The federal city of Bonn (German pronunciation: [bɔn] (listen) is a city on the banks of the Rhine located in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About 24 km (15 mi) south-southeast of Cologne, Bonn is in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is a university city, the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven and the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990. Bonn was the seat of government of reunited Germany from 1990 to 1999.

A view over the Bundesviertel (English: "Federal Quarter": the location of the German federal government presence in Bonn)
Bonn within North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 50°44′N 7°6′E
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionCologne
DistrictUrban district
Founded1st century BC
  Lord mayor (202025) Katja Dörner[1] (Greens)
  Governing partiesGreens / SPD / Left / Volt
  Total141.06 km2 (54.46 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
  Density2,400/km2 (6,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0228
Vehicle registrationBN

Founded in the 1st century BC as a Roman settlement in the province Germania Inferior, Bonn is one of Germany's oldest cities. It was the capital city of the Electorate of Cologne from 1597 to 1794, residence of the Archbishops and Prince-electors of Cologne. From 1949 to 1990, Bonn was the capital of West Germany, and Germany's present constitution, the Basic Law, was declared in the city in 1949. The era when Bonn served as the capital of West Germany is referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic.[3]

Due to a political compromise (Berlin-Bonn Act) following the reunification, the German federal government maintains a substantial presence in Bonn. Roughly a third of all ministerial jobs are located in Bonn as of 2019,[4] and the city is considered a second, unofficial, capital of the country.[5] Bonn is the secondary seat of the President, the Chancellor, and the Bundesrat, and the primary seat of six federal government ministries and twenty federal authorities. The title of Federal City (German: Bundesstadt) reflects its important political status within Germany.[6]

The headquarters of Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom, both DAX-listed corporations, are in Bonn. The city is home to the University of Bonn and a total of 20 United Nations institutions, the highest number in all of Germany.[7] These institutions include the headquarters for Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the UN Volunteers programme.[8]


View over central Bonn as seen from the Stadthaus, including the Siebengebirge, a hill range on the east bank of the Middle Rhine


Situated in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area with over 11 million inhabitants, Bonn lies within the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, on the border with Rhineland-Palatinate. Spanning an area of more 141.2 km2 (55 sq mi) on both sides of the river Rhine, almost three-quarters of the city lies on the river's left bank.

To the south and to the west, Bonn borders the Eifel region which encompasses the Rhineland Nature Park. To the north, Bonn borders the Cologne Lowland. Natural borders are constituted by the river Sieg to the north-east and by the Siebengebirge (also known as the Seven Hills) to the east. The largest extension of the city in north–south dimensions is 15 km (9 mi) and 12.5 km (8 mi) in west–east dimensions. The city borders have a total length of 61 km (38 mi). The geographical centre of Bonn is the Bundeskanzlerplatz (Chancellor Square) in Bonn-Gronau.


The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is divided into five governmental districts (German: Regierungsbezirk), and Bonn is part of the governmental district of Cologne (German: Regierungsbezirk Köln). Within this governmental district, the city of Bonn is an urban district in its own right. The urban district of Bonn is then again divided into four administrative municipal districts (German: Stadtbezirk). These are Bonn, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Bonn-Beuel and Bonn-Hardtberg. In 1969, the independent towns of Bad Godesberg and Beuel as well as several villages were incorporated into Bonn, resulting in a city more than twice as large as before.

Administrative divisions of the Federal City of Bonn
Municipal district (Stadtbezirk) Coat of arms Population (as of December 2014)[9] Sub-district (Stadtteil)
Bad Godesberg 73,172 Alt-Godesberg, Friesdorf, Godesberg-Nord, Godesberg-Villenviertel, Heiderhof, Hochkreuz, Lannesdorf, Mehlem, Muffendorf, Pennenfeld, Plittersdorf, Rüngsdorf, Schweinheim
Beuel 66,695 Beuel-Mitte, Beuel-Ost, Geislar, Hoholz, Holtorf, Holzlar, Küdinghoven, Limperich, Oberkassel, Pützchen/Bechlinghoven, Ramersdorf, Schwarzrheindorf/Vilich-Rheindorf, Vilich, Vilich-Müldorf
Bonn 149,733 Auerberg, Bonn-Castell (known until 2003 as Bonn-Nord), Bonn-Zentrum, Buschdorf, Dottendorf, Dransdorf, Endenich, Graurheindorf, Gronau, Ippendorf, Kessenich, Lessenich/Meßdorf, Nordstadt, Poppelsdorf, Röttgen, Südstadt, Tannenbusch, Ückesdorf, Venusberg, Weststadt
Hardtberg 33,360 Brüser Berg, Duisdorf, Hardthöhe, Lengsdorf


Bonn has an oceanic climate (Cfb).[10] In the south of the Cologne lowland in the Rhine valley, Bonn is in one of Germany's warmest regions.

