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Visiting Cologne, Germany and its Cathedral: seemingly remembering Dr. Konrad Adenauer everywhere

Updated on March 15, 2016
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
The west bank (Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer [Konrad-Adenauer-Bank]) of the Rhine in Cologne, Germany
The west bank (Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer [Konrad-Adenauer-Bank]) of the Rhine in Cologne, Germany | Source
50 Pfennig, 1921, Cologne, signed by the Mayor of Cologne Konrad Adenauer,
50 Pfennig, 1921, Cologne, signed by the Mayor of Cologne Konrad Adenauer, | Source
Map location of Cologne, Germany
Map location of Cologne, Germany | Source

For your visit, this item may be of interest

The presence of the former mayor and German chancellor is still felt

The historic, Gothic Cathedral at Cologne (German: Köln ), in the state of North Rhine - Westphalia (German: Nordrhein-Westfalen ) overlooks the Rhine River. Situated nearby is what is known as the Konrad Adenauer Bank (German: Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer ) of this great river.

Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany 1949-1963, had previously been Mayor of Cologne in the interwar period. It was largely on the strength of his prominence prior to the Nazi-period that he emerged as the dominant figure in post-war West Germany, based at nearby Bonn, the (now former) Federal Capital. As Mayor of Cologne he would have been, despite this municipal title, more akin to what in the US would be regarded as a state governor or in Canada would be regarded as a provincial premier. He had, in fact, considerable powers. The city issued its own currency, signed by Dr. Adenauer.

Cologne is, in fact, a city with a difference. Prior to German unification in the 19th century, and for centuries, the Archbishops of Cologne served as the Prince-Electors of Cologne. It is, I think, in this leitmotif of continuity within territorial psychologies that lies part of the significance of this figure from Cologne having emerged to lead the Federal Republic of Germany after World War Two (rather than anyone from, say, Duesseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia's state capital, and prominent city in the industrial Ruhr area).

Although the striking Cathedral was begun in the 13th century, its famous twin towers were not completed until the year 1880, when the finished building was formally inaugurated by German Emperor William I. Interestingly, Dr Adenauer was born in 1876; this event thus occurred just within his lifetime. Dr. Adenauer's career thus spanned a remarkable passage of time and tumultuous periods of German and European history.

A memorable, solemn occasion occurred in 1967 when the Federal Republic of Germany's former Chancellor's funeral service was held at Cologne Cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral is one of Germany's best known architectural landmarks. It may be said also that the name Konrad Adenauer evokes one of Germany's, and Europe's, towering historical landmarks.

(I also visited Cologne/Bonn airport. It is named for — who else? — Konrad Adenauer.)

Also worth seeing

Bonn (distance: 29 kilometres); in Germany's former Federal Capital, are situated many Federal ministries, and the birthplace of Beethoven.

Duesseldorf (distance: 41 kilometres); its old city hall and the Rhine Tower (German: Rheinturm ) are among the city's various visitor attractions.


How to get there: Lufthansa flies from New York Newark to Cologne/Bonn Airport (Flughafen Koeln/Bonn ), where car rental is available. The S-Bahn operates a railroad service from Cologne/Bonn airport to Downtown Cologne railroad station. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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