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 of them have a foreign nationality.
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:
There are 173,531 employees subject to social insurance contributions (as of 30 June 2017) in Bonn. As a result of the positive growth trend, the city has reached a new peak in employment subject to social insurance contributions. Compared to 134,199 employees in 1991, the year of the decision to move the Federal Parliament and Government to Berlin, their number has increased by 39,332 (plus 29.3 percent).
In the Bonn/Berlin relocation year 1999, 146,483 employees were registered.
- Businesses: 15,640 (as at 31 December 2016)
- Share of employees in the service sector (as at 30 June 2016): 92 per cent
- UN Bonn employees: around 1,000
Bonn City Council:
(Source: City of Bonn, Dept. of Statistics)
86 members (Christian Democratic Party - CDU 27, Social Democratic Party - SPD 19, Bündnis90/Grüne 16, Free Democratic Party - FDP 7, Die Linke 5, Bürgerbund Bonn 4, AfB 3, Die Sozialliberalen 3, Bündnis für Innovation und Gerechtigkeit 1, independent 1 (State January 2019)
Mayor: Mr Ashok Sridharan, CDU - Christian Democratic Party
Finances: Total budget for 2019 and 2020: Euro 1,3 billion resp.
(Source: Department of Statistics of the federal City of Bonn)
Bonn´s new profile
20 June 1991 marked the beginning of a big challenge for the City of Bonn: at this memorable date, the German Parliament decided with a narrow majority to transfer its seat and the core functions of the Federal Government to Berlin. This vote was implemented by the Berlin/Bonn Act in 1994. The Act laid down a fair division of labor between the two cities, according five political fields to Bonn. A compensation agreement amounting to 1.43 billion euro was granted to the city and surrounding region facing the structural change. In the meantime, based on these solid foundations, the vision of the early nineties has become an acknowledged reality: Bonn’s new profile!
The federal City
Six out of the 14 Federal Ministries have their first seat on the Rhine. They represent the political fields as determined by the Berlin/Bonn Act: education and science, culture, research and technology, telecommunication, environment and health, food, agriculture and forestry, development policy, defense. More than 20 federal authorities, amongst them the Federal Cartel Office and the Federal Court of Audit have moved from Berlin and Frankfurt to Bonn in order to partially compensate for the loss of ministerial jobs. Thus Bonn – with the title of federal City adopted from a Swiss tradition - has become a second political focus within the strong federal system of the German Republic.
The international city - Germany’s United Nations City
The idea to transform Bonn into a center for international cooperation already formed part of the parliamentary vote in 1991. Since then, a great number of organizations working in the international field have been attracted to the city. Together with about 150 non-governmental organizations they form a strong network. The most important success in the field of international activities, however, has been the settlement of currently twenty United Nations organizations, amongst them the UN Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC). International activities concentrate on development cooperation, ecological topics and crisis prevention. Their common denominator is ‘UN Bonn – Shaping a Sustainable Future’.
Since the summer of 2006, the nucleus of the international Bonn is the United Nations Campus next to the World Conference Center Bonn, which has been enlarged and tailored to the needs of UN Bonn. The UN organizations have moved into the former office building of members of parliament.
By hosting a number of large conferences over the past years, Bonn has repeatedly proven its capacities as a convention city. Two World Climate Summits, the International Conference on Freshwater and the United Nations Talks on Afghanistan, an International Conference for Renewable Energies and the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in May 2008 are only some examples. A highlight was the World Climate Conference in 2017, when the world visited Bonn. Around 22,000 people from more than 190 countries took part in COP 23 from 6 to 17 November 2017.
Since the relocation of the Deutsche Welle broadcasting corporation to Bonn in 2003, the location’s international image is transported to all corners of the world.
Bonn, a region for science and research
Embedded in the scientific triangle formed by the cities of Aachen, Bonn and Cologne, called the ABC region and renowned as the most compact region of scientific research and technology in Europe, Bonn has acquired an international reputation as a scientific location.
The nucleus is the university founded in 1818 with roughly 35,000 students today. In addition, new institutes, research centers and universities of applied sciences have been created during these last years. Last but not least, Bonn hosts several leading German authorities and organizations fostering and promoting science.
Scientific highlights in the region include the Max Planck Institute’s "Center of Advanced European Studies and Research" (caesar), which conducts research on neurosciences, cell biology and biophysics with a focus on neurons and neural networks; and LIFE&BRAIN, a center of excellence in the field of translational biomedicine. With the DZNE research institute, Bonn hosts one of the six German institutes for health research on the most important and widespread diseases. Last not least, Bonn hosts a series of leading German organizations fostering and promoting science.
The services sector ranks first in Bonn’s business world. Several global players have decided to establish their headquarters in Bonn, amongst them the Deutsche Post DHL Group and Deutsche Telekom, along with numerous subsidiaries. In terms of stock exchange value of the companies based in the city, Bonn ranks second Germany-wide. The IT sector alone employs approximately 10,000 people in Bonn in several larger and a greater number of medium-sized enterprises, making Bonn the number 4 of Germany’s IT locations.
Being birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, music ranks very high in Bonn. The annual Beethoven Festival has become an important event to promote the composer’s works. Preparations for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020 are well under way. The row of new museums along the Museum Mile attract a great number of visitors: the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn’s Art Museum, the House of Contemporary History of the Federal Republic of Germany, Museum Alexander Koenig and Deutsches Museum Bonn welcome more than one million visitors every year. Moreover, the city offers a lively and strong cultural scene boosting a great variety of cultural events.
Some figures in brief
Bonn today is a city with over 327,000 inhabitants and its figures reveal a rare phenomenon in German cities: statistics show an excess of births over deaths.
Hotel business registers almost 1.5 million overnight stays per year.
Shaping a sustainable future – Bonn as an international location
Over the past two decades the city of Bonn has successfully shaped a new profile as Germany’s United Nations City and location for the international debate on future-oriented issues. Twenty United Nations organizations with roughly 1,000 staff are working from Bonn. Apart from a number of federal authorities and development cooperation agencies, scientific institutions, businesses and roughly 150 international and internationally oriented NGOs are based in the international location.
