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The Rhineland and the World

How did the Rhine influence the landscape and its people? What role did the river play for the development of trade, of technical knowledge, and for cultural exchange? It is not only during the times of Antiquity that far-reaching contacts had been established. Very early on, in the well at Kückhoven, there had been an amber bead there that once came from the Baltic region.

Even back then, the world was not small and limited. Well before Roman times, there had been a lively and busy trade with the Mediterranean region via the rivers Rhône, Saône, Marne, Mosel and Rhine. But it was the Romans, whose virtually perfect street and traffic network ensured intensive connections between the population north of the Alps and Mediterranean culture. This is proven not lastly by numerous unusual pieces of jewelry.

Ceramics production in the Rhineland has been of outstanding importance since Antiquity, these wares having been traded as far away as Scandinavia as early as the 9th century. Siegburg stoneware from the 15th to the 17th century is the Rhineland's first global export success, and is found in the earliest settlements of North America as well as in the trade companies of East Asia.

But what was the situation concerning the mobility of the population? Pilgrimages were often the only possibility people in the Middle Ages had for discovering unknown regions and cities. People came from far away to visit mediaeval pilgrimage destinations in the Rhineland such as Aachen - to be seen here is an original column from Charlemagne's minster - and Cologne.

Only in Renaissance times did the landscape become a part of art. In the 16th century, in the southern parts of Germany the first paintings come about which are exclusively devoted to landscape portrayal. In the mid-16th century a first zenith of this new genre comes about in the Netherlands. Soon the Rhine becomes a popular motif, and along with Rhine romanticism, it is above all the middle Rhine region with its castles, vineyards, and medieval cities that become a travel destination of the European middle class. We may reach a very good understanding of man's changing view to his surroundings by looking at numerous works of art from the 16th to the 19th century.

The Düsseldorf School of Painting also takes up landscape painting. A rich holding of their works in the LandesMuseum illustrates its scope, which ranges from history painting and genre paintings up to religious motifs. Finally, the so-called "Kaiser panorama", named for the first place it was set up on Kaiserstraße Street in Berlin, affords us three-dimensional views of the Rhineland from the beginning of the 20th century.


LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Colmantstr. 14-16, 53115 Bonn

Tel. +49 (0) 228 / 2070 - 0, Fax +49 (0) 228 / 2070 - 299

Opening Hours Museum

TUE - FRI, SON 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., SAT 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., MON closed

Guided tours for school groups available from 10 a.m.

Opening Hours Library

MON - FRI 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.