Capital of culture

This little star of a Rhineland city shows off the best of German living.

Compact but choc-a-bloc with culture: if those two qualities help to define your ideal city, you’ll probably get on well with Bonn. Capital of the former West Germany, Bonn ceded its status to Berlin with reunification and, since then, has been forging a very different path from its big city sister.

Where Berlin has hipster grunge aplenty, Bonn, birthplace of Beethoven, retains the urban buzz and adds to it a clutch of superb museums and galleries, a renowned classical music scene and a tranquil Rhineside setting that makes it the perfect stage for enjoying the finer things in life.

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Culture in Bonn

Highpoint of any cultural tour of this Rhineland gem is the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Born into this humble abode in 1770, the musical genius remains intimately associated with the city to this day. Among the most memorable relics in what is now a museum are the enormous ear trumpets the composer of the Ode to Joy used to fight encroaching deafness. Beethoven’s last grand piano will also give many a tinkler twitchy fingers.

Among the best things to do in Bonn, the Haus der Geschichte (‘History House’) museum focuses on Bonn post-1945. The collection tells a multimedia tale of the city and nation’s often painful growth through the cold war to the present day. Temporary exhibitions on, for example, political cartoons and soldiers’ ditties leaven the history lesson. The Haus der Geschichte provides and engaging education on post-war Germany and is well worth a visit!

One of the most original things to see in Bonn, the Arithmeum explores the neglected intersection of technology and art. Budding young scientists, in particular, will enjoy the chance to get up close and personal with the surprising beauty of microchips scrutinized through an ultra-powerful microscope. Anyone will marvel at the ingenuity of multiple historical calculating machines.

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