During the meeting of the foreign ministers of the twenty leading industrial and emerging countries (G20) in February and the World Climate Summit of the United Nations (COP23) in November 2017, Bonn was again in the focus as a suitable venue for very large international conferences. With over 20,000 participants, COP23 was the largest UN conference in Bonn to date.
Since July 1996, Bonn has been entitled to call itself a UN City. Ten years later, in July 2006, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel was able to hand over the new branch office of the United Nations to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Today, it constitutes the main building on Bonn’s UN Campus. The Federal Government had invested EUR 55 million into refurbishing the high-rise building, which used to accommodate MP offices and is widely known by its nickname ‘Tall Eugene’ (after the first name of a former President of Parliament). Almost all UN units residing in Bonn are assembled under its roof. The other, older MP office building was rebuilt as an ecological pilot project to serve as the seat of the UN Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) and was completed in autumn 2013.
In summer 2015 the new World Conference Center Bonn was inaugurated in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Large UN conferences can now be hosted in state-of-the-art facilities in Bonn. To meet increasing demands of UN Bonn, the foundations stone for a new extension building on the UN Campus were laid in fall of 2016.
True to the motto ‘Shaping a Sustainable Future’ the United Nations in Bonn have adopted an overarching common theme. With roughly 20 organizations and 1,000 staff, UN Bonn helps governments and humankind to find answers and ways to achieve a sustainable future on our planet. The UN organizations in Bonn are the following:
- UNFCCC - Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, unfccc.int
- UNCCD - Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, unccd.int
- UNV - United Nations Volunteers programme, unv.org
- UN SDG ActionCampaign - Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, sdgactioncampaign.org
- UNEP/CMS: Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, cms.int
- UNEP/AEWA - Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, 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, ascobans.org
- UNEP/EUROBATS - Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of the Populations of European Bats, eurobats.org
- IPBES - Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, ipbes.net
- UNESCO-UNEVOC - UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training,
- UNU-ViE - United Nations University, Vice Rectorate in Europe
- UNU-ViE SCYCLE - United Nations University, Vice Rectorate in Europe – Sustainable Cycles Programme,
- UNU-EHS - United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security
- UNSSC - UN System Staff College Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development
- WHO/ECEH - World Health Organization, European Centre for Environment and Health
- UNISDR - Secretariat of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
- UN-SPIDER - United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response
- UNRIC - United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe
- UNIDO ITPO – UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office
These units are complemented by international law organizations, such as the Global Crops Diversity Trust and the IRENA Innovation and Technology Center.
Synergies for Sustainability
Bonn’s UN Campus provides to all these organizations ideal working conditions and an environment rich in synergies. A special advantage is the close neighborhood to the World Conference Center Bonn and to many important partners and points of contact. This offers an excellent environment for cooperative action, quick communication and interaction among UN organizations, federal ministries and federal superior authorities, the roughly 150 non-governmental organizations, Bonn-based research institutes and the resident economic global players. With their topics and their competence, they all determine the city’s profile as an international location. Collaboration and dialogue on issues of sustainable and humane development among this diversity of actors in Bonn have turned the city into a hub for sustainability.
This synergy network of sustainability is reinforced by numerous partners from the areas of politics, resident organizations, industry, science, culture and NGOs of international scope. Among the latter are not only German organizations engaging in international issues and activities, but also approximately twenty international non-governmental organizations which have established their headquarters in Bonn since 1990. Examples of resident organizations include:
- The Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) commits itself to the conversion of resources formerly used for military ends into resources for civil purposes, performing vital work in areas of crisis
- The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has successfully coordinated the Paralympics from Bonn since 1999,
- Fair Trade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) coordinates and supports the work of the national Transfair Organisations
- The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international NGO working towards worldwide sustainable forest management by means of forest certification on the basis of comparable Standards
- The Right Livelihood College, in cooperation with the awardees of the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize, offers an innovative location for education and research in the field of sustainability
Conference activities in Bonn are equally geared towards themes of global sustainability. Germany’s United Nations City provides new platforms to constructive dialogue at national, international and supranational level. Time and again, fresh momentum emanates from Bonn and its actors on the road towards worldwide sustainable development. Whether climate, desertification, water, soil, gender equality, biodiversity or early warning – Bonn has developed into a competence center for environment and development issues and policies.
As a conference venue, Bonn was able to prove competence and expertise on many occasions. With the regular Bonn Climate Talks, Bonn plays an important role in the international climate process. Many other international conferences take place in the city, such as the annual Global Media Forum hosted by Deutsche Welle in Bonn or the Resilient Cities conference series as an important conference format in the field of cities and climate adaptation. Bonn’s name became well-known during the Climate Summits in 1999 and 2001, the Afghanistan Talks hosted at 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 UN Department for Public Information (DPI/NGO) in 2011. In 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee met in Bonn. And around 22,000 participants from more than 190 countries attended the World Climate Conference in 2017.
Sustainability: Bonn practices what it preaches
Bonn’s central theme is sustainability – and the City is walking its talk: at local level, for the people in Bonn. Internationally, the City is active in a number of networks, such as ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change (with Bonn’s Mayor being member of the boards), as well as the Climate Alliance of Cities. Bonn cooperates with other cities, networks and UN organizations to advance sustainability-related issues. In the field of local-government cooperation, Bonn strikes a new path by maintaining sustainability-oriented project partnerships with cities around the globe. These include Minsk (Belarus), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Bukhara (Uzbekistan), La Paz (Bolivia), Cape Coast (Ghana) and Chengdu (China). The partnerships focus on joint projects and experience exchange on environment and development issues. The commitment made by the City of Bonn for the promotion of sustainable development was consolidated with a respective decision taken by the City Council on 25 February 2016. This decision regarded the support of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals as laid down thereby. Bonn does not only act as host city and international location, but has become an actor in the field sustainability.
The foundations for Bonn’s international profile today were laid in the Berlin-Bonn Act of 26 April 1994, which stipulates the central task of developing Bonn into a center of development policy and a location for national, international and supranational organizations. This German center of international relations was further enhanced by the transfer from Berlin to Bonn of important organizations of development policy, most importantly GIZ, which took its first seat in the city to become the largest of the approximately 150 governmental, semi-governmental, church and private organizations working from Bonn towards development worldwide.
