UNESCO World Heritage Site Aachen Cathedral at sunset, © Johannes Höhn

High­lights 2023

Car­ni­val and clas­sic­al com­pos­i­tions

Festivals, anniversaries and lots of movement: North Rhine-Westphalia offers visitors a mix of action, culture and traditions in the 2023 annual programme. Splendour and glory in the medieval monastery, 200 years of Cologne Carnival and international sports festivals are examples of special highlights of the year. 

View to the old town of Münster, © @een_wasbeer XD X3

An­niversar­ies and fest­iv­it­ies

Car­ni­val and mon­as­tery gar­dens in grand style

900 years of Kamp Monastery
Kamp Monastery was founded in 1123 as the first German-speaking Cistercian monastery in the German-speaking region of that time. It is going to celebrate its 900th birthday with events and exhibitions at the monastery, the Geistliches und Kulturelles Zentrum Kloster Kamp, and the Kamper Gartenreich with its perennial garden, orchards, and baroque terrace garden throughout the year. From 20 to 21 May 2023, the “Experience the Middle Ages – Discover Kamp Monastery around 1123” event is going to offer a glimpse into life at the time of the monastery’s founding. Subsequently, “Glanz und Gloria im Gartenreich” (The garden realm in grand style) is going to present a light show in the Kamper Gartenreich with light, art, and music from 29 September to 3 October 2023. Concerts and exhibitions in the Orangery and an open-air cinema in the terrace garden are planned as well in summer.

650 years of Krefeld
Art and creativity have always been essential in this city on the Lower Rhine. Once, the silk industry used to produce precious fabrics here that are still presented by the Deutsches Textilmuseum today. “Neues Bauen” architecture has left behind some remarkable buildings across the city. For its 650th anniversary, Krefeld is now hosting an anniversary programme that will see the creation of a number of new works: The Urban Art Gallery held in June and August is to produce works of art on buildings, bridges, and walls, while the “650 KreFelder” project will bring about growth and cultivation of edible creations.

375th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia
The year of 2023 marks the 375th anniversary of the peace treaty that sealed the end of the Thirty Years’ War in the town halls of Münster and Osnabrück back in 1648. Münster and its region are spreading the celebrations of this anniversary out across several months. Cyclists can follow in the tracks of history year-round on the peace route connecting the historical city halls of Münster and Osnabrück.

200th anniversary of the Cologne Carnival
The carnival season of 2023 is going to enjoy particular elaborate celebration, as carnival is to be a year-round presence in the city for the 200th anniversary of the organised bustle. Continuing on beyond Ash Wednesday, the “International Museum Day” on 21 May, the “Open Monument Day” on 9 and 10 September, and the “Museum Night” in early November, among other things, are to be carnival themed as well. The Carnival Monday parade, the carnival highlight scheduled for 20 February 2023, is also going to be extended for the anniversary, for the first time covering both banks of the Rhine.

150th anniversary of the Villa Hügel
269 rooms situated within a gigantic park: The Villa Hügel in Essen, occupied by the Krupp family from 1873 to 1945, has gone beyond being merely the residence of an industrialist family from the outset. For its 150th birthday, it not only once again invites visitors to its living space and exhibition, but also provides some entirely new insights with an augmented reality app, opening of several special rooms, some of which have been elaborately restored, and a film programme.

Aachen Cathedral ceiling of the Octagon, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Walks and pil­grim­ages

Set­ting out on foot

The Höxter state garden show

Nature around the UNESCO World Heritage Site Corvey is particularly green and pretty in the summer months: The North Rhine-Westphalian State Garden Show will make sure of that from 20 April to 15 October. Höxter presents itself as a town on the water steeped in history under the motto of “Schön hier – komm gucken” (it’s nice here – come have a look). The sprawling premises of the garden show with 60 exhibitions spread out on about 30 hectares, including a reading garden and themed playgrounds, are going to link the World Heritage Site, the Weser promenade, and the uncovered city wall. A boat shuttle is to run on the river Weser between the inner city of Höxter and Corvey.

Aachen pilgrimage
Christian pilgrims have been visiting Aachen regularly since the Middle Ages. Every seven years, the Aachen pilgrimage is drawing people from around the world, and it will do so once again from 9 to 19 June 2023. About 100,000 visitors are going to come to view the four relics kept in the Aachen Cathedral as treasures since the times of Charlemagne, brought out and presented during the pilgrimages. Many holy masses will be celebrated, and cabaret and music will be presented on a number of stages throughout the city in the scope of the programme. Special tours of the Centre Charlemagne and the cathedral treasury are going to be offered as well.

