There is another Cologne beneath the one we know and love. And by that we don’t mean the ruins dating back to Roman times, which are regularly being unearthed under every new building site here. For this edition of Hidden Cologne, we literally went underground. The paths of Cologne’s locals regularly cross in a place that the city administration wanted to fill up with concrete last winter: Ebertplatz. An underground walkway that has become a meeting place for everyone who prefers their culture less commercial and more experimental, and doesn’t want to have to decide between music, visual art, video installations and literature. And it is all these people who make the underpass, which is still largely shunned by the general public, one of the most interesting places in the city.
Such transformation is the common thread of this issue of Hidden Cologne. We are revealing how a wall can become a neighbourhood’s most popular meeting place, how a bar that was once frequented by small-time criminals managed to become one of the city’s friendliest clubs and how an online rental service for everyday clothing is trying to find a way to reconcile our need for beautiful clothing with the fashion industry’s less-than-sustainable production methods.
All of this shows a side of Cologne that is often overlooked: the practical creativity of the independent Colognians, a can-do spirit that is often better for the city than the large-scale construction and cultural initiatives of its administration.
We are presenting a few examples of this inventiveness on the following pages, but the best thing you can do is embark on your own tour of discovery.
Enjoy exploring our city,
Your Hidden Cologne team