There are, moreover, science and research organizations as well as scientific institutions entertaining an intensive international exchange, such as the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG – German Research Council), Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK – German Rectors’ Conference), Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service) and the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (AvH). The foundation of the Centre of Development Research at the University of Bonn (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung – ZEF) and the Centre of European Integration Studies (Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung – ZEI) was sponsored with funds that became available under the Compensation Agreement. The ZEF above all entertains close cooperation with development organizations, building a bridge between science and practical experience. The German Institute for Development Policy (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik – DIE) acts at the interface of research and development cooperation.
To improve networking among the scientific community and international institutions in Bonn, the City and the University of Bonn have signed a cooperation agreement in 2014. The agreement is filled with life by the University’s International Science Forum and by the Liaison Office for International Academic Sciences of the City of Bonn. Networks like BION, the interdisciplinary network of internationally-oriented biodiversity research in Bonn build further bridges to the topics of the United Nations Bonn.
Bonn as an international location and platform of international dialogue is not a meaningless concept. Bonn makes excellent use of its opportunities to become the German competence center for issues that will determine our future, bringing together many partners of international scope to that end. Twenty one years of United Nations Bonn epitomize 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!
Where structural change catches the eye: Bonn´s Federal District
Bonn is booming: the whole city is an example of that, but most noticeably the federal district, the former governmental district between Bonn and Bad Godesberg. This former focus of German politics has experienced a fundamental reorientation on the topmost level. A completely new urban district, four kilometers along the river Rhine and one mile deep, has sprung up around the ‘Central Park’ of Bonn, the Rheinaue: the premises of global players, new enterprises, scientific and research institutions, federal ministries, the World Conference Center Bonn, and the UN campus of the United Nations. Since 1991, more than 90 new companies and institutions have settled here. More than 45,000 people work in this district (compared to 20,600 jobs in the district in 1997, before the move of the Federal Government to Berlin). Nearly one fifth of all jobs in Bonn is concentrated here.
The heart of the Bundesviertel is the Platz der Vereinten Nationen with the UN Campus and World Conference Center Bonn. Bonn has been home to a range of United Nations organizations since 1996. The majority of them moved into the UN Campus at 1 Platz der Vereinten Nationen in summer 2006. The main building of the UN Campus is the landmark former office building of the Bundestag (Abgeordnetenhochhaus) known as the "Langer Eugen" (Tall Eugene, nicknamed after Eugen Gerstenmaier, the longest-serving President of the Bundestag). The largest UN organization in Bonn, the Climate Secretariat of the United Nations (UNFCCC), moved into the sustainably renovated building in 2013; and the UN Campus is continuing to grow. In 2016, the foundations were laid for a new 17-storey extension, to accommodate the growing space requirements of, first and foremost, the Climate Secretariat.
The World Conference Center Bonn at 2 Platz der Vereinten Nationen is where the world comes to negotiate: The former plenary chamber of the Bundestag captivates delegates from all over the world with its light-filled architecture and has become the nucleus of a spacious conference center for up to 7,000 visitors. In order to better harness the needs of the United Nations, a new main building was built and with it a new 4-star hotel right next door. The extension was inaugurated by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in June 2015. It has since hosted a wide variety of events, ranging from United Nations conferences to classical music concerts.
More highlights in the federal district:
- The „Villa Hammerschmidt“, with its large park, is the seat of the President of the Federal Republik of Germany in Bonn
- The former chancellor´s office is now the seat of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), while the second official seat of the chancellor is in the Palais Schaumburg
- The "Tulpenfeld" is home to several development aid organisations, the German Institute for Development Policy (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik - DIE) and the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur)
- German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle: its programs are transmitted from Bonn to all corners of the globe.
- Deutsche Post DHL has moved into the Post Tower, the building of its headquarters, just south of the Deutsche Welle studios. The building, 162.5 metres (appr. 530 ft) tall, was designed by the architect Helmut Jahn and has become the new landmark of the structural change in Bonn
- Deutsche Telekom AG continues to expand in Bonn. The enterprise had two spacious office-buildings constructed opposite its corporate headquarters and connected the two complexes by means of a glass skywalk
- Extending the radius a little further, you will find the Museum Mile with the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany), the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Modern Art), the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig) and the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History)
- A hub of German development policy has evolved right beside it with the Bonn headquarters of the German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH - GIZ) in the "Mäanderbau" (Meander Building), which has also just been extended by another building
Business location Bonn: stable growth conditions
Bonn is a prospering economic, science and innovation centre of international importance. As the German UN City with numerous organisations of international reach it is moreover a platform of dialogue about world-wide issues relating to a sustainable future. Situated in one of the most scenic landscapes of Europe, and boasting a rich cultural life, Bonn provides optimum conditions of work and life.
Bonn has become an excellent location for business companies and has positioned itself in the top section of commercial hubs in Germany. Behind Munich, Düsseldorf, Walldorf and Wolfsburg, Bonn is the most "valuable" city in Germany, measured in terms of the stock market price of local businesses.
Bonn has performed well in the nation-wide city rankings for years. The strong economic performance is based on location factors which stand out in regional competition: sustained positive population growth, high purchasing power which is 11.1 percent above the national average, the above-average level of education of its population, its internationality and its excellent science environment – to mention only a few. Its high quality of life is to many companies an advantage in providing attractive living conditions to qualified professionals.
Analysts predict a long-term positive population growth for the Bonn region. It is estimated that about 60,000 more people will live in the region by 2040, which will make a total of 1.1 million inhabitants. They will continue to provide a solid potential of qualified workforce and a good demand structure. As per January 1, 2017, the population of the City of Bonn was 324,670.
Throughout the past years, the service sector in particular has evolved into a powerful growth engine including all sorts of services, real estate and housing as well as the health and social sectors. The information and communication sector occupies a central position for Bonn as a business location. The city was also able to continue gaining ground as a tourism and congress location. Many of the strongly increasing number of businesses in Bonn is found in the various service sectors, creating the preconditions for more economic growth. The rate of unemployment is comparatively moderate and among the lowest in North Rhine-Westphalia.
