Bonn in figures
Total area: 141.1 km². Built-up area: 46.7 km², or roughly one third of the total city area (33.1 %). Forests extend over 39.8 km².
The radio transmission mast on Venusberg (180 m), the Post Tower (162.5 m), UN Campus (the “Langer Eugen”, former German MP office building, 117m), the smokestacks of the Southern Thermal Power Stations (98.8 m), the recycling plant (98 m), the Minster Basilica crossing tower (86.6 m), the Stadthaus (City Hall) (72.1 m).
As of January 1, 2020: 332,769 inhabitants (160,753 male, 172,016 female). Of all persons living in Bonn, 99,366 coming from 180 states, have a migration background. 57,652 of them have a foreign nationality.
In first place among the immigrants are citizens of Syria (8.6 percent) and Turkey (8.3 percent), followed by immigrants from Poland (7.0 percent) and Morocco (5.8 percent).
33.2 percent of Bonn's population are Catholic, 18.6 percent Protestant and 10.8 percent Islamic. 3.4 percent belong to other religious communities and 33.9 percent to no religious community.
Employment in Bonn:
176,689 employees subject to social security contributions (as of June 30, 2018). Due to the positive growth trend, Bonn has reached a new high in employment subject to social insurance contributions. Compared to the year of the Bonn/Berlin relocation decision in 1991 with 134,199 employees, their number has thus increased by 42,490. In the Bonn/Berlin relocation year 1999, there were 146,483 employees.
Companies: 15,613 (Status: December 31, 2017)
Share of employees in the service sector 2018 (as of June 30, 2018): 92.0 percent
Bonn UNO employees: about 1,000
Bonn City Council:
The results for the election of the Bonn City Council in September 2020 are as follows (in the order of the ballot papers): CDU (Christian Democratic Union): 36,315 votes, 25.74 percent; SPD (Social Democratic Party): 21,956 votes, 15.56 percent; Bündnis90/Die Grünen (Alliance 90/The Greens): 39,311 votes, 27.86 percent; FDP (Free Democratic Party): 7,268 votes, 5.15 percent, Die Linke (The left Party): 8.745 votes, 6.20 percent; Bürgerbund Bonn: 9,948 votes, 7.05 percent; AfD (Alternative for Germany): 4,569 votes, 3.24 percent; Die PIRATEN (Pirate Party): 869 votes, 0.62 percent; BIG: 1,775 votes, 1.26 percent; Die PARTEI: 3,095 votes, 2.19 percent; Volt: 7,148 votes, 5.07 percent.
This results in the following distribution of seats in the new Council: CDU 17, SPD 11, Die Grünen 17, Rheingrün 2, FDP 3, Die Linke 4, Bürgerbund Bonn 5, AfD 2, BIG 1, Die PARTEI 1, Volt 3. The new Council thus has 66 seats.
The turnout in the local elections was 57.07 percent. That is 0.25 percentage points more than in the last local elections six years ago (2014: 56.82 percent).
Mrs Katja Dörner, Greens
Total expenses and income of the double budget 2019/2020: approx. 1.3 billion Euro each, the investment inflows will amount to approx. 70 million Euro in 2019 (2020 approx. 46 million Euro). Investment disbursements will amount to approx. 254 million Euro in 2019 (2020 approx. 203 million Euro).
Bonn's new profile
June 20, 1991, marked the beginning of a big challenge for the City of Bonn: at this memorable date, the German Parliament decided with a narrow majority to transfer its seat and the core functions of the Federal Government to Berlin. This vote was implemented by the Berlin/Bonn Act in 1994. The Act laid down a fair division of labor between the two cities, according five political fields to Bonn. A compensation agreement amounting to 1.43 billion euro was granted to the city and surrounding region facing the structural change. In the meantime, based on these solid foundations, the vision of the early nineties has become an acknowledged reality: Bonn’s new profile!
The federal City
Six out of the 14 Federal Ministries have their first seat on the Rhine. They represent the political fields as determined by the Berlin/Bonn Act: education and science, culture, research and technology, telecommunication, environment and health, food, agriculture and forestry, development policy, defense. More than 20 federal authorities, amongst them the Federal Cartel Office and the Federal Court of Audit have moved from Berlin and Frankfurt to Bonn in order to partially compensate for the loss of ministerial jobs. Thus Bonn – with the title of federal City adopted from a Swiss tradition - has become a second political focus within the strong federal system of the German Republic.
The international city - Germany’s United Nations City
The idea to transform Bonn into a center for international cooperation already formed part of the parliamentary vote in 1991. Since then, a great number of organizations working in the international field have been attracted to the city. Together with about 150 non-governmental organizations they form a strong network. The most important success in the field of international activities, however, has been the settlement of currently twenty United Nations organizations, amongst them the UN Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC). International activities concentrate on development cooperation, ecological topics and crisis prevention. Their common denominator is ‘UN Bonn – Shaping a Sustainable Future’.
Since the summer of 2006, the nucleus of the international Bonn is the United Nations Campus next to the World Conference Center Bonn, which has been enlarged and tailored to the needs of UN Bonn. The UN organizations have moved into the former office building of members of parliament.
By hosting a number of large conferences over the past years, Bonn has repeatedly proven its capacities as a convention city. Two World Climate Summits, the International Conference on Freshwater and the United Nations Talks on Afghanistan, an International Conference for Renewable Energies and the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in May 2008 are only some examples. In November 2017 the World Climate Conference (COP23) took place in Bonn. It was the largest international conference in Germany to date. Around 22,000 people from more than 190 countries - 11,111 delegates, 1,300 journalists and 9,500 observers - took part.
Since the relocation of the Deutsche Welle broadcasting corporation to Bonn in 2003, the location’s international image is transported to all corners of the world.
Bonn, a region for science and research
Embedded in the triangle marked by the cities of Aachen, Bonn and Cologne (Cologne), the "ABC region", which is considered the densest research and technology landscape in Europe, Bonn has acquired an international reputation as a science location.
The starting point is the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University, founded in 1818, which today has around 38,000 students. In July 2019, it received the status of a university of excellence. In addition, institutes, research facilities and universities of applied sciences have developed in recent years.
Scientific highlights include the Max Planck Institute "Center of Advanced European Studies and Research" (caesar), which conducts research in the fields of neuroscience, cell biology and biophysics with a focus on neurons and neural networks, and LIFE&BRAIN, a top research center for applied biomedicine. With the German Center for the Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn is home to one of the six German Institutes for Health Research to combat the most important widespread diseases. Finally, Bonn is also home to a number of leading intermediary and funding organizations for science.
Service is the top priority in Bonn's economic structure. Large, globally active companies have decided to set up their headquarters in Bonn, including the Deutsche Post DHL Group and Deutsche Telekom with several subsidiaries. Measured by the stock market value of the companies, Bonn thus ranks third in the Federal Republic.
In 2018, the three companies Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post DHL Group and Postbank will be the largest private employers in the chamber district of the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (excluding public institutions) with around 26,600 employees. The two listed DAX heavyweights Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post DHL Group alone manage the strategies for more than 752,000 employees worldwide from their headquarters in Bonn.
The IT competence at the Bonn location is particularly strong. This is also shown by the latest survey of the Smart City Index published by the digital association Bitkom, which examined a total of 81 German cities with regard to their progress in digitization. According to this study, Bonn is the leading Smart City in North Rhine-Westphalia and occupies an outstanding seventh place nationwide.
As the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, who would have celebrated his 250th birthday in that year, Bonn is very much focused on music. The annual Beethovenfest promotes the composer. With the houses of the museum mile there are big crowd pullers: The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kunstmuseum Bonn, the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, the Museum Alexander Koenig and the Deutsches Museum Bonn attract millions of visitors every year. In addition, the city of Bonn has a lively and strong cultural scene in all areas.
Some figures in brief
Today Bonn is a city with more than 332,000 inhabitants and even - and this is very rare in the larger German cities - with a birth surplus.
The hotel industry records more than 1.6 million overnight stays per year.
The unemployment rate is around 5.5 percent.
Shaping a sustainable future – Bonn as an international location
Over the past two decades Bonn has successfully established itself as the German city of the United Nations and as a center for international cooperation and sustainable development. More than 20 United Nations organizations with over 1000 employees are now based in Bonn, including the Climate Change Secretariat and the Secretariat to Combat Desertification. Under the motto "Shaping sustainability", the United Nations in Bonn is helping to shape a sustainable future. In addition to federal agencies and German development cooperation institutions, numerous scientific institutions, companies and some 150 international and internationally active non-governmental organizations are also based in Bonn.
At the latest with the World Climate Conference in 2017 - the largest international conference in Germany to date with 22,000 participants - Bonn has also firmly established itself as a venue for major international conferences, to which the cosmopolitanism and hospitality of the people of Bonn have contributed.
Since July 1996 Bonn can call itself a UNO city. In July 2006, German Chancellor Angela Merkel handed over the main building of the current UN Campus to the United Nations in Bonn. The Federal Government had invested 55 million Euros in the reconstruction of the former high-rise building for members of parliament, also known as "Langer Eugen". Almost all of Bonn's UN organizations work there under one roof. As the headquarters of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, the Old Parliamentary Building was converted as a model project for ecological construction and moved into in 2013. In order to create space for an additional 330 United Nations jobs on the existing UN Campus, an 18-story new building is currently being constructed. The foundation stone for this was laid on October 6, 2016.
With the World Conference Center Bonn, Bonn has a conference center of the most modern standard, tailored to the needs of the United Nations. "UN Bonn - Shaping a Sustainable Future" is the thematic umbrella under which the institutions of the United Nations in Bonn work together and with many partners. Agenda 2030 and the 17 sustainable development goals are their incentive to find answers and ways to create a sustainable future on our planet.
