Externsteine Visitor Centre

Externsteine Visitor Centre, Germany


Externsteine – Visitor Centre and Exhibition, 2011

Information Centres are an effective public and economical alternative in order to develop regional characteristics, archaeological sites and nature reserves. They are compact to implement in any location, have a targeted approach to a tourist audience and should be implemented with low budgets in shorter development times.

For the natural formation of the Externsteine rocks – a prime tourist destination in the Lippe region (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), we realized on an area of 200 square meters, a visitor and exhibition centre that is frequented by some 100,000 visitors annually.


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Nature meets culture at the rock

Fascinating rock formation, medieval sacred place and popular excursion destination – these are the Externsteine (Region Westphalia, Germany), an unique cultural and natural landscape. The 127 hectare nature reserve is home to plant and animal species that are both particularly rare and worthy of protection. The different landscapes between forests and mountain meadows are ideal for varied hiking. Let yourself be guided through this. GPS nature trail, interactive installations and the new information centre make this a special cultural and natural experience.

The information centre at the Externsteine

Opened in 2011, the information centre provides a wealth of information on the natural and cultural history of the Externsteine. The new centre has tastefully adapted an existing building which has been opened to the front and now set up the Tourist destination welcome centre. The rear area refers to the exhibit. Since its opening in 2011, more than 200,000 guests visited the centre. The information centre Externsteine rocks is designed as an interactive information and interactive exhibition that presents all the important knowledge about the rock formation and the nature reserve. The exhibition is self-explanatory, bilingual (German and English), requires low maintenance and does not effort additional staff. On a surface area of 200 m² the exhibition uses ten attractive installations to present the current state of knowledge regarding archaeological, cultural-historical and natural-historical research. Chronological highlights and models provide bilingual (German and English) and attractive explanations of the key stages. In the interactive “Media X” – the centrepiece of the exhibition – you can find interesting information, animations, photographs and films about the Externsteine. In a separate room short films provide an exciting insight into the natural world of the Externsteine and the wonder relief of the Descent from the Cross, a work of art of European importance, worked into the stone of the Externsteine by medieval sculptors. Young visitors can take part in an Externsteine puzzle. At seven game and puzzle points mascot “Steini” helps them along – for adults, too, an enjoyable voyage into the world of the Externsteine.

Additional features

Nature trails

Enjoy the varied range of guidance options at the Externsteine nature reserve. GPS nature trails, interactive installations, guided walks and adventure tours for pupils aged 8 – 12 offer a diverse selection of ways in which to explore the Externsteine nature reserve.


Applications for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android and Windows Mobile are available free of charge on the respective application stores. The applications use the global positioning system (GPS) to guide you along the nature trails. At the so called “Points of interest” you will be provided with information is in various media formats. The applications are currently available for iOS (Apple) and Android. Further information on the system requirements can be found on the respective application stores. You can download the applications with information in German, English, French and Dutch. Moreover you will find a special feature for children.

Adventure tour for schoolchildren

We have prepared exciting adventure tours for school groups. For younger pupils (8-10 years old) and slightly older pupils (10-12 years old) we offer two different versions on the route. The tours provide numerous ideas and tips for improved understanding of the habitats and animals of the nature reserve. You can download and print out the adventure tours yourself or obtain them free of charge from the information centre. Where necessary, the information centre can also loan clipboards and pens.

Project link


Concept and realization by Dr. Ulrich Hermanns