Wilhelm Joest

The private collection of Wilhelm Joest (1852-1897) form the basis of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. On his journeys he collected several thousands of objects from all continents. After his death his sister Adele Rautenstrauch donated 3500 objects to the City of Cologne and in 1901 the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum was founded. Wilhelm Joest was the embodiment of the educated cosmopolitan traveller, who regarded travelling as a means of encountering other cultures and broadening his horizon. Joest was imbued with the ideas of his times and was, therefore, convinced of the cultural superiority and consequent claim to power of the Europeans. His critics of colonialism and mission were frequently pragmatic justified.

Wilhelm Joest wrote about his travel experiences in numerous books, essays and in his diary.

Travel Diaries

With generous support of the Museumsgesellschaft RJM e.V. – the friends of the museum – the 15 conserved diaries were digitised and transliterated. The historian Sabine Eller investigated and documented other materials, too. Now these sources are available for scientific research.

Opening Hours & Adress

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum
Cultures of the world
Cäcilienstraße 29-33
50667 Köln
+49 0221 / 221 - 313 56

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Thursday 10am-8pm
(public holidays 10am-6pm)
Closed on Mondays