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 1 January 2019: 330,224 inhabitants (159,443 male, 170,781 female). Of all persons living in Bonn, 96,919 coming from 180 states, have a migration background. 55,074 are foreign citizens.
The largest group of migrants come from Turkey (8.6 %), followed by Syria (8.1 %), Poland (7.4 %) and Morocco (5.9 %). Approximately 34.2 % of Bonn’s population is Catholic, 19.0 % Protestant and 10.6 % Islamic. 3.4 % of the population is of other and 32.8 % of no religious denominations.
Employment in Bonn:
173,531 people in Bonn are employed and subject to social security contributions (as of: 30 June 2017). The positive growth trend has seen Bonn reach a new all-time high for employment figures. The number of employed persons has increased by 39,332 in comparison to the 134,199 people employed in 1991, the year that it was decided to move Germany’s Parliament and Government to Berlin. In 1999, the year of the actual move from Bonn to Berlin, there were a total of 146,483 persons employed.
Businesses: 15,640 (as of: 31 December 2016)
Number of employees in the service sector (as of 30 June 2017): 91.9%
United Nations employees in Bonn: approximately 1,000.
Bonn City Council:
886 members (27 Christian Democratic Union (CDU), 19 Social Democratic Party (SPD), 16 The Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), 7 Free Democratic Party (FDP), 5 The Left Party (Die Linke), 4 Bonn Citizens’ Alliance (Bürgerbund Bonn), 3 Alliance for Bonn (AfB), 3 The Social Liberals (Die Sozialliberalen), 1 Alliance for Innovation and Justice (Bündnis für Innovation und Gerechtigkeit) and 1 independent (as of 1 January 2019).
Lord Mayor: Ashok Sridharan, CDU - Christian Democratic Party
Finances: Total budget for 2019 and 2020: 1,3 billion euros respectively
Bonn’s New Profile
The Bundestag’s decision on 20 June 1991 represented the arrival of a major challenge for Bonn: it was the day that a slim majority of the Lower House of the German Parliament adopted a resolution to move its seat and the core functions of government from Bonn to Berlin. The decision was regulated by the Berlin/Bonn Act of 1994, which laid down a fair division of labour between the two cities and determined the five policy areas that would remain in Bonn. A compensation agreement granted the city and surrounding region 1.43 billion euros in aid to deal with the structural change. It was the solid foundation that would allow the vision of a new profile from the early nineties become the reality of Bonn today.
The Federal City
Six of the 14 Federal Ministries have their primary seat on the Rhine. They represent the five policy areas determined in the Berlin/Bonn Act: education and science; culture, research and technology; telecommunications; environment and health; food, agriculture and forestry; development policy; and defence. Over twenty federal agencies, including the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) and Federal Audit Office (Bundesrechnungshof), moved from Berlin and Frankfurt to Bonn, partially compensating the loss of ministerial jobs. The city is therefore the second political centre of the Federal Republic of Germany, a country characterised by highly federalist structures as the name implies, and this status is expressed by its designation as a “Federal City”, a term originally coined in Switzerland.
International Bonn — the German United Nations City
The idea to develop Bonn into a centre of international cooperation was already mentioned in the resolution adopted by the Bundestag in 1991. The city has since attracted numerous international organisations, who form a powerful cluster with the roughly 150 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in Bonn. However, the surely greatest international accomplishment is the settlement of almost 20 United Nations organisations and institutions, such as the Climate Secretariat of the United Nations (UNFCCC) in Bonn. The international activities of the United Nations in Bonn focus on development cooperation, climate and environmental issues and disaster risk reduction. The shared motto of the growing United Nations family in Bonn is “UN Bonn – Shaping a Sustainable Future”.
The UN Campus and the World Conference Center Bonn, which has been extended with another large convention hall, have been the nucleus of international Bonn since the summer of 2006. The former office building of the Bundestag (Abgeordnetenhochhaus) is now occupied by UN organisations and institutions.
During the past, Bonn has time and again shown that it is also a suitable venue for major conferences, as is documented by its hosting of two World Climate Summits, the International Conference on Freshwater, the United Nations Talks on Afghanistan, the International Conference for Renewable Energies and the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 2008. In November 2017, Bonn hosted the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as they convened for the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference. It represented the largest international conference in Germany to date, with 22,000 people from over 190 countries: 11,111 delegates, 1,300 journalists and 9,500 observers.
Since the relocation of Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, to Bonn in 2003, the international image of Bonn is also transported to all corners of the world.
Bonn – a Region of Science and Research
Bonn lies embedded in the ABC region, the triangle of cities formed by Aachen, Bonn and Cologne, with the greatest density of research and technology institutions in Europe, and has acquired an international reputation as a hub of science. Its nucleus is the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University, which was founded in 1818 and today has about 38,000 students. During the past years, it has been complemented by the arrival and development of new research institutions and universities of applied science. Scientific highlights in the region include the Max Planck Institute’s Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), which conducts research on neuroscience, cell biology and biophysics with a focus on neurons and neural networks; and Life&Brain, a centre of excellence in the field of translational biomedicine. It is also the seat of the German Center for the Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases (Deutsches Zentrum für die Erforschung Neurogenerativer Erkrankungen – DZNE), one of the altogether six German institutes for health research established to combat the most important and widespread diseases. Last but not least, Bonn is also home to a host of other leading German organisations that foster and promote science.
Bonn – a Hub of Business
The service sector ranks first in Bonn's economy. Global companies, such as Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom with its numerous subsidiaries have opted to set up their corporate headquarters in Bonn. In terms of the stock exchange value of companies based in the city, Bonn ranks second in Germany. The IT sector alone employs about 10,000 people in Bonn, in several large and many medium-sized enterprises, making Bonn Germany’s fourth largest IT hub.
As the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, music plays a pivotal part in Bonn. The annual Beethovenfest has become an important event to promote the composer’s works. Preparations to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, with anniversary celebrations from December 2019 to December 2020, are well under way and will see the city celebrate the anniversary of its most famous son with the entire world. The art and culture of 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 Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History), the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig) and the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) offer attractions that draw millions of visitors every year. In addition, the city offers a strong and lively cultural scene that boasts a large variety of events.
Some Figures in Brief
Bonn is today a city with over 330,000 inhabitants and a rare phenomenon among major German cities: a city with birth surplus.
The hotel business in Bonn registers almost 1.6 million overnight stays every year.
The unemployment rate is under 7%.
International Bonn – Shaping a Sustainable Future
Over the past two decades Bonn has successfully created a new profile as the German United Nations City and a centre of international cooperation and sustainable development. Almost 20 United Nations organisations and institutions, with about 1,000 staff today operate from Bonn, among them the Climate Secretariat of the United Nations (UNFCCC) and the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The United Nations in Bonn plays a significant role in “Shaping a Sustainable Future”, just as its motto states. Apart from a number of federal authorities and German development cooperation agencies, the city has also attracted numerous scientific institutions and companies, as well as about 150 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to Bonn.
The United Nations World Climate Conference (COP 23) in November 2017 again put Bonn in the spotlight as an international conference location. Its approximately 22,000 participants made COP 23 the largest international conference in Germany to date. The conference was hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, with the support of Federal Government, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn. The climate summit was chaired by the South Pacific island state of Fiji. COP23 allowed Bonn to present itself as an open-minded and welcoming host, and recommend itself as a venue for future international conferences.
The United Nations in Bonn
In July 1996, Bonn was granted the right to call itself United Nations City; in July 2006, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel officially 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 refurbishment of the landmark former office building of the Bundestag (Abgeordnetenhochhaus), known widely as “Langer Eugen” (Tall Eugene, nicknamed after Eugen Gerstenmaier, the longest-serving President of the Bundestag). Almost all of the United Nations organisations and institutions in Bonn are assembled there under a single roof. The other, older Bundestag office building (Altes Abgeordnetenhochhaus) was rebuilt as part of an ecological pilot project to serve as the seat of the United Nations Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) and completed in autumn 2013. Another building is being built right beside it and will be ready in 2020.
Bonn’s World Conference Center Bonn is a state-of-the-art conference center that meets the highest standards and is tailored to the needs of the United Nations.
“UN Bonn – Shaping a Sustainable Future” is the overarching motto and theme that the United Nations has adopted with its many partners in Bonn. The Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals are incentives, answers and ways to find a sustainable future for our planet.
