COLOGNE, August 05, 2021
For the revival of city tourism, the Cologne Tourist Board has produced three video clips that encourage to explore and discover Cologne and its typical “Veedel” — Cologne’s neighbourhoods. With the aim of attracting visitors and locals alike to join a city tour, the Cologne Tourist Board’s videos reveal interesting parts of the city that are not as well-known as the tourist attractions in the centre. Standing in for Cologne’s many tour guides, Jesse von Laufenberg guides visitors through the Belgian Quarter, Stephanie Biernat explores Cologne’s “South Side” via a tour of the city’s traditional grocery store kiosks or “Büdchen”, and Dominik Ahlers leads a tour of the Mülheim district on the right bank of the Rhine. The clips can be accessed on the social media channels, for example on YouTube.
“The videos were created as part of the recovery campaign #inKöllezeHus (“at home in Cologne”),” explains Dr. Jürgen Amann, CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board. “They offer quick impressions of our city’s history and unique personality by taking a look at three very different quarters. The aim is to inspire viewers to explore Cologne and its many fascinating neighbourhoods by means of a city tour — now that this is possible again. Since June we’ve been offering our city tours once more. And we’re inviting visitors as well as locals to leave the beaten track and rediscover our city’s neighbourhoods for themselves.”
The Belgian Quarter is a popular and trendy district with plentiful offbeat boutiques, galleries, theatres, and pubs. The urban charm of this neighbourhood is especially evident in its cosy cafés, bars, and diverse restaurants. In the video, the tour guide Jesse von Laufenberg leads visitors through the Belgian Quarter, pointing out culinary hotspots, architectural contrasts and special highlights such as the many forms of street art created by local talent and international artists. The clip features short interviews with local personalities who have established businesses here, such as Gisela van Laack from the family-owned wines and spirits purveyor Van Laack Cologne and Nina Hempel, co-owner of the fashion boutique Blauer Montag (Blue Monday).
Büdchen, Trinkhalle or Kiosk — no matter what they’re called, neighbourhood grocery store kiosks are an essential part of Cologne’s urban landscape. Cologne, which is home to about a thousand of these urban oases, is considered Germany’s “kiosk capital”. For many Cologne residents, a kiosk is not only their last resort when the supermarkets are closed but also a favourite meeting place. That’s why tour guide Stephanie Biernat starts her Büdchen tour in the Südstadt, or South Side, gathering a colourful bag of goodies on the way. In addition to its local shops and a number of studios, the Südstadt is mainly known for its restaurants, with tapas bars, traditional kölsch brewhouses and everything in between. The Büdchen themselves are extremely varied, ranging from small kiosks with a simple service hatch to large walk-in establishments that are growing increasingly similar to supermarkets. The kiosk was originally the place where people did their local shopping. Today it’s a social gathering place for the neighbourhood. If you buy a beer to-go at one of these kiosks in the evening, you’re likely to get a sense of the friendly atmosphere that’s part of the Cologne way of life.
Dominik Ahlers leads the tour through the city’s most populous district, which is located on the right bank of the Rhine: Mülheim. This district used to be part of the Bergisches Land region, and was an independent district for approximately 750 years. But the city of Cologne wanted Mülheim to become “kölsch”, and in order to gain the Mülheimers’ consent Colognes authorities promised to build them a robust bridge across the Rhine. The result was the Mülheimer Brücke, which was inaugurated by Cologne’s mayor, Konrad Adenauer, in 1929. It was Germany’s longest suspension bridge at the time. Today one of Mülheim’s main attractions is its Turkish flair along the Keupstraße, which boasts restaurants featuring authentic Turkish cuisine as well as bridal fashion shops and jewellers. The neighbourhood is also known for its industrial architecture, which is in a constant state of change. The former site of the Carlswerk company, which used to manufacture products such as cables and steel ropes, is now an urban hotspot for creative enterprises and eateries.
Cologne fans can watch these ten-minute clips in the comfort of their own homes — and they may be tempted to follow up a digital city tour with an in-person visit to the places they’ve seen.
“We want these visual clips to inspire people to rediscover Cologne’s neighbourhoods from a new perspective by paying attention to specific aspects,” says Dr. Amann. “We’d like our guests to check out the restaurants in our diverse districts and shop in local stores. After the long period of restrictions, that will help our neighbourhoods to maintain their vitality.