Welcome to Bad Godesberg
‘Encounter‘ by Eva de Maizière
Eva de Maizière, ‘Encounter’, 1978
This post has nothing to do with history but concerns an artwork which speaks to me. I would like to introduce you to a sculpture in Bad Godesberg, a southern suburb of Bonn. Often remembered for its abundance of embassies during the time when Bonn was the capital of West Germany. The “Bad” (spa) refers to its older history as a place with a spring with health benefits. Continue reading
The library of my alma mater, Bonn University, has reason to celebrate: 645 books, which had been missing since WWII, have returned home. Among the books, many of them unique, are 11 medieval manuscripts, 2 medieval documents and 39 incunabula. Continue reading
Today, I would like to celebrate a birthday that is special to me: my alma mater, the University of Bonn, is 200 years old. Compared with some other European universities that may not seem like much, but it is still a memorable feast. Continue reading
The Latest Headlines from
the Roman Rhineland
In late July, the Roman Rhineland made the headlines, not just once, but twice. First the discovery of a Roman library in Cologne was made public. And a few days later a Roman sarcophagus found in Zülpich (approx. 50 km south west of Cologne) was presented to the media. Continue reading
As we have seen in my last post, John of Wheathampstead, abbot of St Albans, travelled in 1423/24 to Italy to attend the Council of Pavia/Siena and to visit the Pope. Both on his way to Italy and back, he visited Cologne. This part of his trip was of particular interest to me, as I grew up in the Cologne/Bonn area of Germany.
Cologne in 1531. The unfinished cathedral is on the right.
The Drachenfels in Königswinter –
more than just tourist kitsch
I grew up in Königswinter, a town of approx. 40,000 inhabitants next to Bonn. It stretches from the Rhine in the west across the Siebengebirge to the east. The Siebengebirge (“Seven Mountains”) consists of more than 40 hills of volcanic origin. Of the seven hills, which gave the region its name, the highest is the Ölberg with 460m, the smallest is the Drachenfels with 321m. How it got its name is disputed with various suggestions floating around.
The Drachenfels seen from the Rhine
Siegfried von Westerburg refound in
The story of a forgotten archbishop
Siegfried von Westerburg, archbishop of Cologne, was buried in 1297 in Bonn Minster, where he seems to have had the unfortunate fate to get forgotten.
Bonn Minster from the north looking west
The Brückenmännchen in Bonn –
a cheeky little sculpture on a bridge
When we visited Bonn earlier this year, we went for a walk along the Rhine, as you do. To our surprise, we spotted on the Kennedy Bridge the sculpture of a man rather cheekily sticking his bum out at us, the Brückenmännchen, which translates as “little bridge man”. It turns out that this little sculpture plays an important part of the history of the bridge.
The Brückemnmännchen in Bonn – also a welcome resting place for pigeons
Bonn’s bridges across the Rhine –
Connecting Bonn to its eastern neighbours
Bonn is situated on the western side of the river Rhine. Understandably, a way to cross the river has been important for a long time, both for commercial and military reasons. On the opposite, the eastern, side of the river is Beuel. Beuel has since 1969 been a suburb of Bonn, incorporating all the area on the right-hand side of the Rhine, which consisted of various parishes. One example is Oberkassel, where the couple from the Ice Age was found.
There is a legend that Julius Caesar had the first bridge built in 55 BC when fighting the Gauls. However, archaeologists say that’s all that it is: a legend. Continue reading
The Liberei in Braunschweig –
a medieval library ahead of its time
Braunschweig in approx. 1550 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Liberei in Braunschweig is a unique medieval building: 1. It was the first free-standing library building in Europe north of the Alps. 2. It was the southern-most example of Backsteingotik. 3. It was one of the first public libraries in Germany. 4. It was a famous centre for research. Quite remarkable for a building of just 5 by 5 metres. Continue reading