The Federal city of Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About 24 km 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 famously known as the birthplace of Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1770. He spent his childhood and teenage years in Bonn. The city is located on the Rhine River, about 15 miles south of Cologne. Founded in the 1st century BC as a Roman settlement, Bonn is one of Germany's oldest cities. From 1597 to 1794, Bonn was the capital of the Electorate of Cologne, and 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. From 1990 to 1999, Bonn served as the seat of government – but no longer capital – of reunited Germany.

Roughly a third of all ministerial jobs are located in Bonn as of 2019, and the city is considered a second, unofficial, capital of the country. Bonn is the secondary seat of the President, the Chancellor, the Bundesrat and the primary seat of six federal government ministries and twenty federal authorities. The title of Federal City reflects its important political status within Germany. 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.

Data and Facts

  • Bonn is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, Germany’s greatest composer whose symphonies still enchant those who appreciate classical music
  • Population: 311,800 (city); 11,800,000 (metropolitan area)
  • Most Precipitation: 5000 mm/ 197 in. Average Summer Temperature: 21 °C/ 70 °F Average Winter Temperature: .5 °C/ 33 °F Elevation: 16 m/ 54 ft 
  • Every spring around April, the Japanese cherry blossom trees that line the streets of Bonn’s old town start to bloom. Heerstraße, in particular, downright transforms into a pink and purple tunnel that attracts photographers from all over the world
  • Bonn is the gateway to one of Germany’s most important wine regions. The Ahrtal centres around the town of Bad Neuenahr and is known for its steep terraced vineyards where the winemakers of the valley primarily cultivate Pinot Noir and Portugais Bleu grapes
  • Bonn is home to 18 organisations of the United Nations. The UN campus regularly hosts essential international events, such as 2017’s Climate Change Conference


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 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.The heated debate that resulted was settled by the Bundestag only on 20 June 1991. Ultimately, the votes of the eastern German legislators tipped the balance in favour of Berlin.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 . Bonn currently shares the status of Germany's seat of government with Berlin, with the President, the Chancellor and many government ministries maintaining large presences in Bonn. Over 8,000 of the 18,000 federal officials remain in Bonn. A total of 19 United Nations institutions operate from Bonn today.

The city council of Bonn used to be based in the Rococo-style and 1737 built Altes Rathaus adjacent to Bonn's central market square. As of the 2014–2020 election cycle, the Christian Democrats hold a plurality of mandates in the city council , followed by the Social Democrats with 20 seats, the Greens with 16 seats, the Liberals with 7 seats, the Left with 5 seats, the local Bürgerbund Bonn with 4 seats, the Alternative for Germany with 3 seats, and independent candidates with a total of 4 seats. There are currently 86 seats in the city council of Bonn. The mayor is Ashok-Alexander Sridharan , directly elected in 2015.Four delegates represent the Federal city of Bonn in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia. The last election took place in May 2012. The current delegates are Bernhard von Grünberg ,Renate Hendricks , Joachim Stamp and Rolf Beu .


In the last 20 years, Bonn has successfully engineered a transition from mainly governmental functions to an internationally competitive business structure. This process is driven by the group of companies ranked in the German stock index DAX and further 16,000 small and medium-sized enterprises.

Dynamic technology clusters have emerged as a result of the close exchange between business and science, for example in the field of information and communication technologies and the health sector. As the German United Nations City, hosting 18 UN organisations, Bonn has developed a new international profile. The strong growth in the knowledge-intensive services as well as the close interaction between the city and the business and science communities make Bonn particularly attractive. These assets are being recognised by an increasing number of people: Experts predict that Bonn - the City of Beethoven on the Rhine - will see the highest population growth of all cities and counties in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

By comparison, employment across NRW increased by around 2.3% over the same period and the figure for the Rhein-Sieg District around Bonn showed a rise of 2.5%. Owing to the vigorous long-term growth of employment, the number of persons with socially insured jobs in Bonn today is 39,332 more than the 134,199 recorded in 1991 when parliament passed the resolution to transfer the German capital from Bonn to Berlin.