The United Nations organisations and institutions in Bonn are:
- UNFCCC - Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, www.unfccc.int
- UNCCD - Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, www.unccd.int
- UNV - United Nations Volunteers Programme, www.unv.org
- UN SDG ActionCampaign - Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, www.sdgactioncampaign.org
- UNEP/CMS - Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, www.cms.int
- UNEP/AEWA - Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, www.unep-aewa.org
- UNEP/ASCOBANS - Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas, www.ascobans.org
- UNEP/EUROBATS - Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of the Populations of European Bats,www.eurobats.org
- IPBES - Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, www.ipbes.net
- UNESCO-UNEVOC - UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, www.unevoc.unesco.org
- UNU-ViE - United Nations University, Vice Rectorate in Europe, www.vie.unu.edu
- UNU-ViE SCYCLE - United Nations University, Vice Rectorate in Europe – Sustainable Cycles Programme, www.scycle.vie.unu.edu
- UNU-EHS - United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security, www.ehs.unu.edu
- UNSSC - UN System Staff College Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, www.unssc.org
- WHO/ECEH - World Health Organisation, European Centre for Environment and Health, www.euro.who.int/envhealth
- UNISDR - Secretariat of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, www.unisdr.org
- UN-SPIDER - United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, www.un-spider.org
- UNRIC - United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, www.unric.org/de
- UNIDO ITPO – UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office, https://isid.unido.org/itpo.html
- OneHR – United Nations Global Center for Human Resources Services
These are complemented by international organisations, such as the Global Crops Diversity Trust and the IITC – IRENA Innovation and Technology Center.
Synergies for Sustainability
The UN Campus provides all of these organisations with ideal working conditions and an environment abundant with synergy potential. The proximity to the World Conference Center Bonn and many other important contacts offers special advantages. This allows for swift and efficient communication and cooperation between United Nations organisations and institutions, Federal ministries and agencies, about 150 non-governmental organisations, scientific institutions and the global players from the business world. They all determine the city’s profile as an international location with their topics, expertise and commitment. Their collaboration and dialogue on issues of sustainable and dignified development have turned Bonn into a hub of sustainability.
This synergy effect of sustainability is reinforced by a wide variety of international partners from the worlds of politics, organisations, business, science and culture, as well as numerous NGOs. The latter include not only German organisations involved in international issues and activities, but also about 20 international non-governmental organisations who have set up their headquarters in Bonn since 1990.
- The Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) is dedicated to transforming resources formerly used for military purposes into civil resources and thus does vital work in crisis areas, www.bicc.de
- The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has been successfully coordinating the Paralympics from Bonn since autumn 1999, www.ipc.org
- Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) coordinates and supports the activities of national TransFair organisations, www.fairtrade.net
- The Forest Stewardship Council Germany (FSC) is an international NGO working towards sustainable global forestry by means of forest certification on the basis of comparable standards, www.fsc.org
- The Right Livelihood College provides an innovative location for education and research in the field of sustainability in cooperation with the awardees of the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize, www.rlc-bonn.de
- ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability is a network of over 1,700 cities, municipalities and regions from all over the world who work together on implementing the Agenda 2030 at local level, www.iclei.org
Conference activities in Bonn are also geared towards the issues of global sustainability. Germany’s United Nations City provides new platforms for constructive dialogue at national, international and supranational level. Bonn and its local protagonists time and again provide fresh impetus on the road towards global sustainable development. Bonn is the centre of competence for environmental and development issues and policies, be it climate, desert, water, soil, gender equality, conservation or early warning issues.
Bonn has already proven itself and showcased its expertise and experience as a conference venue on many occasions. In addition to the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference that the city hosted in 2017, the regular Bonn Climate Talks have also put Bonn on centre stage in the international climate process. Many other international conferences also take place in the city, such as the annual Global Media Forum hosted by Deutsche Welle in Bonn or the Resilient Cities conference series, an important conference format for cities and climate adaptation. Bonn’s became known in its new role as the German United Nations City during the Climate Summits in 1999 and 2001, the Afghanistan Talks on the Petersberg near Bonn in 2001 and 2002, the International Conference on Freshwater in 2001, the International Conference on Renewable Energies in 2004, the International Conference on Early Warning in 2006, The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity in 2008 and the NGO Conference of the United Nations Department for Public Information (DPI/NGO) in 2011. In 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee met in Bonn.
Bonn Lives Sustainability
Bonn’s core issue is sustainability, and the city has internalised the topic, both at local level, for the people in Bonn, and at international level, with its commitment.
Sustainability and the Agenda 2030 are the basis of urban action. The sustainability strategy adopted by the City of Bonn in February 2019 pools plans, projects and programmes in six core areas to form an urban agenda for sustainable action (www.bonn.de). The strategy is based on the comprehensive approach to sustainability of the Agenda 2030 and therefore also includes fields of action at municipal level, such as social participation or gender equality, which have thus far not been explicitly considered within the context of sustainability. Other key issues are mobility, climate and energy, natural resources and the environment, labour and economy, global responsibility and one world.
Bonn also plays an active role Internationally; the city is active in a number of networks, such as ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, which is currently chaired by the Mayor of Bonn, or the Climate Alliance of Cities. Bonn cooperates with various cities, networks and United Nations organisations to advance major sustainability-related issues. Bonn is also striking new paths in municipal cooperation with sustainability-oriented project partnerships all over the world. The city currently has partnerships with Bukhara (Uzbekistan),Cape Coast (Ghana) and Chengdu (China), La Paz (Bolivia), Minsk (Belarus) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia). The partnerships focus on joint projects and the exchange of experience on environmental and development issues. The City of Bonn’s commitment to sustainable development was further consolidated by a resolution adopted by the City Council on 25 February 2016 to support the United Nations Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Bonn therefore acts not only as a major location for sustainability issues, but has itself become a major actor in the field of sustainability.
The foundations for Bonn’s international profile of today were laid in the Berlin/Bonn Act of 26 April 1994, in which the establishment of Bonn as a centre of development policy and hub of national, international and supranational institutions is described as a principal objective. The standing of Germany’s centre for international cooperation was enhanced further by the transfer of important development policy organisations to the city. The German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH – GIZ) has its headquarters in Bonn and is the largest of the approximately 150 governmental, semi-governmental, church and private organisations working from the city towards global development.
International Region of Science
Bonn is also home to scientific and research institutions of international repute, including organisations that arrange extensive international exchange programmes, such as the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG), the German Rectors' Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK), the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Alexander von-Humboldt-Stiftung – AvH). The Centre of Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung – ZEF) and Centre of European Integration Studies (Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung – ZEI) at the University of Bonn were established with financing from the compensation fund. The ZEF in particular entertains very close ties to development policy organisations, building a bridge between science and practice. The German Institute for Development Policy (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik – DIE) acts at the interface between research and development cooperation.
In 2014, the Federal City of Bonn and the University of Bonn signed a cooperation agreement to improve networking between the scientific community and international institutions. The agreement is implemented by the University’s International Science Forum and the City of Bonn’s Liaison Office for International Academic Sciences. Networks such as BION, the interdisciplinary network for internationally-oriented biodiversity research in Bonn build further bridges to the topics of the United Nations. In order to expand cooperation between the University of Bonn and its faculties, and the ZEF, DIE, BICC, UNU-EHS and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, these institutions founded the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research within the framework of the World Climate Change Conference in Bonn on 15 November 2017. The goal of the regional research network is to strengthen research in the field of sustainable development and global change. It serves to interlink and expand the existing interdisciplinary expertise in Bonn in this area. In addition, they also aim to establish an Innovation Campus (ICB) at the University of Bonn that will pool future topics. Joint programmes and courses at the United Nations University are also planned.
Bonn as a centre of international cooperation and platform of international dialogue is more than an empty cliché. The city has seized its opportunity to become the German centre of excellence for issues that will determine our future and assembled a wide range of international partners to realise this goal. Twenty-three years of the United Nations in Bonn epitomise the important steps that have been taken on our way towards a sustainable future and the many new alliances that have been forged to reach this global goal.