Climate data for Bonn
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.4
Average low °C (°F) −0.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 61.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 51.0 76.0 110.0 163.0 190.0 195.0 209.0 194.0 141.0 104.0 55.0 41.0 1,529
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst (Bonn-Rohleber, period 1971– 2010)
Source 2:, high and low averages (altitude: 64m)[10]


Founding and Roman times

The Sterntor, originally built around 1244, is a gate reconstructed on the remnants of the medieval city wall.

The history of the city dates back to Roman times. In about 12 BC, the Roman army appears to have stationed a small unit in what is presently the historical centre of the city. Even earlier, the army had resettled members of a Germanic tribal group allied with Rome, the Ubii, in Bonn. The Latin name for that settlement, "Bonna", may stem from the original population of this and many other settlements in the area, the Eburoni. The Eburoni were members of a large tribal coalition effectively wiped out during the final phase of Caesar's War in Gaul. After several decades, the army gave up the small camp linked to the Ubii-settlement. During the 1st century AD, the army then chose a site to the north of the emerging town in what is now the section of Bonn-Castell to build a large military installation dubbed Castra Bonnensis, i.e., literally, "Fort Bonn". Initially built from wood, the fort was eventually rebuilt in stone. With additions, changes and new construction, the fort remained in use by the army into the waning days of the Western Roman Empire, possibly the mid-5th century. The structures themselves remained standing well into the Middle Ages, when they were called the Bonnburg. They were used by Frankish kings until they fell into disuse. Eventually, much of the building materials seem to have been re-used in the construction of Bonn's 13th-century city wall. The Sterntor (star gate) in the city center is a reconstruction using the last remnants of the medieval city wall.

To date, Bonn's Roman fort remains the largest fort of its type known from the ancient world, i.e. a fort built to accommodate a full-strength Imperial Legion and its auxiliaries. The fort covered an area of approximately 250,000 square metres (62 acres). Between its walls it contained a dense grid of streets and a multitude of buildings, ranging from spacious headquarters and large officers' quarters to barracks, stables and a military jail. Among the legions stationed in Bonn, the "1st", i.e. the Prima Legio Minervia, seems to have served here the longest. Units of the Bonn legion were deployed to theatres of war ranging from modern-day Algeria to what is now the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The Altes Rathaus (old town hall) as seen from the central market square. It was built in 1737 in the Rococo style.

The chief Roman road linking the provincial capitals of Cologne and Mainz cut right through the fort where it joined the fort's main road (now, Römerstraße). Once past the South Gate, the Cologne–Mainz road continued along what are now streets named Belderberg, Adenauerallee et al. On both sides of the road, the local settlement, Bonna, grew into a sizeable Roman town. Bonn is shown on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

In late antiquity, much of the town seems to have been destroyed by marauding invaders. The remaining civilian population then took refuge inside the fort along with the remnants of the troops stationed here. During the final decades of Imperial rule, the troops were supplied by Franci chieftains employed by the Roman administration. When the end came, these troops simply shifted their allegiances to the new barbarian rulers, the Kingdom of the Franks. From the fort, the Bonnburg, as well as from a new medieval settlement to the South centered around what later became the minster, grew the medieval city of Bonn. Local legends arose from this period that the name of the village came from Saint Boniface via Vulgar Latin *Bonnifatia, but this proved to be a myth.

Middle Ages and Early Modern times

Founded in 1818, the University of Bonn counts Nietzsche, Marx, and Adenauer among its alumni.

Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Romanesque style Bonn Minster was built, and in 1597 Bonn became the seat of the Archdiocese of Cologne. The city gained more influence and grew considerably. The city was subject to a major bombardment during the Siege of Bonn in 1689. Bonn was then returned to Cologne where it remained the capital at the Peace of Ryswick. The elector Clemens August (ruled 1723–1761) ordered the construction of a series of Baroque buildings which still give the city its character. Another memorable ruler was Max Franz (ruled 1784–1794), who founded the university and the spa quarter of Bad Godesberg. In addition he was a patron of the young Ludwig van Beethoven, who was born in Bonn in 1770; the elector financed the composer's first journey to Vienna.

In 1794, the city was seized by French troops, becoming a part of the First French Empire. In 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars, Bonn became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Administered within the Prussian Rhine Province, the city became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany. Bonn was of little relevance in these years.

20th century and the "Bonn Republic"

During the Second World War, Bonn acquired military significance because of its strategic location on the Rhine, which formed a natural barrier to easy penetration into the German heartland from the west. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Bonn on 7 March 1945, and the US 1st Infantry Division captured the city during the battle of 8–9 March 1945.[11]

French president Charles de Gaulle on state visit to Bonn (1962), the capital of West Germany until German reunification.

