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Kolumba

Admire the architecture of this contemporary museum that rises from a ruined late-Gothic church and contains fascinating collections of Christian art.

Kolumba (formerly known as the Diözesanmuseum) is an intriguing art museum managed by the Archdiocese of Cologne. Founded in 1853, the museum is now housed in a contemporary architectural landmark that incorporates the remnants of the Gothic church and a 1950s chapel. Explore the museum’s extensive collections and intriguingly curated exhibitions of artwork from Late Antiquity to the present day.

Check out the building’s award-winning design from the street. Conceived by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and built between 2003 and 2007, the design is comprised of a perforated brick façade that enshrouds the earlier structures. Beneath the façade are the Romanesque Church of St. Columba and the Gottfried Böhm-designed chapel, which was nicknamed Madonna of the Ruins when it was completed in 1950.

Enter the museum to begin exploring its 16 exhibition rooms, expertly designed to maximize natural daylight. The exhibitions feature an ever-changing rotation of collection items. See fascinating artworks, including paintings, prints and sculptures. You’ll also see decorative art and religious relics from antiquity. The exhibitions are displayed without any chronological or stylistic themes, so you can enjoy each piece as an individual artwork. The museum’s interior design is also of note, incorporating Kolumba stones, Jura sandstone, terrazzo and mortar.

See the 11th-century gilded bronze processional cross, known as the Hermann Ida Cross. Other highlights include the ivory Rhenish-Romanesque crucifix from the 12th century and the 15th-century Madonna with Violet. See Paul Thek’s Shrine from 1969 and a large holding from Leiko Ikemura. The museum also has a large collection of rosaries. Find out what’s showing in the temporary exhibition galleries and discover the museum’s program of events, talks and tours. Be sure to save some time to relax in the museum’s enchanting inner courtyard garden.

Kolumba is located in Cologne’s Old Town. Reach it easily on foot from the Heumarkt and Neumarkt transit hubs. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is inexpensive and visitors under 18 years of age can enter for free. Guided tours and talks are available; however, you may need to book your tour in advance.


Guide to Exploring around Kolumba


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