The Bundesviertel: Eye-Catching Structural Change
Bonn is booming; that can be seen all over the city, however, most noticeably in the Bundesviertel (Federal District), the former government district between Bonn and Bad Godesberg. This former nucleus of German politics has experienced a fundamental reorientation on the highest level. Over the past two decades, an entirely new urban district, four kilometres along the Rhine and one mile deep, has sprung up around Bonn’s “Central Park”, the Rheinaue: with the offices of multinationals, new companies, scientific and research institutions, federal ministries, the World Conference Center Bonn and the United Nations Campus. Almost 100 new companies and institutions have settled here since 1991. Over 45,000 people work in the district (about 20,600 before the move), accounting for nearly one fifth of all jobs in Bonn.
The heart of the Bundesviertel is Platz der Vereinten Nationen with the UN Campus and World Conference Center Bonn. The city has been home to a range of United Nations organisations 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 organisation 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 that is currently being built, 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 high class hotel right next door. The extension was inaugurated by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and 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.
The eyes of the world were again on Bonn in November 2017, when the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convened on the Rhine for the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The approximately 22,000 participants from over 190 countries made COP23 the largest international conference in Germany to date. The City of Bonn presented itself as an open-minded and welcoming host, and recommended itself as a venue for future international conferences.
Other highlights in the Bundesviertel:
- Villa Hammerschmidt, with its large park, is the official residence of the Federal President in Bonn.
- The former Federal Chancellery is now the seat of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ), while Palais Schaumburg remains the official residence of the Federal Chancellor in Bonn.
- The “Tulpenfeld” building complex is home to the German development aid organisations, the German Institute for Development Policy (Deutsche Institut für Entwicklungspolitik – DIE) and the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).
- The studios of the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle are at the foot of the UN Campus; its programmes are broadcast from Bonn in 30 languages all over the world.
- Deutsche Post DHL has moved into its new corporate headquarters, the Post Tower, just south of the Deutsche Welle studios. The 162.5 metre-high building was designed by architect Helmut Jahn and has become the new landmark of the structural change in Bonn.
- Deutsche Telekom also has its corporate headquarters in Bonn. The company has constructed two spacious office buildings opposite its headquarters at Friedrich-Ebert-Allee and connected the two complexes with a glass skywalk.
- If one extends the radius a little further, one has 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.
The city is currently working on the urban planning for the Bundesviertel. The aim is to organise the district according to a so-called urban planning framework and thus develop it for future use. The Bonn City Council had commissioned the administration to draw up a fundamental plan for the future development of the former government quarter.
When the Council passes the planning framework for the Bundesviertel, it will become a statutory requirement for the further development of the Bundesviertel. In the future, it will also serve as a basis for assessments by the local government and administration for the preparation of construction plans and assessment of concrete construction projects.
Bonn – a Hub of Business with Stable Growth Trends
Bonn is a prospering centre of business, science and innovation of international importance. As the German United Nations City and home to numerous international organisations it is moreover a platform of dialogue on global issues relating to a sustainable future. Situated in one of the most charming landscapes of Europe, and boasting a rich cultural life, Bonn provides ideal conditions to live and work.
The city has become an excellent location for companies and is among the leading hubs of business in Germany. Bonn is the third most “valuable” city in Germany behind Munich and Walldorf, measured in terms of the stock exchange value of companies based in the city.
Bonn has been performing well in nationwide city rankings for years. The strong economic performance is based on location factors that stand out in regional competition: sustained positive population growth, high purchasing power 11.1 percent above the national average, the above-average level of education of its population, its internationality and its outstanding scientific environment are but a few aspects. Many companies consider its high quality of life an advantage as they seek to provide their qualified staff with attractive living conditions.
Analysts forecast long-term positive population growth for the Bonn region. It is estimated that about 350,000 will live in the Federal City by 2040. A total of 1.1 million people will then be living in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler region and they will continue to ensure a qualified workforce and good demand structure. As of 1 January 2019, Bonn has a population of 330,224 inhabitants according to municipal statistics.
During recent years, the service sector in particular has evolved into a powerful growth engine. It includes all sorts of services, real estate and housing, and the healthcare and social sectors. The information and communication sector plays a central role for Bonn as a hub of business. The city has also been able to continue gaining ground as a tourism and congress location. Many of the businesses being set up in Bonn are tied to the various service sectors and create the conditions for more economic growth. The unemployment rate is comparatively moderate and among the lowest for cities in North Rhine-Westphalia.
This development has also had a positive effect on the local real estate market. The City of Bonn has a relatively low vacancy rate at 1.54 percent, far below the figures of other cities in the office space market. A wide range of real estate experts have forecast excellent growth potential and stable value increase for the real estate market in Bonn.
The internationality of the German United Nations City also plays a significant role for local business. Conferences of global importance take place in Bonn every year generating considerable income. The same applies for premium cultural events in Bonn which attract visitors from all over the world. One of the highlights is the annual Beethovenfest.
The opening of the new main building of the World Conference Center Bonn near the UN Campus in mid 2015 added to Bonn’s significance as a conference and congress venue. The addition of another congress hall to the historic former Bundestag building and the construction of a four-star plus hotel will further upgrade the attractiveness of Bonn’s Bundesviertel (Federal District). The estimated 200,000 annual congress participants will secure 3,000 jobs in the industry and a total turnover of 56 million euros, of which 31 million will go to the hotel and restaurant sector and 5 million to the local retail trade. For Bonn as the German United Nations City and the 20 UN organisations and institutions based at the UN Campus, the completion of the WorldCCBonn will mark an important step forward towards the goal of developing Bonn as a platform of international dialogue.
Bonn’s favourable location in the heart of Europe is also making it more and more attractive to visitors. In 2018, Cologne-Bonn Airport was able to welcome about 12.96 million passengers and handle a total of 860,000 tons of freight. Cologne-Bonn is ranked seventh for passengers and third for freight among German airports.
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. It serves to interlink and expand the existing interdisciplinary expertise in Bonn in this area. In addition, it also aims to establish an Innovation Campus (ICB) at the University of Bonn that will pool future issues.
In May 2014 , the Rector of the University of Bonn and the Lord Mayor of the City of Bonn signed a cooperation agreement. The aim of the agreement was to establish an even closer link between science, and the United Nations and international organisations in Bonn, to cultivate the city into a networking hub and to develop innovative event formats for global change issues, and to use the unique advantages offered by Bonn as an international environment to best benefit the city. This task is now the responsibility of the City of Bonn’s Liaison Office for International Academic Sciences (Stabsstelle Wissenschaft).
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 over 38,000 students at the university are foreign nationals. The University maintains intensive bilateral partnerships with 70 universities on five continents and is one of the most popular destinations in Germany for visiting scientists. The university has several thousand joint research projects with partner groups all over the world.
The quest for higher education was an important issue in Bonn as early as two centuries ago: first at the academy established by the Prince Elector, and later at the newly founded Prussian Rhine University. Today, the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn is the engine of Bonn as a region of science. Tradition and the modern are thereby not in contradiction to each other: many a modern international research university thrives behind the city's countless historical facades. For instance, a new generation of life scientists is being trained at Poppelsdorf Palace, once the baroque maison de plaisance of the Cologne Electors; every year a mere 60 students are admitted to the molecular biomedical sciences degree course following a rigorous selection procedure. The programme is characterised by challenging courses, early involvement in research projects and intensive supervision by experienced scientists.
In 2017 it introduced two new English-language and research-oriented Masters programmes titled “Biochemistry” and “Immunobiology: from molecules to integrative systems”, the primary goal of which is to train students for basic research in an academic or industrial environment.
The University’s research priorities of international repute are mathematics, economics, physics/astronomy, life sciences, genetic medicine, neuroscience, philosophy/ethics and pharmaceutical research. In addition, it also has research fields of national excellence, such as geography and law.
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 University of Bonn and University Hospital of Bonn (Universitätsklinikum Bonn – UKB) are not only one of the largest employers in the region with their roughly 9,000 staff, but also produce about 4,000 highly qualified graduates every year.
The University of Bonn is one of the eminent research universities in Germany and has an excellent international reputation. This can also be seen in the funding it has received to date through the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) and German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) in the Excellence Initiative set out by the Federal Government and Federal States. The University of Bonn has received two clusters of excellence and two graduate schools since 2006. As of January 2019, the University of Bonn will have six Clusters of Excellence, more than any other German university.
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.