The Office for Economic Development registered a total of 143 take-up transactions in the Bonn office market in 2017. They included 142 lettings and one owner-occupier office development. The volume of space taken up in the Bonn office market totalled 108,210 sq m in 2017. This followed a record figure of 126,200 sq m in 2016. With the aggregate floor space of office premises in Bonn totalling around 3.86 million sq m, this amounts to 100,989 sq m. Against the previous year, the vacancy rate edged up by 0.45 percentage points. Nevertheless, the annual level of vacancy – even compared with other cities – still points to undiminished strong demand for office properties in Bonn.

In relation to North Rhine-Westphalia as a whole, Bonn enjoys relatively low unemployment. In 2017, the unemployment rate in the city averaged 6.7%, compared to 5.2% in the surrounding Rhein-Sieg District, 7.4% across NRW and 5.7% nationwide. Unemployment decreased by 0.4 percentage points in Bonn during the course of 2017 and shrank by a moderate 0.3 percentage points in the Rhein-Sieg District while the national figure fell by 0.4 percentage points and state-wide unemployment eased by 0.3 percentage points.

Business Environment

The number of socially insured persons employed in the service sector in Bonn increased significantly between 2016 and 2017, growing by 3,585, or 2.3%. In mid-2017, a total of 159,522 persons in Bonn were engaged in tertiary occupations, which is 91.9% of the entire active population. Like Frankfurt am Main and Potsdam, Bonn thus ranks among the cities with the most highly geared service economies in Germany. Across NRW as a whole, 72.6% of the working population was active in the tertiary sector as of the middle of 2017. The manufacturing sector accounted for around 26.9% of total employment in NRW. Against 2016, the number of persons employed in the manufacturing sector in NRW edged up by 0.5%. Enterprises with fewer than 250 employees accounted for 99.4% of all businesses in Bonn in 2016. Numbering 15,550 entities, they provided 89,658 jobs subject to social security contributions. The other 90 enterprises, with 250 or more employees, provided 63,231 jobs subject to social security contributions. The structural breakdown of business entities in Bonn presents a differentiated picture. Micro-enterprises employing 9 people or less accounted for 87.7% of all businesses and 12.8% of employment. Small enterprises with 10-49 employees provided 18.4% of jobs and made up 9.1% of businesses, while medium-scale enterprises with 50-249 employees accounted for 27.4% of employment and 2.6% of businesses. Large enterprises with 250 employees or more employed 41.4% of the working population, which is a significantly higher percentage than in NRW as a whole . For example, while the percentage of employment generated by large enterprises stood at 41.3% in Münster – similar to Bonn – it was 43.7% in Cologne, 43.8% in Düsseldorf and no less than 50.1% in Leverkusen.Across the area covered by the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the largest private employers in 2017 were Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post DHL Group and Postbank. Together, they employed around 27,600 people. The two publicly listed heavyweights alone – Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post DHL Group – managed strategies for a global workforce of over 730,000 from head offices in Bonn. However, major companies with global operations in the manufacturing sector – e.g. in energy management and the automotive supply industry – also employed thousands of people in the city.Bonn’s significance as a key location for major national and international companies is revealed by a closer look at the market capitalisation of the companies that are listed in the DAX indices and have their head offices in the city. In August 2018, the Bonn DAX companies Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post DHL Group had a joint market capitalisation of around 103.6 billion euros . This helped make Bonn the third-strongest performing city in Germany in terms of stock market value.


Named after Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war Chancellor of West Germany, Cologne Bonn Airport is situated 15 kilometres 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. As of March 2015, Cologne Bonn Airport had services to 115 passenger destinations in 35 countries. 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 A59 connects the airport with the city. Bonn's central railway station, Bonn Hauptbahnhof, serves urban , regional , and long-distance destinations such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris. 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. The other major railway station lies on the high-speed rail line between Cologne and Frankfurt. The bus system of Bonn is composed of roughly 30 lines which operate on a regular basis. During peaks, buses usually run every 5 minutes; off-peak buses run every 20 minutes. Four Autobahns run through or are adjacent to Bonn: the A59 , the A555 , the A562 , and the A565 . Three Bundesstraßen, which have a general 100 kilometres per hour speed limit in contrast to the Autobahn, connect Bonn to its immediate surroundings .