After the Second World War, Bonn was in the British zone of occupation. Following the advocacy of West Germany's first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, a former Cologne Mayor and a native of that area, Bonn became the de facto capital, officially designated the "temporary seat of the Federal institutions," of the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. However, the Bundestag, seated in Bonn's Bundeshaus, affirmed Berlin's status as the German capital. Bonn was chosen as the provisional capital and seat of government despite the fact that Frankfurt already had most of the required facilities and using Bonn was estimated to be 95 million DM more expensive than using Frankfurt. Bonn was chosen because Adenauer and other prominent politicians intended to make Berlin the capital of the reunified Germany, and they felt that locating the capital in a major city like Frankfurt or Hamburg would imply a permanent capital and even weaken support in West Germany for reunification.

In 1949, the Parliamentary Council in Bonn drafted and adopted the current German constitution, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. As the political centre of West Germany, Bonn saw six Chancellors and six Presidents of the Federal Republic of Germany. Bonn's time as the capital of West Germany is commonly referred to as the Bonn Republic, in contrast to the Berlin Republic which followed reunification in 1990.[12]

Bonn in the "Berlin Republic"

Between 1950 and 1994, Villa Hammerschmidt was the primary official residence of the President of Germany. Today it serves as the President's secondary residence.

German reunification in 1990 made Berlin the nominal capital of Germany again. This decision, however, did not mandate that the republic's political institutions would also move. While some argued for the seat of government to move to Berlin, others advocated leaving it in Bonn – a situation roughly analogous to that of the Netherlands, where Amsterdam is the capital but The Hague is the seat of government. Berlin's previous history as united Germany's capital was strongly connected with the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and more ominously with Nazi Germany. It was felt that a new peacefully united Germany should not be governed from a city connected to such overtones of war. Additionally, Bonn was closer to Brussels, headquarters of the European Economic Community. Former West German chancellor and mayor of West Berlin Willy Brandt caused considerable offence to the Western Allies during the debate by stating that France would not have kept the seat of government at Vichy after Liberation.[13]

The heated debate that resulted was settled by the Bundestag (Germany's parliament) only on 20 June 1991. By a vote of 338–320,[14] the Bundestag voted to move the seat of government to Berlin. The vote broke largely along regional lines, with legislators from the south and west favouring Bonn and legislators from the north and east voting for Berlin.[15][16] It also broke along generational lines as well; older legislators with memories of Berlin's past glory favoured Berlin, while younger legislators favoured Bonn. Ultimately, the votes of the eastern German legislators tipped the balance in favour of Berlin.[17]

From 1990 to 1999, Bonn served as the seat of government of reunited Germany. In recognition of its former status as German capital, it holds the name of Federal City (German: Bundesstadt). Bonn currently shares the status of Germany's seat of government with Berlin, with the President, the Chancellor and many government ministries (such as Food & Agriculture and Defence) maintaining large presences in Bonn. Over 8,000 of the 18,000 federal officials remain in Bonn.[5] A total of 19 United Nations (UN) institutions operate from Bonn today.


Ashok-Alexander Sridharan (CDU) was the mayor of Bonn from 2015 until 2020.


Results of the second round of the 2020 mayoral election.

The current Mayor of Bonn is Katja Dörner of Alliance 90/The Greens since 2020. She defeated incumbent mayor Ashok-Alexander Sridharan in the most recent mayoral election, which was held on 13 September 2020, with a runoff held on 27 September. The results were as follows:

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes  % Votes  %
Ashok-Alexander Sridharan Christian Democratic Union 48,454 34.5 52,762 43.7
Katja Dörner Alliance 90/The Greens 38,793 27.6 67,880 56.3
Lissi von Bülow Social Democratic Party 28,389 20.2
Christoph Artur Manka Citizens' League Bonn 8,694 6.2
Michael Faber The Left 7,032 5.0
Werner Hümmrich Free Democratic Party 4,853 3.5
Frank Rudolf Christian Findeiß Die PARTEI 2,873 2.0
Kaisa Ilunga Alliance for Innovation and Justice 1,507 1.1
Valid votes 140,595 99.1 120,642 99.5
Invalid votes 1,219 0.9 627 0.5
Total 141,814 100.0 121,269 100.0
Electorate/voter turnout 249,091 56.9 249,098 48.7
Source: State Returning Officer

City council

Results of the 2020 city council election.

The Bonn city council governs the city alongside the Mayor. It used to be based in the Rococo-style Altes Rathaus (old city hall), built in 1737, located adjacent to Bonn's central market square. However, due to the enlargement of Bonn in 1969 through the incorporation of Beuel and Bad Godesberg, it moved into the larger Stadthaus facilities further north. This was necessary for the city council to accommodate an increased number of representatives. The mayor of Bonn still sits in the Altes Rathaus, which is also used for representative and official purposes.