The Federal City and the University of Bonn have placed their cooperation on a new contractual footing. In November 2018, Mayor Ashok Sridharan and Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch signed a memorandum of understanding between the city and the university The City of Bonn and University of Bonn have been closely intertwined since the founding of the university. During the year of the university’s 200th anniversary, the relationship between the two partners was intensified even further, with the city and university defining strategic fields of action in which they intend to work together even more closely in the future.
The five core issues are:
- Urban development and university infrastructure, above the development of campuses
- Internationality, United Nations and sustainability topics
- Dual career and family
- Transfer of knowledge and technology
- Communication and exchange of information.
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.
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 900 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 on the Rhine, Sieg and Ahr Rivers
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.
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. 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.
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 and Sights in Bonn
Bonn has always been considered a city of culture. A wealth of diverse, lively and successful cultural activities have developed from this tradition and they are enriched by the great number of cultural contributors and institutions.
Theatre and Music
Bonn is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. The “gift of history” was born here in 1770 and giving rise to a special responsibility for the city preserve the memory of his ingenious creativity and work, and share the artistic and social heritage of this truly unique composer with the world.
The Federal City of Bonn will mark the occasion of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020 by celebrating this extraordinary composer with the entire world and putting on an outstanding programme. The “BTHVN2020” anniversary celebrations will take place from December 2019 to December 2020. The non-profit Beethoven-Jubiläums-Gesellschaft has been tasked with the responsibility to shape and promote this anniversary as a regionally rooted national event.
The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is the orchestra of the Bonn Opera and one of Germany’s most renowned orchestras. The multi-award-winning orchestra also plays an important role, both at home and abroad, as cultural ambassador of the City of Bonn. The home of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Beethovenhalle (Beethoven Hall), which was opened in 1959, is currently being extensively renovated and modernised as befits a historical monument.
Every year in September/October, Bonn celebrates the international Beethovenfest. The festival promotes the composer’s work and presents renowned international orchestras, outstanding ensembles, prominent soloists and talented young musicians.
Since 1998, the Bonn Schumannfest has annually honoured the musical oeuvre of Robert and Clara Schumann, by presenting a festival programme of talented young musicians and renowned choirs in early summer.
Bonn’s tradition as a city of theatre dates back to the time of the Electors. In 1826 Bonn’s theatre enthusiasts built their own theatre. In 1965, the new Theater Bonn (Bonn Theatre) was inaugurated on the banks of the Rhine; its Grand Hall with 1037 seats is today used mainly by Oper Bonn (Bonn Opera), but also offers a stage for international dance performances.
Schauspiel Bonn (Drama Theatre) also stages productions at its own theatre in Bad Godesberg and at the Werkstattbühne im Opernhaus (Workshop Theatre at the Opera House).
The city also boasts an impressive private theatre scene, which the Contra-Kreis-Theater near the university, the Kleine Theater (Small Theatre) in Bad Godesberg and Euro Theater Central in the Bonn pedestrian zone are as much part of, as the Junge Theater Bonn (Young Theatre), the Brotfabrik (a former bread factory) and the Theater Marabu in Beuel. The Pantheon theatre is known throughout Germany for its satirical, comedy and cabaret performances, and the Endenich is home to the renowned Haus der Springmaus improvisational theatre and the Theater im Ballsaal. The latter is shared by the Fringe Ensemble and Cocoon Dance. Another new attraction that has been delighting its audiences with outstanding artists and fantastic shows since 2016 is the GOP Varieté-Theater in the Bonn Marriott World Conference Hotel.
The Cultural Office of Bonn (Kulturamt) has been presenting Bonn’s music and independent art and culture in a series of “Stadtgartenkonzerte” (city garden concerts) at the Alter Zoll bastion since 2012 and its new “Stadtmusik” festival (city music) in the city centre since 2015.
Another series of events that saw the light of day thanks to a private initiative in 2012 is “Kunst!Rasen”, which provides an open air stage for international rock and pop stars in Gronau next to the Rhine. The Jazzfest Bonn has been the festival of contemporary improvisation music in Bonn since in 2010. It offers top-class national and international jazz acts the opportunity to present their current programmes at selected venues in Bonn over a period of ten to twelve days in May.
Literature and Film
Literature also has its place in Bonn. World-famous poets spent important years here, and Bonn's literary research has had a reputation that reaches far beyond national borders since the 19th century. Bonn’s literary scene continues to live in the field of tension produced by regional and international reference points to this day.
Since opening in 2011, the new Literaturhaus Bonn (Literature House Bonn) has served as a meeting place for authors, a place of mediation, where reading is promoted, where authors can seek advice or where readers can exchange ideas and opinions. The events 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 “Rheinische Lesefest Käpt’n Book” reading festival. The festival has grown constantly since 2010 and is networked throughout the region. 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 Internationale Stummfilmtage (Bonn International Silent Film Festival), organised by the Förderverein Filmkultur (Film Culture Friends’ Association), is unique in its kind throughout Germany and enjoys an international reputation among cinema enthusiasts. The annual festival takes place in the University of Bonn’s Arkadenhof and attracts a passionate following.
Museum Mile, City Centre and Macke Quarter
The Museum Mile is Bonn’s main attraction for art enthusiasts from all over the world. The Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History), the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) and the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Modern Art) have made a name for themselves on the German and European museum scenes since opening in 1992 and 1994. The tradition-steeped Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig) and the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) round off the offer of the Museum Mile.
Presenting contemporary history in a vivid and informative manner is the goal of the Haus der Geschichte. Its permanent exhibition consists of 4,000 m² of photos, documents and, above all, original artefacts relating to German history. “August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists” is one of the major collections at the Kunstmuseum. The other collection in the spectacular building designed by Berlin architect Axel Schultes is on German Art after 1945. The Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, designed by Gustav Peichl, is used for temporary exhibitions, and presents national and international cultural trends, but also science and technology. The Bundeskunsthalle and Haus der Geschichte are among the most visited museums in Germany. The Zoologische Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig is one of the most important zoological museums in Germany and offers a new form of ecological information centre under the motto “The Blue Planet” (Der blaue Planet). The Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) presents masterpieces of science and technology from the past seven decades on over 1,500 m² with over 100 original exhibits ranging from the Transrapid (a high-speed monorail train) to the Nobel Prize-winning ion trap.
The city centre of Bonn is home to a number of other museums, all within walking distance of each other. They include top-class establishments such as the Beethoven-Haus (Beethoven House), one of the most important cultural memorials worldwide, or the Akademisches Kunstmuseum (Academic Art Museum) with one of the largest and oldest collections of casts of antique sculptures. The Memorial to the Bonn Victims of National Socialism (Gedenkstätte für die Bonner Opfer des Nationalsozialismus) and the StadtMuseum Bonn (Bonn City Museum) have their exhibitions and collections on display in the direct vicinity of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) on Franziskanerstrasse.
The Arithmeum, a unique collection of historical and still functioning calculating machines, has established itself on the edge of the Hofgarten park. Many other institutions have gathered in the Macke-Viertel (Macke Quarter) in the north of Bonn. They include the LVR-LandesMuseum (Rhenish Regional Museum) with testimonies to Rhenish art and cultural and historical treasures from the Old Stone Age to the present day and the Bonner Kunstverein (Bonn Art Association), which presents contemporary art. Another interesting museum in the Macke-Viertel 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-Haus (August Macke House), which opened its extension in 2017, the Schumannhaus (Schumann House), the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus (Ernst Moritz Arndt House) and of course the Beethoven-Haus (Beethoven House). Bonn’s Haus der Kultur (House of Culture) houses 20 national associations and institutions operating nationwide, the largest number of non-state cultural networks under a single roof.
The Altes Rathaus and the Market Square
Bonn’s Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) has been the seat of self-government for its citizens for over 700 years. In 1244, the ruler of Bonn, the Cologne Archbishop and Elector Konrad von Hochstaden, granted Bonn “the enjoyment of its liberties, privileges and good customs”. In 1285, the citizens drew up a Council Constitution. It is not known when exactly the first town hall, the predecessor of the current one, was built. According to an ancient engraving of the town it must have been a late-Gothic building. It was reduced to ruins during the siege and bombardment of Bonn in 1689. Clemens August, Elector and Archbishop of Cologne, laid the foundation stone for the new building designed by French architect Michel Leveilly on 24 April 1737. The new Town Hall with its rococo façade was completed in October 1738. It was severely damaged during an air raid on 18 October 1944 and restored to it old splendour in 1949/1950.
