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Project Expat
  • Project Expat
  • Feb 21, 2022

Home Is Where the Dom Is – Cologne City Guide

Home is where the Dom is – that’s what the people of Cologne say about their city. Few Germans are as proud of their city as the people living in Cologne. Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city with over 1 million residents, is marked by its Rhine location and the renowned Cologne Cathedral; the latter of which can be seen from most areas in the city. In addition, there is the fifth season, the carnival, which dominates the city life between November and February.

Living in Cologne

Cologne, or Kölle as the locals say, is not only Germany’s fourth largest city, but also a very special metropolis. People who are thinking of relocating to this unique and captivating city should be ready to experience a remarkable location with its own special citizens. Et hätt noch jot jejange – it has always gone well so far – means no less than the following: What went well yesterday will go well today. Every Jeck is different. Which means as much as: Every fool is different.

Exercising tolerance and forbearance towards the other in the knowledge of one’s own imperfection characterizes the life of the people of Cologne, just like the local dialect in general. This attitude makes it easy for foreigners in particular to gain a foothold in this city.

The inhabitants of Cologne are highly fond of merriment and possess a playful nature. As an instance, the city is split into two parts; the left bank, which is referred to as the “good side,” and the right bank, known as “Schäl Sick”, symbolizing evil due to its poorer population. Today, of course, this is no longer the case and you can find apartments and beautiful neighbourhoods on both sides of the city.

Must Visits

One of the hippest neighbourhoods in Cologne is the Belgian Quarter. There you will find the Aachener Straße, one of the most popular streets in the city, with chic cafes and trendy stores. The locals also call it the heart of Cologne. It is multicultural and reflects the cosmopolitanism of the Rhinelanders.

The people of Cologne are both cosmopolitan and traditional, as evidenced by their numerous breweries. Kölsch (a special type of beer) is an iconic part of this city, as well as the traditional dishes served by the semi-friendly waiters known as Köbesse. Though they can be tough to adjust to at first, you’ll get used to them with time.

Cologne is an exciting city, especially for those with an interest in the field of media. Several TV stations are based here, so there are lots of interesting jobs in this industry in particular. Of course, Cologne also offers perspective jobs in other areas.

Cologne does not have to hide culturally either – the most impressive sight is the Cologne Cathedral. Today, it is hard to believe that the Cologne Cathedral in its current form was only completed in 1880. Its architecturally uniform image and quite weathered face make it appear older than most parts actually are.

In 1248, work began on the Cologne Cathedral and it eventually became a popular pilgrimage site due to the presumed relics of the Magi being brought over from Milan in the 12th century. The old cathedral, which had been standing since 870, was no longer able to cope with the crowds. The style of the new cathedral was to be French Gothic. The cathedrals of Amiens, Paris and Strasbourg served as models.

Museum Ludwig and Roman-Germanic Museum

Not far from the Cologne Cathedral are two of the city’s best-known museums: the Museum Ludwig, dedicated to 20th and 21st century art, and the Roman-Germanic Museum, dedicated to the archaeological history of Cologne.

With its extensive Pop Art collection and the third largest Picasso collection in the world, as well as numerous Expressionist, New Objectivity and Russian Avant-garde paintings, the Museum Ludwig is one of the most important art museums in the world and one of the best Cologne sights in the old town.

No less interesting is the Roman-Germanic Museum. On more than 4,500 square meters of exhibition space, you can discover the Roman city history of Cologne.

One of the most diverse sights in Cologne is the Old Town, located in the city centre. Not only are the best Cologne sights located here, all within comfortable walking distance from each other, but the city centre also stands out for its unique houses, gastronomic and cultural scene and wide shopping offer. Especially famous are the Old Market, Hohe Straße and Schildergasse.

Built between 1907 and 1911, the Hohenzollern Bridge is the most renowned of the seven Rhine bridges in Cologne. It was built to replace the Cathedral Bridge as its capacity had become inadequate. Unlike its fellow Rhine bridges, it did not suffer destruction from bombs during World War II.

The Wehrmacht preferred to do that itself, to make it harder for Allied troops to cross the Rhine. After the war, they rebuilt it as a railroad and pedestrian bridge only. Cars have no access here. However, what the Hohenzollern Bridge is most known for are the love locks, which now number over 500,000. The bridge is one of the main attractions in Cologne for couples.

The Fifth Season

The “fifth season,” carnival, otherwise known as Shrovetide, has a long history in the Rhineland that dates back to the Middle Ages. It reached its peak during the early modern period when people donned costumes and participated in carnival games.

Now, it is mainly associated with costuming, speeches, and the Rose Monday parade which commences every year at 11:11 a.m. on November 11th to traditional carnival music with the “Cologne Triumvirate” being introduced into old town.

However, it then still takes a while until the world-famous street carnival begins. It is not until the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, Women’s Carnival (which is usually sometime in February) that the big party actually begins. Carnival festivities ensue and the atmosphere is abuzz with merrymakers and revellers.

Public Transportation

Cologne has an extensive public transport system in place. The streetcars in Cologne also become the subway on many routes. This efficient and comfortable transport system in Cologne has 34 subway stations and 11 different lines. In Cologne, the S-Bahn (urban railroad) is highly developed with its five lines of service.

The S-Bahn trains almost all stop at the stations of the Deutsche Bahn and the different Park & Ride parking lots on the outskirts of the city. In addition, there are about 50 bus lines that travel throughout the city. Thus, living in Cologne can be easily managed without a car. In addition, there is the airport Cologne/Bonn “Konrad Adenauer”. It is an international commercial airport in Cologne, located 12 km from the centre of Cologne and 16 km from the centre of Bonn.

Food in Cologne

Living in Cologne has something to offer for everyone in terms of cuisine. Be it the numerous breweries, the traditional dishes such as Himmel und Äd, (heaven and earth) a traditional dish of mashed potatoes mixed with apple pieces. “Himmel und Erde” is frequently served alongside bratwurst, bacon, and roasted onions; additionally, it can also be prepared with fried liver sausage or black pudding.

There is also international cuisine in Cologne, from sushi to French to Creole. The diverse range of eateries in this city is a testament to its open-mindedness and global appeal – making it the perfect place for anyone starting their new life in Germany.

We hope this city guide has been helpful to you in getting a better picture of what living in Cologne is like. Should you visit or make this beautiful city your home, we wish you all the best! And we can help you find English-speaking Services here!

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I think that would be a great initiative and an added value service for expats like myself.


What a great idea to set up a website for English-speaking ex-pat's in Munich to help with everyday challenges.


I am looking forward to your services in the mentioned topics in the survey.


Sounds exciting and we would definitely use it for a myriad of reasons. Particularly as we are getting ready to move to Germering and require all of these services. Specifically, sometimes it is hard finding doctors who speak English. And both Cecilia and I work with auslanders who do not speak German, either (and would as well be interested).