I am originally from Bonn but moved to Cologne three years ago to study. Both cities are located in western Germany and only 25 km apart from each other. Even though Bonn is especially historically interesting as the birthplace of Beethoven and former capital of West Germany, I will focus now on Cologne. Initially, Cologne was founded and established by the Romans and is currently the fourth most populated city in Germany with 1 Million inhabitants. The most famous point of interest and symbol of Cologne is undoubtedly the Cologne Cathedral. A masterpiece of architecture which took centuries to build and is with 8 Million visitors each year even the most popular sight throughout Germany. Moreover, Cologne is a true city of culture with its more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. It also hosts internationally acknowledged trade shows like the Art Cologne, the Gamescom or the Photokina. What I personally really appreciate is the kindness and openness of the people in Cologne. They are quite peculiar, having their own dialect called “Kölsch” and a lot of traditions with the Cologne Carnival being definitely the best. Referred to as “the fifth season of the year” especially the six days of Street Carnival in February are an unmatched extravaganza of costumed craziness. The Carnival includes parades, balls, stage shows, themed floats, tons of free candy, drinking in the streets, endless party and much more. It is difficult to put into words, you basically have to experience it yourself. The whole city is in such a state of exception that you barely even find stats about it but the Cologne Carnival pertains to the largest street festivals in Europe and just for the highlight, the 7 kilometers long ”Rose Monday Procession”, more than 1 million people come to watch and 300 tons of sweets are thrown into the crowd. Besides Carnival, is Cologne a very livable city which has especially for students so much to offer. Several large, renowned universities create a young and vibrant atmosphere more particularly in the district of Cologne South. An ideal place to study, relax on the generous green areas or to immerse into the exceptional nightlife with countless bars and clubs. In general, what makes Cologne so interesting are the diverse quarters. Making use of the good infrastructure it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for. No matter if you want to shop in modern malls, hang out at the beautiful “Rhein” riverside, explore the old town or want to try out a “Matcha Latte” out of a jam jar, there is an own quarter for all these things. So, when you visit Germany, definitely do not miss Cologne!
Cologne, German: Robert Ken Völker