In addition, there are organizations under international law such as the Global Crops Diversity Trust and the International Renewable Energy Agency's Innovation and Technology Center (IITC).
Synergies for Sustainability
Bonn’s UN Campus provides to all these organizations ideal working conditions and an environment rich in synergies. A special advantage is the close neighborhood to the World Conference Center Bonn and to many important partners and points of contact. This offers an excellent environment for cooperative action, quick communication and interaction among UN organizations, federal ministries and federal superior authorities, the roughly 150 non-governmental organizations, Bonn-based research institutes and the resident economic global players. With their topics and their competence, they all determine the city’s profile as an international location. Collaboration and dialogue on issues of sustainable and humane development among this diversity of actors in Bonn have turned the city into a hub for sustainability.
This synergy network of sustainability is reinforced by numerous partners from the areas of politics, resident organizations, industry, science, culture and NGOs of international scope. Among the latter are not only German organizations engaging in international issues and activities, but also approximately twenty international non-governmental organizations which have established their headquarters in Bonn since 1990. Examples of resident organizations include:
- The Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) commits itself to the conversion of resources formerly used for military ends into resources for civil purposes, performing vital work in areas of crisis
- The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has successfully coordinated the Paralympics from Bonn since 1999,
- Fair Trade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) coordinates and supports the work of the national Transfair Organisations
- The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international NGO working towards worldwide sustainable forest management by means of forest certification on the basis of comparable Standards
- The Right Livelihood College, in cooperation with the awardees of the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize, offers an innovative location for education and research in the field of sustainability
- ICLEI - Cities for Sustainability is a network of more than 1,700 cities, municipalities and regions around the world that work together to implement Agenda 2030 at local level
Conference activities in Bonn are equally geared towards themes of global sustainability. Germany’s United Nations City provides new platforms to constructive dialogue at national, international and supranational level. Time and again, fresh momentum emanates from Bonn and its actors on the road towards worldwide sustainable development. Whether climate, desertification, water, soil, gender equality, biodiversity or early warning – Bonn has developed into a competence center for environment and development issues and policies.
As a conference venue, Bonn has been able to prove its competence and experience many times over. Not only the successful 23rd World Climate Conference in 2017, but also the regularly held "Bonn Climate Talks" put Bonn at the center of the international climate process. In addition, there are further international conferences, such as the annual Global Media Forum of Deutsche Welle, which takes place in Bonn, or "Resilient Cities" as an important conference for cities and climate adaptation. In its new role as the German city of the United Nations and a place for international dialogue on future issues, Bonn became known primarily through the Climate Summits in 1999 and 2001, the Afghanistan Talks on Petersberg near Bonn in 2001 and 2002, the International Freshwater Conference in 2001, the International Conference for Renewable Energies in 2004, the International Early Warning Conference in 2006, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2008 and the Conference for Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations Department for Public Information (DPI/NGO) in 2011. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee met in Bonn in 2015. Since 2017, the Global Festival of Action of the Global Campaign for Sustainable Development Goals has also been held annually.
Sustainability: Bonn practices what it preaches
Bonn's central theme is sustainability - and the city lives this focus - for the people of Bonn as well as through its international commitment.
Sustainability and the Agenda 2030 are also the basis for urban action. The City of Bonn's adopted in February 2019 brings together projects, programs and plans in six central fields of action to form an urban agenda for sustainable action. Based on the holistic sustainability approach of Agenda 2030, the strategy also includes municipal fields of action that have not yet been explicitly considered in the context of sustainability, such as the topic of social participation and gender equality. The other thematic fields are: Mobility, Climate and Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, Work and Economy, and Global Responsibility and One World.
Internationally, Bonn is involved, for example, in city networks such as ICLEI Cities for Sustainability, whose President is the Lord Mayor of Bonn, or in the Climate Alliance of Cities. On a thematic level, Bonn works together with other cities, networks and UN institutions to address the major concerns of sustainability. Bonn is also breaking new ground in municipal cooperation with sustainability-oriented project partnerships. Bonn is currently working with Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Cape Coast (Ghana), Chengdu (PR China), Minsk (Belarus), La Paz (Bolivia) and Ulan Bator (Mongolia). The focus is on joint projects and the exchange of experience, especially on environmental and development issues. The City of Bonn's commitment to promoting sustainable development is further strengthened by the Council Decision of February 25, 2016, to support the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and the sustainable development goals contained therein. Bonn therefore not only has the role of a location, but is itself an actor for sustainability.
The foundations for Bonn's current international profile were laid in the Berlin/Bonn Act of April 26, 1994, which established the expansion as a location for development policy, national, international and supranational institutions as a central task. The German location for international relations was upgraded by the establishment of important development policy institutions. With its headquarters in Bonn, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) is the largest of the 150 state, parastatal, church and private institutions that drive development globally in Bonn.
International science region
The Bonn Region of Science and Humanities also has an international character, mainly due to institutions from science and research as well as science organizations with strong international exchange such as the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH). The German Development Institute (DIE) operates at the interface between research and development cooperation.
In September 2018, the University of Bonn was successful in winning six - also internationally positioned - clusters of excellence. In July 2019, it was then awarded the title of "University of Excellence" and has thus established itself among the strongest research universities in Germany. In the future, the university's scientific networks all over the world as well as the topics of equal opportunities, diversity, sustainability and family-friendly study and working conditions are to be expanded even further.
The University of Bonn is placing a strong focus with the Internationalization Strategy 2020: a comprehensive strategic internationalization is planned that will involve all areas of the University of Bonn. Overarching goals include establishing its top position in research in international comparison, further structural and content-related internationalization of studies and teaching, and the expansion of strategic partnerships for research, studies and teaching. In order to achieve these goals, the University of Bonn promotes, for example, the expansion of global cooperation for international profile building, including with universities in the so-called Global South, with its own funding line.
In order to better network science and international institutions, the city and the University of Bonn signed the Memorandum of Understanding in 2018, in which the intensive cooperation was recorded and strategic fields of action were defined. These range thematically from internationality, UN and sustainability issues to urban development and knowledge and technology transfer and are supervised by the city's Science Department. The aim is for the city and the university to support each other in internationalization projects in order to benefit even more from their internationality and their involvement in global challenges.
Networks such as BION, the interdisciplinary association of internationally oriented biodiversity research in Bonn, build further bridges to the fields of work of the United Nations. In order to further expand the cooperation between the University of Bonn and its faculties as well as ZEF, DIE, BICC, UNU-EHS and the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, these institutions founded the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research at the World Climate Conference in Bonn on November 15, 2017. The regional research alliance aims to further strengthen research in the field of sustainable development and global change. It contributes to the closer interlinking and expansion of the interdisciplinary competence in this field that exists in Bonn. To this end, the Innovation Campus (ICB) was established at the University of Bonn, which bundles the top scientific competencies in sustainability research available in Bonn and, with new components, expands them into a unique global science center.
The Innovations-Campus Bonn's research is focused on three areas: Digitization and artificial intelligence, mobility and migration, and bioeconomy. It offers a platform for experts who bring together their different ideas, expertise and perspectives on specific topics to work on sustainability issues across different disciplines. One example: The United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the German Development Institute (DIE) organize workshops on the interactions between climate change and migration under the umbrella of the Innovation Campus Bonn to discuss political challenges and find solutions.
The international location and the Bonn International Dialogue Platform are therefore no empty words. As one of the most important European science regions, Bonn is well on the way to becoming, together with a variety of internationally active partners, a German center of excellence for sustainable topics that will determine our future. 24 years of the UN in Bonn - these are successful steps towards a sustainable future and above all many strong alliances for this global goal!
Where structural change catches the eye: Bonn's Federal District
Bonn is booming: the whole city is an example of that, but most noticeably the federal district, the former governmental district between Bonn and Bad Godesberg. This former focus of German politics has experienced a fundamental reorientation on the topmost level. A completely new urban district, four kilometers along the river Rhine and one mile deep, has sprung up around the ‘Central Park’ of Bonn, the Rheinaue: the premises of global players, new enterprises, scientific and research institutions, federal ministries, the World Conference Center Bonn, and the UN campus of the United Nations. Since 1991, more than 90 new companies and institutions have settled here. More than 45,000 people work in this district (compared to 20,600 jobs in the district in 1997, before the move of the Federal Government to Berlin). Nearly one fifth of all jobs in Bonn is concentrated here.
The heart of the Bundesviertel is the Platz der Vereinten Nationen with the UN Campus and World Conference Center Bonn. Bonn has been home to a range of United Nations organizations since 1996. The majority of them moved into the UN Campus at 1 Platz der Vereinten Nationen in summer 2006. The main building of the UN Campus is the landmark former office building of the Bundestag (Abgeordnetenhochhaus) known as the "Langer Eugen" (Tall Eugene, nicknamed after Eugen Gerstenmaier, the longest-serving President of the Bundestag). The largest UN organization in Bonn, the Climate Secretariat of the United Nations (UNFCCC), moved into the sustainably renovated building in 2013; and the UN Campus is continuing to grow. In 2016, the foundations were laid for a new 17-storey extension, to accommodate the growing space requirements of, first and foremost, the Climate Secretariat.
The World Conference Center Bonn at 2 Platz der Vereinten Nationen is where the world comes to negotiate: The former plenary chamber of the Bundestag captivates delegates from all over the world with its light-filled architecture and has become the nucleus of a spacious conference center for up to 7,000 visitors. In order to better harness the needs of the United Nations, a new main building was built and with it a new 4-star hotel right next door. The extension was inaugurated by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in June 2015. It has since hosted a wide variety of events, ranging from United Nations conferences to classical music concerts.
