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

In 1856, in the Neander Valley near Düsseldorf, quarry workers discovered the bones of an Ice Age human – Neanderthals had arrived. Today, the Neanderthal is a worldwide celebrity and the Neanderthal Museum, with 160,000 visitors annually, is a visitor magnet.

In order to continue to present human history at its most up-to-date, the museum, opened in 1996, received an update for its 20th anniversary in October, 2016.

Visitors will undertake a journey through time, exploring human history - from our beginnings in Africa more than 4 million years ago, up to the present. Especially popular are the life-like Neanderthal reconstructions, like Herr N, Mr. 4%, or the young girl Kina. And these are now receiving reinforcements. More ancestors from our extensive family tree – six hominins modelled by the sculptors Adrie and Alfons Kennis – populate the permanent exhibition and invite visitors to feel like part of the extensive human family. In the new “Hall of Mirrors” we encounter our cousin the Neanderthal. The new excavation and laboratory models in the ArchaeoWonderland show how scientists from the field of archaeology and from other disciplines work to reconstruct our past. Those who take a look into the research boxes can discover further background information. Included in the price of admission is an audio guide in German and English, and also a version for children.

The architects Günter Zamp Kelp, Julius Krauss, and Arno Brandlhuber designed a special building 20 years ago, which has won many prizes in the time since. The blue glass facade makes an almost unreal impression in the protected valley landscape. A visit to the museum can be combined with a visit to the find site, the “Human Traces” art trail, and the nearby animal park, where tarpan, aurochs, and European bison are kept and bred.

Those who would like to learn Stone Age crafts, or just try them out, can take part in a workshop or course at the museum's Stone Age Workshop. Especially popular are the activity programmes, which include archery and geocaching, for company outings or birthdays. Those who would like to experience the exhibitions in a more entertaining fashion should consider a guided discovery tour. Whether “With a Mop in the Stone Age” or “The Caretaker's Stone Age”, we guarantee you will laugh and learn (these tours available only in German).

The Discovery Site

Feldhofer Cave, where the remains of the original Neanderthal were discovered in 1856, was destroyed as a result of quarry work. After new excavations in 1997 and 2000, a park was created on the site of the world-famous discovery.

Rent a set of headphones in the museum and listen to enthralling stories about the history of the valley. The audioguide is included in the admission price for the museum.

The discovery site is approximately 400 metres from the museum.

Ice Age Animal Park

The goal the Neanderthal Animal Park has set itself is the keeping of rare Ice Age animals in an ethical, species-appropriate manner. The park has pursued this goal since its founding, in 1935, by the Neandertal Nature Conservation Society. In the park's extensive open-air enclosures live European bison, as well as animals which have been 'back-bred' to resemble aurochs and tarpan (Eurasian wild horse), both of which became extinct in Europe centuries ago.

Aurochs and tarpan were the ancestors of today's domestic cattle and horses. As such, modern cattle and horses carry the genetic inheritance of those extinct species within them. By cross-breeding modern species and selecting for traits exhibited by aurochs and tarpan, animals were produced that closely resemble their ancestors.

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.