Logo Kölner Karneval

Immaterielles Kulturerbe des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

Welcome to the Cologne Carnival!

The official homepage of the Festival Committee of the Cologne Carnival of 1823

Carnival has been celebrated in the City of Cologne since time immemorial. However, after the French Revolutionary troops left Cologne in 1814 and the Prussians took over, it was high time to "organise" the street carnival which, the new authority felt, was getting out of hand. Thus, in 1823 the "Festordnendes Komitee" was founded, the predecessor of todays Festival Committee.

On February 10, 1823 Cologne celebrated the first Rose Monday ("Rosenmontag") with the motto "Inthronisation of the Carnival Hero". Over the years, decades and centuries certain traditions and customs emerged, which are still the hallmark of the traditional Cologne Carnival: the indoor festivities (sessions and balls) and, of course, the street carnival, culminating in the grand parade on Rose Monday. It is the task of the Festival Committee, the umbrella organisation representing well over 100 Cologne carnival associations, traditional corps, etc., to coordinate, set common standards, and preserve the tradition of the "fifth season".

No doubt, the Cologne "Karneval" plays in the Champions League together with the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro and Carnival in Venice!

The Carnival Season

Given its Christian roots, the date of Rose Monday is determined by the Church calendar: It takes place on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, which in turn marks the beginning of Lent leading up to Good Friday and Easter. Traditionally, the fifth season is declared open at 11 minutes past eleven on the eleventh of November! The Carnival spirit is then temporarily suspended by the Advent and Christmas period, and picks up again "in earnest" in the New Year. Street carnival, also called "the crazy days", takes places between Thursday (Women’s Carnival Day) before Rose Monday and ends on Ash Wednesday.

The carnival museum of Cologne

An experience with a difference

Come and visit the largest museum of carnival in the German-speaking area!

Our museum opened its gates in 2005 and was already awarded the title of “2006 Location of Ideas and Innovations” the following year. The exhibition boasts a wide variety of exhibits from the history of carnival in Europe. Marvel at our collection of medals from Cologne's various carnival clubs or listen to typical carnival music in kölsch, the dialect spoken in Cologne.

Travel through time to experience the colourful history of carnival, from antiquity through the baroque era to modern times and find out all about one of the largest festivals in Germany. How was carnival celebrated and influenced through the ages?! Why and how did it become the event we know today?!

Come and escape into the vibrant joyful world of carnival or experience the dark moments of this bright and happy festival.

All this is possible in our museum covering a premises of 1,400 square metres. Whether you come alone, with friends, family or business partners, don’t miss the opportunity of sharing this unique experience – and who knows, maybe it will entice you to celebrate the world-famous Cologne carnival yourself next year with us in the streets of Cologne.

Sending you a happy “Alaaf” until then!

Kölner Karnevalsmuseum
Maarweg 134-136
D-50825 Köln


Opening days
Saturday, 03.09.2016
Saturday, 08.10.2016
Saturday, 19.11.2016
Saturday, 03.12.2016
Saturday, 07.01.2017
Saturday, 04.02.2017
Tuesday, 28.03.2017

Opening hours
10 am - 4 pm
2x guidances per day

6,00 € Adults
4,00 € Children / Seniors / Students

Guidance (extra)
8,00 € Adults
5,00 € Children / Seniors / Students

Or buy your tickets for 2017 directly in January:

In the "Kaatebus" (ticket bus) of Festkomitee Kölner Karneval at Neumarkt
phone: +49 (0) 221 - 25 80 40 4

Opening time
Tuesday – Friday  9.30 – 18.30 hrs
Saturdays 9.30 to 16:30 hrs

How to reach the museum with public transport:

Tram no. 1/Stop: Maarweg/10 minutes’ walk
Bus nos. 141 and 143/Stop: Karnevalsmuseum/2 minutes’ walk