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I (Chris) wanted to visit Köln because it is another big city in Germany (No.4 by population). I liked Berlin (No. 1) and Munich (No. 3) and wanted to see more urban life in Germany. You will see it in the next few posts.

Köln is a very compact cityas far as tourists are concerned, because most of the sights are clustered around the main train station and the cathedral (Dom). The train station and the Dom are both next to a bridge that crosses the Rhine.

 

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Here’s my theory: Köln is big enough of a city where a critical mass of like-minded people congregate to form a neighborhood with a distinct identity/culture.  New York has enough people to support many such neighborhoods – e.g., East village, Astoria, Harlem, etc. Alright, I sound too serious or am just stating the obvious here.

 

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Any way, Cologne has the Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel) which is situated within the inner city boundary and within walking distance from the main streets and pedestrianized shopping areas (on the other side of the Hohenzollering).

 

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The best way to characterize the area is that it is the Greenwich Village of Cologne. Brüsseler and Antwerpener strasses.

 

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At the heart of the Belgian Quarter is the Brüsseler Platz, or Brussels Square, dominated by St Michael’s Church, built around 1910.

 

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Here are some of the businesses in the area.

Madam Miammiam cakeshop

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Monsieur Courbet record shop

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RockOn cafe (?)

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One of the main streets of Köin – Aachener strasse – forms the southern border of this neighborhood and is lined with restaurants.

 

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I had lunch here. Herr Pimock – bar food, friendly, casual.

 

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Filmkunst 27 is probably the best looking video rental shop I have visited. Initially I thought they sell Apple products and software but no …

Did rental service not disappear a decade ago?  This shop seems to specialize in hard-to-find, cult movies – all titles are sorted by the movie director and grouped according to the country of origin.

 

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This cafe (Salon Schmitz) and its sister eatery (Metzgerei Schmitz) next door on Aachener strasse are best known for the ambience, the artists and the art it showcases.

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I had dinner here – on the edge of the Belgian Quarter – Colina at Flandrische strasse, the steaks are recommendable.

 

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More pictures about the shops in the area to come.

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One Comment

  1. History question: why did Belgians live in Cologne?


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