In November 2017, the world looked to Bonn once again: The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met on the Rhine for the 23rd World Climate Conference (COP23). Around 22,000 participants from more than 190 countries made COP23 the largest international conference in Germany to date. The city of Bonn presented itself as a cosmopolitan, courteous host and recommended itself for further international conferences.
More highlights in the federal district:
- The „Villa Hammerschmidt“, with its large park, is the seat of the President of the Federal Republik of Germany in Bonn
- The former chancellor´s office is now the seat of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), while the second official seat of the chancellor is in the Palais Schaumburg
- The "Tulpenfeld" is home to several development aid organisations, the German Institute for Development Policy (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik - DIE) and the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur)
- German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle: its programs are transmitted from Bonn to all corners of the globe.
- Deutsche Post DHL has moved into the Post Tower, the building of its headquarters, just south of the Deutsche Welle studios. The building, 162.5 metres (appr. 530 ft) tall, was designed by the architect Helmut Jahn and has become the new landmark of the structural change in Bonn
- Deutsche Telekom AG continues to expand in Bonn. The enterprise had two spacious office-buildings constructed opposite its corporate headquarters and connected the two complexes by means of a glass skywalk
- Extending the radius a little further, you will find the Museum Mile with the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany), the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Modern Art), the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig) and the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History)
- A hub of German development policy has evolved right beside it with the Bonn headquarters of the German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH - GIZ) in the "Mäanderbau" (Meander Building), which has also just been extended by another building
Further urban development
A framework plan for the Federal Quarter adopted in May 2020 describes the goals and guidelines for the further development of the Federal Quarter in a structural concept, a utilization concept, a high-rise building concept and a mobility concept. The concepts show the scope for development, but also describe guiding principles. A final implementation concept names key projects that will provide impetus and for which prompt implementation is recommended.
The outline planning outlines how the Bundesviertel can be changed and condensed in the future in terms of its program and structural and spatial development, how the transport system is to be further developed in this respect and how the open spaces can be upgraded. In the target projection, the quarter as a whole appears more urban, diversified and of higher quality.
The framework planning is a long-term urban development concept. It itself does not yet create a new planning law, but should be taken into account in the future when drawing up and modifying urban land-use plans. Naturally, there will be intensive public participation in these procedures.
Business location Bonn: stable growth conditions
Bonn is a prospering economic, science and innovation centre of international importance. As the German UN City with numerous organisations of international reach it is moreover a platform of dialogue about world-wide issues relating to a sustainable future. Situated in one of the most scenic landscapes of Europe, and boasting a rich cultural life, Bonn provides optimum conditions of work and life.
Bonn has become an excellent location for business companies and has positioned itself in the top section of commercial hubs in Germany. Behind Munich, Düsseldorf, Walldorf and Wolfsburg, Bonn is the most "valuable" city in Germany, measured in terms of the stock market price of local businesses.
Bonn has performed well in the nation-wide city rankings for years. The strong economic performance is based on location factors which stand out in regional competition: sustained positive population growth, high purchasing power which is 11.1 percent above the national average, the above-average level of education of its population, its internationality and its excellent science environment – to mention only a few. Its high quality of life is to many companies an advantage in providing attractive living conditions to qualified professionals.
The city of Bonn is predicted to have a continuing positive population growth. By 2040 it is expected that about 365,000 people will live in the federal city. In total, the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler region will then have about 1.2 million inhabitants, which will ensure a qualified supply of labor and a good demand structure also in the future. According to municipal statistics, 332,769 people were living in the city of Bonn on January 1, 2020.
Throughout the past years, the service sector in particular has evolved into a powerful growth engine including all sorts of services, real estate and housing as well as the health and social sectors. The information and communication sector occupies a central position for Bonn as a business location. The city was also able to continue gaining ground as a tourism and congress location. Many of the strongly increasing number of businesses in Bonn is found in the various service sectors, creating the preconditions for more economic growth. The rate of unemployment is comparatively moderate and among the lowest in North Rhine-Westphalia.
This development has also a positive effect on the local real estate market. With 2,5 per cent the City of Bonn has a relatively positive vacancy rate, far below the figures of other cities. Independently of each other, different real estate experts forecast an excellent growth potential and a stable increase in value for the real estate market in Bonn.
Internationality is an important locational advantage
The internationality of the German UN City is also of importance to local business. Congresses of world-wide importance take place in Bonn generating considerable turnover every year. This goes equally for the premium cultural events in Bonn which attract visitors from all over the world. One of the highlights is for example the annual Beethoven festival.
In 2015, the opening of the extended World Conference Center Bonn (WorldCCBonn) near the UN Campus has added to Bonn’s importance as a conference and congress venue. The enlargement of the historic Parliament buildings by another congress hall and the construction of a four-star-plus hotel will further upgrade the attractiveness of Bonn’s "Federal District". The estimated 200,000 congress attendants will secure 3,000 jobs in the industry and a total turnover of EUR 56 million. Of that amount EUR 31 million will go to the hotel and restaurant industry, and EUR 5 million to the local retail trade. For Bonn as the German city of the United Nations with almost 20 UN organisations residing on the UN Campus, the completion of the WorldCCBonn will be an important step forward towards the goal of developing Bonn as a platform of international dialogue.
Favored by its central location in Europe, Bonn is becoming more and more attractive for guests. In 2019, Cologne/Bonn Airport was again able to welcome about 12.4 million passengers and move a total of 815,000 tons of freight. In terms of traffic units, Cologne/Bonn is the seventh largest airport in Germany and the third largest in terms of freight.
Bonn - a Region of Science
Achieving more together is what the research organisations and scientific institutions of the “ABC Region”, the triangle of the cities Aachen, Bonn and Cologne, prove with their close cooperation every day. Only few conurbations in Germany possess a comparably high concentration of education and research institutions. The ABC region is even considered the area with the densest concentration of research and technology organisations in all of Europe. In such fine company, Bonn has long since acquired a reputation as an important international hub of science.
Science goes hand in hand with Bonn’s international outlook. Bonn is the seat of a Vice Rectorate of the United Nations University (UNU-ViE). The city on the Rhine is the home of the UNU Programme for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). The United Nations University cooperates closely with the University of Bonn and its Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung - ZEF), as well as with the Institute of Geography, which has been offering the UNU’s first ever Masters course with a state university since 2013.
Within the framework of the World Climate Change Conference (COP 23), the key players of the Bonn scientific region, led by the University of Bonn, founded the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research (Bonner Allianz für Nachhaltigkeitsforschung), which unites research institutions and universities active in this field under a single umbrella organisation. The goal of the regional research network is to strengthen research in the field of sustainable development and global change. Therefore the Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB) at the University of Bonn began its work at the end of June 2019. The aim of the six alliance partners of the Innovation Campus Bonn is to create a platform for work on a sustainable future across society and to provide various partners with a basis for contributing ideas, expertise and perspectives on the topic of sustainability, as well as to strengthen and network competencies. The initial focus will thereby be on the three key research areas, "Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence", "Mobility and Migration" and "Bioeconomy".
The University as an international institution
Besides the many United Nations institutions and international organisations in city, the University of Bonn also contributes significantly to the international flair of the Federal City. About 5,000 of the more than 35,000 students come from abroad. The university maintains intensive bilateral partnerships with 70 universities on five continents and is one of the most popular destinations in Germany for international guest researchers. In addition, the university has several thousand joint research projects with partner groups around the globe. The University and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), with a total of about 9,000 employees, are not only among the largest employers in the region, but also produce about 4,000 highly qualified graduates every year.
The pursuit of higher education was already a topic in Bonn 200 years ago - first at the Electoral Academy, then at the newly founded Prussian Rhine University. Today, the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität is the driving force behind Bonn as a city of science. Tradition and modernity are not contradictory: Behind many historical facades in the cityscape, institutes of the modern research university with international orientation are hidden.
Core profile areas in research and teaching
The University of Bonn has created profile areas in which the leading minds of various disciplines can pool their expertise to work on solutions to the current challenges of science and society. These core profile areas are:
• Mathematics, Modelling and Simulation of Complex Systems
• Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions
• Life and Health
• Individuals, Institutions and Societies
• Pre-Modern Orders and their Configurations in Transcultural Comparison.
Continuities and Dynamics
• Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures
The Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn is one of the most eminent research universities in Germany and also enjoys an excellent international reputation. This reputation is underpinned by its success within the Excellence Strategy, with which the German Federal Government and the Länder are strengthen cutting-edge research at German universities. On 19 July 2019, it was announced that the concept for the future under the application title "WE invest in people, WE foster networks, WE create impact" had convinced the Excellence Committee in the funding line for the title of a university of excellence.
The University of Bonn is thus one of only eleven universities of excellence in Germany and one of only two in North Rhine-Westphalia. This, and the six excellence clusters acquired last September in the second funding line of the Excellence Strategy, make the University of Bonn the most successful university in Germany's excellence competition.
Digital Hub supports founders
In addition to pure basic research, the transfer of research findings into practice has also gained importance in Bonn during recent years. In addition to significant scientific innovations such as the optimisation of computer chips using the methods of discrete mathematics or the discovery of the lotus effect as a principle for always clean surfaces, the University of Bonn has also written many other larger and smaller success stories. Around 100 start-ups have emerged from the university since 2000, in the form of scientific cooperation with a university institute or student and staff initiatives.
In 2016, the private sector, universities and municipalities founded a new platform called “Digital Hub Bonn” that supports start-ups on their way to becoming an independent company. It has already been the source of numerous start-up incentives.
