While Berlin may have the reputation of being Germany’s hip cultural capital, the country’s best museums are actually found in Frankfurt. Splicing the city in two, the River Main’s embankment is home to the Museumsufer; a cluster of world-class galleries and museums sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. From the conceptual contemporary art and iconic Old Master paintings to fascinating local history and ancient sculptures, you can find it all along this small stretch of the Main. Dedicate a day to wandering the leafy banks of the Museumsufer and the best of Frankfurt’s art galleries and museums.
A gorgeous 19th-century turreted villa, Liebieghaus is considered one of the world’s leading sculpture museums. With an incredible 3,000 strong collection of historic works that runs from ancient Egypt through to classical masterpieces, it’s not hard to see why. Wander round its elegant hallways and explore everything from Greek bronzes, medieval reliefs and Rococo busts. When you need a break order a strong coffee in Liebieghaus’s stunning cross-vaulted café.
Germany’s oldest museum foundation – and easily its most impressive – the Städel Museum squeezes in seven hundred years of European art under one roof. Occupying a grand Neoclassical building with a vast subterranean gallery, the two hundred-year old museum’s collection includes everything from Botticelli to Bacon. There is something for everyone: paintings by Rembrandt, Impressionist masterpieces by Monet and contemporary photography from Wolfgang Tilmans. Exit by the gift shop to pick up one of its 6,000 books before you leave.
German Architecture Museum
With a collection of 200,000 plans, drawings and sketches, 1,320 models and items of furniture, the German Architecture Museum (DAM) is an outstanding showcase of architecture through the ages. Design and construction enthusiasts will love its permanent collection as well as revolving program of exhibitions featuring projects by international architects and regular lectures on sustainable urban development.
German Film Museum
Next door to the DAM, the German Film Museum is a cinephile’s dream. The five-storey temple to the silver screen contains a permanent archive of historical film equipment, with interactive stations and behind-the-scenes peeks at how cinematic special effects are created. Temporary exhibitions celebrate the latest cinematic technology and legacy works of iconic filmmakers. A fully immersive experience, the German Film Museum is a must for film fans. As you’d expect, there’s an in-house cinema too, screening art house flicks and international classics.
Historical Museum Frankfurt
Carefully preserving and presenting objects relating to Frankfurt, the Historical Museum Frankfurt is a vast time capsule of local history. Literally everything one could think of can be found within its walls; 13th century militaria, Baroque musical instruments and even puppet theatres once owned by Frankfurt aristocracy. Spread across five buildings including the 800-year old Saalhof and a brand new exhibition house, the museum is a rich treasure trove of Frankfurt’s compelling past.
SCHIRN is at the forefront of cutting edge, contemporary and modern art. Located between the embankment, next to Römerberg, the cavernous new-build gallery has an ever-changing collection, often borrowing from prestigious galleries such as New York’s Guggenheim. From lively, pop-art installations by performance artist John M Armleder to art pieces that function as musical instruments, exhibitions at SCHIRN are always fun, multimedia experiences that all ages will love.