Cologne: The carnival capital

It may be a bustling metropolis and a media Mecca, but the carnival capital is an open-minded place that’s full of possibilities–just ask its 85,000 students.

City profile

Cologne may not be the exact geographical center of the European Union, but it sure feels like it when you’re one of the one million inhabitants living in the Rhine-metropolis. While the locals may talk about the importance of living on one side of the river or the other, it actually doesn't matter–whether you’re trying to get around Cologne or planning a trip out of town, everything you need is within easy reach of the city center: subways, autobahns, the main train station, and the international airport 

Cologne is always on the go: it’s host to 40 international trade fairs every year; it’s also a center for automobile production, insurance, the retail trade and, above all, publishing and media. Two of the largest TV stations, RTL and WDR, are based here as well as the award-winning Campus Radio.

Overview of the universities

University of Cologne

This traditional campus institution is located on the fringes of the city among the lawns of the green belt.  The University of Cologne – together with the University of Bonn – forms part of a graduate school in physics and astronomy. The university also has close ties to industry – both regional and international. A career center helps students get started and the OFW congress, a professional symposium, attracts luminaries such as Bill Gates.

University of Applied Sciences

Four and a half thousand students attend this university and enjoy small class sizes and very good employment opportunities. About 85 percent of the graduates receive a job offer prior to graduating. The courses are offered as either full time or to fit in with the student’s employment.

The Cologne University for Music

Europe's largest university for music is divided into three departments: Cologne, Aachen and Wuppertal. In total, 1,500 students enjoy a classical musical education as well as the university's openness towards contemporary music, jazz and dance.

German Sport University Cologne

Twenty-one faculties operate under the umbrella of German Sport University Cologne. It's Germany's one and only university for sports, offering diplomas and lectureship programs. Over 4,000 students are enrolled in this outstanding institution.

Kunsthochschule für Medien

Cologne is Germany's media capital and an institution like the arts academy further underscores this fact. It was the country’s first arts university for audiovisual media and was featured in Fokus magazine's listings of the top five film schools. The KHM is as elite as it is small: 250 students have the privilege of studying there.

Internationale Filmschule Köln

The Internationale Filmschule is the result of a partnership between the State Government and the Filmstiftung North Rhine-Westphalia and produces top-notch professionals for the film and television industry. Placing second in Fokus magazine's film school rankings, it offers Bachelor of Arts degrees and boasts famous teachers such as actor Klaus Maria Brandauer and director Tom Schlesinger.

Did you know?

The Cologne region is one of the mildest areas in Germany, the inner city even beating Freiburg as the warmest place in Germany. The University of Cologne educates more teachers than any other institution in Europe – 10,000 every year. 

Cologne Cathedral, one of the best-known architectural monuments in Europe, took over 600 years to complete. Building started in 1248 with the finishing touches coming as late as 1880.

Things to check out

Since the eighties, Cologne has been hosting the largest recruitment event in the country—the Absolventenkongress. For students, graduates, and young professionals with up to five years of work experience, the fair is a perfect meeting point. 

Cologne is also a city of museums. There are numerous internationally renowned art collections as well as superb history museums.

Beer is part of Cologne's culture. Don't forget to order a glass of the delicate, refreshing Kölsch.

Useful links is an online entertainment guide that gives you an overview of what's happening in Cologne: parties, exhibitions, museums, literature and more.

Studentenwerk is the university's official organization for renting rooms and apartments to students. There’s a real housing shortage in Cologne, so be sure to contact them or another agency before leaving for Germany. is the city's homepage with information in eight languages about what’s going on in the Rhine capital.

Museenkoeln gives an overview of the various museums in the city.