City and university are closely connected
The city of Bonn and the University of Bonn have been closely intertwined since the university was founded. In the year of the 200-year existence of the university, the relations between the two partners have intensified even more. The city and the University of Bonn have placed their cooperation on a new contractual basis. In November 2018, Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan and Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" between the municipality and the university. In this agreement, the city and the university defined the strategic fields of action in which they intend to cooperate even more closely in the future.
The five core issues are:
• Urban development and university infrastructure, above the development of
• Internationality, United Nations and sustainability topics
• Dual career and family
• Transfer of knowledge and technology
• Communication and exchange of information
Science as an important factor in successful structural change
The decision of the Bundestag to move Germany’s capital and government to Berlin had far-reaching consequences for the Bonn region. The city and the region emerged from the ensuing transition phase stronger than before, not least because they banked on science as a key to the future.
The Berlin/Bonn Act, passed by the Bundestag in March 1994, gave the go-ahead for the development of the Bonn region into a centre of science. Approximately 60 percent of the 1.43 billion euro compensation fund were earmarked for this purpose. The lion’s share was invested in a newly created foundation named “caesar” – the center of advanced european studies and research. Following its strategic realignment, the caesar research centre, which is associated with the Max Planck Society, now conducts research in neuroscience. caesar thus complements the neuroscience and life science research priorities of the Bonn science region. Another research platform in the region financed by the compensation fund is LIFE & BRAIN. As a leading centre in the field of applied biomedicine, LIFE & BRAIN assembles expertise in genomic research, transgenic models, stem cell technology and cognitive brain research.. The centre on the Venusberg houses university research groups, staff of LIFE & BRAIN and an “incubator” for carve-out companies that emerge from research activities.
DZNE researches neurodegenerative diseases from Bonn
The German Center for the Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases (Deutsches Zentrum für die Erforschung Neurogenerativer Erkrankungen – DZNE) was founded in 2009 as part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren) to enhance national neuroscience research. It is also one of altogether six German centres for health research (Deutsche Zentren der Gesundheitsforschung – DZG) established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung – BMBF) to combat the most important and widespread diseases. The Federal Government has decided to allocate a total of 60 million euros per year to the centre, which consists of the headquarters in Bonn and eight other facilities in Germany.
In addition to the University Hospital of Bonn and the University of Bonn, these also include the University of Cologne, the Jülich Research Centre and the caesar Research Centre. About 1000 scientists and staff are currently involved in researching the causes of nervous system diseases and developing preventive, therapeutic and care measures. The newly constructed DZNE headquarters on the Venusberg in Bonn, in the direct vicinity of all the relevant university institutes and clinics, was ceremoniously opened by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Science Svenja Schulze on 15 March 2017. About 500 scientists and staff work in the building today.
University locations in the vicinity round off the offer
The establishment of new university (of applied sciences) locations on the Rhine, Sieg and Ahr Rivers rounded off the region’s educational offer. The universities of applied sciences have developed very well, produce urgently required academic professionals and cooperate closely with businesses in the region. The Rhein-Ahr Campus in Remagen, which is part of the Koblenz University of Applied Science, consists of the departments of “Business Administration and Social Economy” and “Mathematics and Technology”. The courses of offer range from Business Administration or Sports Management all the way to Logistics. The University of Applied Science Bonn-Rhein-Sieg is spread across three locations, Sankt Augustin, Rheinbach and Hennef, and consists of departments for Business Administration, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Technical Journalism, Applied Natural Sciences and Social Insurance Management.
By cooperating with the regional economy and other research institutes and universities, the university is able to ensure an effective transfer of knowledge and technology that enhances the region’s innovative power. One of the younger universities in the region is the International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef - Bonn, a private, state-accredited institution that offers study programmes in Aviation, Hotel, Tourism and Event Management and International Management. The Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft) in Alfter offers art and pedagogical subjects, as well as architecture and business administration courses.
The private University of Applied Sciences for Finance (Hochschule der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) in Bonn and the Philosophical-Theological Faculty (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule SVD) in Sankt Augustin, as well as universities specialising in the career-integrated study courses, such as the Bonn centre of the distance teaching-focused University of Hagen (Fernuniversität Hagen) and the FOM University of Applied Sciences (FOM Hochschule) in Bonn, complete the broad spectrum of higher education offered by Bonn as a region of science.
Renowned research institutions
The fact that high-tech and know-how “Made in Bonn” have been successful exports of the region for many years is also thanks to the research institutes based here. They include the Fraunhofer Institutes SCAI, IAIS and FIT in Sankt Augustin that conduct research projects in cutting-edge fields such as robotics, bioinformatics, and information and communication technology. The Fraunhofer Institutes FHR and FKIE in Wachtberg are among others active in the fields of security research and radar technology. The Fraunhofer Institute FKIE has had an additional location in Bonn since 2016.
The spectrum of scientific activities is rounded off by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR) in Cologne-Porz and Bonn-Oberkassel. The Max Planck Society maintains the Max Planck Institutes for Mathematics, for Radio Astronomy and Research on Collective Goods in Bonn. The caesar Foundation is associated with the Max Planck Society. The Leibniz Association includes the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, the German Institute for Adult Education and the branch of the German Museum in Bonn.
Funding organizations and foundations work worldwide from Bonn
Besides its numerous educational and research institutions, the Bonn region is also home to a host of Germany’s leading organisations that foster and promote science. They prepare and make decisions of great importance for the German research sector. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung – BMBF) has its primary seat in Bonn. The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG), the self-governing body of science and research in Germany, has its offices on Kennedyallee in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. The DFG promotes competitive funding and support for the best research projects of scientists at universities and research institutes. Not far from the DFG is the world’s largest organisation for the promotion of international student and scientist exchanges, the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst – DAAD).
Other organisations, near the DFG and DAAD, in and around the Science Centre of the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft) on Ahrstrasse in Bonn include the German Informatics Society (Gesellschaft für Informatik) and the German Rectors' Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK). In addition, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung), the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), the Joint Science Conference (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz – GWK) and the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder (Sekretariat der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder – KMK) are also at home in Bonn.
Bonn is also home to other national educational institutes and Federal facilities that focus on science and research, including the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung – BIBB), the German Institute for Adult Education (Deutsche Institut für Erwachsenenbildung – DIE), the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte – BfArM) and the Federal Institute of Sports Science (Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft – BISp).
Culture in Bonn - Sights of Bonn
Bonn has always been considered a City of Culture. Based on this tradition, a wealth of varied, lively and successful cultural activities has grown that is enriched by a great number of cultural actors and institutions.
Theatre and music
Bonn is the native city of Ludwig van Beethoven who was born here in 1770. This "gift of history" implies a particular responsibility for the City to preserve the memory of the composer’s ingenious creativity and oeuvre and to exploit to the full both the artistic and social potentials of this unique artist.
On the occasion of Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020, the Federal City of Bonn will celebrate this extraordinary musician under the theme "BTHVN2020" - with the whole world and a top-class program. The non-profit Beethoven Jubilee Society has the task of shaping, promoting and taking responsibility for this anniversary as a national event with regional roots. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the currently interrupted celebrations, which were planned from December 2019 to December 2020, will continue until September 2021.
The Beethoven Orchester Bonn (Beethoven Orchestra Bonn) is the orchestra of the Bonn Opera and is counted among Germany’s most renowned cultural orchestras. Moreover, the distinguished orchestra (e.g. six Echo Awards in classical music) plays an important role as a "cultural ambassador" of the City of Bonn. The home of the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, the Beethovenhalle (Beethoven Hall), which was opened in 1959, is currently being extensively renovated and modernised.
Every September/October, Bonn celebrates the Beethovenfest (Beethoven Festival) which attracts both national and international interest. The Beethovenfest presents leading international orchestras, outstanding ensembles, prominent soloists and talented young musicians.
The Bonn Schumannfest (Bonn Schumann Festival) has since 1998 been focusing on the musical oeuvre of Robert and Clara Schumann, presenting ever since talented young musicians and renowned choirs in its festival programme.
Bonn's tradition as a theatre city goes back as far as the era of the Electors. The art-loving citizens, however, had the first theatre built for themselves in 1826. In 1965, a new building was inaugurated for Theater Bonn on the banks of the Rhine; its Grand Hall with 1037 seats is today used mainly by the Bonn Opera, but also offers a stage for international dance performances. The drama theatre has a building of its own in the borough of Bad Godesberg and another location in the Workshop Theatre at the Opera House.
The Cultural Office of Bonn has been presenting Bonn’s music and independent art and culture in a series of Stadtgartenkonzerte (city garden concerts) at the Alte Zoll since 2012 and its new Stadtmusik Festivals (city music) in the city centre since 2015.
Also in 2012, another event series saw the light of day owing to private initiative: Kunst!Rasen (Art!Lawn) provides a stage on the Gronau green close to the Rhine for international artists of Pop and Rock Music. The Jazzfest Bonn has been established in 2010 as the festival of contemporary improvisation music in Bonn. Top-class national and international jazz groups present their current programmes at selected venues within a period of ten to twelve days.
Literature and film
Last but not least, literature also has its established place in Bonn. World-famous authors spent productive years here, and since the 19th century, the study of literature in Bonn has acquired a degree of renown reaching far beyond national borders, and to this day Bonn’s literature scene lives in the tension produced by diverse regional and international reference points.
