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Visiting Germany's Cologne-Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport: A Legacy That Runs Deep for "the Greatest German of All Time"

Updated on November 23, 2018
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Germanwings - Airbus A319-132 - D-AGWL - Cologne Bonn Airport - Approaching, near to touching down at runway 06/24 at Cologne Bonn Airport. In the background Terminal 1 of the airport and on the right Cologne Cathedral
Germanwings - Airbus A319-132 - D-AGWL - Cologne Bonn Airport - Approaching, near to touching down at runway 06/24 at Cologne Bonn Airport. In the background Terminal 1 of the airport and on the right Cologne Cathedral | Source
 President John F. Kennedy Arrives at Wahn Airport in Bonn, Germany. President John F. Kennedy stands with Chancellor of West Germany, Konrad Adenauer (holding hat), during his arrival ceremony at Wahn Airport in Bonn, West Germany (Federal Republic)
President John F. Kennedy Arrives at Wahn Airport in Bonn, Germany. President John F. Kennedy stands with Chancellor of West Germany, Konrad Adenauer (holding hat), during his arrival ceremony at Wahn Airport in Bonn, West Germany (Federal Republic) | Source
Cologne-Wahn Airport. Return of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (waving) from Moscow trip in September 1955; in the background Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft belong to Lufthansa.
Cologne-Wahn Airport. Return of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (waving) from Moscow trip in September 1955; in the background Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft belong to Lufthansa. | Source

Endings and beginnings, and the dynamics of a battered yet emergent historical process

Within sight of Cologne's most famous building, its twin-spired, Gothic Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom) is a facility which used to be known as Cologne-Wahn Airport (German: Flughafen Köln-Wahn)

In all humility it is not for me — with a mere distant 'Germanic' family background — to say who has been the greatest of Germans.

Therefore one simply falls back on recording the person whom Germans themselves have indicated in their estimation has been the greatest historical figure among their illustrious ranks.

In 2003 a ZDF poll showed — causing little surprise — that Germans esteemed Dr. Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) their most significant personality to date (1).

I have already in these hubpages had occasion to write a little about how Dr Adenauer is remembered in the cities of both Cologne and Bonn.

Before going onto to make a few descriptive comments about Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport, let me attempt to recap the reasons why Germans might have considered Dr. Adenauer as having been their greatest son.

Because Dr. Adneauer was the long-serving, first Chancellor of the German Federal Republic?

Because Dr. Adenauer was a long-serving Mayor of Cologne during World War One, during the Weimar Republic and immediately after World War Two?

Because Dr. Adenauer showed perennial commitment to forging a conservative political movement originating from the Centre Party and which became the Christian Democratic Union?

Because Dr. Adenauer forged a friendship — or continued an historic partnership — with French political leaders, especially French President Charles de Gaulle, and helped lay the foundation of what became the European Union?

Because against a historical background of very unappetizing expressions German nationalism Dr. Adenauer made it possible for Germans to take a quiet pride in their attainments?

No, none of these perceived strengths of Dr. Adenauer constituted the reason that, at his death in 1967, most Germans gave as his principal achievement.

The achievement in question occurred in 1955.

1955 was the year when the Federal German military, the Bundeswehr, was established.

1955 was also the year when Federal German civil aviation began.

So was Dr. Adenauer involved with these achievements? Indeed he was in no small measure.

But this is not what Dr. Adenauer did in 1955 that caused Germans at his death to cite as his greatest achievement.

What Germans said was his greatest achievement, and which occurred in 1955, was the bringing home from the Soviet Union of 10,000 German prisoners of war, held by the Soviets since World War Two.

This achievement occurred here at Cologne-Bonn — formerly Wahn — Airport.

Today the facility at Cologne-Bonn named for Dr Konrad Adenauer is a significant aerial crossroads and a remembered fulcrum of emerging, historical equilibrium.

The Airport was previously known as Cologne-Wahn. The facility handled 12.4 million passengers in 2017, with 115 passenger destinations in 35 countries. A local heath known as the Wahner Heide (today, a nature reserve) first saw use as a military reconnaissance airfield from 1913. In 1939, a Luftwaffe base was developed on the present site of the airport. The British RAF operated a base here after World War Two; and civilian flights were introduced in 1951. In a greatly expanded facility, which today has two terminals, a Boeing 747 first took off from Cologne-Bonn for New York City in 1970.

November 23, 2018

Note

(1) Alix Kroeger, Adenauer voted Germany's greatest, BBC News Europe, Novermber 29, 2003 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3248516.stm

Some sourcing: Wikipedia.

Cologne/Bonn, Adenauer, mother of a prisoner of war
Cologne/Bonn, Adenauer, mother of a prisoner of war | Source

Also worth seeing

Also worth seeing

A nature reserve, the Wahner Heide, is situated close to the airport.

Cologne (German: Köln)(distance: 16.9 kilometres) with its historic, twin spired Cathedral (der Koelner Dom), has long been among the most well-known places to visitors to Germany.

Bonn (distance: 24 kilometres); in Germany's former Federal Capital, are situated many Federal ministries, and the birthplace of Beethoven.

Duesseldorf (distance: 49.2 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.

Map location of Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Map location of Cologne in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. | Source

Comments

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    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR

      MJFenn 

      2 weeks ago

      Liz Westwood: He was a remarkable German whose years spanned difficult, tumultuous times. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      When I first visited Cologne in the late 1970s, it was in West Germany and Bonn was a temporary centre for the government. At that time I couldn't imagine reunification. I have heard of Adenauer, but I did not know much about him.

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