One of the most popular and most modern museums of Europe is situated on the ground where the most famous German was discovered 150 years ago: the Neanderthal man. This world historic place gives reason for a time travel through the history of mankind – from the very beginning in the African savannah more than 4 million years ago until today.

 

The museum and the Neander Valley with a number of visitor attractions welcome visitors from around the world.

The Museum

“Where do we come from?” – “Who are we?” – “Where are we going?” 

 

These are the central questions leading through the Neanderthal Museum. The exhibition traces humankind’s long journey from the savannas to the big cities of our times. Of course, emphasis is given to the Neanderthals, whose life-size figures were reconstructed from original fossils applying scientific methods.

 

Mr. N. – the star of the museum – welcomes you at the entrance of the museum. The permanent exhibition is displayed on a spiraling ramp, gradually winding itself up over four floors. The first section of the walkway tells the history of the Neanderthal and describes the original discovery of the Neanderthal skeleton ("A valley and its Secret"). Following this introduction, the decisive moments in the history of humanity are presented ("A journey through time"). Five thematic areas give a chronological overview on the "Evolution of Humankind", stressing the themes "Life and Survival", "Tools and Knowledge", "Myth and Religion", "Environment and Nourishment", as well as "Communication and Society".

 

A variety of multimedia arrangements and audio-experiences, exhibits and texts, bring to life the results of current archaeological and palaeoanthropological research. For those wishing to deepen their understanding additional computer stations are available.

 

The museum´s exhibition and architecture have won several national and international awards. More than 130 German and international architects took part in the Museum Association's competition for the new Museum which was announced in the spring of 1993. The choice of the Association fell upon the design by Professor Günter Zamp Kelp, Julius Krauss and Arno Brandlhuber, a design in which the striking architecture expresses and reflects the importance of the location.

 

The main exhibition building is flanked by the administrative tract. The Museum's garden is open for outdoor activities and recreation.

 

The Discovery Site

Following a marked way for 400 meters starting at the museum, visitors will reach the place where the Neanderthal bones have been discovered in 1856.

 

The Feldhof cave is lost forever due to limestone quarrying. Just recently, during archaeological excavations in 1997 and 2000, the location of the cave was rediscovered. Landscape architects redesigned the area and turned the famous place into an archaeological garden. The visual building blocks, stone crosses, a time axis, alignment stakes, and stone pallets give an account of the changing history of the valley. Two botanical areas show typical vegetation from the Ice Age.

 

All relevant areas of the discovery site are integrated by an audio-system into an epic tale of the history of the valley, and the research done within it. Visitors can experience the site with all senses – its secret, the majority of the finds are still slumbering in the ground.

 

Game reserve

Game reserve

Aurochs, tarpan (wild horse), and bisons are living in the large and spacious outdoor enclosures. All of them became extinct in Europe some hundred years ago. And yet they are ancestors of our contemporary cattle and horses, which in turn means, that these modern animals must still carry the genetic code of the extinct animals within them. Crossbreeding of unspoilt breeds finally re-established animals that are very similar to their ancestors.

 

Keeping those Ice Age animals appropriate to the needs of the species is the main effort of the game reserve in the Neanderthal. The animal park was founded in 1935 by the Nature Conservancy Society.

 

The Game Reserve makes for a beautiful walk starting the museum. The circular route takes about 90 minutes.

The "Human Traces" Arts Trail

THE "HUMAN TRACES" ART TRAIL

The art project is dedicated to the relationship between humans and nature. Humanity began to step out of nature, to search for an independent position already shortly after its emergence.

 

This process is visualized in different ways by the works of eleven artists. Their sculptures want to provoke a self-reflection upon the nature of humanity and a new approach to nature.

 

The traces of the artists repeatedly connect in various ways to the landscape along the pathway. A number of the works have actually to be discovered within the landscape, others change with the seasons. 

 

The 1.200 m long marked way starts at the Neanderthal Museum. Earphones can be borrowed at the museum to listen to the artist’s explanations and comments.