Since its inauguration in 2011, the Literaturhaus Bonn e.V. (Literature House Bonn) serves as a place of meeting with writers, of mediation, promotion of reading, advising authors or the exchange between readers. Activities take place at different venues in Bonn. The Cultural Office has also made a high-profile contribution to promoting reading skills and fascination for literature among children with the annual "Rheinischen Lesefest Käpt’n Book" reading festival, which was expanded and networked throughout the region in 2010. In Summer 2015, the central library of Stadtbibliothek Bonn (Bonn City Library) and the Volkshochschule (Adult Education Centre) moved into their new home in Haus der Bildung (House of Education) at Mülheimer Platz.
The Bonner Stummfilm-Festival (Bonn Silent Film Festival), organised by the Silent Film Friends’ Association, is in its way a unique event in Germany and enjoys worldwide fame among cineasts. It attracts an enthusiastic audience to the Arcade Court of the University every year.
Museum Mile, City Museums and Macke Neighbourhood
The Museumsmeile (Museum Mile) is Bonn’s major attraction for lovers of art and culture from all over the world. The Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany), the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exposition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) and the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Art) have made a name for themselves in the German and European museum scene since their inaugurations in 1992 and 1994 respectively. The traditional Museum Alexander Koenig and the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) complete the Museum Mile.
The objective of the Haus der Geschichte is to present an illustrative and informative narrative of contemporary history. The permanent exhibition covers 4,000 square metres and displays photos, documents and, above all, original objects relating to German history. "August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists" is a central theme of the collection of the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Art), another one exhibits German Art since 1945 in the spectacular museum building designed by the Berlin architect Axel Schultes. The Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle (Arts and Exhibition Hall), designed by Gustav Peichl is used for temporary exhibitions, and presents national and international cultural trends but also includes science and technology. The Federal Arts and Exhibition Hall and the House of History happen two of the most frequented museums of Germany.
The Museum Koenig ranks among Germany's most important zoological museums. Under the headline "The Blue Planet" it has been revamped into an ecological information centre of a novel kind. Milestones of research from the past fifty years are presented on over 1,500 square metres in the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn). The approximately 100 original exhibits in the Science Centre range from the Maglev-Train to the ion trap, for which latter a Nobel Prize was awarded.
The City Museums are situated in downtown Bonn within walking distance to each other. Among them are such top-class institutions as the renowned Beethoven-Haus (Beethoven House), one of the most important memorial places of culture world-wide, the Akademisches Kunstmuseum (Academic Museum of Art) with one of the largest and oldest collections of casts of ancient sculptures. The Gedenkstätte für die Bonner Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Memorial to the Bonn Victims of National Socialism) and the Stadtmuseum Bonn (Bonn City Museum) present their exhibition and, respectively, collection of exhibits in the Franziskanerstrasse in the immediate neighbourhood of the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall).
The Arithmeum, on one side of the Hofgarten green, boasts a unique collection of historic and still operational calculating machines. A number of other organisations have joined forces in the Macke-neighbourhood in the North of Bonn. They show a wide range of exhibits, from objects relating to Rhenish history, culture and art from the Palaeolithic Age to the present day on display in the LVR-Landesmuseum (Museum of the Rhineland) to contemporary art presented by the Bonner Kunstverein (Bonn Arts Association). A highly interesting institution in the Macke neighbourhood is the Frauenmuseum (Women’s Museum), the first of its kind worldwide.
The former homes of famous Bonn artists are also open to the public: the August Macke House, which opened its extension in 2017, the Schumann House, the Ernst Moritz Arndt House and of course Ludwig van Beethoven’s Birth House. Bonn’s Haus der Kultur (House of Culture) accommodates 20 associations and institutions operating nationwide, the largest number of non-state cultural networks under one roof.
The Old Town Hall and the Market Square
Bonn's Old Town Hall has been the seat of the self-government of its citizenry for over 700 years. As its overlord the Cologne Archbishop and Elector Konrad von Hochstaden had reconfirmed to Bonn in 1244 "the enjoyment of its liberties, privileges and good customs". In 1285, the citizens drew up a Council Constitution. The construction year of the first Town Hall, predecessor of the present one, is not known. According to an ancient engraving of the town it must have been a late-Gothic building. It was reduced to ruins in the siege and bombardment of Bonn in 1689. Clemens August, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne, laid the foundation stone to a new building designed by French architect Michel Leveilly on April 24, 1737. This new Town Hall with its Rococo façade was inaugurated in October 1738. Severely damaged in the air raid of October 18, 1944, the Town Hall was restored in the old style in 1949/50.
The flight of stairs on the front side was repeatedly the scene of historic events. It was here that Gottfried Kinkel, the poet, university professor and fighter for civil liberties, made his rousing revolutionary speech; it was here that the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, spoke to the people on September 12, 1949, the day of his election. Bonn’s five decades of history as Germany's federal capital and seat of government have seen many a prominent visitor, both from Germany and abroad, received in the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). No statesman, no reigning monarch visiting Bonn on official mission left the Town Hall out.
It was from these stairs that the French President Charles de Gaulle, on September 5, 1962, and the American President John F. Kennedy, on July 23, 1963, addressed the people gathered to welcome them. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Town Hall in 1965 and 1978, and in 1989 the Bonners cheered Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Head of State and Party General Secretary. South Africa's Nelson Mandela, the Japanese Imperial Couple, United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan, they all signed the City of Bonn's Golden Book of Visitors.
After extensive renovation in 2010 and 2011, the Old Town Hall now gleams in new splendour. The Old Town Hall Society ("Verein Altes Rathaus") and the City jointly work for this to continue.
However, not only the Town Hall but also the Market Square has become well-known all over the world due to the numerous state visits. It went through a similar history of ups and downs. The Market Square came into being in the 11th century as the centre of a settlement of craftsmen along the road which traversed Bonn from north to south. The Market Fountain or obelisk dates back to Bonn's era as capital and residence of the Electors and Archbishops of Cologne. The square was already then considered an excellent business address: here were the houses of the merchants, pharmacists and craftsmen who paid the bulk of the taxes.
The small houses around the Market Square were replaced by four-storeyed business buildings in the late 19th century. Almost all of them burnt down following the air raid of October 18, 1944. Today the Market Square is again the heart of urban life in the Federal City of Bonn and provides an idyllic scenery for many open-air events.
Representative: Villa Hammerschmidt and Palais Schaumburg
The official residence of the Federal President in Bonn is one of the most popular photo objects. Villa Hammerschmidt, hosting the first New Year Reception of the Head of State on January 4, 1951, was designed by the architect August Dieckhoff and built in 1860. At that time, Bonn was considered a "Town of Millionaires", and as the "Riviera on the Rhine" chosen by many wealthy industrialists as their place of residence. Leopold Koenig, father of the zoologist Alexander Koenig, bought the property in 1868 and had the house rebuilt by the architect Otto Penner. There have been no major changes since then. The industrialist Rudolf Hammerschmidt, Privy Councillor of Commerce, moved in on April 6, 1901. At that time, Villa Hammerschmidt was the epicentre of Bonn's society. After 1929, the Villa was rented out and partitioned into apartments. It survived the Second World War without damage and was confiscated by the allied occupying forces from 1945 to late 1949. The Federal Republic of Germany bought the property from Rudolf Hammerschmidt’s heirs for 750,000 D-Marks on April 5, 1950. It was furbished up to be the official residence of the Head of State.
The first Federal President to move into the Villa was Theodor Heuss in 1951. It was both his official and private residence. Furnishings and equipment were collected from all over the Federal Republic: furniture, paintings, and carpets from museums and palaces were made available on loan by the federal states (Länder). Villa Hammerschmidt was both the official and private residence also for most successors. Nowadays Schloss Bellevue (Bellevue Palace) is used as the official residence of the Federal President in Berlin, and the "White House on the Rhine" as the official residence in Bonn.
Palais Schaumburg was for many years the control centre of political power in Bonn. Konrad Adenauer was the first to govern the country from here as well as all his successors up to Willy Brandt. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt moved into the new chancellery building in 1976. His old study was restored by the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Nowadays, the German Chancellor has her second official seat there. The Palais was inadequate for governing already in Adenauer's time, a wonderful building, however useless for office purposes, with high-ranking civil servants working in attic rooms with slanting ceilings. Eleven successive governments have gathered there since November 1949. It was here that the High Commissioners François-Poncet and Hoyer Miller handed over the instrument of ratification of the Treaty on Germany in 1955, and it was here that the notes of the treaty on the principles of mutual relations were exchanged between Bonn and East Berlin 1973.
The Palais, surrounded by a park and built from 1858 to 1860, became the domicile of Prince Adolf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe and his spouse, Princess Wilhelmine Victoria of Prussia, sister of Emperor Wilhelm II in 1890 and was for many years an epicentre of society in Bonn. In 1965, the "Chancellor's Bungalow" was completed in the park of Palais Schaumburg. German Heads of Government from Erhard to Schröder used it either as their home or as their temporary domicile. After careful refurbishment in 2009, it is again open to the public and can be visited at certain times.
Bonn - the city on the Rhine
Bonn was for over 50 years defined by the term "politics". Yet "Bonn is more", as the publicity slogan of the city went for many years. It intended to draw attention to the city's "other face": Rhineland savoir vivre, art and culture, science and research, business, trade and industry, tradition and progress, Carnival and Pützchens Markt funfair, the city of sports and the city of meetings and congresses. Another feature has been added since then: German UN-City, a new quality which replaced the earlier dominance of politics. Over 20 institutions of the United Nations have their seat in Bonn. And politics continue to play a role on the banks of the Rhine due to the ongoing presence of six ministries and over twenty Federal institutions. Bonn is also the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. The heritage of the world famous composer is highly honoured in Bonn and his music and oeuvre are ever-present throughout the city.
