Cologne's image is perceived much more positively outside of the cathedral city, says Dr.
Jürgen Amann, Head of Cologne Tourism.
Cologne is considered an event city.
There is always something going on here.
Now in Cologne Carnival, but also otherwise hardly a weekend goes by without something being set up in Cologne squares or the party people from the surrounding area conquering the city.
That suits the city, which likes to present itself as sociable, diverse and cosmopolitan.
Cologne is just the joker among the big cities.
Not everyone agrees with that.
Institutions such as the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce or associations such as the Citizens' Association of the Old Town repeatedly criticize that Cologne is more than an event city where there is only a party.
Where is the focus on 2000 years of culture or the economic importance of a metropolis like Cologne?
They demand a different, above all uniform, line with which the city should present itself.
Jürgen Amann: "Cologne is perceived as a great city"
Jürgen Amann, head of Cologne Tourism, calls for more self-confidence from the people of Cologne.
© Zonar/Imago & Claudia Hessel
One of those responsible for Cologne's external tourism marketing is Dr.
Jürgen Amann, Managing Director of Cologne Tourism.
A Franconian who has been living in Cologne for three years.
Before that he was managing director for city marketing in Dresden.
A look at the current website shows where the marketing of Cologne tourism goes: "Cologne is a feeling" and "Fall in love with Cologne".
There have already been a number of marketing attempts aimed at the open-hearted attitude towards life in our city.
However, none of these have led to the desired goal of making Cologne shine.
How then, some people in Cologne ask themselves: dirty corners on our tourist magnets such as the cathedral or permanent construction sites on our cultural buildings.
The facts are obvious to everyone;
Cologne feeling or not.
"The bait has to taste good to the fish and not to the angler," replies Amann.
“Our task is the external view of Cologne and that is positive.
Cologne is perceived as a great city.
There is a lot on offer here and the openness in this city is an important unique selling point.
This is actually something that tourists don’t find to the same extent in other cities like Hamburg or Munich.”
Tourism boss Amann: Culture in Cologne is more than high culture
Since sentimentality does not seem to be as pronounced among the Franconians as it is among us Rhinelanders, one can say that the man who looks at Cologne Cathedral from his office every day has a different view of Cologne.
The analysis of well-known market research institutes in tourism revealed: three quarters of all activities that guests undertake in Cologne are cultural activities.
"Our goal is to improve and strengthen the perception of Cologne as a cultural location." For Amann, culture is more than high culture like opera and drama and he lists: "the rock concert in the Lanxess Arena with international top stars, the popular Andy Warhol exhibition, c/o pop or the City Leaks Festival.
Culture has a completely different approach here in Cologne.
It's more accessible."
Amann also states: “Cologne is not everyone's darling.
And that's why we have to raise our profile towards those who like us.
We shouldn't waste any energy on addressing those who don't like us.” Maybe Amann is right, there are people who find Cologne unattractive and we Cologne residents are often too critical of our city.
He calls for more healthy self-confidence in dealing with this criticism.
Anyone who likes Munich and likes to stroll along Maximilianplatz is not in good hands with us in Cologne
Jürgen Amann, Head of Cologne Tourism
Does a negative portrayal of Cologne, as in the nationwide press on the events on November 11th, damage the city's tourist attractiveness?
"The critical reporting in this case doesn't bother me," states Amann.
Basically, the following applies to him: “For those who like Cologne, it falls on deaf ears.
And when it comes to those who don't like Cologne, we don't have to give a damn.
We have to have that much self-confidence as a city of over a million people and say: If you like Munich and like to stroll along Maximilianplatz, you're not in good hands with us in Cologne.
Cologne has other strengths.
That is the attitude towards life that you have in Cologne and that is reflected in many offers.”
24RHEIN guest author Claudia Hessel
is the chief presenter of RTL West – and a die-hard Cologne native.
The TV journalist is Chairwoman of the Cologne Forum for Culture in Dialogue and is active in the Cologne Press Club on a voluntary basis.
This article comes from the newsletter of the "Cologne Press Club", which you can subscribe to here
Are this attitude to life that we Cologners have, paired with the variety of cultural offerings, the decisive marketing factors why guests want to come to Cologne?
I myself am always surprised that the outside view of our city is better than the inside perspective.
Cologne actually has a high appeal.
Nevertheless, in the end the question of the uniform image remains.
Because how does that fit together: On the one hand, an event city with a lot of feeling and on the other hand, it is also about the perception and status of the metropolis of Cologne, which is an important hub of the economy and a unique location for science.
Munich also manages to be taken seriously as a metropolis despite the Oktoberfest party and breweries.
Why not Cologne too?
List of rubrics: © Zonar/Imago & Claudia Hessel