Aachen's museums Art for art’s sake
Duane Hanson’s „Supermarket Lady”, the “Ballerina Clown” by Jonathan Borofsky, pictures by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein – they’re all among the best-known works of art in the second half of the 20th century.
Their home is Aachen’s Ludwig Forum for International Art. The collections it houses are a true kaleidoscope of art, showing how it developed from the 60’s to the present day. Videos, performances, live art and multimedia productions augment the works on show at the Ludwig Forum, a former umbrella factory and now a multi-discipline, international home to the contemporary arts.
One of the most important medieval sculpture collections in Germany and a superb collection of carved altars are open to visitors in the majestic surroundings of the Suermondt Ludwig Museum. The facility, which emerged from an expansive town-house for the haute bourgeoisie, today exhibits art treasures from the ancient world through to the present day, including wonderful medieval madonnas and paintings by the great 17th century Dutch masters. It also serves as a platform for exhibitions by well-known photographers.
Discover history in Aachen's museums
Silver spoon and Liège baroque: The Couven Museum gives an overview of how bourgeois home decor and style changed in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it also houses a reconstruction of the Adler Pharmacy, the cradle of chocolate production in Aachen.
Civil disobedience is the underlying theme at the Zollmuseum Friedrichs (Friedrichs Border Customs Museum), which keeps alive memories of the life and times of our national frontiers and includes documentary evidence of the “border capers” that went on in the 1950’s when customs officials and smugglers were still engaging in real-life chases.
The International Newspaper Museum, housed in the former “Aachen Great Hall”, a 15th century residential building, is a multimedia experience. One of the most up-to-the-minute, revealing exhibitions on 21st century media is being shown in five themed rooms and uses modern, easy-to-follow techniques to show visitors how the media influence consumers, for example with the “Chaos Chamber” showing today’s omnipresent media deluge and themed exhibitions such as “From the event to the news item” and “Truth & Lies”. With around 200,000 newspapers spanning five centuries in almost all languages, the museum exhibits the world’s largest collection of first editions, anniversary editions and closing editions which may also be accessed online.
These places are definitely worth a visit – not just on a rainy Sunday afternoon! With their collections and temporary exhibitions, Aachen’s museums will lead you time and again on exciting voyages of discovery.
From the Stone Age to the present day: the “Centre Charlemagne”, the new City Museum of Aachen, is located on the Katschhof, the former Palace Courtyard between the Cathedral and the Town Hall.
Here, visitors can find out about Aachen’s most prominent historical personalities, events and narratives. They will learn something about the “settlement at the hot springs”, and especially about Roman Aachen. The sections “Charlemagne’s Palace and St Mary’s Church” and “City of Coronations” offer glimpses back to medieval times. “Baroque Spa Resort” and “Dawn of the Modern Age” show Aachen as a fashionable spa resort where noble guests and celebrities came in search of amusement, and as an emerging industrial town. “From Frontline Town to European City” traces Aachen’s history during and after the great wars of the 20th century through to its role as a place of European reconciliation and progress, where each year the Charle¬magne Prize is awarded to outstanding Europeans. And ever-present: Charlemagne, the central figure in whom the history of Aachen and the history of Europe converge.
The Centre Charlemagne also boasts temporary exhibitions, a museum education section and a café. By the way, the building continues to be used by the City Administration, and also houses Aachen’s Citizens’ Service Centre.
Duane Hanson’s „Supermarket Lady“, paintings of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein – they all belong to the most famous art works of our times.
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