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord im Ruhrgebiet, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Sports and games

Join­ing in, watch­ing, or par­ti­cip­at­ing

European Hockey Championships in Mönchengladbach
For ten days, Mönchengladbach is all about international hockey: Europe’s most state-of-the-art hockey stadium is going to host sports event of the top league from 18 to 27 August 2023. Eight European nations each are going to compete in a total of 40 matches of the women’s and men’s competitions in Germany’s largest hockey stadium. The venue affords space for an audience of up to 100,000, who will be able to explore the city on the Lower Rhine between rounds.

Invictus Games Düsseldorf
About 500 wounded, injured, and ill soldiers from 21 nations are going to meet up in the NRW state capital from 9 to 16 September 2023 to compete in various athletic disciplines and set an example with their efforts. Düsseldorf wants to offer new perspectives on the social role and relevance of people in armed forces with its motto of “A Home for Respect”. In addition to competitions in archery, athletics, cycling, or wheelchair rugby, the metropolis on the Rhine is going to organise a framework programme with cultural events and open athletic activities for the audience.

Finals on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers
German Championships in 18 disciplines are to be held on the Rhine and Ruhr rivers: top-league sporting events can be watched during the finals in Düsseldorf and Duisburg from 6 to 9 July 2023. Several venues in the state capital are going to host competitions in judo, table tennis, triathlon, trampoline gymnastics, and others. The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord in Duisburg will provide the premises of a former colliery as a boxing, breaking, climbing, and BMX riding site.

Original music manuscript from the Schumann Collection, © Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf, Ingo Lammert

New mu­seums and ex­hib­i­tions

Cli­mate and clas­sic­al com­pos­i­tions

Sustainable snacking at the chocolate museum
The Kölner Schokoladenmuseum mixes a sweet tooth with sustainability in its new permanent exhibition, creating a delicious mixture with plenty to offer for the palate and the mind alike. The museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary this autumn, offering visitors some exciting experiences and insights about chocolate. Anyone setting out on the “trip around the world of cocoa” will learn about how cocoa is grown, harvested, and traded, as well as about the importance of sustainable business in many interactive stations. They can also experience live how chocolate is made. Critical aspects of the long production and supply chains are addressed as well, including issues such as resource consumption, CO2 emissions, and matters of fair working conditions in the cultivation countries.

Gold and glitter in the former gasworks
A former gasworks of the Phoenix West blast furnace plant in Dortmund is turning into a sparkling and glittering centre of digital art: “Phoenix des Lumières” is the title of an art experience with projections making not only the walls and floors, but even the visitors part of a piece of art. The immersive exhibitions will be held from 28 January to 31 December 2023, among other things featuring Gustav Klimt and Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The Schumann-Museum in Düsseldorf
A new museum is opening its doors in a historical location, as an interactive exhibition will soon shed light on the life and work of composer Robert Schumann in the Düsseldorf residence that was the home of world-renowned musician couple Clara and Robert Schumann for a while in the mid-19th century. Schumann created nearly a third of his oeuvre in Düsseldorf. Starting in spring, exhibits such as the valuable music manuscripts of Düsseldorf compositions, including the score of the Rhenish Symphony, and some of the couple’s letters will be on display in the museum, along with the swan feather cape pianist Clara Schumann wore before her performances.

Climate experience world in Oerlinghausen 
The new climate experience world is to render the subject of climate change and ways to adapt to it vivid and tangible in future, with buildings illustrating climate-adapted construction using sustainable materials and energy generation. The content will focus on redesigning personal living environments and future-oriented agriculture and forestry, among other things. A real-life implementation is presented in the large adjacent nature conservation project Senne. The archaeological open-air museum nearby serves as a link to how our ancestors used to adapt to climate change.

The 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death
In memory of Pablo Picasso, who died 50 years ago on 8 April 2023, a number of museums in NRW are presenting various works in several contexts. From September onwards, the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal is going to present the relationship between Pablo Picasso and Max Beckmann, while the Museum Ludwig in Cologne exhibits 155 etchings in “Picasso Suite 156” from October onwards.

High­lights in NRW

The "Zeche Hannover", a former Colliery in Bochum, celebrates the ExtraSchicht., © RuhrTourismus / Kreklau

Events in NRW

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The soccer stadium of the 1st FC Cologne, © KölnTourismus / Dieter Jacobi

North Rhine-Westf­halia – Land of Foot­ball

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Müngsten Bridge, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Su­per­lat­ive Des­tin­a­tions

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Grand staircase of Augustusburg Castle in Brühl, © Johannes Höhn

Top Ex­cur­sions

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The Chocolate Museum in cologne., © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Brands from NRW

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The Beethoven monument on the Münsterplatz in Bonn, © Johannes Höhn

Fam­ous People from NRW

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