The Bundeskunsthalle

The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany – in short, the Bundeskunsthalle – is a unique venue devoted to art, culture and science. Central to the programming are exhibitions of art of all periods, including contemporary art, as well as shows devoted to cultural history, archaeology, science and other areas of knowledge. Further to these exhibitions, the Bundeskunsthalle develops and presents an independent performing arts programme with guest performances and in-house productions by different artists and ensembles from the world of theatre, performance, dance and music.

A forum for art and communication, international and cosmopolitan.

The Bundeskunsthalle sets out to look not only at Western culture, but to take a global view. Equally important is the institution’s commitment to wider audience participation in culture and to comprehensive social and cross-cultural inclusion and integration. This commitment is reflected not only in the exhibitions themselves but also in the accompanying programme of events, which include discussions, lectures, talks, guided tours and workshops.

Through its many cooperative projects, the Bundeskunsthalle has established an international network of contacts with cultural and scientific institutions and gained access to wider audiences whose input and responses are valued as part of an ongoing dialogue. The exhibitions and events hosted by the Bundeskunsthalle are integral to the institution’s remit to act both nationally and internationally as a showcase for the open and inclusive concept of culture that is central to the identity of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Foto zeigt die Bundeskunsthalle und den Vorplatz.

Exhibitions & Events

Foto zeigt das Forum mit Publikum.

The range of themes covered has expanded significantly since 1992. Major exhibitions devoted to modern art such as Max Liebermann (2011) were complemented by exhibitions that pursued new scholarly approaches such as Napoleon and Europe – Dream and Trauma (2010/11), archaeological shows such as Gandhara – The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan (2008) or ethnographic ones such as James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific (2009). The exhibition The Museum of Modern Art, New York – From Cézanne to Pollock (1992) was the first in an ongoing series of shows entitled The Great Collections, in which we have presented the collections of more than thirty of the world’s leading museums. Art and Culture in Papal Rome – High Renaissance in the Vatican (1998), which drew on the holdings of the Vatican Museums, was a milestone exhibition, as was the enormously popular presentation of The Guggenheim (2006). Contemporary artists, too, have come to see the Art and Exhibition Hall as an important venue. After the inaugural exhibition devoted to Niki de Saint Phalle in 1992, artists such as Sam Francis (1993), Gerhard Richter (1993) and Sigmar Polke (1997) were honoured with major retrospectives, as were Georg Baselitz (2004), Markus Lüpertz (2009), Liam Gillick (2010), Thomas Schütte (2010), Heinz Mack (2011) and Anselm Kiefer (2012).

Civilisations and cultures – Artists and art

The Forum, an event room with up to 550 seats, hosts congresses and symposiums, discussion events, readings, performances, festivals, film, dance and theater screenings. In addition, the art education department offers a wealth of workshops, guided tours and lectures for each exhibition. The publicly accessible art library, the museum shop, the Restaurant Gustav and the gastronomy on the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle present further offers and suggestions.


The idea of a ‘Federal Kunsthalle’ is as old as the Bonn republic itself and the debate about the shape its capital was to take. But whereas Bonn’s political future was still hanging in the balance – the decisive parliamentary vote was not taken until 3 November 1949 – the project of the ‘Federal Kunsthalle’ had already found its first lobbyists. On 17 October 1949 the local newspaper reported that 120 invited artists had discussed the possibility of constructing an art and exhibition hall in Bonn. After forty years of endless debate about the shape, location and function of such an institution, on 17 October 1989 Chancellor Helmut Kohl finally laid the foundation stone of the Gustav Peichl-designed building.

After forty years of tough wrangling, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl laid the foundation on 17 October 1989.

The Bundeskunsthalle was inaugurated on 17 June 1992. The concept behind the Bundeskunsthalle was absolutely unprecedented. Nowhere in the Western world was there an institutional model for a highly symbolic cultural centre created solely for the purpose of prestigious temporary exhibitions.

Foto zeigt eine Skizze der Bundeskunsthalle.


Foto zeigt einen der Lichttürme von innen.

The striking building on the erstwhile ‘diplomatic racetrack’ was designed by the Viennese architect Gustav Peichl. It was the serene poetic character of his design that tipped the scales in his favour and singled it out among the thirty-five entries submitted to the jury of the initial ideas competition.

A landmark of Bonn

The jury protocol of October 1986 states: ‘Both in terms of function and design, the revised concept seeks to reflect the democracy at the heart of Europe in the new building of the Federal Kunsthalle. The well-conceived, fully functional internal space and the poetic character of the exterior imbue the building with a highly distinctive physiognomy. (…) Clad in stone and copper sheeting, the eye-catching, individually designed light spires signal the cultural and artistic content of the building.’

The three iconic cones – now resplendent in bright blue majolica tiles – quickly came to be seen not just as the emblem of the new kunsthalle, but as an instantly recognisable landmark of the city of Bonn. The building provides a differentiated and versatile system of small, medium and large rooms with a total of 5,600 square metres that can be lit with daylight and artificial light. The configuration of the galleries meets practically every requirement a curator might have, allowing for large-scale exhibitions as well as for more intimate cabinet presentations. The landscaped roof garden – Peichl referred to it as the ‘fifth façade’ – serves as a public space for sculpture and garden exhibitions and adds another 8,000 square metres to the exhibition space available.



Our mission is to make intellectual and cultural developments visible in a variety of exhibitions and events and to create spaces that enable all visitors, regardless of their personal background, to access art and culture. In our exhibitions, we always create a reference to today. In this way, we take responsibility for Germany's self-image as a cultural nation.

International environment

We are committed to social and cultural openness and open-mindedness. With this basic attitude, we make an important contribution to Germany's role in the globalised world and take account of the social changes of our time. We create a continuous cultural exchange within Germany, Europe and the world.


We have the privilege and the task of working in an interdisciplinary way. We bridge the gap between art and science, between popular culture, archaeology, cultural history and contemporary art. Not having our own collection means that we are always on the lookout for new themes and forms of realisation. Through our diversity, we open the door to art and culture to a wide audience. Art takes centre stage. Hence our guiding principle: "No exhibition without art!"
We also support everyone's right to participate in culture and education, regardless of cognitive impairments or social or physical barriers.


We feel a special obligation to treat the works and content responsibly and appreciatively. Every exhibition and event is conceived and realised in the most innovative and culturally sustainable way possible. We rely on high-calibre national and international partners, a broad wealth of experience among our employees and distinctive professional expertise in order to meet our high quality standards.

Projects of the Bundeskunsthalle

Living culture and promoting cultural exchange – in this sense, the Bundeskunsthalle is dedicated to research and interdisciplinary collaboration with cooperation partners at European and international level.

Social Forum of the Bundeskunsthalle

Citizens are involved in the further development of the Bundeskunsthalle in order to learn from their suggestions and recommendations – by thinking about infrastructure, welcoming culture, inclusion, participation or generally about future thematic orientation.


Salon 53177

The creative living room in Bad Godesberg – from the neighbourhood for the neighbourhood.


Dancing Museums

This is a research project (action-research) with the aim of establishing long-term collaborations between dance institutions, museums, universities and local communities, which in turn should result in cultural offerings for local visitors.


Iran: The Provincial Museum Yazd & National Museum Teheran

Together with various local partner institutions, two projects supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in its "Patrimonies" funding programme will be carried out at the National Museum in Tehran and in the provincial city of Yazd between 2017 and 2022.