World Culture on the Rhine

Diversity in both History and the Present

Cologne is a cosmopolitan city with a unique multicultural life. Two outstanding collections of non-European cultures contribute to this image and provide an important basis for the understanding of different ethnic and cultural groups. The working and living together of different cultures is also the theme of festivals and new institutions that bring art from all over the world to Cologne. But a cosmopolitan city is not just about highbrow culture. Almost every Cologne district demonstrates how different nations live with each other and how well cosmopolitan and Cologne life complement each other.


Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum - Kulturen der Welt

Where we live, what we believe in and what we belong to – these are common themes that are important to each and every culture. An exhibition area of 3,600 squaremeters shows the rich variety of world cultures. The theme-based presentation “People in their Worlds” takes visitors on an interactive multi-media voyage of exploration where they learn more about the European view of other cultures and familiarize themselves with different concepts of life. Impressive exhibits from Africa, Asia, America, Oceania and Europe illustrate themes that concern people worldwide and enthral visitors from all age groups. What does a Gamelan orchestra from Indonesia sound like? What is the role of masks in rituals? How do nomads survive in the desert? Comparing cultures to detect commonalities and differences is at the heart of this ethnological museum that is fun and makes you want to know more.



Cäcilienstraße 29-33
50667 Köln
T +49-221.221-31356
F +49-221.221-31333

information & events


Opening hours

Dienstag bis Sonntag 10 - 18 Uhr

Donnerstag 10 - 20 Uhr
Jeden ersten Donnerstag im Monat 10 - 22 Uhr
Montag geschlossen

an Feiertagen (auch montags!) geöffnet wie sonntags:
Karfreitag, Ostermontag, 1. Mai, Christi Himmelfahrt, Fronleichnam, Pfingstmontag, Tag der Deutschen Einheit (3. Okt.), Allerheiligen, 2. Weihnachtstag.

montags geschlossen
sowie an Heiligabend, 1. Weihnachtstag, Silvester und Neujahr.



Private group tours

People in their Worlds. Overview of Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Cultures of the World

Encounter with other cultures

Living together

Death and the Afterlife


Museum of East Asian Art

Cologne boasts the oldest museum of East Asian art in Europe and the only one in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Founded in 1909, the museum has a collection of precious works of art from China, Korea and Japan. Visitors can explore Buddhist painting and wood sculpture, Japanese screen painting, colour woodcuts and lacquer work, porcelain and ceramics form the Bronze Age to the 19th century. Apart from the works of art, the building itself is worth a visit. It was opened in 1977, designed by Kunio Maekawa (1905 – 1986), a pupil of Le Corbusier. Its severe, lucidly structured cubes draw on ancient Japanese traditions while at the same time developing a new, modern design vocabulary. The heart of the complex is the landscape garden in the tradition of Japanese meditation gardens which was designed by the Japanese sculptor Masayuki Nagare (born 1923).



Universitätsstraße 100
50674 Köln
T  +49 221 221 28608
F  +49 221 221 28610

information & events

Opening hours

Dienstag bis Sonntag 11 - 17 Uhr
Jeden ersten Donnerstag im Monat 11 - 22 Uhr
Montag geschlossen 

an Feiertagen (auch montags!) geöffnet wie sonntags:
Karfreitag, Ostermontag, 1. Mai, Christi Himmelfahrt, Fronleichnam, Pfingstmontag, Tag der Deutschen Einheit (3. Okt.), Allerheiligen, 2. Weihnachtstag.

montags geschlossen
sowie an Heiligabend, 1. Weihnachtstag, Silvester und Neujahr.