This development has also a positive effect on the local real estate market. With 2,17 per cent the City of Bonn has a relatively positive vacancy rate, far below the figures of other cities. Independently of each other, different real estate experts forecast an excellent growth potential and a stable increase in value for the real estate market in Bonn.
The internationality of the German UN City is also of importance to local business. Congresses of world-wide importance take place in Bonn generating considerable turnover every year. This goes equally for the premium cultural events in Bonn which attract visitors from all over the world. One of the highlights is for example the annual Beethoven festival.
The opening of the extended World Conference Center Bonn (WorldCCBonn) near the UN Campus has added to Bonn’s importance as a conference and congress venue. The enlargement of the historic Parliament buildings by another congress hall and the construction of a four-star-plus hotel will further upgrade the attractiveness of Bonn’s "Federal District". The estimated 200,000 congress attendants will secure 3,000 jobs in the industry and a total turnover of EUR 56 million. Of that amount EUR 31 million will go to the hotel and restaurant industry, and EUR 5 million to the local retail trade. For Bonn as the German city of the United Nations with almost 20 UN organisations residing on the UN Campus, the completion of the WorldCCBonn will be an important step forward towards the goal of developing Bonn as a platform of international dialogue.
Favoured by its central geographic situation in Europe, Bonn is getting more and more attractive to visitors. Also in 2016, Cologne-Bonn Airport was able to welcome about 11,9 million passengers and handle a total of 786,000 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. Therefore the Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB) at the University of Bonn began its work at the end of June 2019. The aim of the six alliance partners of the Innovation Campus Bonn is to create a platform for work on a sustainable future across society and to provide various partners with a basis for contributing ideas, expertise and perspectives on the topic of sustainability, as well as to strengthen and network competencies. The initial focus will thereby be on the three key research areas, "Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence", "Mobility and Migration" and "Bioeconomy".
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 Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn is one of the most eminent research universities in Germany and also enjoys an excellent international reputation.
This reputation is underpinned by its success within the Excellence Strategy, with which the German Federal Government and the Länder are strengthen cutting-edge research at German universities. On 19 July 2019, it was announced that the concept for the future under the application title "WE invest in people, WE foster networks, WE create impact" had convinced the Excellence Committee in the funding line for the title of a university of excellence. The University of Bonn is thus one of only eleven universities of excellence in Germany and one of only two in North Rhine-Westphalia. This, and the six excellence clusters acquired last September in the second funding line of the Excellence Strategy, make the University of Bonn the most successful university in Germany's excellence competition.
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
• 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.
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 in Bonn - Sights of Bonn
Bonn has always been considered a City of Culture. Based on this tradition, a wealth of varied, lively and successful cultural activities has grown that is enriched by a great number of cultural actors and institutions.
Theatre and music
Bonn is the native city of Ludwig van Beethoven who was born here in 1770. This ´gift of history´ implies a particular responsibility for the City to preserve the memory of the composer’s ingenious creativity and oeuvre and to exploit to the full both the artistic and social potentials of this unique artist. The Beethoven Orchester Bonn is the orchestra of the Bonn Opera and is counted among Germany’s most renowned cultural orchestras. Moreover, the distinguished orchestra (e.g. six Echo Awards´ in classical music) plays an important role as a ´cultural ambassador´ of the City of Bonn. The home of the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, the Beethovenhalle, which was opened in 1959, is currently being extensively renovated and modernised.
Every September/October, Bonn celebrates the Beethoven Fest which attracts both national and international interest. The Beethovenfest presents leading international orchestras, outstanding ensembles, prominent soloists and talented young musicians. The City of Bonn has founded a company named the Beethoven Jubiläums GmbH to prepare for the year of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020. The Bonn Schumannfest has since 1998 been focusing on the musical oeuvre of Robert and Clara Schumann, presenting ever since talented young musicians and renowned choirs in its festival programme.
Bonn´s tradition as a theatre city goes back as far as the era of the Electors. The art-loving citizens, however, had the first theatre built for themselves in 1826. In 1965, a new building was inaugurated for Theater Bonn on the banks of the Rhine; its Grand Hall with 1037 seats is today used mainly by the Bonn Opera, but also offers a stage for international dance performances. The drama theatre has a building of its own in the borough of Bad Godesberg and another location in the Workshop Theatre at the Opera House. The private theatre scene is also worth mentioning: the ´Contra-Kreis Theater´ near the University, ´Das Kleine Theater´ in Bad Godesberg, the ´Eurotheater Central´ in Bonn’s pedestrian precinct are part of it as are ´Das Junge Theater Bonn´ (´The Young Theatre´) and ´theater marabu´in Beuel. ‘Brotfabrik’ in Beuel (a former bread factory), ´Theater im Keller (tik- ´Theatre in the Basement´) in Duisdorf complete the picture. The Pantheon theatre, which found a new home in Beuel in 2016, is known throughout Germany
for its satirical, comedy and cabaret performances. The improvisation theatre ‘Haus der Springmaus’ (´House of the Jumping Mouse´) and the ´Jubiläums-Ensemble´ (´Jubilee Ensemble´) in the ´Altes Ballhaus´ (´Old Ballroom´) have settled in the Endenich district, the ´Ballhaus´ being 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 has been presenting Bonn’s music and independent art and culture in a series of "Stadtgartenkonzerte" (city garden concerts) at the Alte Zoll since 2012 and its new "Stadtmusik" Festivals (city music) in the city centre since 2015.
Also in 2012, another event series saw the light of day owing to private initiative: ´Kunst!Rasen´ (Art!Lawn) provides a stage on the Gronau green close to the Rhine for international artists of Pop and Rock Music. The Jazzfest Bonn has been established in 2010 as the festival of contemporary improvisation music in Bonn. Top-class national and international jazz groups present their current programmes at selected venues within a period of ten to twelve days.
Literature and film
Last but not least, literature also has its established place in Bonn. World-famous authors spent productive years here, and since the 19th century, the study of literature in Bonn has acquired a degree of renown reaching far beyond national borders, and to this day Bonn’s literature scene lives in the tension produced by diverse regional and international reference points.
