The former fashion house Franz Sauer now serves as the new building for Cologne’s museum of history. Due to it’s central location, visitors may benefit from the museum‘s diverse neighborhood. We recommend an exploratory tour around the area and guarantee a cultural as well as culinary experience for both locals and travelers. We therefore suggest you bring a little more time and a lot of appetite.
The new location in the heart of the city
Established on the 14th of August 1888, Cologne’s museum of history has left it’s former location, the historical Zeughaus, after 63 years. The new venue is the beautiful former fashion house Franz Sauer, build in 1987. After almost 175 years the fashion house closed it’s doors for good in 2016 – which makes their upcoming grand opening all the more lovelier.
At Minoritenstraße 13, a ten-minute walk from the central station, Cologne’s history will once more be told and come to life in a fully reinvented exhibition.
As per experience, exploring makes one very hungry – the Italian restaurant Veltri and the café Espresso Perfetto in the immediate vicinity of our museum offer soul food, good coffee and delightful snacks
If you like antipasti and Italian cuisine, Veltri is the place to be. The cozy little restaurant on the corner of Kolumbahof and Ludwigstraße has been lovingly run by Grazia and Antonio Veltri (https://www.veltri.koeln/) since 2010. Small and local restaurants often come with unique flair and gentle atmospheres, and you surely won’t miss it at Veltri’s. A rustic interior, lovingly decorated with fresh flowers and old magazines create a charming feel-good atmosphere. Due to it’s limited capacity, we recommend to make a reservation in advance.
Right at the counter guests are able to choose from a variety of antipasti delicacies to be put together to their heart’s content. The treats range from salmon, to fennel salad, delicious olives and more.
It is equally hard to decide on the main course. But the buttery soft sea-bream on a bed of vegetables is a safe choice. Naturally, there are vegetarian options as well.
The price is rather high but certainly worth the experience. We wholeheartedly recommend it.
Kolumbahof 2, 50667 Köln
Tue to Sat 12 am to 7 pm, closed on Su and Mo
There are few things more European than a relaxing coffee break in the afternoon. Musa Ibis established Espresso Perfetto in 1999 in Düsseldorf. Only two years later, the first location opened in Cologne. Since then, Espresso Perfetto has developed into a real brand with 12 outlets, including in The Hague, Cairo and Istanbul.
The café certainly leaves no coffee dreams unfulfilled and delights with beautiful furnishing. Next to caffeinated drinks and sweet treats, visitors can buy espresso machines, grinders and coffee beans!
The aromatic cappoccino and a cupcake are always a good choice. The buttercream is just right and more fruity than sweet and it has a fruity core – exactly how a cupcake should be!
Kolumbastraße 8, 50667 Köln
Mo to Sa 8 am to 7 pm, closed on Sun
Between lunch and an afternoon treat there is much to explore in the immediate vicinity of the museum. There is the art museum Kolumba as well as the chapel „Madonna in ruins“ and the Minorit church.
Kolumba is an art museum by the Archdiocese of Cologne and it reopened in 2007. It’s architect is Peter Zumthor. The impressive building was erected on the site of the late Gothic church of St. Kolumba, which was destroyed during the war – hence the name.
The current exhibition „Into the Expanse – Aspects of Jewish Life in Germany“ takes place on three floors. Visitors can lock up their jackets and bags by the entrance and receive a small booklet with detailed informations about the exhibition. All objects on display are numbered and can be found in said booklet, which is organized by rooms. The exhibited art is intended to speak for itself, regardless of who the artist is. An exciting concept!
But beforehand one must simply walk through the excavation of the Romanesque church of St. Kolumba and trace the outlines of even older buildings winding their way through it‘s ruins. Do not miss the noteworthy Madonna in Ruins located near the entrance to the museum.
Kolumbastraße 4, 50667 Köln
Daily except Tuesdays 12 am to 5 pm
8 Euros (5 Euros with a discount)
In front of the entrance of the museum of history lies the Minorit church, which dates back to the 13th century. Large parts of the church were destroyed by a fire during the Second World War, but reconstructions were already completed in 1958 by the Kolping Society, located directly aross the street. It’s founder, Adolph Kolping (1813-1865) is buried in the church. Additionally visitors can see the tomb of John Duns Scouts (1266-1308), a Scottish theologian, Franciscan and philosopher of scholasticism.
Kolpingplatz 1, 50667 Cologne
Next to the Minorit church is yet another art museum (Museum für Angewandte Kunst), displaying a comprehensive collection of 800 years of European arts and crafts, as well as a collection of jewlery, which is over 5000 years old!
One last inside tip for book lovers
The bookstore M. Lengfeld’sche Buchhandlung on Kolpingplatz was established in 1842, thus representing a piece of the city’s history itself as the oldest bookstore in Cologne.
It was in fact the largest bookstore in the area before the nazis took over. It’s founders were the Jewish family Ganz (Alexander and Cläre (née Meyer) with their children Anna, Karl-Justus, Lisbeth and Felix), an educated and well respected family. But when the nazis came to power, the family was forced to flee to different countries. They wrote about their escape and attempts to emigrate for their children and grandchildren – an exciting story that can be read in the book“ The Ganz Family and Lengfeld’s Bookshop“.
For the past 29 years, the bookshop has been run by Hildegard Laaff and Carsten Saenger. Mrs. Laaff has been a bookseller for over 60 years and still pours her heart and soul into the store. In 2014 she received the honorary award of the Cologne Culture Prize.
On the 1st of August 2022 the bookstore celebrated its 180th anniversary.
The bookstores long history does not distract from ist impeccable taste in reading material. Within two huge sales rooms, customers will be able to find a carefully selected variety of paperbacks and lovingly produced special editions. Especially their classics section does not disappoint. You will surely find what you are looking for thanks to the highly competent sellers with their good taste and keen eye. Anyone who visits the bookstore is warmly invited and provided with great reading recommendations.
Kolpingplatz 1, 50667 Cologne
But there is more…
The museum‘s new location invites both locals and tourists to roam around the immediate area and spend a leisurely afternoon with soul food, good coffee, art and books. However there is certainly more to explore in the neighboring streets.