A dream becomes reality
Hans Imhoff (1922-2007), a passionate maker of chocolates, had a long held dream: a chocolate museum with a fountain of unending streams of chocolate.
In 1972, Hans Imhoff acquired the Stollwerck factory in Cologne’s Südstadt city quarter. It was there that he discovered by chance a transport container holding broken machinery, packaging material and old files ready for the rubbish tip. He was instantly aware that he had come across a treasure trove. He had the contents examined, refurbished and restored, creating the foundations for a museum.
But many years were to pass before the opening of the Chocolate Museum. Hans Imhoff used the time to have the culture and industrial history of chocolate researched while he continued to develop and expand his collection.
In 1992, his wife Gerbung Klara Imhoff discovered the perfect site for the Chocolate Museum at the old central customs office in the Rheinau harbour; Cologne’s new landmark could then be constructed.
On 31 October 1993, after a 13-month construction period, the Chocolate Museum was opened. It became a triumph of German museum history that nobody thought possible. With around 600,000 visitors a year, it is the most frequented cultural institution in Cologne.