Since its inauguration in 2011, the Literaturhaus Bonn e.V. (Literature House Bonn) serves as a place of meeting with writers, of mediation, promotion of reading, advising authors or the exchange between readers. Activities take place at different venues in Bonn. The Cultural Office has also made a high-profile contribution to promoting reading skills and fascination for literature among children with the annual "Rheinischen Lesefest Käpt’n Book" reading festival, which was expanded and networked throughout the region in 2010. In Summer 2015, the central library of Stadtbibliothek Bonn (Bonn City Library) and the Volkshochschule (Adult Education Centre) moved into their new home in Haus der Bildung (House of Education) at Mülheimer Platz.
The Bonn Silent Film Festival (Bonner Stummfilm-Festival), organised by the Silent Film Friends’ Association, is in its way a unique event in Germany and enjoys worldwide fame among cineasts. It attracts an enthusiastic audience to the Arcade Court of the University every year.
Museum Mile, City Museums and Macke Neighbourhood
The Museum Mile (‘Museumsmeile´) is Bonn’s major attraction for lovers of art and culture from all over the world. The Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (´Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland´), the ´Art and Exposition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany´ (´Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland´) and the ´Bonn Museum of Art´ (´Kunstmuseum Bonn´) have made a name for themselves in the German and
European museum scene since their inaugurations in 1992 and 1994 respectively. The traditional Museum Alexander Koenig and the ´Deutsches Museum Bonn´. (´German Museum Bonn´) complete the Museum Mile.
The objective of the Haus der Geschichte is to present an illustrative and informative narrative of contemporary history. The permanent exhibition covers 4,000 square metres and displays photos, documents and, above all, original objects relating to German history. ´August Macke and the Rhenish Expressionists´ is a central theme of the collection of the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Art), another one exhibits German Art since 1945 in the spectacular museum building designed by the Berlin architect Axel Schultes. The Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle (Arts and Exhibition Hall), designed by Gustav Peichl is used for temporary exhibitions, and presents national and international cultural trends but also includes science and technology. The Federal Arts and Exhibition Hall and the House of History happen two of the most frequented museums of Germany. The Museum Koenig ranks among Germany´s most important zoological museums. Under the headline ´The Blue Planet´ it has been revamped into an ecological information centre of a novel
kind. Milestones of research from the past fifty years are presented on over 1,500 square metres in the ´Deutsches Museum Bonn´. (´German Museum Bonn´). The approximately 100 original exhibits in the Science Centre range from the Maglev-Train to the ion trap, for which latter a Nobel Prize was awarded.
The City Museums are situated in downtown Bonn within walking distance to each other. Among them are such top-class institutions as the renowned Beethoven House, one of the most important memorial places of culture world-wide, the Academic Museum of Art with one of the largest and oldest collections of casts of ancient sculptures. The Memorial to the Bonn Victims of National Socialism (Gedenkstätte für die Bonner Opfer des Nationalsozialismus). And the Bonn City Museum (StadtMuseum Bonn) present their exhibition and, respectively, collection of exhibits in the Franziskanerstrasse in the immediate neighbourhood of the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus).
The ´Arithmeum´, on one side of the Hofgarten green, boasts a unique collection of historic and still operational calculating machines. A number of other organisations have joined forces in the Macke-neighbourhood in the North of Bonn. They show a wide range of exhibits, from objects relating to Rhenish history, culture and art from the Palaeolithic Age to the present day on display in the ´LVR-Landesmuseum´ (´Museum of the Rhineland´) to contemporary art presented by the Bonner Kunstverein (´Bonn Arts Association´). A highly interesting institution in the Macke neighbourhood is the Frauenmuseum (´Women’s Museum´), the first of its kind worldwide.
The former homes of famous Bonn artists are also open to the public: the August Macke House, which opened its extension in 2017, the Schumann House, the Ernst Moritz Arndt House and of course Ludwig van Beethoven’s Birth House. Bonn’s Haus der Kultur (´House of Culture´) accommodates 20 associations and institutions operating nationwide, the largest number of non-state cultural networks under one roof.
The Old Town Hall and the Market Square
Bonn´s Old Town Hall has been the seat of the self-government of its citizenry for over 700 years. As its overlord the Cologne Archbishop and Elector Konrad von Hochstaden had reconfirmed to Bonn in 1244 "the enjoyment of its liberties, privileges and good customs". In 1285, the citizens drew up a Council Constitution. The construction year of the first Town Hall, predecessor of the present one, is not known. According to an ancient engraving of the town it must have been a late-Gothic building. It was reduced to ruins in the siege and bombardment of Bonn in 1689. Clemens August, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne, laid the foundation stone to a new building designed by French architect Michel Leveilly on April 24, 1737. This new Town Hall with its Rococo façade was inaugurated in October 1738. Severely damaged in the air raid of October 18, 1944, the Town Hall was restored in the old style in 1949/50.
The flight of stairs on the front side was repeatedly the scene of historic events. It was here that Gottfried Kinkel, the poet, university professor and fighter for civil liberties, made his rousing revolutionary speech; it was here that the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, spoke to the people on September 12, 1949, the day of his election. Bonn’s five decades of history as Germany’s federal capital and seat of government have seen many a prominent visitor, both from Germany and abroad, received in the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). No statesman, no reigning monarch visiting Bonn on official mission left the Town Hall out. It was from these stairs that the French President Charles de Gaulle, on September 5, 1962, and the American President John F. Kennedy, on July 23, 1963, addressed the people gathered to welcome them. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Town Hall in 1965 and 1978, and in 1989 the Bonners cheered Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet Head of State and Party General Secretary. South Africa´s Nelson Mandela, the Japanese Imperial Couple, United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan, they all signed the City of Bonn’s Golden Book of Visitors.
After extensive renovation in 2010 and 2011, the Old Town Hall now gleams in new splendour. The Old Town Hall Society (`Verein Altes Rathaus`) and the City jointly work for this to continue.