"Castra bonnensia", a Roman military camp set up between 13 and 9 BC, indicates the beginning of the city's history. In the 8th century, the core of a settlement grows around the present-day Minster whose origins date as far back as the period around the year 400, and developed into a medieval town which was fortified in 1244. Like the Godesburg Castle, built in 1210, Bonn was part of the territory of the Princes Elector and Archbishops of Cologne and eventually became its capital in 1601.
Electoral residence and university city
The heritage of splendour-loving Prince Electors, first and foremost Joseph Clemens and Clemens August, has remained visible until today in Bonn's cityscape: baroque buildings like the main building of the university and the Poppelsdorf Palace were, and are, the highlights of every sightseeing tour. In fact, they shape the cityscape in a very special way by their characteristic integration into the urban structure. Max Franz of the Hapsburg dynasty, the last Prince Elector, inaugurates eventually the predecessor of today's university in 1786 and elevates Godesberg to the rank of a spa.
Bonn becomes French in 1794, and Prussian in 1815. Bonn owes to the university (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität), founded in 1818, and to the scenic surroundings its rise to a preferred university and pensioners' town, and to an intellectual centre, as well as to the presumably wealthiest town of Prussia. Millionaires soon appreciated the merits of this university town as a domicile for retirement and built spacious houses and impressive villas. Some of them, such as Villa Hammerschmidt (today the second official seat of the Federal President) and Palais Schaumburg, (seat of the Federal Chancellor for many years, today second official seat of the Federal Chancellor) were useful to Bonn in 1949 to prove that it was suitable as Federal Capital.
Between Poppelsdorf Palace and Museum Mile
University, town hall, Bundestag (Parliament Buildings), opera, theatres of comedy and political satire, ministries, UN-agencies – all these are located close to each other in Bonn. The "city of short distances" is for this reason frequently underestimated although it has by now a population of 330,000.
Like 1500 years ago, the real heart of Bonn is the area around the mighty romanesque and gothic Minster. Not far from it is the Old Town Hall in front of whose rococo façade the greengrocery market takes place on weekdays. It is also, however, the scene of state guests and weddings. A few steps further on, the modest house where Beethoven was born takes visitors back to the era of the Princes Elector, who on their part left Bonn with magnificent buildings. The Town Palace, today the Main Building of the University, with its splendid Hofgarten ("Courtyard Green") and the elegant summer residence Clemensruh in Poppelsdorf with its Botanic Garden surround the densely built old city centre.
The Rhine is only a few hundred metres from the Hofgarten. Alexander von Humboldt considered the view from the bastion "Alter Zoll" (Old Customs Station) across the river to the Siebengebirge hills as the "eighth Wonder of the World". Here, south of the Hofgarten, is the beginning of the city's South, that spacious quarter with its splendid, carefully restored well-to-do middle class houses and villas of the economic boom years following the 1870/71 war ("Gründerzeit") and of the Art Nouveau period ("Jugendstil") which testify to the former wealth of the town. The Northern City is the more modest counterpart of the South. It is a favourite residential area for students, and its colourful pub scene is a major attraction to night owls.
Where the extended building of the palace separates the old inner city from the southern part, a special feature of Bonn begins: a number of outstanding museums lined up like pearls on a string. The first is the Stadthistorisches Museum (Historical Museum of the City). Next are the Akademisches Kunstmuseum (Academic Museum of Art) with its extensive collection of original ancient sculptures and of cast copies in the classical building designed by the famous 19th century architect Schinkel, and the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus, which illustrates the way of life of the Biedermeier period.
The splendid Museum Koenig opposite of the Villa Hammerschmidt marks the beginning of the proper Museum Mile. Not only is it a home of natural history, it has also gained a reputation as a zoological research institute. Directly opposite of the "Federal District", the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) exhibits its instructive presentation of every-day objects and historical documents of the post-World-War II decades. Like the Federal Museum of Art further south, it is one of most frequented museums in Germany. The Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Art) and the next-door Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Arts and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) are spectacular examples of modern architecture. The first boasts an excellent collection of Rhenish expressionists around August Macke and of German Art after 1945. The second presents alternating exhibitions of art, science and architecture of international standard. Even further south follows the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) illustrating to its visitors science "live“.
With its 30 institutions the Museum scene of Bonn is more extensive anyhow than many people would think: Rheinisches Landesmuseum (Museum of the Rhineland), August-Macke-Haus, the Arts Society, and Europe's first Women's Museum – to mention only a few. The Beethoven-Haus is, of course, also very important, the house in which the great composer was born. Bonn's orchestra which bears his name is a most important "ambassador" of Bonn as a city of culture both in Germany and in other countries. It plays an important artistic role in the annual Beethoven Festivals.
Right and Left of the River
The Museum Mile leads directly into the "Federal District" (Bundesviertel) which has influenced - and will continue to influence - the city's image and character in a very special manner. The Chancellor's Office (Bundeskanzleramt) with its big Moore sculpture is now the seat of the Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development. In 2006, the UN secretariats located in Bonn have moved into the high-rise building ("Tall Eugene", nicknamed after the Speaker of Parliament at the period of its construction, Eugen Gerstenmaier) that used to house the offices of MPs. The former Plenary Hall with its interesting architecture is already now used as a conference venue. It is the nucleus of the World Conference Center Bonn. Not far from it are the broadcasting centre of Deutsche Welle and the corporate headquarters of Deutsche Post World Net whose Post Tower has become a symbol of the new Bonn.
The city's largest green extends right next to it, the Rheinaue Park. With its 160 hectares it is not only Bonn's recreation area number one but also the largest location for open-air events in the Federal City. Hundreds of thousands crowd each year in the park for "Rhine in Flames". Part of the park extends, by the way, on the right bank of the Rhine, in the district of Beuel. With the "office town" of Telecom (former T-Mobile) and the buildings at the "Bonner Bogen" there, this "sunny side" of Bonn has become a first-rate business address. This part boasts moreover a prime example of sacral architecture in the Rhineland, the romanesque "Doppelkirche" (a two-floor church) of Schwarz-Rheindorf, whose bright-coloured paintings tell the biblical story in pictures.
Since the period of the Princes Elector, Bonn's southernmost district, Bad Godesberg, has had a special flair of its own of which the "Redoute" Ball House is a reminder. As a health resort it continues to do credit to its epithet "Bad" (Spa). A spacious area of villas from the industrial boom of the 1870ies has made it a favourite residential district. A curiosity in the Bonn mosaic is found here: the wood-framed houses of Muffendorf produce an air of idyllic rural life which is carefully cultivated.
From here you have an excellent view of the Siebengebirge Hills across the Rhine, Drachenfels (Dragon's Rock) and Petersberg (St. Peter's Mountain) with the hotel on top are very close, and the romantic middle part of the Rhine Begins.
Beethoven in Bonn
The legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven, who saw the light of day in Bonn in 1770, is highly respected and honored in Bonn. His music is present everywhere, connecting Bonn with music lovers around the world.
December 2020 will mark the 250th anniversary of his birthday. The city celebrates this anniversary starting from Bonn and the region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and the whole world. The anniversary year began on December 16, 2019 and should end on December 17, 2020. However, the celebrations, currently interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, will continue until September 2021. The non-profit Beethoven Jubiläums Gesellschaft mbH was founded to coordinate the program. Under the umbrella brand BTHVN 2020, its aim is to promote and communicate the Beethoven Jubilee as an event of national and international significance with a broad participation of all population groups and many guests from Germany and abroad.
With his immortal music, Beethoven is still considered a radical artist and creative visionary today. The utopias of freedom and fraternity, for which he passionately advocated, are of great topicality. The anniversary offers an opportunity to take a new approach to Beethoven's personality, work and influence.
City marketing campaign
For its part, the Federal City of Bonn has launched a city marketing campaign to mark the Beethoven anniversary. "Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil..." ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because ...") is the motto, and the respective additions are then aimed at the numerous facets that make up Bonn, e.g. "Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil unsere Vielfalt Wissen schafft" ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because diversity creates knowledge!"). Or: "Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil hier Zukunft komponiert wird" ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because the future is being composed here"). The world-famous name of Beethoven is associated with Bonn and in doing so, the diversity of the city is transported. His thoughts and ideas form the basis of the campaign: emancipation, innovation and internationality.
Beethoven-Orchester (Beethoven Orchestra Bonn)
Of course, the city's orchestra bears the name of the most famous son: The Bonn Beethoven Orchestra, founded in 1907, is the musical ambassador of the city of Bonn with its concerts in Germany and abroad as well as CD recordings and is also the orchestra of the Bonn Opera House. The orchestra performs important artistic functions at Beethoven festivals and has been awarded several international prizes.
Beethovenfest (Beethoven Festival)
Since 1999 Bonn has celebrated its Beethovenfest every year. World-famous interpreters and young, highly talented musicians are then guests in Bonn. The Beethovenfest Bonn can look back on an eventful history. Its origins go back to the three-day music festival of Franz Liszt, which was held in 1845 on the occasion of the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument on Bonn's Münsterplatz on the occasion of the composer's 75th birthday. In order to continue to cultivate Beethoven's work, chamber music festivals have been held annually since 1889, initiated by the Beethoven-Haus Association. Since 1927, these were popular Beethoven festivals, which were organized by the city of Bonn every two years starting in 1959.
Beethoven-Haus (Beethoven House)
Visitors encounter Ludwig van Beethoven in many places in the cityscape as well. The Beethoven House, a landmark of Bonn, is supported by the Beethoven House Association, founded in 1889, and houses the museum in Beethoven's birthplace, the Beethoven Archive and the Chamber Music Hall. The permanent exhibition, newly created for the Beethoven Year 2020, offers informative and emotional access to over 200 original exhibits - portraits, original manuscripts, instruments and everyday objects - from the association's world-famous collections. Regular performances on historical keyboard instruments can be experienced in the new music room, and original manuscripts of important works are permanently displayed in a treasure chamber. Changing thematic exhibitions deepen different perspectives on Beethoven.
