Kölner Wappen


Jürgen Roters


>Mayors & Political parties  |  Honorary citizens  |  Sister cities

Cologne can boast an 800-year tradition of self-government: At the beginning of the 12th century, the »Schöffenkolleg« was created, and in 1216, a »Rat« (Council) was mentioned for the first time. Due to the battle at Worringen in 1288, the Archbishop of Cologne was finally excluded from the governing of the city. This was initially followed by conflicts between the leading Cologne families and the guilds, early forms of trade associations. When the guilds were victorious in 1396, they laid down a city constitution in the »Verbundbrief« (Charter). Via the Council, the citizens of Cologne were involved in the governing of the city.These municipal regulations held for 400 years.

Mayors & Political parties

In 1794, French revolution forces occupied Cologne; the Mayor and Council were stripped of their office, and replaced by a centrally-controlled administration. The revised city regulations for the Rhine province of 1856 created a new ruling: the municipality became a body with the right of self-government. In personal union, the Lord Mayor was Chairman of the Council, and Head of Administration. In 1933, the Nazis replaced this constitution with the »Führer Principle«. Following the Second World War, the »Cologne City Constitution of 1946« was introduced based on the British model. This deemed that the governing of the city should be split up between the Lord Mayor, as Chairman of the Council, and the Senior City Governor, as Head of Administration. Only on 14th July 1994 were these two functions brought together through the newly revised city regulations.

With Harry Blum, parallel to the 1999 municipal elections, the first full-time lord mayor, and simultaneously, Cologne's first CDU (Christian Democratic Union) lord mayor for 50 years, was directly elected by the citizens. Blum had only been in office six months when he died suddenly in March 2000. His successor, Fritz Schramma (CDU), won through in a final ballot on 17th September 2000 against Anke Brunn (SPD) (German Social Democratic Party), the former Minister for Education for North Rhine-Westphalia. Schramma has been elected for 9 years; his period in office comprises a normal election period of 5 years, and the remaining 4 years in office of his late predecessor.

Since October 21, 2009 SPD politician Jürgen Roters is the new Lord Mayor of Cologne.

The following table shows Cologne's Mayors and Lord Mayors since 1797:

Today six political parties constitute the city council: SPD, CDU, Bündnis '90/Die Grünen, FDP, Pro Köln and Die Linke. Details can be found in the following table:

Honorary citizens

Cologne is the home of a large number of well-known politicians and artists. So the list of honorary citizens is long and full of illustrious names: Otto Fürst von Bismarck belongs to this list as well as the long-time Lord Mayor in Cologne and first German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, or former German President Theodor Heuss.
Artists of worldwide recognition also can call themselves honorary citizens of Cologne, for example writers Ernst Moritz Arndt and Heinrich Böll, the popular actor Willy Millowitch or, since 2007, painter Gerhard Richter. Additionally the list includes important businessmen like publisher Alfred Neven DuMont and Hans Imhoff.

The following table shows a complete list of all honorary citizens of Cologne since 1856 including short biographies:

Sister cities

The population of Cologne as well as their parliamentary representatives always keep in touch with people all over the world. This is visible in the large number of sister cities in Europe and beyond. The most famous ones are English harbour town Liverpool, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the capital of the People's Republic of China Beijing or Kyoto in Japan. The following table offers an overview of all sister cities: