Best museums in Germany

Table of Contents

Germany has a wide range of top museums. In this article we have selected our 15 favorite museums in Germany and listed them for you. Ideal for days when the weather is not so good or if you want a nice day out in Germany. Other things you can do during bad weather are for example painting by numbers or diamond painting !

Pergamon Museum berlijn

1. Pergamon Museum, Berlin

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is known as a leading institution in the study of human cultural history. Located on Museum Island in Berlin since 1930, the museum houses an extensive collection of sculptures and art objects from the Orient and the Near East, spanning a period of 6,000 years. The museum has gained international fame, in particular through prominent exhibits such as the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus. These artifacts were excavated in Asia and the Orient in the late 19th century and then transported to Berlin. Since 2013, the Pergamon Museum has been undergoing phased renovations. As a result, certain parts of the museum, including the Altar Hall with the famous Pergamon Altar and the Hellenistic Hall, are temporarily inaccessible to the public and are expected to remain closed until at least 2023.

2. Het huis van geschiedenis Bonn

2. The House of History, Bonn

The Haus der Geschichte in Bonn offers visitors a comprehensive exploration of German history, starting from the post-war period to the present day. Interactive media, film and audio files, as well as a variety of exhibits, provide insight into daily life since 1945. The museum’s popular permanent exhibition features a variety of artifacts, including the official Mercedes that belonged to Konrad Adenauer, seating from the former plenary hall in Bonn, and an authentic cinema from the 1950s. The museum uses modern technology to illuminate complex historical contexts and backgrounds, providing a rich, educational experience.

3. Pinakotheken Munchen

3. Pinakotheken, Munich

Located in Munich’s Maxvorstadt, the Pinakothek has been a crucial centre for art lovers since its founding in 1836 by order of King Ludwig I. The Alte Pinakothek houses a rich collection of European paintings ranging from the Renaissance to the Rococo, and includes major works by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens and Albrecht Dürer. The Neue Pinakothek complements this with around 400 paintings and sculptures from the 19th century. However, since late 2018 the Neue Pinakothek has been closed for extensive renovations. During this closure, selected masterpieces in the Alte Pinakothek and the Schack Collection have been on display. For those wishing to explore further, the Pinakothek der Moderne offers an excellent opportunity to view works by some of the most prominent German artists of the 20th century, including Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee, Georg Baselitz and Max Ernst.

4. Galerij van oude meesters Dresden

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4. Gallery of Old Masters, Dresden

A visit to the Semper Building in the Zwinger complex in Dresden is essential for art enthusiasts, as it is home to the Gallery of Old Masters, one of the most renowned collections of paintings in the world. The gallery is one of a kind and features exceptional collections, including pastels by Rosalba Carriera and works by Lucas Cranach. Renovation projects are also in full swing here: until January 2020, the first and second floors of the building will be closed for renovations. During this period, however, the ground floor will be available for the special exhibition “Highlights of the Old Masters Picture Gallery”, which features a selection of 55 important paintings.

5. Duits emigratie centrum Bremerhaven

5. German Emigration Center, Bremerhaven

The German Emigration House in Bremerhaven is strategically located on the exact spot where, around 1890, nearly 7.2 million people began their journey to the New World, hoping for a better life in the United States. This adventure museum offers an immersive journey through 300 years of German migration history, illustrated by 33 authentic family stories. Visitors to this extensive museum follow the life path of a German emigrant in various phases, from the waiting rooms in the emigration port of Bremerhaven, the stay aboard a transatlantic ship, to the final arrival at Ellis Island in New York . The museum was further expanded in 2021 with an additional building, which increased the exhibition space.

6. Mercedes Benz Museum Stuttgart

6. Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart

The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart combines a futuristic aesthetic, complete with a glass facade and elevators reminiscent of Star Trek, with an in-depth retrospective look at 130 years of automotive history. Part of Mercedes-Benz World, the exhibition offers a chronological overview of the development of the automotive industry, starting with Carl Benz and evolving through to today’s e-mobility. For visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary “Popemobile” used by Pope John Paul II or admire Lewis Hamilton’s Silver Arrow, this museum offers a comprehensive and enriching experience.

7. Duits Museum Munchen

7. German Museum, Munich

If you are considering exploring all the exhibits in the Deutsches Museum in depth, you will find that several days are needed to fully appreciate the extensive offerings on Munich’s Museum Island. The positive aspect is that a visit to this museum is always an enriching experience. For first-time visitors, it is advisable to make a selection in advance of the technical and scientific highlights that you absolutely do not want to miss. Whether your interest lies in the Wright brothers’ first powered aircraft, the Z3 computer designed by Konrad Zuse, or the fascinating lightning show at the high-voltage power plant, the Deutsches Museum offers a wide range of options to suit different interests.

8. Museum Ludwig Keulen

8. Museum Ludwig, Cologne

If you are interested in the leading figures of American Pop Art outside the United States, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne is the ideal destination. This museum is entirely dedicated to the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to icons such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns, the museum also houses one of the world’s largest Picasso collections. It also offers important pieces from Abstract Expressionism, with works by artists such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. The Haubrich Collection, a donation from Cologne lawyer Josef Haubrich, highlights significant works from German Expressionism and New Objectivity, giving the museum a comprehensive view of modern and contemporary art.

