Aachen's museums Art for art’s sake

They’re six feet tall with brown eyes, velvety eyelashes, fat lips and matted coats. Inside, they’re made up wax, fibreglass, jute and animal skin: say hello to the two camels by Nancy Graves. Each one is painted with in acrylic and oil paint and has fur stuck to it, giving many the impression that they’re stuffed.

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 Germany’s greatest medieval sculpture collections from the 12th to the 16th centuries and a brilliant collection of carved altars are attracting visitors to 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

Aachen’s “best-known living room”, the Couven Museum, shows the development of middle-class home décor from the 18th and 19th centuries and also houses a reconstruction of the Adler pharmacy, the birthplace of confectionery 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.

Get Flash to see this player.

Ludwig International Art Forum - Views

Want more?

External links

Ludwig International Art ForumFrom pop art to current waves, collections, temporary exhibitions and special events offer you a lively picture of today’s art productions (German only) Suermondt Ludwig MuseumArt from classical times to the present day. Late medieval sculptures and paintings from the 17th century. Temporary photography exhibitions (German only) Couven MuseumHome décor from rococo to Biedermeier (German only) International Newspaper MuseumA multimedia experience Friedrichs Border Customs MuseumThe history of customs and excise (German only) Current monthly overview museum attractions(German only) Friends of the Ludwig International Art ForumThe Aachen Modern Art & Culture Society (German only)