10 offbeat museums in Germany
Living in Europe affords the opportunity to visit revered and priceless works of art. By the time your tour is up, you may have witnessed Mona Lisa’s secretive smile, seen the intricate curves of the David, or marveled in amazement at the Sistine Chapel. Although these time-honored classics are indeed something to behold, you may find yourself craving something a little different. You’re in luck! Germany is home to unusual and unique museums you may be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
1. The DDR Museum – Berlin
This hands-on museum documents life in East Berlin during the Cold War era. Interactive displays show comparisons between items you might find on either side of the wall. Take a notorious Trabant for a spin in the driving simulator, or walk through a replica of an East German apartment. For those with artistic tendencies, you can even digitally tag a section of the Berlin wall with graffiti. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
2. Bavaria Filmstadt – Munich
Tucked away on the outskirts of Munich is one of Germany’s oldest and largest film studios. Visitors can tour different sets, including “Asterix” and “Vicky the Viking.” Anyone who grew up in the ’80s will appreciate sets and scenery from 1984’s “The Neverending Story,” including a life-size Falkor. Bavaria Film Studios is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the high season (April-November) and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the low season (November–March).
3. Imhoff Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum) – Cologne
Housing a 10-foot-high chocolate fountain, chocolate lovers will be in heaven at the chocolate museum in Cologne. Dating back to the Mayans and Aztecs, nine exhibits detail the history of this sweet treat. Guided tours are available in English; courses and tastings are currently offered only in German. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays. The museum is closed Monday.
4. Deutsches Currywurst Museum – Berlin
Although the origins of currywurst are a little unclear, what is clear is that Germans love this savory snack so much they dedicated a museum to it. Smell the different spices at the spice sniffing display and listen to crooners declare their love of currywurst at the ketchup-bottle-shaped listening stations. Or just relax on the sausage sofa while enjoying currywurst in a cup. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5. DialogMuseum – Frankfurt
Make your way through examples of everyday living — in the dark. This highly interactive and educational exhibit simulating visual impairments offers two different tours. The 60-minute experience takes you through four rooms, and the 90-minute tour includes six rooms and a boat ride. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
6. Düsseldorfer Senfladen Mustard Museum – Düsseldorf
You don’t need to travel to Dijon for this tangy condiment. Düsseldorf mustard has been rapidly gaining ground as a fierce competitor of the famous Dijon mustard. Located in the back of the Löwensenf shop in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt, learn how the spicy spread is made while sampling exotic blends. Take a bite of mustard pralines and other sweet treats. The mustard museum is open 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Monday to Saturday and closes from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free.
7. Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum – Rüdesheim
From twinkling, delicate music boxes to robust barrel organs, take a musical tour dating back more than three centuries. Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum has many exhibits and displays about musical automation and the history of mechanical music instruments. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and are available in nine languages. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March through December. Reservations are required.
8. Museum der Brotkultur – Ulm
This museum would seem to be a carb-lovers paradise although, ironically enough, there are no bread samples given. The Museum der Brotkultur is dedicated to the 6,000-year history of the doughy staple. Covering five floors, learn about breadmaking and how it has played an important role in history and civilization. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with English audio guides available.
9. Ostereimuseum – Sonnenbühl
The Easter bunny isn’t the only story involving eggs — see for yourself at the Ostereimuseum, about an hour south of Stuttgart. More than 1,000 lavishly adorned eggs are on display at this museum. Each year, the museum presents a new theme in the downstairs exhibition space around during the Easter season. This year’s theme is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s theses. Hours vary from March to December, so be sure to check the website for the most current information.
10. Ramones Museum – Berlin
Known as the fathers of punk rock, the Ramones Museum in Berlin is a must-visit for music aficionados. Located in the trendy borough of Kreuzberg, this museum also doubles as a live music venue. More than 1,000 pieces of memorabilia deck the walls. Keep the lifetime pin when you pay your entrance fee — it offers free entrances on subsequent visits so long as you have the pin. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Have you found other fun and unusual museums in your travels? We’d love to hear about them! Share with us at contentteam[at]stripes[dot]com.