Private group tours

DE Überblick - Ein Schatzhaus für die Kunst Chinas, Japans und Koreas

DE Auf den Spuren Buddhas

DE Die Welt der Literaten


Tips on the Theme


Academy of the Arts of the World

The Akademie der Künste der Welt is a new type of institution and the only one of its kind in Germany. It is a meeting place for renowned artists from all around the world and all areas of art who come together on a regular basis. The academy members engage in work projects and debates, and realise concerts and exhibitions. As a society of artists, the academy is responsive to changes in our society that are the result of migration and globalisation. Visitors are welcome to take part in academy events and take a closer look at international and non-European art. The cosmopolitan programme includes concerts, lectures, talks and exhibitions where guests have the chance to witness one of the most innovative art projects in Germany.



Akademie der Künste der Welt/Köln
Im Mediapark 7, 50670 Köln


Literature House

The Literaturhaus Köln was founded in 1996 to bring world literature to Cologne. A programme of roughly 100 events per year offers a wide range of options to encounter literature and meet famous as well as less established authors, ranging from Nobel Prize laureates to debut authors. Events include lectures and talks with international and up-and-coming authors.



Literaturhaus Köln e.V.
Schönhauser Straße 8 · 50968 Köln
T +49(0)221.995558-0


Cologne Summer Festival

The Festival has become a firmly established part of Cologne’s cultural life. For more than 25 years the events during the summer months have enthralled a wide public. The Philharmonie offers shows with international stars, dance ensembles and musicals from all the continents of the world. Since it opened it has hosted more than 60 international
cutting-edge shows from all five continents. Among these, there were 18 German and
European premieres that received an enthusiastic response by almost 1.4 million spectators.


Kulturklüngel – A Network of Cultures

"Klüngeln" is an expression in the Cologne dialect which means building up contacts or being linked up. Cologne is home to people from all parts of the world, from Argentinian baseball pros to xylophone players from Zimbabwe. Those who are interested in foreign cultures need not travel around the world by plane. Here in Cologne, in almost every street, there is a lot to see and ample opportunity to meet exciting people. A little adventure trip that requires only a few steps.



Meister-Gerhard-Straße 6 · 50674 Köln
T +49(0)221.16843662


»Neue Heimat Köln«: Cologne – a new Home for Immigrants

A history of migration and mentality in Cologne for non-locals: This exciting guided city
tour takes you on a journey to explore the history of migration in Cologne. Where did the people who migrated to this city, settled here and left their traces throughout many centuries come from? The influence of Spanish, Italian and French settlers can be still be found in Cologne. To what extent have more recent migrants changed the face of the city?



Hohe Pforte 22 · 50676 Köln
T +49(0)221.9327-263


Suggested Programme: At Home in the World

Day 1: Experience the different Cultures of the World

The Rautenstrauch Joest Museum in Neumarkt reopened in 2010 to welcome visitors to an encounter with the different cultures of the world in a new and fascinating mise-en-scène which received wide acclaim and was awarded the coveted museum prize of the Council of Europe in 2012. A guided tour is recommended for a succinct overview. Alternatively, why not invest more time to take an in-depth look at the topics that concern people the world over? Right behind the museum is a district that is home to Cologne’s Indian community. Are you interested in visiting Cologne’s Chinatown, or
African Cologne, or the rich variety of religions in the city? “Kulturklüngel” helps you discover unique places and (hi)stories. Your guide can also give you tips on where to eat and drink.


Day 2: Discover the fascinating Far East and experience a vibrant Here and Now

The Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst is located next to the Aachener Weiher park. It combines modern Japanese architecture with examples of East Asian art which makes this museum a unique, distinctive place. When the weather is fine, the museum’s café is the perfect vantage point to watch the world go by in the park. The next stage takes you to the multicultural world of present-day Cologne. The Ehrenfeld district is where a mosque which has received much attention and has been at the centre of a heated debate is nearing its completion. Life in Ehrenfeld is of unique diversity and offers a colourful mix of old and new which attracts a wide range of different people and businesses. This district epitomises the “kölsche Veedel” – one of the typical Cologne districts each of which has a quite distinct character. Shopping, eating and drinking, markets, festivals, theatres, architecture and business – immerse yourself in the laid-back life of this colourful Cologne district.