Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal Entrance

{Germany} The Von der Heydt Museum

We did it! We finally managed to make it across to Wuppertal in Germany, where most of my family live, for the first time in over two years. While we of course spent much time catching up with loved ones, we also squeezed in a bit of sightseeing. As much as we love Wuppertal, one thing it’s a bit short on is museums. The Museum of Early Industrialisation was always quite good to visit with families, but unfortunately it is currently closed for major renovation until 2024. The Sculpture Park Waldfrieden is brilliant, but we’ve been there a few times already and fancied something new. So, on our recent trip we finally visited the much lauded Von der Heydt Museum. I have actually been there before, but never with the kids.

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal Entrance
Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal Staircase

The Von der Heydt Museum is housed in the former city hall of Elberfeld, which then became a municipal museum in 1902. The museum’s collection dates back to donations from the Von Der Heydt banking family – important patrons, whom the museum is named after. Their interest lay primarily in paintings of the 19th century, and Impressionism in particular, but the collection now includes world famous works by artists from the Renaissance to the present time, in particular from Dutch, Flemish, French and of course German artists, and others too. It comprises over 2,000 paintings, 500 sculptures, 30,000 prints and drawings, and 700 photographs. 

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal with Kids
Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal sculpture

Famous international names include Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Edvard Munch, Salvador Dalí, and Alfred Sisley alongside well known German artists such as Franz Marc, Otto Dix, Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and August Macke. British artist Tony Cragg who now calls Wuppertal his home (and happens to be the founder of the above mentioned sculpture park) also features prominently both at the entrance and within the museum. The variety of styles and artists represented gives the museum a unique richness, and it is considered one of the most important and internationally renowned art museums in Germany. 

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal stairs

The collection is not currently on permanent display, but is instead presented in large, ever changing exhibitions focusing on different topics. During our visit, there were two main exhibitions. Firstly, one with contemporary art from the 1960s and 1970s; and secondly, an exhibition by German photographer Hans-Christian Schink covering his works from the past two decades, interspersed with major works from the museum’s collection of 19th century landscape paintings. 

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal with kids
Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal round stairs

Visiting an art museum with kids that has nothing specifically aimed at children or families may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but our boys have been exposed to all kinds of museums from birth so we took the risk. The museum does actually do regular children’s art workshops during local term-time but not during school holidays, and as our holidays always seem to coincide with those in Wuppertal we’ve always missed out on the workshops. Being seasoned museum visitors, we always have a few tricks up our sleeve though to make almost any museum engaging, including games like ‘I spy’, ‘Silliest Moustache’ (for portraits), and ‘Museum Rainbow’ (find paintings each featuring a different colour of the rainbows). We also like to choose a favourite artwork and consider where we would hang it at home. 

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal

On this occasion, we didn’t actually need many of our games, as the boys were quite interested in just the artworks themselves, especially in the first few rooms of the modern art exhibition, which included artworks with sounds and movement. Oskar in particular was very interested in the museum, which didn’t surprise me as art is his favourite subject at school. Mr Fox did start to lose interest towards the end, mostly due to getting hungry and thirsty, but all in all we lasted a good hour. On a final note, the architecture of the museum is also quite stunning, with lots of airy spaces, sweeping staircases, and interesting shapes and arches.

Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal staircase
Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal Tony Cragg

Visitor information

The Von der Heydt Museum charges admission, but children only pay a couple of Euros. If you have two adults in your group and any kids age 7+ then it’s worth getting a family ticket as it’s the price of two adult tickets so essentially the kids go free. Children up to the age of 6 always get free entry. You will received a wristband, which lets you in and out of the museum all day, so you can leave to go grab lunch, coffee or an ice cream and then come back.

Like many museums in Germany it is closed on Mondays as well as on some, but not all, public holidays. A full overview of admission prices and opening times can be found on the museum website.

How to get there

The Von der Heydt-Museum is located in the pedestrian zone of Wuppertal’s Elberfeld district, and as such is well connected to public transport. Options include trains, including the S-Bahn; Schwebebahn (Wuppertal’s famous monorail); and over ten different buses. The nearest stops, all within 3-5 minutes walk of the museum, are…

By Train (DB, S-Bahn): Hauptbahnhof

By Schwebebahn: Hauptbahnhof/ Döppersberg 

By Bus: Wall/ Museum, or Morianstraße

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