the most expensive colour is yellow as it’s produced by mixing in precious metals.
Address: Rurstraße 9-11, 52441 Linnich
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tickets: Under 5: Free admission; Reduced admission: 5.00 €; Adults: 6.00 €
3 | German Mining Museum: Everything There Is To Know About Mining
Well, yes, it’s a museum with machinery and stones on display, I admit. The biggest exhibit, however, is the 70+ m high green headframe, which previously stood above the main shaft of the Germania mining complex in Dortmund.
It was transported and rebuilt in Bochum in 1973. If weather conditions allow it, don’t miss the view over the Ruhr region from its top. And if that’s not fascinating enough, 20 m below the ground, the museum maintains a visitor mine, constructed to resemble a real mine, with a 2.5 km network of tunnels.
Here visitors can see the impressive mining machines from close up, get an idea of the work underground, and feel like real miners for a little while.
Category: Mining Industry
Address: Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Weekends 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tickets: Reduced admission: 3.00 €; Adults: 6.50 €
2 | Sauerland Visitor Mine Ramsbeck: Welcome To The Bowels Of The Earth
So you got all pumped up and enthusiastic about all the previous mining industry gems? Then it’s time to visit a real mine. Mine Rambeck closed in 1974 as the amount of lead and zinc won was not worth to maintain it and reopened for visitors just a few months later with everything still in its place.
One of the ex-miners is now your friendly guide and joins you on a ride in the original miners’ train into the depths of the mountain, where he shows you how the machinery works, how the ore was transported to the surface and where, well, miners went to the toilet during their shifts.
Category: Mining Industry
Address: Glück-Auf-Straße 3, 59909 Bestwig-Ramsbeck
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tickets: Under 16, Reduced admission: 5.50 €; Adults: 8.50 €
Additional information: Helmets and jumpsuits are provided.
1 | The Government Bunker: Survivalists Know Best Why You Need One
It was built in the middle of the Cold War. The aim was to protect West Germany’s government in the event of an atom war. The government was situated in nearby capital Bonn at the time, which explains the location of the bunker.
The project was so secret, that along with the builders, a team of biologists were recruited, whose goal was to cover the hill, where the bunker was buried, with fast growing trees in order to hide the location from possible air espionage as soon as possible.
The secrecy is sort of still kept today, as the official address of the bunker is at Number 0 on a road, difficult to be found even with a modern navigation system.
Address: Am Silberberg 0, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
Opening hours: Wednesday, Weekends, holidays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (from March – November)
Tickets: Under 12: Free admission; Under 16: 4.00 €; Reduced admission: 6.00 € – 8.00 €; Adults: 9.00 €
Additional information: Guided visits only, duration approximately 90 min. Constant inside temperature: 12° C = 53.6° F.
So you see, not all museums are boring, right? Some are pretty fascinating and even mind-blowing. If you think I’ve kept my promise and you’re actually mind-blown by the gems on the list, I wouldn’t mind you saying so in the comments below!