9. LWL openluchtmuseum Detmold

9. LWL open-air museum, Detmold

In Germany’s largest open-air museum, visitors are given a fascinating insight into rural life as it was experienced by previous generations. Whether it’s milling flour, tilling the land, roasting coffee, or even using the toilet, the museum focuses on authentic experiences by showcasing original historical buildings. These buildings have been carefully and at considerable expense dismantled from their original locations and rebuilt on a vast 90-hectare exhibition site at the foot of the Teutoburg Forest. An interesting exception is the tallest building in the Detmold Open-Air Museum, which has also had a thematic focus on tourism itself since 2017: the “Königsberg Lookout Tower” is a reconstruction based on historical models of early tourist lookout towers that were built at the beginning of the 20th century. The museum is seasonal and only open from April to October, with the exception of special winter events.

10. Museum Folkwang Essen

10. Museum Folkwang, Essen

Located in Essen since 1922, the Museum Folkwang is one of the most prestigious art museums in Germany. A distinctive focus of the museum is on German and French painting from the 19th century. In addition to this specialization, classical modernism, post-1945 painting, photography and decorative arts are also highly valued parts of the collection. Visitors can view the permanent collection free of charge. An extended period of time is recommended for a visit, as the collection includes approximately 280 sculptures, around 600 paintings, around 12,000 drawings and prints, over 60,000 photographs, thousands of pieces of decorative art from various cultures and almost 350,000 posters. It is important to note that not all items are on display at the same time.

11. Museum voor natuurlijk historie Berlijn

11. Museum of Natural History, Berlin

The Dinosaur Department is a major attraction at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. The focus of this exhibition is the Giraffatitan, originally categorized as Brachiosaurus brancai, which at 13.27 meters tall is the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world. The Dinosaur Department is not only notable for its superior exhibits, but also for its interactive components. With the help of the so-called Jurascopes, visitors can animate the skeletons. Until the end of January 2020, the museum also offers a temporary exhibition of “Tristan Otto”, the only original Tyrannosaurus skeleton in Europe.

12. Stadel museum Frankfurt

12. Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Frankfurt offers a rich experience for museum lovers with 15 museums located along the Museumsufer, right next to the Main River. Perhaps the most renowned of these is the Städel Museum. This leading art institution boasts an extensive collection that includes over 3,000 paintings, 660 sculptures, over 4,600 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings and prints. This makes the Städel Museum one of the most significant art museums in Germany. Its impressive collection spans seven centuries of European art and includes works by masters such as Hieronymus Bosch and Sandro Botticelli, as well as modern artists such as Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter.

13. Documentatiecentrum rallyterrein van de nazipartij Neurenberg

13. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Nuremberg

In Nuremberg we find one of the most important and confrontational museums in Germany that deals with the history of National Socialism. The Nazi Party Rally Grounds Documentation Center is housed in a huge, unfinished congress building that was once part of the large-scale architectural plans of Hitler and his regime. The museum has existed since 2001 and is primarily intended to inform visitors about the terrible history and consequences of Nazism.

The permanent exhibition “Fascination and Violence” offers insights into the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and deals extensively with the causes, context and impact of this dark period in history. One of the most important aspects of the exhibition is the role of the Nazi party rallies, which were held annually in Nuremberg and were a crucial instrument in the Nazi propaganda machine.

This museum serves not only as a place of remembrance and reflection, but also as a powerful warning of the dangers of totalitarianism, extremism and intolerance. It is an important educational center that contributes to the collective memory of Germany and the world.

14. Internationaal scheepvaartmuseum Hamburg

14. International Maritime Museum, Hamburg

The museum in “Kaispeicher B” is a true paradise for lovers of maritime history and shipping. With nine exhibition decks, it is one of the most comprehensive museums of its kind, and it also houses the largest private collection of maritime treasures in the world.

The permanent exhibition is very versatile and covers a wide range of topics. Visitors can learn about famous navigators, explorers and conquerors, and gain an in-depth insight into the evolution of shipbuilding, merchant shipping and passenger shipping. Another fascinating aspect is the section dedicated to the deep sea, an area that still holds many mysteries.

The museum is also a feast for the eyes with an impressive collection of maritime artworks. From detailed miniature replicas of famous naval battles and harbour landscapes to over 40,000 miniature ship models, the range is overwhelming and fascinating.

Whether you are interested in the technical aspects of shipbuilding, the romance of sea voyages, or the rich history of maritime navigation, there is something for everyone here. This museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of shipping, from the past to the present.

15. Lake Dwelling Museum Unterhuldingen

15. Lake Dwelling Museum, Unterhuldingen

The Pfahlbaumuseum in Unteruhldingen is a unique and fascinating open-air archaeological museum that takes visitors on a journey back in time to life in pile dwellings during the Stone and Bronze Ages. Situated on the picturesque northeastern shore of Lake Constance, the museum offers not only a rich educational experience but also a beautiful natural setting.

Since its foundation in 1922, the Pfahlbaumuseum has become one of the largest open-air museums in Europe. What makes this museum special are the carefully reconstructed pile dwellings that are based on archaeological finds and research. These settlements were typical of the large pre-Alpine lakes and are of great importance for understanding prehistoric human civilization in this region.

Visitors have the opportunity to explore the inside of these houses, giving them a vivid picture of what daily life would have been like at that time. From household activities and tools to food preparation and craft skills, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the lives of the people who lived in these pile dwellings.

This museum is not only an important educational resource but also a fascinating cultural experience. For history buffs and families alike, the Pfahlbaumuseum offers an exciting and educational day out in one of the most beautiful parts of Germany.

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