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Bonn - the German UNO City on the Rhine

By Maike Mintelowsky

The former capital of the German Federal Republic has become the German capital for development cooperation. Business, academic and cultural organisations work together closely in the United Nations city of Bonn.

© Deutsche WelleBonn offers academics a broad choice of places to work

Bonn as a research location

Bonn offers academics a broad choice of places to work. Large research organisations are located here such as the Fraunhofer institutes for information and communications technology, the Max Planck Society with its institutes for mathematics or radio astronomy or the Leibniz Association and the German Aerospace Center.

The University of Bonn receives support for its collaborative research centres, research groups and postgraduate programme from the German Research Foundation. In the past 20 years, the University of Bonn has produced two Nobel Prize winners and numerous winners of the Leibniz Prize.

Universities, research institutions and national science policy bodies work together closely here. The Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology is one example where RWTH Aachen University, the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems have joined forces to offer international Masters programmes.

Business, academia, politics and the administration pull together in Bonn to facilitate extensive networking between companies, as discussed at the annual Bonn economics conference.


The history of Bonn dates back over 2,000 years when 'Bonna' was established as a Roman camp in around 20 BC. Over the centuries the camp became a settlement, fortified town and eventually the residence of a prince elector.

From 1949 to 1990, Bonn was the capital of West Germany and the official seat of government. When Berlin regained its status as capital, the national parliament and many national government institutions relocated from Bonn to Berlin in 1994. Since then Bonn has remained a political centre and is now home to six out of fifteen ministries. The President of Germany and the Chancellor still maintain a second official residence in Bonn.

Bonn's famous skyscraper, the Langer Eugen, which housed offices of members of parliament until they moved to Berlin, is now used by 19 organisations within the United Nations. It forms the centre of the UN campus.

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Living in Bonn

Culturally speaking, Bonn has a lot to offer. The Museum Mile features the art and exhibition hall with a sculpture garden on the roof, the House of History, the König research museum (one of Germany's best natural history museums) and more.

As the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, Bonn has established the annual Beethoven Festival which attracts thousands of visitors from both Germany and further afield.

The Rhine promenade affords a wonderful view of the Siebengebirge hills including Castle Drachenburg or Nightingale Valley. Cologne and the Ruhr area are just a short distance away, providing a variety of options for taking trips as well as the benefits of proximity to Cologne Airport, good infrastructure and international connections. By nationwide comparison rents are relatively low.

Typical aspects of Bonn

The Post Tower of the Deutsche Post is the city's tallest building and dominates the skyline.

As a Rhineland city, carnival is naturally a very important occasion in Bonn. Once a year the revellers take over and wear colourful costumes and throw sweets as decorated floats parade through the streets.

Due to having no more than 300,000 residents, Bonn is jokingly referred to as the 'Federal Village'. The locals are relaxed enough to take such banter in their stride.

Interesting links

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academics :: July 2010