The most recent city council election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:

Party Votes  % +/- Seats +/-
Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) 39,311 27.9 9.2 19 3
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 36,315 25.7 4.7 17 10
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 21,956 15.6 7.9 11 9
Citizens' League Bonn (BBB) 9,948 7.1 2.0 5 1
The Left (Die Linke) 8,745 6.2 0.0 4 1
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 7,268 5.2 3.0 3 4
Volt Germany (Volt) 7,148 5.1 New 3 New
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 4,569 3.2 0.4 2 1
Die PARTEI (PARTEI) 3,095 2.2 New 1 New
Alliance for Innovation and Justice (BIG) 1,775 1.3 0.2 1 ±0
Pirate Party Germany (Piraten) 869 0.6 1.6 0 2
Independents 101 0.1 0
Valid votes 141,100 99.3
Invalid votes 1,052 0.7
Total 142,152 100.0 66 20
Electorate/voter turnout 249,091 57.1 0.3
Source: State Returning Officer

Landtag election

Four delegates represent the Federal city of Bonn in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia. The last election took place in May 2017. The current delegates are Guido Déus (CDU), Christos Katzidis (CDU), Joachim Stamp (FDP) and Franziska Müller-Rech (FDP).

German federal election

Bonn's constituency is called Bundeswahlkreis Bonn (096). In the German federal election 2017, Ulrich Kelber (SPD) was elected a member of German Federal parliament, the Bundestag by direct mandate. It is his fifth term. Katja Dörner representing Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff for FDP were elected as well. Kelber resigned in 2019 because he was appointed Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. As Dörner was elected Lord Mayor of Bonn in September 2020, she resigned as a member of parliament after her entry into office.


Beethoven's birthplace is located in Bonngasse near the market place. Next to the market place is the Old City Hall, built in 1737 in Rococo style, under the rule of Clemens August of Bavaria. It is used for receptions of guests of the city, and as an office for the mayor. Nearby is the Kurfürstliches Schloss, built as a residence for the prince-elector and now the main building of the University of Bonn.

Erected in the 11th and 13th century, the Roman Catholic Minster of Bonn is one of Germany's oldest churches.

The Poppelsdorfer Allee is an avenue flanked by Chestnut trees which had the first horsecar of the city. It connects the Kurfürstliches Schloss with the Poppelsdorfer Schloss, a palace that was built as a resort for the prince-electors in the first half of the 18th century, and whose grounds are now a botanical garden (the Botanischer Garten Bonn). This axis is interrupted by a railway line and Bonn Hauptbahnhof, a building erected in 1883/84.

The Beethoven Monument stands on the Münsterplatz, which is flanked by the Bonn Minster, one of Germany's oldest churches.

The three highest structures in the city are the WDR radio mast in Bonn-Venusberg (180 m or 590 ft), the headquarters of the Deutsche Post called Post Tower (162.5 m or 533 ft) and the former building for the German members of parliament Langer Eugen (114.7 m or 376 ft) now the location of the UN Campus.


  • Bonn Minster[18]
  • Doppelkirche Schwarzrheindorf built in 1151
  • Old Cemetery Bonn (Alter Friedhof), one of the best known cemeteries in Germany[19]
  • Kreuzbergkirche, built in 1627 with Johann Balthasar Neumann's Heilige Stiege, it is a stairway for Christian pilgrims[20]
  • St. Remigius, where Beethoven was baptized

Castles and residences

Modern buildings

  • Beethovenhalle
  • Bundesviertel (federal quarter) with many government structures including
    • Post Tower, the tallest building in the state North Rhine-Westphalia, housing the headquarters of Deutsche Post/DHL
    • Maritim Bonn, five-star hotel and convention centre
    • Schürmann-Bau, headquarters of Deutsche Welle
    • Langer Eugen, since 2006 the centre of the United Nations Campus, formerly housing the offices of the members of the German parliament
  • Deutsche Telekom headquarters
  • T-Mobile headquarters
  • Kameha Grand, five-star hotel


The Bundeskunsthalle focuses on the cultural heritage outside of Germany or Europe, at the crossroads of culture, the arts, and science.

Just as Bonn's other four major museums, the Haus der Geschichte or Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, is located on the so-called Museumsmeile ("Museum Mile"). The Haus der Geschichte is one of the foremost German museums of contemporary German history, with branches in Berlin and Leipzig. In its permanent exhibition, the Haus der Geschichte presents German history from 1945 until the present, also shedding light on Bonn's own role as former capital of West Germany. Numerous temporary exhibitions emphasize different features, such as Nazism or important personalities in German history.[23]

The Kunstmuseum Bonn or Bonn Museum of Modern Art is an art museum founded in 1947. The Kunstmuseum exhibits both temporary exhibitions and its permanent collection. The latter is focused on Rhenish Expressionism and post-war German art.[24] German artists on display include Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Hanne Darboven, Anselm Kiefer, Blinky Palermo and Wolf Vostell. The museum owns one of the largest collections of artwork by Expressionist painter August Macke. His work is also on display in the August-Macke-Haus, located in Macke's former home where he lived from 1911 to 1914.

