The world feels at home in Cologne, where people meet for a Kölsch, a chat or simply a laugh. Life in Cologne is vivacious.
The world-famous "Kölner Karneval" street carnival and the spectacular "Kölner Lichter" fireworks, invite visitors to join in the celebrations, the crème de la crème of pop and rock will be playing in Cologne in 2016 and some of the leading trade fairs take place in Cologne.
In the begin of the year, the Cologne people invites the world to celebrate Carnival. The "fifth season of the year" as Carnival is called, begins on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. But the real "crazy days" do not start before the so-called Weiberfastnacht (Shrove Thursday, 2016 on Febraury 4), the Thursday before Rosenmontag (Carnival Monday, 216 on February 8). The "crazy days" of Carnival are celebrated with parties on the streets, in public squares and in pubs. Closing times for pubs and bars are suspended for the duration of the festival.
On July 3, another parade takes place in Cologne: the parade of the Christopher Street Day. Every year on the first weekend of July half a million participants and visitors celebrate and demonstrate in the city centre. Only two weeks later (July 16) the Cologne Lights (Kölner Lichter) light up the sky in flames. The impressive firework display is synchronised with music and transforms the view of the Rhine into a colourful sea of banyan lights, waterfalls and hundreds of thousands of sparklers. A huge convoy of ships marks the crowning finale of a colourful celebration, which has taken its course during the day in the Old Town.
Concerts + trade fairs
The crème de la crème of pop and rock will be playing in Cologne in 2016: so enjoy a multi-layered programme of gothic-, medieval- and electronic sounds at the Amphi Festival from July 23 to July 24 and one of the most successful artists - Rihanna - will be paying a visit to her fans in Cologne on July 28.
From 5 to 9 August, Cologne will be transformed into a Mecca for gamers. At gamescom, the trade show for interactive games and entertainment, exhibitors will be showcasing all novelties in the gaming sector. The latest computer and console games will be on display in the large ‘entertainment area’. Visitors can test out the games even before their release.
On 20th September the world's largest and most important ordering event for the international photography and imaging sector will once again open its doors in Cologne. The photokina (September 20 to 26) is the year's key event for the international photography and imaging specialist trade. Trade dealers from all over the world will come to Cologne to find out about the sector's latest trends, establish business contacts and order products for the period of high turnover in autumn and winter. After that the fans of motorcycles, scooters and bicycles flock to Cologne to visit the intermot from October 5 to 9.
At the end of the year, the city centre of Cologne is touched by the magic of the festivities in the run-up to Christmas. Christmas music, arts and crafts, toys, Christmas decorations and the scent of the Christmas bakeries create a wonderful atmosphere at the famous Christmas markets in Cologne (November 21 to December 23 - estimated).
And finally: New Year in Cologne! Each year hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors from all across the planet enjoy the midnight fireworks against the magical backdrop of Cologne’s cityscape.
The 10 Highlights 2016 - in chronlogical order:
The biggest trade fairs 2016 in Cologne
Concerts 2016 - the highlights
Events + sports 2016 - the Highlights