Horses, cows, pigs, geese, chickens – all over the museum grounds visitors come across animals. Because the museum not only wants to show how people used to live, but also what they grew in their gardens and fields and which animals belonged to the peasants’ farmsteads. The animal breeds which live in the museum are often threatened with extinction today. The conservation of these historical breeds is important for the museum, so that it is engaged in reverse breeding programs. In the museum you can find the following animals: the Ardennes carthorse, a donkey, the white German Edelziege goat, black-pied cattle from the Lower Rhine, Glan-Donnersberger cattle and the German Weideschwein pig. The Westerwald cow-dog is also at home in the museum, along with several cats. Next to them diverse kinds of poultry bustle about the grounds. In addition to the German Sperber and other chickens, Pomeranian geese and knob geese live in the Groups of Buildings.

Not all the animals you can see here in the museum belonged to every farmstead. The poor farmer living in the mountain regions was often only able to keep one goat, for not everyone could afford a cow. The goat often used to be described as the „little man’s cow". Goats belonged to the smallest farms and were, in the absence of a cow, the only source of milk.

A cow represented a certain luxury. It was rare to have several cows, only in the Lower Rhine were larger herds the rule. Mostly single animals were kept, which had several tasks; they supplied milk and meat and above all were used as working animals. The dung of the animals was used as fertilizer, the hair for upholstery, the hides for leather.

But although cattle were important for daily life, the conditions they were kept in were often catastrophic. The bad geographical conditions – for example in the Eifel – contributed as much to the poverty of the people as the customary division of land under inheritance law. The stables were too small, damp and dark, instead of straw heather or moss was used as litter, for straw was fed to the animals. The areas for pasture were often too small and meagre to find enough grazing to feed them. The animals frequently became so thin due to a lack of fodder during the winter that they collapsed in the stable and had to be turned from side to side at intervals, so that they wouldn’t develop sores from lying - this was known as airing them. In spring they sometimes even had to be carried to the meadow to graze, where they gradually recovered again. Looking after the cattle was mostly a job for the children, or elderly people, although in Westerwald for example, there were also herdsmen who took care of the whole village’s stock of cattle together.

If a family was rather wealthier, they could afford to buy an ox, which could neither give milk, nor was any use for breeding, but was only useful as a working animal. If things went really well for a family, they would be able to purchase a horse; in the border region of the Eifel this was frequently an Ardennes carthorse, in the rest of the Rhineland it was likely to be the Rhenish-Westphalian carthorse.

Poultry was always at home in the farmyards on the land. The Bergisch Kräher (crowing cock) or the German Sperber were common chicken breeds in the Rhineland. But the inhabitants of towns also kept chickens. They did not have enough space for a larger animal, whereas a chicken coop was small and the chickens provided them with eggs and meat. Their feed, consisting of insects, worms, grain and parts of plants, was sought and found in the farmyard by the free-roaming chickens. A couple of geese often belonged to the farmstead. They are not choosy about what they eat and despite this they turn into highly nutritious meat.


You can store your luggage in lockers by the entrance and reception desks.

Information about projects, guided tours and courses

All projects, guided tours and courses can be found here. You can also call at kulturinfo and get advice or book: Tel. 02234/9921555,

Kids’ Carts

By the entrance and reception desks you can hire a kids’ cart (Bollerwagen) to pull behind you for a fee of 3 €. During the year the museum offers a series of events and activities especially for children. You can find details about them in the Annual Program.

Walking frames

The Friends of the Museum have purchased walking framesfor the museum, which can be borrowed at the entrance / reception desk.

Lost Property

Lost and found property is kept at the entrance/reception desks. Tel. 02443-9980140

Barrier-free Access

The Open Air Museum is situated on a hilltop and therefore includes gradients of up to 17 % in some places. The footpaths are largely made of cobblestones, as well as water-bound surfaces. Between the individual Groups of Buildings there are benches in the grounds, as well as picnic areas with tables. … more about barrier-free access

Dogs in the Museum

Naturally, your dog is allowed to come into the museum with you. But please keep the dog on a short leash (reel-leashes must be locked) while observing the usual legal regulations. Unfortu-nately, dogs are not allowed into the houses and exhibition halls.


You will encounter subjects for photographic and video recordings all over the grounds. Natural-ly, you are welcome to photograph or film them, but only for private purposes to remember your visit. The commercial use or publication of such images is not permitted. For further in-formation check out Photography in the Museum.