The Museum Koenig is Bonn's natural history museum.

The Bundeskunsthalle (full name: Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland or Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany), focuses on the crossroads of culture, arts, and science. To date, it attracted more than 17 million visitors.[25] One of its main objectives is to show the cultural heritage outside of Germany or Europe.[26] Next to its changing exhibitions, the Bundeskunsthalle regularly hosts concerts, discussion panels, congresses, and lectures.

The Museum Koenig is Bonn's natural history museum. Affiliated with the University of Bonn, it is also a zoological research institution housing the Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere. Politically interesting, it is on the premises of the Museum Koenig where the Parlamentarischer Rat first met.[27] The Deutsches Museum Bonn, affiliated with one of the world's foremost science museums, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, is an interactive science museum focusing on post-war German scientists, engineers, and inventions.[28] Other museums include the Beethoven House, birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven,[29] the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn (Rhinish Regional Museum Bonn),[30] the Bonn Women's Museum, the Rheinisches Malermuseum and the Arithmeum.


Drachenburg Castle in the Siebengebirge south of Bonn

There are several parks, leisure and protected areas in and around Bonn. The Rheinaue is Bonn's most important leisure park, with its role being comparable to what Central Park is for New York City. It lies on the banks of the Rhine and is the city's biggest park intra muros.[31] The Rhine promenade and the Alter Zoll (Old Toll Station) are in direct neighbourhood of the city centre and are popular amongst both residents and visitors. The Arboretum Park Härle is an arboretum with specimens dating to back to 1870. The Botanischer Garten (Botanical Garden) is affiliated with the university and it is here where Titan arum set a world record.[32] The natural reserve of Kottenforst is a large area of protected woods on the hills west of the city centre. It is about 40 square kilometres (15 square miles) in area and part of the Rhineland Nature Park (1,045 km2 or 403 sq mi).[33]

In the very south of the city, on the border with Wachtberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, there is an extinct volcano, the Rodderberg, featuring a popular area for hikes. Also south of the city, there is the Siebengebirge which is part of the lower half of the Middle Rhine region. The nearby upper half of the Middle Rhine from Bingen to Koblenz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 40 castles and fortresses from the Middle Ages and important German vineyards.


Air traffic

The international airport of Cologne and Bonn (IATA: CGN) is Germany's seventh-largest.

Named after Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war Chancellor of West Germany, Cologne Bonn Airport is situated 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) north-east from the city centre of Bonn. With around 10.3 million passengers passing through it in 2015, it is the seventh-largest passenger airport in Germany and the third-largest in terms of cargo operations. By traffic units, which combines cargo and passengers, the airport is in fifth position in Germany.[34] As of March 2015, Cologne Bonn Airport had services to 115 passenger destinations in 35 countries.[35] The airport is one of Germany's few 24-hour airports, and is a hub for Eurowings and cargo operators FedEx Express and UPS Airlines.

The federal motorway (Autobahn) A59 connects the airport with the city. Long distance and regional trains to and from the airport stop at Cologne/Bonn Airport station. Another major airport within a one-hour drive by car is Düsseldorf International Airport.

Rail and bus system

The underground Stadtbahn station at Bonn Hauptbahnhof, Bonn's busiest railway station

Bonn's central railway station, Bonn Hauptbahnhof is the city's main public transportation hub. It lies just outside the old town and near the central university buildings. It is served by regional (S-Bahn and Regionalbahn) and long-distance (IC and ICE) trains. Daily, more than 67,000 people travel via Bonn Hauptbahnhof. In late 2016, around 80 long distance and more than 165 regional trains departed to or from Bonn every day.[36][37][38] Another long-distance station, (Siegburg/Bonn), is located in the nearby town of Siegburg and serves as Bonn's station on the high-speed rail line between Cologne and Frankfurt, offering faster connections to Southern Germany. It can be reached by Stadtbahn line 66 (approx. 25 minutes from central Bonn).

Bonn has a Stadtbahn light rail and a tram system. The Bonn Stadtbahn has 4 regular lines that connect the main north–south axis (centre to Bad Godesberg) and quarters east of the Rhine (Beuel and Oberkassel), as well as many nearby towns like Brühl, Wesseling, Sankt Augustin, Siegburg, Königswinter, and Bad Honnef. All lines serve the Central Station and two lines continue to Cologne, where they connect to the Cologne Stadtbahn. The Bonn tram system consists of two lines that connect closer quarters in the south, north and east of Bonn to the Central Station. While the Stadtbahn mostly has its own right-of-way, the tram often operates on general road lanes. A few sections of track are used by both systems. These urban rail lines are supplemented by a bus system of roughly 30 regular lines, especially since some parts of the city like Hardtberg and most of Bad Godesberg completely lack a Stadtbahn/Tram connection. Several lines offer night services, especially during the weekends. Bonn is part of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (Rhine-Sieg Transport Association) which is the public transport association covering the area of the Cologne/Bonn Region.

