Seeing the Sound of Music in Rüdesheim
Updated: Mar 20
In a half-timbered, storybook building that was once home to medieval knights, music lovers will find more than 350 mechanical musical instruments, ranging in size from tiny to bus-sized and dating from the 18th to 20th century. Set in Germany’s Rhineland, Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Cabinet is a delightful stop of sights and sounds during your river cruise. You’ll not only hear the sound of music from these unbelievable instruments, but see it as well, as you marvel at the intricacies of each piece.
The Rüdesheim museum is housed in Brömserhof, a 15th-century knight’s manor tucked amongst other impressive homes. In addition to the music boxes, pipe organs and more, you’ll find a Gothic chapel and frescoed walls, which speak to the residence’s aristocratic past. Look for musical tools, machines that were used to craft instruments, perforated discs, and sheet music on cardboard and in rolls. Many of the instruments are manually operated, while others are charged with a winding key or are electrical.
A Rhineland music enthusiast named Siegfried Wendel first had the thought to open this eclectic museum in his hometown in 1969. He started with his personal collection of instruments that he repaired, including hand-cranked carnival machines, jukeboxes and gramophones.
What’s Not to Miss?
You’ll surely want to explore the museum in its entirety, but one really cannot miss the mini bus-sized Orchestrion. The fantastical instrument, with myriad mechanical components, will play 15 different instruments that are found in a traditional orchestra.
What If I’m Not a Musician?
No matter what your musical inclination (or not), you’ll marvel at the craftsmanship and engineering used to make the instruments found at the museum. The ornate instruments reveal an incredible intricacy. Some are open enough that you can watch their working parts as music is played.
How Can I Visit?
The museum is open daily from March through December. The only way to visit is by 45-minute guided tour, but you’ll appreciate the insider info on the instruments’ histories and even the chance to play some of them. Pro tip: If you have a group of four or more people and are arriving in Rüdesheim after 6 p.m., you can request a personal tour up until 10 p.m.
Intrigued by the sound of music?
I can help you arrange a visit to the spectacular Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Cabinet. If you are a true classical music lover, let’s also chat about the themed river cruises along the Rhine that take in the sights and sounds of Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Cochem and more. Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page. I'd love to chat!