Pop-up bar with concerts, DJs, open stage… and the bar exhibition “The Journey of the Cologne City Keys”.

May 5 to June 17, 2023
Thurs. to Sat., 5 to 10 p.m.

At the back of the new museum location
(entrance via Kolumbahof 3)

On October 6, 1794, the victorious French revolutionary army stands before Cologne. The people of Cologne capitulate and hand over the keys to the city. A change of epoch – the modern age dawns. Cologne becomes Cologne: a French city until 1814.

The Cologne City Museum commemorates this with the pop-up bar 1794 Cologne Paris. Look forward to a free event program – from concerts and DJ parties to German-French chanson evenings and open-stage activities.

Right in the middle: the bar exhibition “The Journey of the Cologne City Keys”!

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Always Thursdays to Saturdays,

5 to 10 pm!

The bar exhibition “The Journey of the Cologne City Keys”

Reality and Myth

In the Middle Ages Cologne has one of the largest fortifications in Europe. One enters the city through mighty gate castles. Legends surround the keys to these gates – and also their bearer, the Cologne peasant. In the Battle of Worringen in 1288, he is said to have won the key and the city’s dominion.

Das Bild zeigt den Kampf um den Schlüsselwagen in der Schlacht von Worringen 1288, aus einem Gemälde von Arnold Colyns 1582.
The battle for the key wagon at the Battle of Worringen in 1288, from a painting by Arnold Colyns in 1582, KSM, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

Paris celebrates

The capture of Cologne in 1794 is celebrated all over Paris! Here, the Cologne city keys are presented to the masses as war trophies. They have been in the French National Archives ever since.

The Cologne city keys are presented to the masses in front of the Panthéon in Paris, drawing by Girardet 1794 © Musée Carnavalet-Histoire de Paris

The highlight of the exhibition is the original Cologne key ring on loan from Paris.

The originals of the city keys handed over in 1794 from the French National Archives, © Archives Nationales (France)/Pierre Grand.

Triumph at the Eigelstein

Here Napoleon enters Cologne in 1804. The Maire presents him with a huge golden city key. The Corsican is acclaimed in Cologne.

The key given to Napoleon in 1804, now in the Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812 in Moscow, © State Historical Museum, Moscow.

The Legende lives

In the 19th century, the legend of the Cologne peasant is embellished. In the carnival, he initially wears a bunch of decorative keys as an attribute.

The Cologne farmer with bunch of keys as the foot of Mayor Becker’s Cup of the Council Silver, Alois Kreiten 1905, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

Kölle Alaaf!

How is it that a historic bunch of keys has been preserved in Cologne? How does a Cologne city key end up in a museum in Moscow? And which keys does the Cologne peasant wear every year during carnival?

The journey of the Cologne city keys:
A turbulent story with a Cologne punchline!