Ukiyo-e Malerei auf Seide: Geisha schützt sich mit einem Schirm gegen Schnee, Hängerolle, Tusche und Farbe auf Seide, Mitte 19. Jh, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln, © RBA

Museum | Circle of Friends

Distinguished company

The Circle of Friends stands in the tradition of the ‘Association for the Promotion of the Cologne Civic Museum for East Asian Art’ set up by Arnold von Guilleaume (1868–1939) in 1909. Its founding members included, alongside Mayor Wallraf, leading Cologne citizens, industrialists and bankers such as Franz Xaver Bachem, Dr. Carl Joest, Gottlieb von Langen, Alfred Neven DuMont, Albert and Dr. Emil von Oppenheim, Moritz Seligmann, Heinrich von Stein and Julius and Fritz Vorster. The members committed themselves to make annual contributions of 10,000 marks towards the museum’s purchasing budget. By the end of the First World War, the association was contributing between one sixth and one tenth of the funds earmarked in the city budget for the upkeep of the museum.

The ‘Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst e.V.’, as the Circle of Friends is legally known, was formed in 1989 with the aim of supporting the museum in the fulfilment of its cultural and scholarly remit. Apart from minimal sums spent on administration, the income of this non-profit association, consisting almost entirely of donations and regular contributions is used in numerous ways for the museum’s benefit. Alongside immaterial support for the work of the museum, the organization of lectures and study trips (not free) to comparable institutions in other European countries, the Circle of Friends makes contributions to purchases, takes on renovation expenses, supports the academic investigation of museum holdings, and provides the entire budget of the museum library. In 1913, to mark the centenary of the museum’s opening, the Circle of Friends financed the restoration of the grave of the museum’s founder in Melaten cemetery, and also the museum’s website.

The affairs of the Circle of Friends are managed on an honorary basis by a board consisting of six Cologne citizens chaired by Michael Oppenhoff.


The ‘Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst in Köln e.V.’ is a non-profit organization. Annual membership for natural and legal persons alike costs € 550. Contributions over and above the membership subscription are always welcome. The Circle of Friends certifies any such contributions, which, along with the subscription, are tax deductible in Germany as ‘donations for scientific or scholarly purposes’. In order to give members the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of East Asian art, every year thr museum plans an excursion to visit an exhibition of East Asian art either at home or abroad. When there is a special exhibition in the Cologne museum, a preview is held for members.

Requirements and use of funds

The City of Cologne is the legal entity responsible for the upkeep and operation of the Museum of East Asian Art. However, as its welfare expenses have priority, the city is increasingly unable to provide funds for new acquisitions or special exhibitions. The ‘Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst in Köln e.V.’, founded in 1989, has therefore the declared aim of acquiring high-calibre works of art from China, Korea and Japans for the museum, and thus to promote an internationally important place of cultural encounter with the Far East in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Circle of Friends also supports the museum in the exercise of its academic and educational remit. Thus the Circle has played a large part in the financing of exhibition catalogues and in the restoration of paintings (carried out in China or Japan as the case may be).

The funds available to the ‘Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst in Köln e.V.’ serve exclusively to acquire artworks for the museum, or to support its other work. Administrative costs are kept to a minimum.

Membership application

The ‘Fördererkreis des Museums für Ostasiatische Kunst in Köln e.V.’ is always glad to receive new members. Should you be interested, please just send an e-mail with your contact details to, and we will send you an application form.


Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday
11am – 5pm
Every first Thursday in the month
11am – 10pm 

Closed Mondays; open on All Saints' Day
Museum is closed on December 24th, Christmas Day (25 Dec), New Year's Eve (31 Dec) and New Year's Day (1 Jan). Museum is opend on Easter Monday, Whit Monday, German Unity Day and December 26.

Admission prices

€ 9.50 / reduced € 5,50

KölnTag on the first Thursday of the month (except public holidays): free admission to the Museum for all Cologne residents.

How to get here

Public transport: Tram routes 1 and 7 and bus route 142, alight at ‘Universitätsstrasse’
There is a car park at the museum


The museum is barrier-free. Disabled toilet available.

Museum für
Ostasiatische Kunst Köln
Universitätsstrasse 100
D 50674 Köln
Ticket office +49.221.221-28617
Legal notice