In the Digital Archive, visitors on site, but also from all over the world, can virtually browse the collections, view objects that are not on display in the museum, and call up further information. The Beethoven Archive with its publishing house and special library, founded in 1927 on the 100th anniversary of Beethoven's death as a scientific research institute, is the central documentation center for Beethoven's life, work and intellectual environment. The Chamber Music Hall, inaugurated in 1989, not only has excellent acoustics, it is also considered one of the most beautiful modern concert halls in Europe. Among other things, the Beethoven Week has been held there annually since 2015. The festival continues the tradition of the famous chamber music festivals founded by Joseph Joachim and draws a bow from Beethoven's chamber music to the music of our time.
Inaugurated on September 8, 1959, the Beethovenhalle is the city's concert and event hall. It was extended in 1996/97. It is the home of the Beethoven Orchestra, with international orchestras and artists of world renown giving guest performances here. Important events are the annual Beethoven Festivals, but also the major congresses. The largest of the four meeting rooms can accommodate 2,000 people. Today's Beethovenhalle is the third of this name in Bonn.
The first one was built as a wooden building in 1845 at the instigation of Franz Liszt for the first Beethoven Festival, but had to be torn down again due to fire hazard. The second hall, also built as a wooden construction in 1870 on the occasion of the second Beethovenfest for the 100th birthday of the composer, burned down completely on October 18, 1944, during the largest bombing attack on the city. On April 7, 2016, the Council decided to restore and modernize the Beethovenhalle in accordance with the preservation order, which has been in progress since the beginning of 2017.
Monuments and memorials
The Beethoven Monument on the Münsterplatz was unveiled in August 1845 to commemorate Beethoven's 75th birthday on the occasion of the first Beethovenfest. The Dresden sculptor Ernst Hähnel had won the competition for the bronze statue, which was announced in 1840. The figure's posture and symbols characterize the "inspired tone-artist", who, with his eyes turned upwards, receives a creative thought to record it with his stylus in the music book.
Ludwig van Beethoven's mother, the Rhinelander Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, born Keverich, found her final resting place in the Old Cemetery in 1787. A simple stone slab on the grave, which was only rediscovered in 1932, commemorates her and her great son, whose words can be read on it: "She was such a good and kind mother to me, my best friend".
The concrete sculpture "Beethon" by the Düsseldorf artist Professor Klaus Kammerichs (in front of the Beethovenhalle) has become a modern landmark of the Beethoven city of Bonn. Since spring 2014 the sculpture "Homage to Beethoven" by Markus Lüpertz has been standing in the Stadtgarten.
Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn
In 2005, Deutsche Telekom first announced the international Beethoven piano competition "Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn", which has been held every two years since then to give young musicians the opportunity to launch an international career.
Together with several sponsors from the Bonn cultural scene and private industry, the City of Bonn has installed the Beethoven Tour. This tour leads to stations where the musical genius lived and worked. On the occasion of Beethoven's anniversary in 2020, the Beethoven Anniversary Society has revised and expanded the Beethoven Tour. With the help of concise multimedia elements at a total of 22 different stations in Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, visitors, but also the people of Bonn and the region, will become aware of Beethoven in a new way.
"Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil..." ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because...")
Bonn's communication campaign highlights the diversity of the city
Bonn and Beethoven - these two terms should have belonged together long ago, at least much more so than they do now. In the consciousness of a broad public, Beethoven is not directly connected with Bonn, although he was born here in 1770 and spent the formative first 22 years of his life on the Rhine.
Beethoven is everywhere in Bonn: the house where he was born, monuments and works of art, streets, hotels, pharmacies are named after him. The city's orchestra bears his name, as does an international piano competition, the annual Beethovenfest, the Beethovenhalle - almost everyone in his native city knows him.
As the world's most performed classical composer, he hardly needs to be introduced abroad, especially not in Europe, which has made the final movement of his 9th symphony, the "Ode to Joy" its anthem.
Bonn's profile is based on Beethoven's way of thinking
The pair of terms "Beethoven - Joy" has been using Bonn for its umbrella brand for more than a decade: It is called FREUDE.JOY.JOIE.BONN. and associatively links Beethoven with the Rhenish joie de vivre and - through its multilingualism - with the internationality that Bonn has been able to refer to since it became the German city of the United Nations in the mid-1990s.
International city, city of innovation, city of the Basic Law and much more - Bonn's current profile can easily be linked with the way of thinking that moved Beethoven throughout his life. His compositions, which broke with tradition and opened up new ground, and his political and humanistic views, which encompassed the whole of Europe and already considered the turning away from the feudal state: They reflect much of what Bonn stands for today.
"Beethoven stands for creativity, cosmopolitanism and also breaks, as an artist and as a human being. I find it wonderful that the values he embodies still characterize his birthplace today." This is how Bonn's General Music Director Dirk Kaftan puts it.
Against the background of Beethoven's timeless way of thinking, Bonn has launched the communication campaign "Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil..." ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because ..."). Its goal is to connect the composer's world-famous name more strongly with Bonn and to use this to present Bonn as a diverse, exciting, liveable, innovative, international city in all its facets.
"With this campaign, we draw attention to the fact that Ludwig van Beethoven is inseparably connected with Bonn in the past, present and future. We in Bonn live innovation, internationality and emancipation - and that is what we want to show the world," said Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan at the launch.
On posters and flyers, with radio cooperations, via Instagram and with actions of all kinds, Bonn transports the message and uses every opportunity that presents itself. Examples: Guest performances of the Beethoven Orchestra, the NRW Days and the Days of German Unity.
Examples for the claims
"Bonn ist Beethoven. Weil..." ("Bonn is Beethoven. Because...")
- ... hier die Musik spielt. (... the music plays here.)
- ... unsere Vielfalt Wissen schafft. (... our diversity creates knowledge.)
- ... weil bei uns Talent den Ton angibt. (... because talent sets the tone here.)
- ... Zusammenspiel die Welt verbindet. (... interaction connects the world.)
- ... wir Heimat für Menschen aus aller Welt sind (... we are home to people from all over the world)
- ... wir hier die Zukunft mitgestalten. (... we are here to help shape the future.)
Bonn's commitment to climate protection and adaptation
The city of Bonn has been involved in climate protection since the mid-1990s and since 2011 also in the area of climate adaptation. The goal of all climate protection measures is to reduce local CO2 emissions. The way to achieve this is by reducing energy consumption, using energy efficiently and substituting fossil fuels with renewable energies. The city is trying to counter the unavoidable consequences of climate change by means of adapted planning that takes particular account of the urban climate situation.
For a city like Bonn, there are possibilities of influence and control in various fields of action for climate protection and climate adaptation. They range from urban planning, energy supply and public relations to political involvement in city networks.
Control center climate protection
In order to coordinate the activities on climate protection and climate adaptation, the city administration has set up its own control center for climate protection. It controls, for example, the city's internal climate protection management and is supported by representatives of various departments. Through the climate protection campaign, Bonn's citizens are sensitized to climate protection and alternative courses of action are presented.
As part of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, the City of Bonn has committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions in Bonn by at least 40 percent by 2030. This target has also been adopted in the new "Mission Statement of the City of Bonn on Climate Protection and Climate Adaptation". In November 2019, the city council also adopted the goal of making the city climate-neutral by 2035.
In terms of climate adaptation, the city of Bonn is pursuing the goal of continuously developing into a city that is sensitive to climate change. The key measures are:
- CO2 monitoring: Since 2008, the city of Bonn has been conducting differentiated CO2 monitoring. The current balance sheet shows that CO2 emissions have decreased by 25 percent per capita by 2016 compared to 1990. This means that the CO2 emissions of Bonn's citizens still amount to 6.9 tons per year and inhabitant. The transport sector, which is still growing, accounts for the largest share at 41 percent. It is followed by private households with 29 percent, trade and services with 20, industry with 7 and municipal facilities including buildings with 3 percent.
- Energy-efficient new buildings: Since 1997, the city of Bonn has been making higher demands - compared to the legal standard - on the energy efficiency of new buildings. They are agreed upon in the sale of municipal land and in contracts with investors in a binding and verifiable manner. The current standard is the KfW Energy Efficiency House55. For larger construction projects, energy concepts are drawn up taking into account renewable energies. For municipal buildings, especially for schools and daycare centers, the city goes one step further. Here, the KfW55 standard with passive house components with the aim of very low energy consumption applies in principle.
- Energy-efficient renovation of old buildings: The biggest lever for CO2 savings lies in the area of old buildings. Old buildings that have not been energetically renovated consume many times more energy than a building to new construction standards. In order to tap this potential, the city of Bonn, together with 20 organizations, with a focus on the crafts, founded the Bonn Energy Agency in 2012. It bundles the expertise of energy consultants, planners and the specialized trades to provide qualified advice.
- Solar roof cadastre: Another service offered by the city: Bonn residents can use the solar roof cadastre to find out online whether a photovoltaic system or a solar thermal system can be installed on their house.
- Adaptation to climate change: With funding projects with partners from science and practice, the city of Bonn has developed basic principles for climate adaptation in the field of heat. As a result, a high-resolution climate analysis and climate scenarios are now available, as well as planning reference maps as a basis for consideration in urban land use planning. As a result of a project with the German Weather Service and the State Office for Environment, Nature and Consumer Protection NRW, a planning tool for simulating the effects of climate adaptation measures in different building structures is available - also for other NRW municipalities.