The stairs in front of the building have repeatedly been the scene of historic events. It was here that Gottfried Kinkel, the poet, university professor and civil libertarian, made his rousing revolutionary speech on 20 March 1848; it was here that the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, spoke to the people on 12 September 1949, the day of his election. Bonn’s five decades of history as Germany’s federal capital and seat of government saw many a prominent visitor, both from Germany and abroad, received in the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). No statesman or reigning monarch ever left out the Town Hall when visiting Bonn. It was from these stairs that the French President Charles de Gaulle spoke on 5 September 1962 and American President John F. Kennedy spoke on 23 July 1963, to the people who had gathered to welcome them. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Town Hall twice, in 1965 and 1978, and in 1989 the citizens of Bonn cheered Mikhail Gorbachev, the Head of State of the Soviet Union and General Secretary of the Communist Party. Nelson Mandela, the Japanese Imperial Couple and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan all signed the City of Bonn’s Golden Book.
Following an extensive renovation in 2010 and 2011, the Old Town Hall now shines in its new splendour. The Verein Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall Society), which was founded in 2009, and the city are working together to ensure that it stays that way.
However, it was not only the Town Hall, but also the Market Square of Bonn that became known all over the world due to the many state visits. It too has experienced a fate of ups and downs. The Market Square originated in the 11th century as the centre of a settlement of craftsmen on the road that crossed Bonn from north to south. The Market Fountain or obelisk dates back to Bonn’s time as the capital and residence of the Electors and Archbishops of Cologne. The square was already an premium business address back then: it was here that the merchants, pharmacists and craftsmen, who paid most of the taxes, lived.
At the end of the 19th century, the small houses around the market were replaced by four-store commercial buildings. Almost all of them burnt down following an air raid on 18 October 1944. Today the Market Square is again the heart of urban life in Bonn and provides an idyllic background for countless 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 motifs of the Federal City. Villa Hammerschmidt, which hosted the first New Year’s Reception of the newly elected Head of State on 4 January 1951, was designed by the architect August Dieckhoff and built in 1860. At the time, Bonn was considered a “City of Millionaires”, the “Riviera on the Rhine” where many wealthy industrialists chose to live. Leopold Koenig, father of the zoologist Alexander Koenig, bought the house in 1868 and had it redesigned by the architect Otto Penner. It has not changed much since then. The industrialist Rudolf Hammerschmidt, Privy Councillor of Commerce, moved into the villa on 6 April 1901. At the time, Villa Hammerschmidt was the meeting place for Bonn’s high society. After 1929, the Villa was rented out and partitioned into apartments. It survived the Second World War without any damage, but was confiscated by the allied occupying forces from 1945 to the end of 1949. In 5 April 1950, the Federal Republic of Germany acquired the property from the heirs of Rudolf Hammerschmidt for the price of 750,000 marks and turned it into the official residence of the head of state.
The first Federal President to move into the Villa was Theodor Heuss in 1951. The Villa served him both as his official and private residence. The furnishings and fittings were collected from all over the country: furniture, paintings and carpets from museums and palaces were loaned by the Federal States (Länder). Villa Hammerschmidt was also both the official and private residence of most of the Federal Presidents who followed. Today, 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 the nerve centre of political power in Bonn for many years. Konrad Adenauer ruled from here, as did all of his successors until Willy Brandt. 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 (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ). Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has her Bonn office in Palais Schaumburg. The Palais was already inadequate for governing during Adenauer’s time; a beautiful, but useless “office space” that had high-ranking civil servants working in attic rooms with slanting ceilings. Eleven cabinets convened there after November 1949. It was here that the High Commissioners François-Poncet and Hoyer Millar handed over the ratification of the Germany Treaty 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 in 1973. The Palais, which is surrounded by a park, was built between 1858 and 1860. In 1890, it became the residence of Prince Adolf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe and his spouse, Princess Wilhelmine Victoria of Prussia, sister of Emperor Wilhelm II and was the meeting place for Bonn’s high society for many years. In 1965, the Chancellor’s Bungalow was completed in the park of Palais Schaumburg. German Heads of Government from Ludwig Erhard to Gerhard Schröder used it as their home or temporary domicile The sober building designed by Sep Ruf was reopened after careful renovation in 2009 and is open to the public at specific times.
Bonn - the City on the Rhine
Bonn as a city was defined by the term politics for almost half a century, but “Bonn is more” as the city’s slogan of many years stated. It was intended to draw attention to the “other face” of the city: the Rhenish way of life; art and culture; science and research; trade, craft and industry; tradition and progress; carnival and Pützchens Jahrmarkt; the city of sports; and the city of conferences and congresses. It is now even more: the German United Nations City, a new quality that replaced the earlier dominance of politics. Almost 20 United Nations organisations and institutions are based on the Rhine and six ministries and over twenty federal agencies continue to shape policies in the city. 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 garrison set up between 13 and 9 BC marks the beginning of the city’s history. In the 8th century, the core of a settlement began to grow around the present-day minster. What began as a martyr’s church as early as AD 400 developed into a medieval town and fortified city in 1244. Bonn, like the Godesburg Castle built in 1210, was part of the territory of the Prince Electors and Archbishops of Cologne, and eventually became its capital in 1601.
The heritage of the splendour-loving Prince Electors, first and foremost Joseph Clemens and Clemens August, is visible in the city’s landscape to this day: Baroque buildings such as the main building of the university or Poppelsdorf Palace remain highlights of any sightseeing tour. In fact, they shape the cityscape in a very special way thanks to their prominence in the urban design. The last Prince Elector, Max Franz of the Hapsburg dynasty, opened the predecessor of today’s university in 1786 and elevated Godesberg to the rank of spa.
Bonn became French in 1794 and Prussian in 1815. During the 19th century, the Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University, founded in 1818, and its beautiful surroundings see Bonn become Prussia’s preferred university, a favourite among its pensioners, the state’s intellectual centre and probably its wealthiest city. Millionaires soon come to appreciate the merits of this university town as a place of retirement and build spacious town houses and impressive villas in the city. Some of them, such as Villa Hammerschmidt (today official residence of the Federal President in Bonn) and Palais Schaumburg, (for many years official residence of the Federal Chancellor and today the Bonn residence of the Federal Chancellor) helped Bonn proved its suitability as federal capital in 1949.
Between Poppelsdorf Palace and the Museum Mile
University, town hall, Bundestag, opera, cabaret, ministries, UN institutions – all lie close to each other in Bonn; and although this often causes the “city of short distances” to be underestimated, its population has since risen to over 330,000.
A millennium and a half later, the true heart of Bonn remains the mighty Romanesque-Gothic minster. A stone’s throw away, the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), with its rococo façade, is the scene of the weekly market, and a popular backdrop for state guests from all over the world, as well as wedding couples. A few steps further lies Beethoven’s modest birthplace, taking visitors back to the time of the Electors, who themselves left a legacy of magnificent representative buildings in Bonn. The Stadtschloss, the former Electoral palace, now the main building of the university, with the magnificent Hofgarten park, and the elegant Clemensruh pleasure palace in Poppelsdorf, with its botanical garden, frame the densely built up old town.
The Rhine is a mere few hundred metres from the Hofgarten, where the Alter Zoll bastion offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Siebengebirge Hills across the river that Alexander von Humboldt deemed the “eighth wonder of the world” The expansive Südstadt district starts just south of the Hofgarten, with its carefully restored Wilhelminian and Art Nouveau town houses and villas testifying to the former wealth of the city. The Nordstadt district is the slightly more modest counterpart of the Südstadt district and today a popular residential district among students with a colourful pub scene that attracts night owls from all over the city.
There, where the elongated palace draws a line between the historic old town and the Südstadt district, is where one of Bonn’s highlights begins: a series of outstanding museums lined up like pearls on a string. It starts with the Stadthistorisches Museum (Historical Museum of the City), followed by the Akademisches Kunstmuseum (Academic Museum of Art), a classicist building designed by the renowned 19th century architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, with an extensive collection of cast and original ancient sculptures; and the home of Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus, illustrating life in the Biedermeier period.
