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LWL-Museum für Archäologie, Spurensuche im Großsteingrab, © LWL_P.Jülich

Mu­seums of tan­gible his­tory


Ex­hib­i­tion ven­ues that make a ramble through time pos­sible

Many popular museums take visitors on a journey through the centuries or millennia. Industrial history, development history and cultural history play a role at these establishments. Sometimes the focus is on popular sports, sometimes on evolution or the transformation of a people. Hobby historians become explorers of prehistory or specialists in the advancement of a branch of industry. In the lively historical spaces, visitors can imagine they are Roman legionnaires, Neanderthals or top athletes. Amusing entertainment is as guaranteed as learning on excursions and guided tours.

Please note that interested parties should check the websites of the museums to see whether dates and opening times have changed. There you will usually find information on behavioral requirements, access limits and hygiene measures as well. 

Show spots in list
Schokoladenbrunnen, © Schokoladenmuseum Köln
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Chocol­ate Mu­seum Co­logne


Co­lognes mu­seum not only of­fers his­tory, but also de­li­cious samples of the pop­u­lar sweet. 200 kilo­gramme chocol­ate con­stantly flows in the three metre high foun­tain for you to taste. At chocol­ate-praline classes there are no lim­its to the ima­gin­a­tion.

Red Dot Design Museum, Innenansicht, Fundamenthalle, © Red Dot Design Museum
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Red Dot Design Mu­seum at the Zollver­ein World Her­it­age Site in Es­sen


The Red Dot Design Mu­seum presents styl­ishly and prac­tic­ally de­signed ob­jects that have won the award over sev­er­al dec­ades. The back­drop of the old coal mine provides a unique con­trast between old in­dus­tri­al ma­chines and in­nov­at­ive products. The cul­tur­al centre has over 2,000 ob­jects in its col­lec­tion.

Die Ausstellung im Neanderthal Museum erklärt den Lebensalltag der Urmenschen, © Neanderthal Museum / M.Pietrek
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Neander­th­al Mu­seum in Mettmann


How did Neander­thals live in NRW? Which tools did they pro­duce? And what did they eat? The Neander­th­al mu­seum gives an­swers to these ques­tions. Hu­man de­vel­op­ment is the centre of the per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion of this house.

Aussenansicht Deutsches Fußballmuseum Dortmund - direkt am Hauptbahnhof, © Deutsches Fußballmuseum Dortmund
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Ger­man Foot­ball Mu­seum Dortmund


Here, there’s more than just titles, goals and tri­umphs on dis­play. The mu­seum is ded­ic­ated to the less ap­peal­ing as­pects of foot­ball as well as those that pro­mot­ing un­der­stand­ing between na­tions.

Die Ausstellungen Haus der Geschichte bieten Vergangenheit zum Anfassen, © Stiftung Haus der Geschichte, Axel Thünker
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Haus der Geschichte in Bonn


Ad­e­nauer’s Mer­cedes, a cinema from the 1950s and a rail­way car – the Bonn mu­seum makes Ger­man his­tory an ex­per­i­ence. The in­sti­tute ad­dresses con­tem­por­ary top­ics in one area of the per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion. Vis­it­ors can learn more about glob­al­isa­tion, mi­gra­tion and di­git­al­isa­tion.

Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum, Innenansicht, Zeitstrahl mit wichtigen Ereignissen, © Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum
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Ger­man Sports & Olympics Mu­seum Co­logne


Im­port­ant races, un­for­get­table matches and fam­ous per­sons play a huge role in the per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion of the Ger­man Sports & Olympics Mu­seum. The fa­cil­ity of­fers an his­tor­ic­al over­view from an­tiquity to mod­ern times. Over 2,000 square metres of space, vis­it­ors can see un­usu­al ex­hib­its ran­ging from bobsleighs to base­ball gloves.

LVR-Römermuseum in Xanten, Außenansicht bei Nacht, © Axel Thuenker DGPh
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LVR Ro­man Mu­seum in Xanten


Ar­chae­olo­gic­al finds bear wit­ness to the lives of Ro­man cit­izens and le­gion­naires. In build­ings that are true to the ori­gin­als, his­tory is turned in­to an ex­per­i­ence for every­one. Vis­it­ors can find out about trade routes, im­port­ant mil­it­ary bases and reign­ing powers in the re­gion.

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Außenansicht in der Dämmerung, © Deutsches Bergbau Museum/Karlheinz Jardner
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Ger­man Min­ing Mu­seum in Bo­chum


The biggest min­ing mu­seum in the world im­press­ively demon­strates that no oth­er in­dustry is as closely as­so­ci­ated with the Ruhr Dis­trict as min­ing. Vis­it­ors can ex­per­i­ence up close what it was like to be a miner un­der­ground. The show pit, four ex­hib­i­tion tours and a large wind­ing tower can be viewed.

Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Thementag Indien, Foyer Reisspeicher, © Guido Schiefer
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Rauten­strauch-Joest Mu­seum in Co­logne


The only mu­seum in North Rhine-West­phalia en­tirely ded­ic­ated to eth­no­logy presents the peoples of the world and their cus­toms and char­ac­ter­ist­ics. It helps to be able to ima­gine your­self in oth­er worlds. The hold­ings of 65,000 ex­hib­its in­clude an enorm­ous In­done­sian rice store from the is­land of Su­lawesi as well as many items of cloth­ing and art and cul­tur­al ob­jects.

Ruhr Museum Essen, Zeche Zollverein Panorama, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Ruhr Mu­seum at the Zollver­ein World Her­it­age Site in Es­sen


The Ruhr Mu­seum at the former coal mine of­fer a unique com­plete pro­duc­tion on the his­tory of the Ruhr Dis­trict. The per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion shows the de­vel­op­ments over time based on 6,000 ex­hib­its. In par­tic­u­lar, min­ing and its ori­gins in what is now an in­dus­tri­al re­gion are vividly dis­cussed.

Click here to dis­cov­er more mu­seums in NRW

Kolumba Museum in Cologne, © Kolumba Köln, Helene-Binet
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Kolumba Mu­seum in Co­logne

Museum Insel Hombroich in Neuss, © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Mu­seum In­sel Hom­broi­ch in Neuss

Die Ausstellung im Neanderthal Museum erklärt den Lebensalltag der Urmenschen, © Neanderthal Museum / M.Pietrek
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Neander­th­al Mu­seum in Mettmann

Zeiss Planetarium Bochum, Außenansicht mit Schriftzug, © Stadt Bochum Presse und Informationsamt Planetarium
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Zeiss Plan­et­ari­um in Bo­chum

Kunstsammlung NRW, Dauerausstellung Tomás Saraceno : In Orbit im K21, © Kunstsammlung NRW/Studio Tomas Saraceno
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Kun­st­sammlung NRW in Düs­sel­dorf