Road network

Road network adjacent to Bonn

Four Autobahns run through or are adjacent to Bonn: the A59 (right bank of the Rhine, connecting Bonn with Düsseldorf and Duisburg), the A555 (left bank of the Rhine, connecting Bonn with Cologne), the A562 (connecting the right with the left bank of the Rhine south of Bonn), and the A565 (connecting the A59 and the A555 with the A61 to the southwest). Three Bundesstraßen, which have a general 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) speed limit in contrast to the Autobahn, connect Bonn to its immediate surroundings (Bundesstraßen B9, B42 and B56).

With Bonn being divided into two parts by the Rhine, three bridges are crucial for inner-city road traffic: the Konrad-Adenauer-Brücke (A562) in the South, the Friedrich-Ebert-Brücke (A565) in the North, and the Kennedybrücke (B56) in the Centre. In addition, regular ferries operate between Bonn-Mehlem and Königswinter, Bonn-Bad Godesberg and Königswinter-Niederdollendorf, and Bonn-Graurheindorf and Niederkassel-Mondorf.


Located in the northern sub-district of Graurheindorf, the inland harbour of Bonn is used for container traffic as well as oversea transport. The annual turnover amounts to around 500,000 t (490,000 long tons; 550,000 short tons). Regular passenger transport occurs to Cologne and Düsseldorf.


Being one of the biggest employers in the region, Deutsche Post DHL have their headquarters in Bonn.

The head offices of Deutsche Telekom, its subsidiary T-Mobile,[39] Deutsche Post, German Academic Exchange Service, and SolarWorld are in Bonn.

The third largest employer in the city of Bonn is the University of Bonn (including the university clinics)[40] and Stadtwerke Bonn also follows as a major employer.[41]

On the other hand, there are several traditional, nationally known private companies in Bonn such as luxury food producers Verpoorten and Kessko, the Klais organ manufacture and the Bonn flag factory.

The largest confectionery manufacturer in Europe, Haribo, has its founding headquarters (founded in 1922) and a production site in Bonn. Today the company is located in the Rhineland-Palatinate municipality of Grafschaft.

Other companies of supraregional importance are Weck Glaswerke (production site), Fairtrade, Eaton Industries (formerly Klöckner & Moeller), IVG Immobilien, Kautex Textron, SolarWorld, Vapiano and the SER Group.[42]


Offices of DFG, an important research funding organisation
University of Bonn Electoral Palace

The Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität Bonn (University of Bonn) is one of the largest universities in Germany. It is also the location of the German research institute Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) offices and of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD).

Private schools

  • Aloisiuskolleg, a Jesuit private school in Bad Godesberg with boarding facilities
  • Amos-Comenius-Gymnasium, a Protestant private school in Bad Godesberg
  • Bonn International School (BIS), a private English-speaking school set in the former American Compound in the Rheinaue, which offers places from kindergarten to 12th grade. It follows the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate.
  • Libysch Schule, private Arabic high school
  • Independent Bonn International School, (IBIS) private primary school (serving from kindergarten, reception, and years 1 to 6)
  • École de Gaulle - Adenauer, private French-speaking school serving grades pre-school ("maternelle") to grade 4 (CM1)
  • Kardinal-Frings-Gymnasium (KFG), private catholic school of the Archdiocese of Cologne in Beuel
  • Liebfrauenschule (LFS), private catholic school of the Archdiocese of Cologne
  • Sankt-Adelheid-Gymnasium, private catholic school of the Archdiocese of Cologne in Beuel
  • Clara-Fey-Gymnasium, private Catholic school of the Archdiocese of Cologne in Bad Godesberg
  • Ernst-Kalkuhl-Gymnasium, private boarding and day school in Oberkassel
  • Otto-Kühne-Schule ("PÄDA"), private day school in Bad Godesberg
  • Collegium Josephinum Bonn ("CoJoBo"), private catholic day school
  • Akademie für Internationale Bildung, private higher educational facility offering programs for international students


Historical population
Population size may be affected by changes in administrative divisions. source:[43]
Population development since 1620

As of 2011, Bonn had a population of 327,913. About 70% of the population was entirely of German origin, while about 100,000 people, equating to roughly 30%, were at least partly of non-German origin. The city is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Germany and the 18th most populous city in the country. Bonn's population is predicted to surpass the populations of Wuppertal and Bochum before the year 2030.[44]

The following list shows the largest groups of origin of minorites with "migration background" in Bonn as of 31 December 2021.[45]