The magnificent Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig) opposite Villa Hammerschmidt marks the actual start of the Museum Mile. The museum is not only a hub of natural history, but has also gained a reputation as a zoological research institute. Directly opposite the Bundesviertel (Federal Quarter) lies of the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History), with a lively presentation of everyday objects and historical documents from the post-war decades. It is, like the Bundeskunsthalle located a little further south, among the most visited museums in Germany. The Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Art) and next-door Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) represent spectacular examples of modern architecture. The first boasts an excellent collection of works by August Macke and the Rhine Expressionists and a selection of German post-war art, while the second presents internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions on art, science and architecture. Further south lies the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn), which presents visitors “live” science.
About 30 museums make the museum landscape in Bonn richer than many would suspect: They include the LVR-LandesMuseum (Rhenish Regional Museum), the August-Macke-Haus, the Bonner Kunstverein (Bonn Art Association) and Europe’s first Frauenmuseum (Women’s Museum), to mention but a few. Another very important institution is the Beethoven-Haus (Beethoven House), where the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born. Bonn’s orchestra also bears the name of its most famous son and is one of Bonn's most important national and international "ambassadors" as a city of culture. It plays an important artistic role in the annual Beethovenfest. The year 2020 will mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and see the city celebrate the anniversary of its most famous son with the entire world, from December 2019 to December 2020. (Further information is available at
Left and Right the River
The Bonn Museum Mile leads straight to the heart of the Bundesviertel (Federal District), which has and will continue to shape the image of the city in a very special way. The former Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt), with the large sculpture by Henry Moore, is now the seat of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung). In summer 2006, the landmark former office building of the Bundestag (Abgeordnetenhochhaus), known widely as “Langer Eugen” (Tall Eugene, nicknamed after Eugen Gerstenmaier, the longest-serving President of the Bundestag) became the home of the Bonn-based United Nations secretariats. The former plenary chamber of the Bundestag, with its interesting architecture, is now a conference venue and part of the World Conference Center Bonn (World CC Bonn). Not far away are the Deutsche Welle studios and Post Tower, the corporate headquarters of Deutsche Post DHL which have become a landmark and symbol of the new Bonn.
The city’s largest park, the Rheinaue, is right next to it. The 160-hectare park is not only Bonn’s favourite recreational area, but also the Federal City’s largest location for open-air events. Hundreds of thousands fill the park each year for the spectacular “Rhine in Flames” festival. Part of the park is also situated on the right-hand bank of the Rhine in Beuel. This “sunny side” of Bonn, alongside the Deutsche Telekom “office district” and “Bonner Bogen” with its spectacular buildings such as the Kameha Grand Hotel, has become one of the city’s premium business addresses. And it awaits with a true masterpiece of Rhenish sacral architecture: the Romanesque “Doppelkirche” of Schwarz-Rheindorf, a church on two floors that turns the bible picture story with its bright-coloured paintings.
Bonn’s southernmost district, Bad Godesberg, has had a special flair of its own since the days of the Prince Electors, of which the Ballhaus Redoute (Redoute Ballroom) is a reminder. As a spa town, it also continues to do justice to the prefix in its name. A large, exclusive district with Wilhelminian villas has seen it become a popular residential area. Another curiosity in the mosaic of Bonn can be found here: the half-timbered houses of Muffendorf produce an air of idyllic rural life that is carefully cultivated.
From here you already have an excellent view of the Siebengebirge Hills across the Rhine; the Drachenfels (Dragon’s Rock) and Petersberg with its noble hotel are close by, and the romantic Middle Rhine begins.
Beethoven and Bonn
The heritage of the Ludwig van Beethoven, who first saw the light of day in Bonn in 1770, is greatly revered and respected in Bonn. His music and oeuvre are ever-present throughout the city and connect it to music enthusiasts all over the world.
The year 2020 will mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. The city will be commemorating this jubilee for Bonn and the region all across North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and the entire world. The anniversary year will start on 16 December 2019 and end on 17 December 2020. The non-profit Beethoven Jubiläums Gesellschaft mbH was founded to coordinate the programme. Its aim, under the BTHVN 2020 umbrella brand, is to communicate and distinguish the Beethoven anniversary as an event of national and international importance, with the involvement of all population groups and many guests from Germany and abroad.
With his immortal music, Beethoven remains a radical artist and creative visionary to this day. The utopias of liberty and fraternity, for which he so passionately stood, are extremely topical. The anniversary celebrations offers the opportunity to revisit Beethoven’s personality and works. All information is available on
The Federal City of Bonn has also launched a city marketing campaign to accompany the Beethoven anniversary. “Bonn is Beethoven because...” is the slogan and the various complements highlight the many facets of Bonn that define the city, e.g. “Bonn is Beethoven because diversity creates knowledge.” or “Bonn is Beethoven because this is where we compose the future.” The world-famous name of Beethoven is linked to Bonn and the diversity of the city is conveyed. The campaign is based on his values and ideals: emancipation, innovation and internationality.
The city’s orchestra naturally also bears the name of its most famous son: the Beethoven Orchestra (www.beethoven-orchester.de) was founded in 1907 and is the musical ambassador of the City of Bonn. It promotes the city with concerts in Germany and abroad, as well as with its CD recordings. It is also the orchestra of the Oper Bonn (Bonn Opera). The orchestra plays an important artistic role at the Beethovenfest and has received numerous international awards.
The Beethovenfest, which has been around in one form or another for over a century and a half, has been staged annually by the city since 1999 and attracts world famous artists and highly talented young musicians to Bonn. The festival can look back on a long and eventful history, with its origin in the three-day music festival organised by Franz Liszt at the Münsterplatz (Minster Square) in 1845 to commemorate the unveiling of the Beethoven Monument marking the 75th anniversary of composer’s birth. In 1889, the Beethoven House Society (Verein Beethoven-Haus) began organising annual chamber music festivals to foster the memory of Beethoven and his oeuvre, In 1927, the Beethovenfest took on a more popular form and has been organised by the City of Bonn biennially since 1959.
Visitors to Bonn encounter Ludwig van Beethoven throughout the city. The Beethoven-Haus is a landmark of Bonn and is managed by the Beethoven House Society (Verein Beethoven-Haus) founded in 1889. It includes a museum, the Beethoven Archive and the Chamber Music Hall. The new permanent exhibition developed for the Beethoven Year 2020 (opening at the end of 2019), will offer an informative and emotional presentation of over 200 original artefacts from the Society’s world-famous collections, including portraits, original manuscripts, instruments and everyday objects. The new music room will present regular performances on historic keyboard instruments. In addition, there will be a permanent exhibition of original manuscripts of Beethoven’s major works in a treasury. Temporary exhibitions with varying themes provide deeper perspectives of Beethoven. The digital archive grants visitors on site and all over the world with virtual access to the collections, objects that are not on display in the museum and other information. The Beethoven Archive, which includes a publishing house and specialised library, was founded as a research institute in 1927 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Beethoven’s death. It is the central documentation office for the composer’s life, work and contemporaries. The Chamber Music Hall (Kammermusiksaal), which was inaugurated in 1989, is renown both for its excellent acoustics and as one of the most beautiful modern concert halls in Europe. It has also been the venue of the annual Beethoven Week since 2015, which fosters the tradition of the chamber music festivals founded and made famous by Joseph Joachim, and makes the connection between the chamber music of Beethoven and the music of today.
The Beethovenhalle, which was inaugurated on 8 September 1959 and extended during 1996 and 1997, is Bonn’s concert and congress hall. It is the home of the Beethoven Orchestra and stages performances by renowned international orchestras and world-famous artists. Important events include the annual Beethovenfest and major conferences. The largest of the four convention halls seats 2,000 guests. The current Beethovenhalle is the third to bear the name in Bonn. The first was a wooden building proposed by Franz Liszt for the first Beethovenfest. It had to be demolished because it was a fire hazard. The second hall, which was also made of wood, was built in 1870 for the second festival marking the 100th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. It burned down completely following the worst air raid on the city on 18 October 18, 1944. On 7 April 2016 the City Council adopted a resolution to restore and modernise the Beethovenhalle as befits a historical monument. The building has been under renovation since the beginning of 2017.