Heavy rain/flood prevention
The city of Bonn has initiated numerous projects for climate adaptation of the infrastructure with regard to heavy rain and flood prevention. Since the first extreme event of the recent past in 2010, in addition to participation in research projects (e.g. together with the DIFU), a whole package of measures has been initiated for the city's climate adaptation, starting with the establishment of a warning system for stream floods, extensive construction measures, advising citizens and optimizing operational processes. Heavy rain resilience now also plays a key role in new construction areas and even in existing settlement areas.
In the field of mobility, the city of Bonn promotes the change to the bicycle and has set itself the goal of significantly increasing the proportion of bicycle trips from the current 15 percent in the future.
The expansion of the infrastructure will make cycling more attractive and increase the proportion of bicycle rides. In addition to opening one-way streets to bicycle traffic, the establishment of protective lanes and the continuous expansion of bicycle parking facilities in the city districts and at public transport stops, more than 50 bicycle lanes have been established to date. The main routes of the bicycle traffic have been provided with a junction signposting system, which can be used for planning trips via the country's bicycle route planner. In 2018 the new bicycle station at the main railway station was opened, which offers a 24-hour service with automatic access. A bicycle rental system has been in place since fall 2018. In a sponsored project, the city is developing cycle paths into fast cycle routes and setting up mobile stations in the city center.
The city of Bonn is also focusing on electric mobility: in recent years, the city's vehicle fleet has begun to gradually switch to electric drives. The municipal subsidiary Stadtwerke Bonn operates electric filling stations in the city area and uses electric buses in public transport. A complete switch to electric buses is planned by 2030.
Incidentally, the city of Bonn has one of the densest public transport networks in Germany compared to other cities of its size. Stadtwerke Bonn offers four different means of transport: light rail, streetcar, buses and a bicycle rental system. The public transport network is continuously being adapted to the increasing demand, and the timetable offer is becoming more and more dense.
The regional railroad network is also being constantly expanded. Thus, several new stops have been added in recent years, such as the stop "Bonn UN Campus". On the right side of the Rhine, work is currently underway to build additional tracks for the extension of the S-Bahn line 13 from Troisdorf via Beuel to Bonn-Oberkassel. The city of Bonn is committed to further extending the lines and electrifying the S 23.
The Berlin/Bonn Act and the compensation agreement
The resolution passed by the German Parliament (Bundestag) on June 20, 1991, to move its seat and the core sections of the Federal Government to Berlin, have confronted the city of Bonn and the surrounding region with gigantic problems. Ensuing the parliamentary decision, the Berlin/-Bonn Act voted on April 26, 1994, has conveyed in the long term important political functions to Bonn and has thus opened up definite opportunities for a successful development of the city and the environs. The political focuses are characterised by the fair distribution of labour between the two cities, as laid down in the act, and consequently by Bonn's expansion as a location for national, international and supranational institutions and organisations. The compensation agreement from 1994 provided for a structural adjustment aid which has by now resulted in a positive economic development in Bonn.
The Federal City of Bonn has taken on board these challenges and has mastered them largely. Its basic assets for the transformation have always been the prime geographical location and connection in the heart of Europe, its excellent infrastructure, its multiple skills in the fields of education, training and science, research and technology and economy as well as in the cultural sector, and last but not least the international competence Bonn has continued to confirm over the past years. The following text reflects the state of affairs immediately after the adoption of the Act and the Agreement in the second half of the 1990s.
The Berlin/-Bonn Act
The "Act to implement the resolution of the German Bundestag of June 20, 1991, on the completion of the Unity of Germany (Berlin/Bonn Act)“ entered into force on April 26, 1994. As far as the future of Bonn is concerned, the following binding provisions of the Act are crucial: "safeguarding a permanent and fair division of labour between the federal capital Berlin and the federal city Bonn“ and "maintaining and promoting political functions in the federal city Bonn in the following political fields:
- Education and science, culture, research and technology, telecommunications
- Environment and health
- Food, agriculture and forestry
- Development policy, national and supranational institutions
In addition, the act guarantees that "on the whole, the major proportion of the jobs in the federal ministries are to remain in the federal city of Bonn“.
The Federal City
Designating Bonn as the Federal City was a conscious act by the legislator in order to emphasze that also in future. Bonn will continue to assume important political tasks in its capacity as Germany's second political centre. The term was adopted from Switzerland where it was conferred to the city of Bern.
What has come to Bonn
To compensate for the loss of jobs and to reinforce the political fields assigned to Bonn, the act stipulates that the following federal agencies and institutions have to move to Bonn, most of them having indeed relocated here in the meantime:
- Federal Cartel Supervisory Office
- Federal Insurance Office
- Federal Supervisory Authority for the Insurance Industry
- Federal Institute of Vocational Training (BIBB)
- Federal Office for Building and Regional Plannung
- Federal Statistics Office (branch office)
- Federal Office for Food and Forestry
- Central Job Placement Office
- Federal Audit Office
- Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices
- Federal Railway Assets Authority
- Central Office of the Federal Railways
- Federal Central Register at the Federal Prosecutor General´s Office
- Federal Agency for the Agricultural Markets
- German Development Service (DED)
- German Institute of Development Policy (DIE)
- German Food Institute
- German Instiute for Adult Education
Further new settlements in Bonn:
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Telekom AG
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Post DHL
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Postbank AG
- Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications
- Central Länder (regional states) Office for the Safety of Medical Products
- Federal Institute of Sports Sciences
- National Anti Doping Agency (NADA)
Governmental bodies remaining in Bonn
Six federal ministries have their official seat in Bonn, whilst, in accordance with the Act, establishing a second seat in Berlin:
- Education and Research
- Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
- Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
- Economic Cooperation and Development
The Federal President uses the Villa Hammerschmidt as his official seat in Bonn; the Bundesrat (House of the representatives of the Regional Governments), the Federal Chancellery including the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, as well as the federal minstries relocated to Berlin, maintain their second official seats on the Rhine.
The Compensation Agreement
The Bonn region has received 1.43 Billion euros from the Federal Republic to enable it to compensate for the move to Berlin by creating and attracting new qualified jobs to the city. The agreement runs for a ten years period, expiring in 2004.
107 million euros as an immediate funding
In order to start the process of structural change in the region without any delay, the Federation had made immediate funding available in the form of an advance on the compensation payment. This has enabled Bonn to fund investigations and conceptual studies as well as the purchase and develompment of land for industrial purposes. In addition, the Federation has made available built-up and undeveloped real estate with a current market value of 51 million euros.
820 million euros for science, research, technology and education
Most of the money from the compensation fund is invested into building up Bonn as a "region of science and research".
The major projects are:
- CAESAR (Centre for Advanced European Studies and Research), a high-technology research centre
- Centre for European Integration Studies (ZEI)
- North-South Centre for Development Research (ZEF)
- Enlargement of the Wissenschaftszentrum (science centre) Bonn, Ahrstrasse
- Hochschule Rhein-Sieg (Rhine-Sieg University for Applied Sciences at St. Augustin and Rheinbach)
- University for Applied Sciences Institute (Ahrweiler district/ at Remagen)
- LIFE&BRAIN, high performance centre for medical research and development in the fields of biomedicine, brain research and neurological science
The foundation "Centre of Advanced European Studies and Research" is the major single project of the compensation agreement for Bonn. The foundation conducts research with sophisticated chemical and micro-technological methods in the field of neurosciences. The focus is on developing methods of research on the brain and its control mechanisms. Priority of the institute is research into sensory processes and the molecular causes of neurodegenerative diseases.
51 million euros for culture
Bonn's importance as a cultural city has been strengthened. Among other things, the "Haus der Kultur" in Bonn was established as the seat of numerous cultural associations. Around 13 million euros were made available for the expansion of the LVR State Museum in Bonn and around 2.3 million euros for the "Digital Beethoven House". A further 7.67 million euros were used to establish the Beethoven Foundation for Art and Culture of the Federal City of Bonn. Other important projects included the nature conservation museum in the Siebengebirge (Drachenburg) and the Arp Museum in Rolandseck.
153 million euros for a future-oriented economic structure
The Federal Government supported the development of the Bonn region into a location with a future-oriented economic structure with 153 million euros. This corresponded to a value creation potential of more than 500 million euros. Examples were marketing measures and the promotion of tourism.
256 million euros for the transport infrastructure/airport connection
The central project to improve the transport infrastructure is the connection of the Cologne/Bonn Airport "Konrad Adenauer" to the new ICE high-speed rail line Cologne-Rhine/Main. The German government is providing 256 million euros for this project. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and Flughafen GmbH intend to provide a further 277 million euros for the airport's S-Bahn connection with the cities of Bonn and Cologne.
German UNO city and center for international cooperation
In almost five decades as the federal capital, Bonn and its citizens have acquired international competence in many areas. This has been the best prerequisite for the expansion of Bonn as a location for development policy and the settlement of national, international and supranational institutions, which are laid down in the Berlin/Bonn Act. Especially in the fields of development and environmental policy, the federal city is already considered a national and international center. More than 150 national, supranational and non-governmental organizations in the fields of development and environment have their headquarters in Bonn and the region.
In 1996, the then UN Secretary General raised the United Nations blue flag over Bonn. Since then, Bonn has been fulfilling its national role as a German UN city. The number of UN organizations in Bonn and their staff is growing continuously. The UN Campus includes the former offices of the members of parliament in the "Lange Eugen" and other buildings.
World Conference Center Bonn: The Federal Government, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn have set themselves the goal of using the former parliamentary buildings of the Federal Republic of Germany as an international congress and event center with priority for the United Nations. The core is the former plenary hall of the Bundestag and the waterworks, which have been supplemented by a large event building.