With a population of more than one million, Cologne has become one of the most important centres for economy, trade and science in central Europe. As for the automotive industry, a memorial has been erected in front of the Deutz railway station to commemorate the invention of the Otto engine (1876).
In 1930, the Ford factory was built in Cologne, where the company's European headquarters still remain. Toyota, Volvo, Citroën, Mazda and Renault have also established sites in Cologne and the surrounding area. The chemical industry as well as several large business groups have also settled in the Rhine metropolis.
Cologne is also a leading trade fair and convention centre. The annual programme of events for the Koelnmesse exhibition centre includes more than 50 trade fairs (e.g. Photokina, imm Cologne and Art Cologne) and exhibitions as well as 2000 conventions. The insurance and media sectors are also important to the city.
The University of Cologne is the oldest and one of the largest in Germany. Other academic institutions in the city include the Academy of Media Arts, the Musikhochschule (conservatoire), the German Sport University and the largest University of Applied Science in Germany.
Thanks to its public research institutions such as the German Aerospace Centre and its advanced research into bio and gene technology, Cologne is at the forefront of science and research.
Prime location in the heart of Europe
Nowadays, Cologne is one of the most important transport hubs in Western Europe with excellent connections via land, sea or air. With its five Rhine ports, Cologne has the second largest inland harbour in Germany.
Ten motorways merge in a star-like formation into the motorway ring road that completely circles the city. The newly designed Cologne main station is one of the most important rail hubs in Europe.
Cologne-Bonn Airport is the second largest freight terminal in Germany and has also grown in terms of the number of passenger flights offered, not least as a German hub for cheap airlines.
Further information: Economic development in Cologne (Administration of Cologne)