• 0

Bonn: a new lease of life for Germany's former capital.

There are few cities in recent history that have to live with the label of 'ex-capital city', but Bonn is one of them. Nevertheless, those who thought Bonn would fade into obscurity without its capital status have been proven wrong. Previously known as the 'federal village', and now an internationally renowned hub of commerce and culture, Bonn comes across as assured and cosmopolitan as ever.

It was certainly not the worst of times when Bonn was the capital of western Germany. To this day, the 'Bonn Republic' is symbolic of diplomacy, democracy and Germany's post-war recovery. The fittingly named 'Path of Democracy' walking tour takes in sights of historical interest in the former government quarter. Authentic sites of Germany's political past now open to visitors include Schaumburg Palace, the Chancellor's Bungalow and the former parliament chamber. The Bonn Republic can also be revisited at the Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, the starting point of the 'Path of Democracy'. The many exhibits in the permanent collection, including Adenauer's famous Mercedes, documents, photos and film footage, rekindle memories and illustrate the historical and political background to events between the post-war period and reunification. Bonn is much more than just the former capital of Germany, however. It enjoys widespread renown as a city of the arts, for example. Internationally acclaimed Bonn Theatre is a top destination for discerning audiences, while the Schauspiel Biennale festival, first held in 1992, has also gained a worldwide following. As the birthplace of Beethoven, Bonn honours its world-famous son during the Beethoven Festival, a series of concerts held every September and October that spreads the joy of classical music. The Rhine in Flames music and firework spectacular gives the city another reason to celebrate. During the festivities, a flotilla of illuminated boats sails along the river accompanied by magical explosions of lights in the night sky and bombastic sounds.

Bonn confirms its reputation as one of Germany's finest centres for art with two of the country's most important art museums – the Bonn museum of art and the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, otherwise known as the Federal Art Gallery. The Museum of Art features one of the most extensive collections of German Expressionism, as well as German modern art and international prints after 1945. The Federal Art Gallery, meanwhile, has an even higher calling. Its raison d'être is to display Germany's 'intellectual and cultural riches' in an appropriate setting and to promote an ongoing international dialogue between culture and politics. These may sound like lofty ambitions, but the many millions who visit every year attest to the museum's success. Many other museums in the city attract visitor numbers that are almost as impressive, with people coming in their hundreds of thousands. Among these is the Bonn German Museum, whose 100 contemporary masterpieces of science and technology are a big draw for tech-fans. August Macke House, the Women's Museum, the Academic Art Museum and the municipal museum all have devoted fanbases too. The city is even a gallery in itself, with many outstanding works of art on public display, including Victor Vasarely's Juridicum facade, Henry Moore's 'Large Two Forms' in front of the former Federal Chancellery and 'Die Wolkenschale' by Hans Arp at the university library. Masterpieces worthy of a capital city.


There is probably no other building that better reflects how Germany perceives itself than the Federal Art Gallery in Bonn – known in German as the Bundeskunsthalle. A gallery devoted to art that is cosmopolitan, transparent, multifaceted and historically aware but that also has an eye to the future.

With its dark patinated steel columns, 16 in number, symbolising Germany's federal states and its three eye-catching towers representing the artistic triumvirate of architecture, painting and sculpture, the building designed by Austrian architect Gustav Peichl on Friedrich-Ebert-Allee in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Bonn – former capital of West Germany and present-day UN city – is as symbolic as it is distinctive.
Since 1992 the gallery has hosted important exhibitions in the fields of art, cultural history, archaeology, science and technology. From 'Napoleon and Europe', 'Masterpieces of Classical Modernism' and 'Byzantium' to 'The surviving treasures of Afghanistan', 'Global Change' and 'Arctic – Antarctic', the programme is as multifaceted as the interests of its visitors. The gallery's forum hosts conferences, symposiums, readings, performances, film screenings, plays and dance performances, and Museumsplatz square serves as a venue for summer concerts. As well as an ever-changing display of sculptures, the rooftop garden has a beer garden and affords wonderful views of the city and surrounding area. At the Federal Art Gallery in Bonn, there is plenty to see – wherever you look.

Upcoming dates:

17.12.2019 - 26.04.2020


53113 Bonn

All information on prices, dates and opening times are subject to change without notice.


Event search
(in german and english)
other search criteria
Reset all