Cologne is simply the best city I know in Germany: because of its diversity, culture, people, flair, openness and attitude to life. However outlandish your ideas may be, you can still make them work here. My work as an artist thrives on communication and interaction and that is only really possible in an open and vibrant city like Cologne. I’m a real culture vulture and would be perfectly happy going to the Opera House or Museum Ludwig. But as an artist myself, I’m always looking for experimental ideas and unusual cultural locations – for example, I was blown away by Gregor Weber’s Room Service at Kunsthaus Rhenania and the extreme Bodytalk productions. Not forgetting Futur 3’s avant-garde projects that are staged in unusual locations – like funeral parlours or people’s homes! I live near Ebertplatz and love what they are doing with the central square. You can take a stroll down Neusser Strasse where there’s no shortage of great places to pick up tasty, creative food that you can eat on the square. Or simply drink a coffee, soak up some culture in the Gold + Beton or Labor Ebertplatz galleries or watch the skaters glide around the new water fountain. It has plenty of flair – especially with all the initiatives that are doing great work there.
The area around Odonien is also getting more interesting, for example with the Wandelwerk pop-up transformation centre. It’s great to see that people who are working for socio-ecological change are finally being listened to and given space to do their thing! Right next door is the Olympia clubhouse, which has been under new management for a few years now. As well as serving up tasty food, it overlooks the sports ground. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see DJ Hans Nieswandt doing a late set. The Kahnstation beer garden in the Blücherpark is also a great place for a drink! It’s such a fantastic neighbourhood. I usually cycle to work and in my free time, I also like to pedal along the Rhine to the Crocodile Ferry in Weiss, where there are a couple of great riverside beaches en route. My favourite place to go swimming is the Waldbad in Dünnwald, which has a wonderfully shady location in the woods and always makes me feel like I’m on holiday. Whenever I have a business meeting, I like to go to Café Wahlen on Hohenstaufenring, where the cakes are to die for. To get to know the city, you can’t beat Thomas Bönig’s sensational Kulturklüngel city tour. Rather than the usual tourist sights, he shows another side of Cologne, giving a real glimpse into how the locals tick. Of course, when it comes to trying out new ideas, Odonien is also leading the way by offering artists the opportunity to perform in very different surroundings. I’ve always seen Odonien as an incredibly special place: in the old days, it used to be party central with a reputation as a fantastic club – which is hardly surprising, given its unique location. These days we play host to a wide and varied mix of cultural activities: concerts, films, performances, theatre, fine arts, etc. For instance, I’m working with Jan Krauthäuser right now to put on a Global Music series every Friday, which is a great way to spend an evening. I’m really enjoying
it myself: nice crowd, good music and always a great atmosphere in the beer garden. I see it as a kind of green oasis on Innere Kanalstrasse where you even get the odd fox or green parrot popping by. You can’t beat the wild, untamed charm of this jungle in the middle of the city.
Odo Rumpf is an artist and has run the Odonien club and art space on Hornstrasse for the past 16 years.