However, not only the Town Hall but also the Market Square has become well-known all over the world due to the numerous state visits. It went through a similar history of ups and downs. The Market Square came into being in the 11th century as the centre of a settlement of craftsmen along the road which traversed Bonn from north to south. The Market Fountain or obelisk dates back to Bonn´s era as capital and residence of the Electors and Archbishops of Cologne. The square was already then considered an excellent business address: here were the houses of the merchants, pharmacists and craftsmen who paid the bulk of the taxes.
The small houses around the Market Square were replaced by four-storeyed business buildings in the late 19th century. Almost all of them burnt down following the air raid of October 18, 1944. Today the Market Square is again the heart of urban life in the Federal City of Bonn and provides an idyllic scenery for many open-air events.
Representative: Villa Hammerschmidt and Palais Schaumburg
The official residence of the Federal President in Bonn is one of the most popular photo objects. Villa Hammerschmidt, hosting the first New Year Reception of the Head of State on January 4, 1951, was designed by the architect August Dieckhoff and built in 1860. At that time, Bonn was considered a ‘Town of Millionaires´, and as the´Riviera on the Rhine´ chosen by many wealthy industrialists as their place of residence. Leopold Koenig, father of the zoologist Alexander Koenig, bought the property in 1868 and had the house rebuilt by the architect Otto Penner. There have been no major changes since then. The industrialist Rudolf Hammerschmidt, Privy Councillor of Commerce, moved in on April 6, 1901. At that time, Villa Hammerschmidt was the epicentre of Bonn’s society. After 1929, the Villa was rented out and partitioned into apartments. It survived the Second World War without damage and was confiscated by the allied occupying forces from 1945 to late 1949. The Federal Republic of Germany bought the property from Rudolf Hammerschmidt’s heirs for 750,000 D-Marks on April 5, 1950. It was furbished up to be the official residence of the Head of State.
The first Federal President to move into the Villa was Theodor Heuss in 1951. It was both his official and private residence. Furnishings and equipment were collected from all over the Federal Republic: furniture, paintings, and carpets from museums and palaces were made available on loan by the federal states (Länder). Villa Hammerschmidt was both the official and private residence also for most successors. Nowadays Schloss Bellevue (Bellevue Palace) is used as the official residence of the Federal President in Berlin, and the ´White House on the Rhine´ as the official residence in Bonn.
Palais Schaumburg was for many years the control centre of political power in Bonn. Konrad Adenauer was the first to govern the country from here as well as all his successors up to Willy Brandt. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt moved into the new chancellery building in 1976. His old study was restored by the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German National Museum of Contemporary History) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Nowadays, the German Chancellor has her second official seat there. The Palais was inadequate for governing already in Adenauer’s time, a wonderful building, however useless for office purposes, with high-ranking civil servants working in attic rooms with slanting ceilings. Eleven successive governments have gathered there since November 1949. It was here that the High Commissioners François-Poncet and Hoyer Miller handed over the instrument of ratification of the Treaty on Germany in 1955, and it was here that the notes of the treaty on the principles of mutual relations were exchanged between Bonn and East Berlin 1973. The Palais, surrounded by a park and built from 1858 to 1860, became the domicile of Prince Adolf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe and his spouse, Princess Wilhelmine Victoria of Prussia, sister of Emperor Wilhelm II in 1890 and was for many years an epicentre of society in Bonn. In 1965, the ´Chancellor’s Bungalow´ was completed in the park of Palais Schaumburg. German Heads of Government from Erhard to Schröder used it either as their home or as their temporary domicile. After careful refurbishment in 2009, it is again open to the public and can be visited at certain times.
Bonn - the city on the Rhine
Bonn was for over 50 years defined by the term „politics". Yet "Bonn is more", as the publicity slogan of the city went for many years. It intended to draw attention to the city´s" other face": Rhineland savoir vivre, art and culture, science and research, business, trade and industry, tradition and progress, Carnival and Pützchens Markt funfair, the city of sports and the city of meetings and congresses. Another feature has been added since then: German UN-City, a new quality which replaced the earlier dominance of politics. Almost 20 institutions of the United Nations have their seat in Bonn. And politics continue to play a role on the banks of the Rhine due to the ongoing presence of six ministries and over twenty Federal institutions. Bonn is also the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. The heritage of the world famous composer is highly honoured in Bonn and his music and oeuvre are ever-present throughout the city.
"Castra bonnensia", a Roman military camp set up between 13 and 9 BC, indicates the beginning of the city´s history. In the 8th century, the core of a settlement grows around the present-day Minster whose origins date as far back as the period around the year 400, and developed into a medieval town which was fortified in 1244. Like the Godesburg Castle, built in 1210, Bonn was part of the territory of the Princes Elector and Archbishops of Cologne and eventually became its capital in 1601.
The heritage of splendour-loving Prince Electors, first and foremost Joseph Clemens and Clemens August, has remained visible until today in Bonn´s cityscape: baroque buildings like the main building of the university and the Poppelsdorf Palace were, and are, the highlights of every sightseeing tour. In fact, they shape the cityscape in a very special way by their characteristic integration into the urban structure. Max Franz of the Hapsburg dynasty, the last Prince Elector, inaugurates eventually the predecessor of today´s university in 1786 and elevates Godesberg to the rank of a spa.
Bonn becomes French in 1794, and Prussian in 1815. Bonn owes to the university (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität), founded in 1818, and to the scenic surroundings its rise to a preferred university and pensioners´ town, and to an intellectual centre, as well as to the presumably wealthiest town of Prussia. Millionaires soon appreciated the merits of this university town as a domicile for retirement and built spacious houses and impressive villas. Some of them, such as Villa Hammerschmidt (today the second official seat of the Federal President) and Palais Schaumburg, (seat of the Federal Chancellor for many years, today second official seat of the Federal Chancellor) were useful to Bonn in 1949 to prove that it was suitable as Federal Capital.
Between Poppelsdorf Palace and Museum Mile
University, town hall, Bundestag (Parliament Buildings), opera, theatres of comedy and political satire, ministries, UN-agencies – all these are located close to each other in Bonn. The "city of short distances" is for this reason frequently underestimated although it has by now a population of 320,000.