With Bonn being divided into two parts by the Rhine, three bridges are crucial for inner-city road traffic: the Konrad-Adenauer-Brücke , the Friedrich-Ebert-Brücke , and the Kennedybrücke . In addition, regular ferries operate between Bonn-Mehlem and Königswinter, Bonn-Bad Godesberg and Niederdollendorf, and Graurheindorf and Mondorf. Located in the northern sub-district of Graurheindorf, the inland harbour of Bonn is used for container traffic as well as oversea transport.


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.

Good growth prospects are seen for knowledge-intensive services because future demand will continue to remain strong for services in areas such as healthcare, information, business and financial consulting. Studies by noted specialists NIW , ISI and ZEW show that knowledge-intensive services are strongly represented in Bonn and accounted for 37.3% of all employment in the city in mid-2017. Bonn is a strong healthcare location enjoying a good reputation at both national and international level. Hallmarks of the Bonn healthcare cluster include an outstanding system of medical services, a large number of healthcare-oriented research and scientific institutions and the presence of major healthcare agencies, trusts and associations. The city is also the home of numerous noted enterprises in the fields of telemedicine, imaging systems, consulting and occupational health and safety. The city's status in the healthcare landscape is officially recognised by the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has identified a total of six regions as healthcare hubs within NRW. The Cologne/Bonn region is one of them.Information and communication technologies play a key role in the structural and technological evolution of Bonn. The sector is defined in the city by major players and employers such as Deutsche Telekom but also by a dynamic tier of SMEs. Against the backdrop of Bonn's prominent profile as an IT city, Senior Mayor Ashok Sridharan initiated the «Digital Bonn» project in cooperation with Bonn IT and management consultant axxessio GmbH, the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Office of Economic Development of the City of Bonn. Since then, numerous projects have been implemented. One is the Digital Hub Region Bonn, which receives € 1.5 million funding from the NRW state government. In spring 2017, a start-up centre was established at premises in the new Bonner Bogen district to help potential entrepreneurs create startups and offer newly created startups an established infrastructure. Apart from offering coworking spaces, the Hub attaches particular importance to promoting networking with Bonn-based companies as well as scientific, research and academic institutions such as the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.

The Bonn region is regarded throughout Germany as a major centre for geobusiness. No other region has access to as much geoinformation expertise. The Geoinformation Initiative established in 2004 is a regional network of actors from academia, science, research, business and administration.

Social Wellness and Human Resources

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. Bonn has grown by 1,690 since 2015, which represents a 0.11% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Bonn, which typically includes Bonn's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas. 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. The following list shows the largest groups of origin of minorites with «migration background» in Bonn as of 31 December 2017.

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.

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 . 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 , the headquarters of the Deutsche Post called Post Tower and the former building for the German members of parliament Langer Eugen now the location of the UN Campus.

Along with Beethoven-Haus, many other buildings in the city on the Rhine are worth a visit. Most of the current building dates from the intense construction activity of the 11th to 13th centuries. Romanesque and Gothic stylistic elements merge to create a rare harmony in Münster. Even the decoration – primarily Baroque or dating from either the end of the last century or this one – fits perfectly into the space and gives the basilica its own very special atmosphere.Another of the city’s architectural jewels is the Altes Rathaus on the Bonn Marktplatz. It was completed in Rococo style in around 1780. This three-storey building with gilded stairs leading down to the marketplace has been the backdrop for a number of important events: Theodor Heuss, Charles de Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II and Mikhail Gorbachev all gave speeches here. Today it still serves as an office for the mayor and is used as a building for official occasions.

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


Vision / R&D
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1st century BC
 • Total
141.06 km2 (54.46 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
 • Total
 • Density
2,300/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
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