Rank Migration background Population (31 December 2021)
1 Syria9,428
2 Turkey8,254
3 Poland6,879
4 Morocco5,921
5 Italy3,976
6 Russia3,933
7 Iran3,341
8 Spain3,282
9 Iraq2,744
10 Romania2,429
11 India2,216
12 France2,198
13 Afghanistan2,043
14 USA1,823
15 Bulgaria1,781
16 China1,764
17 Tunisia1,736
18 Greece1,657
20 Kosovo1,635
21 Kazakhstan1,619
22 UK1,343
23 Netherlands1,260
24 Croatia1,220
Deutsche Telekom head office


Bonn is home of the Telekom Baskets Bonn, the only basketball club in Germany that owns its arena, the Telekom Dome.[46] The club is a regular participant at international competitions such as the Basketball Champions League.

The city also has a semi-professional football team Bonner SC which was formed in 1965 through the merger of Bonner FV and Tura Bonn. The Bonn Gamecocks American football team play at the 12,000-capacity Stadion Pennenfeld.

The headquarters of the International Paralympic Committee has been located in Bonn since 1999.

The successful German Baseball Team Bonn Capitals are also found in the city of Bonn.

International relations

Since 1983, the City of Bonn has established friendship relations with the City of Tel Aviv, Israel, and since 1988 Bonn, in former times the residence of the Princes Electors of Cologne, and Potsdam, Germany, the formerly most important residential city of the Prussian rulers, have established a city-to-city partnership.

Central Bonn is surrounded by a number of traditional towns and villages which were independent up to several decades ago. As many of those communities had already established their own contacts and partnerships before the regional and local reorganisation in 1969, the Federal City of Bonn now has a dense network of city district partnerships with European partner towns.

The city district of Bonn is a partner of the English university city of Oxford, England, UK (since 1947), of Budafok, District XXII of Budapest, Hungary (since 1991) and of Opole, Poland (officially since 1997; contacts were established 1954).

The district of Bad Godesberg has established partnerships with Saint-Cloud in France, Frascati in Italy, Windsor and Maidenhead in England, UK and Kortrijk in Belgium; a friendship agreement has been signed with the town of Yalova, Turkey.

The district of Beuel on the right bank of the Rhine and the city district of Hardtberg foster partnerships with towns in France: Mirecourt and Villemomble.

Moreover, the city of Bonn has developed a concept of international co-operation and maintains sustainability oriented project partnerships in addition to traditional city twinning, among others with Minsk in Belarus, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, Bukhara in Uzbekistan, Chengdu in China and La Paz in Bolivia.

Twin towns – sister cities

Bonn is twinned with:[47][48]

Bonn city district is twinned with:[49]

For twin towns of other city districts, see Bad Godesberg, Beuel and Hardtberg.

Notable people

Up to the 19th century

Alexander Koenig
  • Johann Peter Salomon (1745–1815), musician
  • Franz Anton Ries (1755–1846), violinist and violin teacher
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), composer
  • Salomon Oppenheim, Jr. (1772–1828), banker
  • Peter Joseph Lenné (1789–1866), gardener and landscape architect
  • Friedrich von Gerolt (1797–1879), diplomat
  • Karl Joseph Simrock (1802–1876), writer and specialist in German
  • Wilhelm Neuland (1806–1889), composer and conductor
  • Johanna Kinkel (1810–1858), composer and writer
  • Moses Hess (1812–1875), philosopher and writer
  • Johann Gottfried Kinkel (1815–1882), theologian, writer, and politician
  • Alexander Kaufmann (1817–1893), author and archivist
  • Leopold Kaufmann (1821–1898), mayor
  • Julius von Haast (1822–1887), New Zealand, professor of geology
  • Dietrich Brandis (1824–1907), botanist
  • Balduin Möllhausen (1825–1905), traveler and writer
  • Maurus Wolter (1825–1890), Benedictine, founder and first abbot of the Abbey of Beuron and Beuronese Congregation
  • August Reifferscheid (1835–1887), philologist
  • Antonius Maria Bodewig (1839–1915), Jesuit missionary and founder
  • Nathan Zuntz (1847–1920), physician
  • Alexander Koenig (1858–1940), zoologist, founder of Museum Koenig in Bonn
  • Alfred Philippson (1864–1953), geographer
  • Johanna Elberskirchen (1864–1943), writer and activist
  • Max Alsberg (1877–1933), lawyer
  • Kurt Wolff (1887–1963), publisher
  • Hans Riegel Sr. (1893–1945), entrepreneur
  • Eduard Krebsbach (1894–1947), SS doctor in Nazi Mauthausen concentration camp, executed for war crimes
  • Paul Kemp (1896–1953), actor