The Beethoven Monument at Münsterplatz (Minster Square) was unveiled in August 1845 on the occasion of the first Beethovenfest, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. The bronze statue was designed by the Dresden sculptor Ernst Hähnel, following a tender in 1840. The stance and symbolism of the statue show “the inspired composer” having a creative moment of enlightenment with his eyes facing the heavens and jotting down the notes in his music book with a pencil.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Rhenish mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, née Keverich, was buried at the Old Cemetery (Alter Friedhof) in 1787. A simple stone slab on her grave, which was only rediscovered in 1932, remembers her and her great son, with his inscription: “She was such a kind and good mother to me, my best friend”. The concrete “Beethon” sculpture (a play on words, combining “Beethoven” and “Beton” = concrete in German) by the Düsseldorf artist Professor Klaus Kammerichs is in front of the Beethovenhalle and has become a modern hallmark of the Beethoven city of Bonn. In spring 2014, a sculpture named “Homage to Beethoven” by Markus Lüpertz was erected in the Stadtgarten park.
The City of Bonn has set up the Beethoven Tour together with several patrons from Bonn’s cultural scene and private sector. The tour takes visitors to a total of 16 information boards at places where the musical genius lived and worked. The Beethoven-Jubiläums-Gesellschaft is adapting and expanding the Beethoven Tour for the Beethoven Anniversary in 2020. It will use striking multimedia elements at various stations in Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg District to present Beethoven to visitors, as well as the people of Bonn and the region, in a new way.
BTHVN2020 - Bonn Celebrates Ludwig van Beethoven for a Whole Year
Ludwig van Beethoven is without a doubt the city’s most famous son. He was born in Bonn in December 1770 and the world’s most-played composer would have celebrated his 250th birthday in 2020. The anniversary will be a national event with global appeal and rooted, above all, in Bonn, the city of Beethoven’s birth. Over 500 visionary events will be presented under the BTHVN2020 brand, ranging from extraordinary concerts by world-class artists and exciting exhibitions to various independent events and a wide range of projects by the people of Bonn.
The Federal City of Bonn is preparing for the anniversary year with a broad marketing campaign under the slogan titled “Bonn is Beethoven because...”. The aim of the campaign is to show that Ludwig van Beethoven is intrinsically linked to Bonn. Emancipation, innovation and internationality are values that Beethoven already stood for during his own lifetime. Bonn identifies with these values and they continue to live on in the city of his birth.
A few examples:
- Bonn is Beethoven because interaction connects the world.
- Bonn is Beethoven because this is where we compose the future.
- Bonn is Beethoven because the sound of joy is most beautiful here.
- Bonn is Beethoven because our diversity creates knowledge.
The world-famous name of Beethoven is thus linked to the name Bonn and the diversity of the city is conveyed.
Bonn will celebrate this extraordinary composer with the entire world and an outstanding programme from December 2019 to December 2020.
The city on the Rhine will welcome star conductors and world-famous soloists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Teodor Currentzis, Kent Nagano, Daniel Barenboim, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Martin Stadtfeld to the Beethoven Anniversary in 2020, as well as renowned ensembles such as the Artemis Quartet and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, as well as China’s most famous present-day composer Tan Dun.
Bonn’s cultural institutions will naturally play an outstanding role, above all the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn with its chief conductor Dirk Kaftan, the newly designed Beethoven-Haus and the Beethovenfest, which will occur twice in 2020 with an additional special spring edition. Theater Bonn (Bonn Theatre) is preparing a new
production of “Fidelio”. The Beethoven Pastoral Project, which interprets Beethoven’s special relationship to nature in cooperation with the United Nations Climate Secretariat until June 2020, has already premiered.
Various exhibitions and Beethoven activities for all age and interest groups will complement the headlining musical events and turn the City of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg District into the nucleus of the Beethoven anniversary celebrations throughout Germany. A new Beethoven Tour, for example, will allow visitors to trace the footsteps of the great composer.
The anniversary aims to bring Beethoven “back to life” so that he can be experienced again and the importance of his work also emphasised in the 21st century:
- B – Bonner Weltbürger: Bonn’s citizen of the world, Ludwig van Beethoven was born and grew up in Bonn.
- T – Tonkünstler: His self-confidence made Beethoven a “modern” musician, artist and individualist.
- H – Humanist: Beethoven was a support of the values of the French Revolution.
- V – Visionär: Visionary, Beethoven was a support of the values of the French Revolution.
- N – Naturfreund: Nature Lover, Beethoven loved nature in a romantic sense.
The non-profit Beethoven-Jubiläums-Gesellschaft has been tasked by Federal Government, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal City of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg District with the responsibility to shape, promote and communicate this anniversary as a national event with a regional root. It therefore conveys Beethoven’s work, supports innovative projects and promotes the prominence of Bonn as the city of Beethoven. The Beethoven anniversary year celebrations are funded by grants from the four authorities mentioned above.
The Beethoven anniversary year represents a major opportunity for Bonn and the region. During the anniversary year, many of the mosaic stones of the Beethoven brand to date will be joined together during the anniversary year to form a common identity. It will not only offer countless concerts, major and minor events of all kinds on stages, squares and in parks, but also invite to many initiatives and impulses within the city’s community, economy and retail trade. Beethoven’s ideas will therefore also be conveyed beyond his music.
Commitment to Climate Protection and Climate Adaptation
The City of Bonn has been involved in climate protection since the mid-1990s and climate adaptation since 2011. All climate protection measures have the aim to reduce local CO2 emissions. In order to accomplish this, it will be necessary to reduce energy consumption, use energy efficiently and replace fossil fuels with renewable energies. The city is attempting to counteract the inevitable consequences of climate change by adapting its planning, with a special focus on the urban climate situation.
A city like Bonn can influence and “manage” climate protection and adaptation in various different fields of action. They range from urban planning and energy supply to public relations work and political involvement in city networks.
Climate Protection Coordination Centre
The City Administration has set up its own Climate Protection Coordination Centre (Leitstelle Klimaschutz) to coordinate its climate protection and adaptation activities. For example, it coordinates the city’s climate protection management and is supported by representatives from various areas of expertise. The climate protection campaign sensitises the citizens of Bonn to climate protection and shows them how they can take action.
As part of the Covenant of Mayors, the City of Bonn has undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by 20 percent by 2020. The ultimate aim is a reduction of 90 to 95 percent by 2050.
In terms of climate adaptation, the City of Bonn is pursuing the goal to develop into a climate-resilient city. The priority measures are:
- CO2 monitoring
The city of Bonn has been operating a differentiated CO2 monitoring since 2008. The current balance shows that in 2014, CO2 emissions had dropped by 22 percent per capita in comparison to the levels of 1990. That means that, on average, each citizen of Bonn is still responsible for 7.2 tonnes in CO2 emissions per year. The buildings sector has the highest CO2 emissions in Bonn with a share of 40 percent, followed by the still increasing share of transport at 39 percent.
- Energy-efficient new buildings
The City of Bonn has had higher standards than the statutory requirements for the energy efficiency of new buildings since 1997. They are agreed to in binding and verifiable contracts with investors when city land is sold. The current standard is KfW Energy Efficiency House 55. In the case of larger construction projects, energy concepts are drawn up taking into account renewable energies.
The city goes one step further for municipal buildings, particularly schools and day care centres, and applies the KfW55 standard with passive house components with the goal of very low energy consumption.
- Energetic refurbishment
The most powerful level in reducing CO2 lies in old buildings. Old buildings that have not been energetically refurbished consume much more energy than buildings constructed according to the new standards. In order to tap this potential, the City of Bonn and 20 handicraft organisations, founded the Bonn Energy Agency in 2012. It bundles the expertise of energy consultants, planners and specialised craftsmen for qualified adv
- Solar roof registry
Another service offered by the city allows citizens of Bonn to use a solar roof registry to inform themselves online whether a photovoltaic system or solar thermal system can be installed on their house or not.
- Adapting to climate change
The City of Bonn is also developing concepts for heating-related climate adaptation within the framework of funding projects with partners from science and practice. It is involved in the development of concrete planning tools and is supporting the development of a new urban climate model. The concept includes high-resolution climate analysis and scenarios, and plan orientation maps as a basis for urban land use planning. As a result of a project with the German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst) and the North Rhine-Westphalia State Office for the Environment, Nature and Consumer Protection, a planning tool for simulating the effects of climate adaptation measures in different building structures will also be available in the future. Other municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia will also be able use the tool.
