New Venue –
new Concept!

Opening of the new permanent exhibition: autumn / winter 2022

In the autumn of 2022 the Kölnisches Stadtmuseum will reopen in Minoritenstrasse 13, the location of the former Franz Sauer department store.

Please join us in looking forward to a surprising, innovative permanent exhibition that will tell the history of the city of Cologne with all its facets, contradictions and differing perspectives anew. It will also look at the present and the future of the city!

Modern productions, exciting topics and many digital offerings will turn your museum visit into a special event.


With the moving to Minoritenstraße, we are not only changing our address, but also the complete concept of the museum. Instead of the familiar content-related focal points of historical museums, the new city museum focuses on emotions – feelings and moods with which everyone associates something.

The main themes of the exhibition areas are eight emotional questions, such as “What do we love?”, “What scares us?”, “What moves us?” or “What do we believe in?

Die Visualisierung zeigt den Querschnitt des neuen Museums.
The exhibition areas (© neo.studio neumann schneider architekten)

Die Visualisierung zeigt Personen im neuen Frageraum „Worauf haben wir Lust“ im Museum. Der Raum ist im Farbton rosa gehalten.
View into the Question Room “What are we in the mood for?” (© neo.studio neumann schneider architekten)

It’ll Be Emotional

What scared people in the Middle Ages, what scared them 200 years ago? 50 years ago? What developments and events or conditions united the people of Cologne in the past? Which ones do so today? What do the city’s residents love today, what did they love in the past? Such questions connect events and objects from the city’s history to each other in an unusual way, thereby highlighting surprising parallels.

You’ll be surprised!


Surprising Topics – Surprising Answers

The new exhibition concept allows the museum to present an incredibly large range of topics: the question ‘What do we believe in?’ is not just about religion and ideology, but also about topics such as money and football. The space ‘What scares us?’ creates a connection between wars and the Nazi period to current events such as the bomb attack in Keupstrasse and the coronavirus pandemic. The question room ‘What do we desire?’ does not just address the topic of sexuality, but also the history of Cologne’s entertainment culture – from medieval dancing bears to the rock clubs in abandoned industrial buildings from the 1980s to the present day.

Alongside the topic rooms, an opening room at the start of the exhibition provides a quick overview of the most important historical periods and developments in the city’s history´. You will find outstanding objects here, such as the ‘Letter of Alliance’ of 1396, the city seal and the city model, which depicts historical Cologne in 1571. If you do not have much prior knowledge of Cologne’s history, you will find a quick, entertaining introduction here.


Eight key questions


Modern Exhibition Architecture

Using very targeted colour and surface designs as well as atmospheric lighting concepts, the modern exhibition architecture supports the topics of the exhibition spaces and plays with the department store’s unique architectural features.

The exhibition design was developed by the acclaimed design studio ‘neo.studio neumann schneider architekten’ from Berlin.

Die Visualisierung zeigt Personen im neuen Untergeschooss des Museums. Der Raum ist sehr hell und freundlich.
View into the basement (© neo.studio neumann schneider architekten)

Das Bild zeigt die beiden Kuratoren der neuen Dauerausstellung. Sie stehen vor einem Tisch mit Bauplänen in der Baustelle und schauen in die Kamera.
The curators Stefan Lewejohann and Sascha Pries
(© C. Ehrchen)

“It is not often that you get the chance to completely redesign a permanent exhibition. That gives us a great degree of creative freedom and many opportunities for implementing unusual ideas.”

/ Sascha Pries

“It was important to us that we approach our city’s history from multiple perspectives. We wanted to be surprising and bring the diversity of the city’s populace with all its different people, perspectives and voices to life.”

/ Stefan Lewejohann



Together with the People of Cologne

In the Open Space in the freely accessible foyer, we will have regular, changing displays addressing important current and future topics.
We will develop and present these together with partners from the city community – artists, associations, companies, institutions and initiatives.

Die Visualisierung zeigt Personen, die im neuen Foyer des Mueums sitzen.
The foyer with the Open Space (© neo.studio neumann schneider architekten)

Die Visualisierung zeigt den neuen Auftaktraum der Ausstellung. Er ist in einem dunklem Grauton gehalten. Es stehen Personen im Raum und schauen sich Ausstellungsgegenstände an.
The opening room (© neo.studio neumann schneider architekten)

By the way, the current responses to the emotional questions in the topic rooms were developed as part of a participatory project, in collaboration with a larger group of residents from Cologne, with different backgrounds and ages.