International Max Planck Research School
on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy

Living in Cologne

Cologne, Germany
Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany, with a population of about one million. It is also a university town, with some 70,000 students attending its eight colleges and universities. The high quality of Cologne's educational institutions and the city's relaxed Rhenish lifestyle attract students from all over Germany and abroad - some 10,000 students come from other countries.


A Friendly City on the Rhine ...

Colonians are willing to help newcomers become locals over a Kölsch beer within hours. The Rhine is an integral part of Cologne. Ever since it was founded by the Romans 2000 years ago, the city has profited from its harbor trade and the travelers passing through. Contact with colonizers, merchants, pilgrims, tourists, students and job-seekers over the centuries has made the people of Cologne tolerant and open-minded. They are willing to help newcomers become locals over a "Kölsch" beer within hours. This is a special quality that makes Cologne a popular place to visit and return to.
What else is special about Cologne? Successfully integrating some 300,000 residents with non-German ethnic backgrounds and an estimated 100,000 gays and lesbians into its social fabric, Cologne has a richly diverse population. The people of Cologne love their neighborhoods, their "Veedel," which give the big city a cozy local touch.


... Steeped in History

Cologne's skyline is dominated by the twin spires of its Gothic cathedral, the "Dom" - the most popular landmark in Germany. Locals also cherish the twelve Romanesque churches, a testimony to Cologne's past grandeur as the largest city in Germany in the Middle Ages. Carnival, a time of wild merriment the week before Ash Wednesday, is celebrated on Cologne's streets and in its bars in a very big way.


Things to Do

Museum Ludwig and Cologne Cathedral. Culturally, Cologne is first-rate. Its Philharmonic hall hosts an eclectic range of classical and popular musicians and orchestras, the Opera has several new productions every year, and the theater scene is one of the liveliest in Germany. Movie theaters abound, and English-language films are shown regularly. Rock musicians from around the world flock to Cologne, where they find performing venues including intimate clubs, the Lanxess-Arena seating 18,000 and the Rheinenergie stadium seating 50,000. Jazz can be heard all around town, too. Cologne has several museums displaying European art and artefacts from Roman times to the present, not to mention an East Asian art museum and a whole museum devoted solely to chocolate! The Museum Ludwig displays twentieth-century and contemporary art, featuring the largest collection of pop art outside the United States. The city also has scores of galleries, hosts the annual Art Cologne art fair, and is home to many artists.
Choose your sport, as a participant or spectator, when you live in Cologne. The city is home not only to top-notch soccer, ice-hockey and basketball teams, but to American football teams and baseball teams as well. You will find ample opportunities to work out or swim, and plenty of company if you want to run, bike or skate in the city's extensive parks. There's even a rugby club.

Getting Around

Cologne is a compact city that is easy to get around. Cologne is a compact city that is easy to get around in (except by car). Much of interest to students is within walking or biking distance of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies or the University of Cologne, and the public transportation system is excellent.
A train and plane hub, Cologne benefits from its proximity to other major cities in Germany and neighboring countries. Bonn and Düsseldorf, both of which also have universities, are very close by. You can get to Düsseldorf, a major business and fashion center, and Bonn, a United Nations city, in thirty minutes by train. By rail, you are in Frankfurt am Main, a financial center, in little more than an hour, Amsterdam and Brussels in about two and a half hours, and Paris in just four hours. From Cologne/Bonn airport, there are cheap flights to most major cities in Europe.
Based at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in the heart of southern Cologne (the Südstadt) and the University of Cologne, graduate students at the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy can start to explore Germany from their local Severin and Sülz neighborhoods. At the Institute and at the University of Cologne, they will meet students who will help them find out what the city and its environs have to offer.

Duisburg and Essen - the Ruhrgebiet

Our second partner university, the University of Duisburg-Essen, is less than an hour away and can be reached conveniently via local train as well. Duisburg and Essen are part of the Ruhrgebiet, a vibrant metropolitan region and one of the European Capitals of Culture of 2010.

Max-Planck-Institut fuer Gesellschaftsforschung University Cologne University Duisburg Last modified 06.02.2019