Heavy Rainfall/Flood Prevention
The City of Bonn has initiated countless infrastructure adaptation projects for heavy rainfall and flood prevention. Following the first extreme weather incident in 2010, it implemented a range of climate adaptation measures for the city, starting with the establishment of a warning system for stream floods, extensive construction measures and advising the citizens on how to optimise operational processes. In addition it has also participated in numerous research projects (e.g. with the German Institute of Urban Affairs – DIFU). Heavy rainfall resilience now plays a major role in new construction areas and even in existing residential areas.
When it comes to mobility, the City of Bonn is promoting the switch to cycling and has set itself the goal to significantly increase the current share of 15 percent for bicycle use in the future.
The expansion of infrastructure will make cycling more attractive and increase the proportion of bicycle use. In addition to allowing cyclists to use one-way streets, establishing advisory bicycle lanes and continuous expanding bicycle parking facilities in the municipalities and at public transport stops, over 50 bicycle boulevards have been created so far. The major cycling routes have been equipped with junction signposting that can be used with the State’s bicycle route planner to plan trips. In 2018, the new bike station at Bonn Hauptbahnhof (Bonn Central Railway Station) opened, with automatic 24-hour access. There has also been a bicycle rental system in place since autumn 2018. The city is currently planning the conversion of bicycle paths to bicycle superhighways and the establishment of mobile bicycle stations in the city center.
In addition, the City of Bonn is also focusing on electromobility and has recently begun switching the city’s fleet of vehicles to electric drive engines. The municipal public services company, Stadtwerke Bonn, provides charging stations in the city and operates electric buses in public transport. It is planned to complete the switch to electric buses by 2030.
The City of Bonn has one of the densest public transport networks in Germany in relation to other cities of the same size. Stadtwerke Bonn offers four modes of transport: light rail, tram, buses and a bicycle rental system. The public transport network is continuously being adapted to the growing demand, and the offer is constantly being improved and consolidated.
The regional railway network is also being steadily expanded. Several new stations have been added in recent years, for example, the Bonn UN Campus station. Work is currently being done on the right-hand bank of the Rhine, to build additional tracks for the extension of the S 13 S-Bahn light rail line from Troisdorf to Bonn-Oberkassel via Beuel. The City of Bonn is also planning to extend other lines and electrify the S 23 S-Bahn light rail line.
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 1990ies.
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 emphasize that also in the 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 on 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 Banking Supervisory Authority
- Federal Supervisory Authority for the Insurance Industry
- Federal Institute of Vocational Training (BIBB)
- Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning
- 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 Institute for Adult Education
Further new settlements in Bonn:
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Telekom AG
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Post AG
- 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 main 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 ministries relocated to Berlin, maintain their second official seats on the Rhine.
The Compensation Agreement
The Bonn region has received 1.43 billion Euro 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-year period, expiring in 2004.
107 million Euro 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 development 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 Euro.
820 million Euro 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 “Center of Advanced European Studies and Research“ (CAESAR) 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 Euro for cultural programmes
Bonn’s status as a City of Culture was strengthened. Inter alia, the House of Culture (“Haus der Kultur”) was established in Bonn as the seat of numerous cultural associations; approximately 13 million Euros were made available for the extension of the Regional Museum of the Rhineland (LVR “Landesmuseum Bonn”) and 2.3 million Euros were provided for the Digital Beethoven House (“Digitales Beethoven-Haus”). Another 7.67 million Euros were used to set up the Beethoven Foundation for Art and Culture (“Beethoven-Stiftung für Kunst und Kultur”). Other significant projects were, e.g., the Museum of Nature Conservation (Drachenburg) in the Siebengebirge hills and the Arp Museum in Rolandseck.
153 million Euro for a forward-looking economic structure
The Federation allocates funds to the tune of 153 million Euro for the development of a sustainable economic structure for the Bonn region. The investment amounts to a net value added potential of more than 500 million Euro. Main projects were marketing initiatives and the promotion of tourism.
256 million Euro for transport infrastructure and the airport connection
The most important further improvement of Bonn’s transportation infrastructure is the new accelerated Cologne – Rhine/Main InterCity Express (ICE) railway line linking the Cologne/Bonn Airport (Konrad Adenauer Airport) to Frankfurt Airport. This project is funded with 256 million Euro by the Federation, whilst the regional state of North Rhine Westphalia and the Airport Company ltd. contribute a further 277 million to the construction of the suburban rail link between the airport and both Cologne and Bonn.
German UN-City and Center for International Cooperation
During nearly five decades as the German capital, Bonn and its inhabitants have acquired a considerable international competence in many fields. This has been the best asset for the development of Bonn into a location of development policy, and for the settlement of national, international and supra-national organisations as defined by the Berlin/Bonn Act. Today, the Federal City of Bonn has become a national and an international hub in particular of development and environmental policy. More than 150 national, non-governmental and supranational ecological or development organisations have established their seats in Bonn.
UN City Bonn
In 1996, the then Secretary-General of the UN hoisted the blue flag of the United Nations in Bonn. Ever since, Bonn has performed the function of representing the nation as the German UN City. The number of UN organisations and their staff is increasing continuously. House Carstanjen, a neo-gothic mansion on the bank of the Rhine, is available to accommodate them. It is planned to concentrate the organisations in the former high-rise office building of Members of Parliament, nicknamed ‘Langer Eugen’(Tall Eugene).
World Conference Center Bonn
The Federal Government, the Government of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn agreed to use the former Parliament buildings of the Federal Republic of Germany as an international congress and convention center with priority use for the United Nations. Its nucleus is formed by the erstwhile Plenary Hall of the Bundestag and the adjacent former waterworks of Bonn which will be extended by a large convention hall.
Bonn is Beethoven because...
Bonn's public communication campaign highlights the diversity of the city
Bonn and Beethoven are two names that should have been entwined a long time ago, or at least far more than they have been to date. The general public rarely associate Beethoven directly with Bonn, and that even though he was born here in 1770 and spent the formative first 22 years of his life on the Rhine.
The composer is ever-present in the city: the house where he was born, monuments, works of art, streets, hotels and pharmacies all bear his name. The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the international Beethoven Piano Competition, the annual international Beethovenfest and the Beethoven Hall are all named after him – and almost everyone knows him in his native city.
As the world's most performed classical composer, he also needs little introduction abroad and certainly not in Europe, which made the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, the "Ode to Joy", its anthem.
The City of Bonn has used the ideals of “Beethoven” and “Joy” as part of its umbrella brand for over a decade: the slogan FREUDE.JOY.JOIE.BONN. associates Beethoven with the Rhenish joie de vivre and its multilingualism highlights the internationality of Bonn, which was a trait of the city long before it became the German United Nations City in the mid-1990s.
International city, city of innovations, city of the German constitution: Bonn's current profile could easily be combined with the ideas that has moved Beethoven throughout his life. His compositions, which broke with tradition and pushed boundaries, and his political and humanist views, which embraced all of Europe and envisaged the end of the feudal state: they reflect much of what Bonn stands for today.
“Beethoven stands for creativity, cosmopolitanism and change, both as an artist and a human being. I think it's wonderful that the values he embodied still shape his birthplace today,” stated Bonn's General Music Director Dirk Kaftan.
Beethoven's timeless ideas are also one of the reasons behind the city’s public communication campaign titled “Bonn is Beethoven because...”. Their aim is to entwine the names of the world-famous composer and the city of his birth, and to use this to portray Bonn in all of its facets as a diverse, exciting, liveable, innovative, international city.
“Our aim with the campaign is to show that Ludwig van Beethoven is intrinsically linked to Bonn – in the past, present and future. We in Bonn have internalized innovation, internationality and emancipation – and we want to show the world,” said Mayor Ashok Sridharan at the launch of the campaign.
The City of Bonn uses every opportunity to convey the message, be it on posters and flyers, cooperation with radio stations, Instagram or all sorts of other activities and initiatives, for examples, guest performances by the Beethoven Orchestra, NRW Days or Days of German Unity.
Examples of the claims: “Bonn is Beethoven because...
...this is where the music plays.
...our diversity creates knowledge.
...we let talent set the tone.
...interaction connects the world.
...we are home to people from all over the world.
...this is where we shape the future.”