[Overview] Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany as well as the country's important economic, cultural and transportation center. Located on the Rhine, in the most developed and industrialized state of North Rhine-Westphalia in central Germany, Cologne covers an area of 405.15 square kilometers and has a population of 1.08 million.
[Politics] Cologne is governed by the city council and the city government. There are currently 100 seats in the city council. The term of office of city councilors is five years. The chairman of the city council also serves as the lord mayor of the city. The city government is headed by one mayor and three deputy mayors, and their term of office is five years. The mayor is directly elected by citizens. The deputy mayors are elected by the city council from the city councilors and have no administrative power. However, as assistants to the mayor in the city council, they may represent Cologne externally. There are nine departments under the city government, and the department heads, appointed by the city council for a term of eight years, are responsible for managing the affairs of their respective departments. Henriette Reker has been Mayor of Cologne since October 2015. She was reelected in October 2020 and will serve a second term till 2025.
[Economy] Cologne has a developed economy, and its major industries are chemicals, electronics, auto making and machine production. Pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, rubber products, and recorded music are also well-developed. Cologne is the country's exposition, aerospace, and gasoline and diesel trade center. The Federal Railway Authority of Germany and Lufthansa are headquartered in the city. Cologne holds various exhibitions all year round. The most famous ones are specialized exhibitions on photographic equipment, food, sports equipment, and furniture.
[Culture] Cologne is Germany's communications center. The country's major radio and television stations are located here. The MediaPark in the city center covers an area of 20 hectares, housing more than 200 media outlets. There are many theaters, museums and galleries in the city. A variety of cultural events, including the Cologne Carnival, are held here every year. Cologne Cathedral is the most famous landmark in the city.
[Relations with Beijing] On September 14, 1987, Beijing and Cologne established a sister city relationship. In recent years, the two cities have had friendly exchanges and cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, culture, and education.
Investment and Trade: In 2014, Beijing and Cologne signed a memorandum on investment and trade cooperation. Cologne promised to send a delegation to participate in each China International Fair for Trade in Services held in Beijing, and Beijing pledged that it would attend the China Business and Investment Forum held in Cologne every two years. In 2018, Cologne held a business promotion conference at the Beijing Hotel NUO.
Culture: Cologne held the China Festival in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019. Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, Beijing Cultural Investment Development Group and other organizations of Beijing sent delegations from time-honored companies and art troupes to Cologne to attend the China Festival. In 2017, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the sisterhood between the two cities, the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra, together with the famous conductor François-Xavier Roth and the famous violinist Vilde Frang, presented the “Eternal Classics” concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts of China. In 2018, Cologne staged the “360-degree Charm of Cologne” photo exhibition at the Bird's Nest in Beijing.
Education: The education authorities of the two cities signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2014 and renewed the memorandum in 2018.
Municipal Administration: From 2014 to 2015, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Management sent a delegation of 19 representatives from household waste management, finance, planning and other relevant departments to Cologne and Berlin for a two-week training on household waste management and disposal.