Like 1500 years ago, the real heart of Bonn is the area around the mighty romanesque and gothic Minster. Not far from it is the Old Town Hall in front of whose rococo façade the greengrocery market takes place on weekdays. It is also, however, the scene of state guests and weddings. A few steps further on, the modest house where Beethoven was born takes visitors back to the era of the Princes Elector, who on their part left Bonn with magnificent buildings. The Town Palace, today the Main Building of the University, with its splendid Hofgarten ("Courtyard Green") and the elegant summer residence Clemensruh in Poppelsdorf with its Botanic Garden surround the densely built old city centre.
The Rhine is only a few hundred metres from the Hofgarten. Alexander von Humboldt considered the view from the bastion "Alter Zoll" (Old Customs Station) across the river to the Siebengebirge hills as the "eighth Wonder of the World". Here, south of the Hofgarten, is the beginning of the city´s South, that spacious quarter with its splendid, carefully restored well-to-do middle class houses and villas of the economic boom years following the 1870/71 war ("Gründerzeit") and of the Art Nouveau period ("Jugendstil") which testify to the former wealth of the town. The Northern City is the more modest counterpart of the South. It is a favourite residential area for students, and its colourful pub scene is a major attraction to night owls.
Where the extended building of the palace separates the old inner city from the southern part, a special feature of Bonn begins: a number of outstanding museums lined up like pearls on a string. The first is the Stadthistorisches Museum (Historical Museum of the City). Next are the Akademisches Kunstmuseum (Academic Museum of Art) with its extensive collection of original ancient sculptures and of cast copies in the classical building designed by the famous 19th century architect Schinkel, and the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus, which illustrates the way of life of the Biedermeier period.
The splendid Museum Koenig opposite of the Villa Hammerschmidt marks the beginning of the proper Museum Mile. Not only is it a home of natural history, it has also gained a reputation as a zoological research institute. Directly opposite of the "Federal District", the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) exhibits its instructive presentation of every-day objects and historical documents of the post-World-War II decades. Like the Federal Museum of Art further south, it is one of most frequented museums in Germany. The Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn Museum of Art) and the next-door Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Arts and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) are spectacular examples of modern architecture. The first boasts an excellent collection of Rhenish expressionists around August Macke and of German Art after 1945. The second presents alternating exhibitions of art, science and architecture of international standard. Even further south follows the Deutsches Museum Bonn (German Museum Bonn) illustrating to its visitors science „live“.
With its 30 institutions the Museum scene of Bonn is more extensive anyhow than many people would think: Rheinisches Landesmuseum (Museum of the Rhineland), August-Macke-Haus, the Arts Society, and Europe´s first Women´s Museum, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011 – to mention only a few. The Beethoven-Haus is, of course, also very important, the house in which the great composer was born. Bonn´s orchestra which bears his name is a most important "ambassador" of Bonn as a city of culture both in Germany and in other countries. It plays an important artistic role in the annual Beethoven Festivals.
Right and Left of the River
The Museum Mile leads directly into the "Federal District" (Bundesviertel) which has influenced - and will continue to influence - the city´s image and character in a very
special manner. The Chancellor´s Office (Bundeskanzleramt) with its big Moore sculpture is now the seat of the Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development. In 2006, the UN secretariats located in Bonn have moved into the high-rise building ("Tall Eugene", nicknamed after the Speaker of Parliament at the period of its construction, Eugen Gerstenmaier) that used to house the offices of MPs. The former Plenary Hall with its interesting architecture is already now used as a conference venue. It is the nucleus of the World Conference Center Bonn. Not far from it are the broadcasting centre of Deutsche Welle and the corporate headquarters of Deutsche Post World Net whose Post Tower has become a symbol of the new Bonn.
The city´s largest green extends right next to it, the Rheinaue Park. With its 160 hectares it is not only Bonn´s recreation area number one but also the largest location for open-air events in the Federal City. Hundreds of thousands crowd each year in the park for "Rhine in Flames". Part of the park extends, by the way, on the right bank of the Rhine, in the district of Beuel. With the "office town" of Telecom (former T-Mobile)and the buildings at the "Bonner Bogen" there, this "sunny side" of Bonn has become a first-rate business address. This part boasts moreover a prime example of sacral architecture in the Rhineland, the romanesque "Doppelkirche" (a two-floor church) of Schwarz-Rheindorf, whose bright-coloured paintings tell the biblical story in pictures.
Since the period of the Princes Elector, Bonn´s southernmost district, Bad Godesberg, has had a special flair of its own of which the "Redoute" Ball House is a reminder. As a health resort it continues to do credit to its epithet "Bad" (Spa). A spacious area of villas from the industrial boom of the 1870ies has made it a favourite residential district. A curiosity in the Bonn mosaic is found here: the wood-framed houses of Muffendorf produce an air of idyllic rural life which is carefully cultivated.
From here you have an excellent view of the Siebengebirge Hills across the Rhine, Drachenfels (Dragon´s Rock) and Petersberg (St. Peter´s Mountain) with the hotel on top are very close, and the romantic middle part of the Rhine Begins.
Beethoven in Bonn
The heritage of Ludwig van Beethoven who first saw the light of day in Bonn in 1770 is highly valued and honoured in Bonn. His music is present all over, it links Bonn with music-lovers in all parts of the world.
The year 2020 will mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. The city will be celebrating this jubilee of Bonn and the region 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 jubilee offers the opportunity to revisit Beethoven’s personality and works. All information is available on the website: www.bthvn2020.de. The city is also initiating complementary communication measures to associate Beethoven’s name, which is known across the world, more strongly with Bonn.
The orchestra of the city bears, of course, the name of the famous son: Beethoven Orchestra founded in 1906 is the Musical „ambassador“ of Bonn. It promotes Bonn successfully with ist concerts in Germany and in other countries and its CD recordings. The orchestra Plays an important artistic role in the Beethoven Festival programmes and has been awarded several times with the German "Echo".