  • Hermann Josef Abs (1901–1994), board member of the Deutsche Bank
  • Paul Ludwig Landsberg (1901–1944), in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, philosopher
  • Heinrich Lützeler (1902–1988), philosopher, art historian, and literary scholar
  • Helmut Horten (1909–1987), entrepreneur
  • Theodor Schieffer (1910–1992), historian and medievalist
  • Irene Sänger-Bredt (1911–1983), mathematician and physicist
  • Ernst Friedrich Schumacher (1911–1977), economist
  • Klaus Barbie (1913–1991), Nazi SS and Gestapo war criminal, the "Butcher of Lyon"
  • Karl-Theodor Molinari (1915–1993), General and founding chairman of the German Armed Forces Association
  • Karlrobert Kreiten (1916–1943), pianist
  • Hans Walter Zech-Nenntwich (born 1916), Second Polish Republic, SS Cavalry member and war criminal
  • Walther Killy (1917–1985), German literary scholar, Der Killy
  • Hannjo Hasse (1921–1983), actor
  • Walter Gotell (1924–1997), actor
  • Walter Eschweiler (born 1935), football referee
  • Alexandra Cordes (1935–1986), writer
  • Joachim Bißmeier (born 1936), actor
  • Roswitha Esser (born 1941), canoeist, gold medal winner at the Olympic Games in 1964 and 1968, Sportswoman of the Year 1964
  • Heide Simonis (born 1943), politician (SPD), former Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, since 2005 honorary chairman of UNICEF Germany
  • Paul Alger (born 1943), football player
  • Johannes Mötsch (born 1949), archivist and historian
  • Klaus Ludwig (born 1949), race car driver

1951 to present

  • Günter Ollenschläger (born 1951), medical and science journalist
  • Hans "Hannes" Bongartz (born 1951), football player and coach
  • Christa Goetsch (born 1952), politician (Alliance '90 / The Greens)
  • Michael Meert (born 1953), film author and director
  • Thomas de Maizière (born 1954), politician (CDU), former Minister of Defense and of the Interior
  • Gerd Faltings (born 1954), mathematician, Fields Medal winner
  • Olaf Manthey (born 1955), former touring car racing driver
  • Michael Kühnen (1955–1991), Neo-Nazi
  • Roger Willemsen (1955–2016), publicist, author, essayist, and presenter
  • Norman Rentrop (born 1957), publisher, author, and investor
  • Markus Maria Profitlich (born 1960), comedian and actor
  • Guido Westerwelle (1961–2016), politician (FDP), Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011
  • Mathias Dopfner (born 1963), chief executive officer of Axel Springer AG
  • Nikolaus Blome (born 1963), journalist
  • Maxim Kontsevich (born 1964), mathematician, Fields Medal winner
  • Johannes B. Kerner (born 1964), TV presenter, Abitur at the Aloisiuskolleg, and studied in Bonn
  • Anthony Baffoe (born 1965), football player, sports presenter, and actor
  • Sonja Zietlow (born 1968), TV presenter
  • Burkhard Garweg (born 1968), member of the Red Army Faction
  • Sabriye Tenberken (born 1970), Tibetologist, founder of Braille Without Borders
  • Thorsten Libotte (born 1972), writer
  • Tamara Gräfin von Nayhauß (born 1972), television presenter
  • Silke Bodenbender (born 1974), actress
  • Juli Zeh (born 1974), writer
  • Oliver Mintzlaff (born 1975), track and field athlete and sports manager, CEO of RB Leipzig
  • Markus Dieckmann (born 1976), beach volleyball player
  • Bernadette Heerwagen (born 1977), actress
  • Melanie Amann (born 1978), journalist
  • Bushido (born 1978), musician and rapper
  • Sebastian Stahl (born 1978), race car driver
  • Sonja Fuss (born 1978), football player
  • DJ Manian DJ of Cascada (born 1978) owner of Zooland Records
  • Andreas Tölzer (born 1980), judoka
  • Jens Hartwig (born 1980), actor
  • Natalie Horler (born 1981), front woman of the Dance Project Cascada
  • Marcel Ndjeng (born 1982), football player
  • Marc Zwiebler (born 1984), badminton player
  • Benjamin Barg (born 1984), football player
  • Alexandros Margaritis (born 1984), race car driver
  • Ken Miyao (born 1986), pop singer
  • Felix Reda (born 1986), politician
  • Peter Scholze (born 1987), mathematician, Fields Medal winner
  • Célia Okoyino da Mbabi (born 1988), football player
  • Luke Mockridge (born 1989), comedian and author
  • Pius Heinz (born 1989), poker player, 2011 WSOP Main Event champion
  • Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann (born 1990), basketball player
  • Levina (born 1991), singer
  • Bienvenue Basala-Mazana (born 1992), football player
  • Annika Beck (born 1994), tennis player
  • James Hyndman (born 1962), stage actor
  • Konstanze Klosterhalfen (born 1997), track and field athlete

21st century


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