Since 1999, Bonn has been celebrating its Beethoven Festival every year. World-famous interpreters of music as well as young, highly-talented musicians are guests in Bonn for these occasions. The Beethoven Festival underwent considerable changes in the course of its history. Its origin is the three-day music festival organised on the Münsterplatz (Minster Square) in 1845 by Franz Liszt for the unveiling of the Beethoven Monument which marked the 75th anniversary of the composer. To cultivate Beethoven´s work, annual chamber music festivals were initiated by the Society of the Beethovenhaus since 1889. The Beethoven Festivals took a more popularised form since 1927. From 1959 on, they were organised in two-year turns by the City of Bonn.
Strolling about the city, visitors encounter frequent reminders of Beethoven. The Beethoven-Haus, a landmark of Bonn, is managed by the Beethoven-Haus-Society founded in 1889. It includes a museum, the Beethoven Archive, the Chamber Music Hall and the Digital Beethoven-Haus. The museum shows a representative cross section of the Society´s stock, the world´s largest private Beethoven collection. Portraits, original manuscripts, instruments and objects of daily use provide a vivid and authentic insight into the life and work of the composer. The Beethoven Archive, founded as a research institute on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Beethoven´s death, is the central documentation office for the composer´s life, work and his intellectual environment, and includes a specialised library. The Chamber Music Hall, inaugurated in 1989, boasts excellent acoustics and is considered one of the most beautiful modern concert halls. It has also been the venue of the annual Beethoven Week since 2015, fostering the tradition of the chamber music festivals founded and made famous by Joseph Joachim celebrating the association’s 125th anniversary in the Beethoven House. Beyond the specific focus on the works of Beethoven and his contemporaries, attention is also devoted to the music of our time. The Digital Beethoven Archive provides on the Internet all about the composer, his work, his life and his time. It enables virtual visitors to leaf through first editions and manuscripts which are not accessible otherwise.
The Beethovenhalle, which was inaugurated on September 8, 1959 and extended during 1996 and 1997, is Bonn´s concert and congress hall. It is the home of the Beethoven Orchestra, and renowned international orchestras and world-famous artists make guest appearances here. Important events are the annual Beethoven Festivals, but also big congresses. The largest of the four convention halls seats 2,000 persons. Today´s Beethovenhalle is the third of its name in Bonn. The first one was a wooden construction, proposed by Franz Liszt for the first Beethoven Festival.
It had to be demolished due to fire hazard. The second hall, also a wooden construction, erected for the second festival on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Beethoven´s death in 1870, was totally destroyed by fire in the worst bomb raid on Bonn on October 18, 1944. On 7 April 2016 the council adopted a resolution to restore and modernize the Beethoven Hall as befits a historical monument.
The Beethoven Monument on the Münsterplatz (Minster Square) was unveiled in August 1845 on the occasion of the first Beethoven Festival, remembering the 75th anniversary of his birth. In 1840, the Dresden sculptor Ernst Hähnel won the tender for the bronze statue. Its stance and symbols characterise "the inspired artist of sound" receiving a creative thought with his eyes turned upward and recording the notes in his music book with a pencil. His Rhenish mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, née Keverich, found her final resting place in the Old Cemetery in 1787. A plain stone slab on her grave which was rediscovered as late as 1932 remembers her and her great son, whose words are inscribed on it, "She was to me such a good and kind mother, my best friend". The sculpture "Beethon" in front of the Beethovenhalle (a play on words, combining "Beethoven" and "Beton" = concrete), made of concrete by the Düsseldorf artist Professor Klaus Kammerichs has become a modern hallmark of the Beethoven-City Bonn. In spring 2014, a sculpture named ‘Homage to Beethoven’ was erected in the Stadtgarten park.
In 2005, Deutsche Telekom organised the first International Beethoven Piano Competition which purports to provide every two years to young musicians a platform for an international career.
The City of Bonn has set up the Beethoven Tour together with several patrons from Bonn’s cultural scene and the private sector. The tour takes visitors to a total of 16 information plaques at places where the musical genius lived and worked.
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 emphasze that also in future. Bonn will continue to assume important political tasks in its capacity as Germany´s second political centre. The term was adopted from Switzerland where it was conferred to the city of Bern.
What has come to Bonn:
To compensate for the loss of jobs and to reinforce the political fields assigned to Bonn, the act stipulates that the following federal agencies and institutions have to move to Bonn, most of them having indeed relocated here in the meantime:
- Federal Cartel Supervisory Office
- Federal Insurance Office
- Federal Banking Supervisory Authority
- Federal Supervisory Authority for the Insurance Industry
- Federal Institute of Vocational Training (BIBB)
- Federal Office for Building and Regional Plannung
- Federal Statistics Office (branch office)
- Federal Office for Food and Forestry
- Central Job Placement Office
- Federal Audit Office
- Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices
- Federal Railway Assets Authority
- Central Office of the Federal Railways
- Federal Central Register at the Federal Prosecutor General´s Office
- Federal Agency for the Agricultural Markets
- German Development Service (DED)
- German Institute of Development Policy (DIE)
- German Food Institute
- German Instiute for Adult Education
Further new settlements in Bonn:
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Telekom AG
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Post DHL
- Headquarters of the Deutsche Postbank AG
- Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications
- Central Länder (regional states) Office for the Safety of Medical Products
- Federal Institute of Sports Sciences
- National Anti Doping Agency (NADA)
Governmental bodies remaining in Bonn:
Six federal ministries have their official seat in Bonn, whilst, in accordance with the Act, establishing a second seat in Berlin:
- Education and Research
- Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
- Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
- Economic Cooperation and Development
The Federal President uses the Villa Hammerschmidt as his official seat in Bonn; the Bundesrat (House of the representatives of the Regional Governments), the Federal Chancellery including the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, as well as the federal minstries relocated to Berlin, maintain their second official seats on the Rhine.
The Compensation Agreement
The Bonn region has received 1.43 Billion 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 years 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 develompment of land for industrial purposes. In addition, the Federation has made available built-up and undeveloped real estate with a current market value of 51 million 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 "Centre of Advanced European Studies and Research" is the major single project of the compensation agreement for Bonn. The foundation conducts research with sophisticated chemical and micro-technological methods in the field of neurosciences. The focus is on developing methods of research on the brain and its control mechanisms. Priority of the institute is research into sensory processes and the molecular causes of neurodegenerative diseases.