Date of Agreement: 12 March 1996
Is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC. The name is derived from that of the Roman settlement, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.
Cologne lies on the River Rhine. The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest universities.
Cologne is a major cultural center of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, the International Furniture Fair (IMM) and the Photokina. Cologne is also well-known for its celebration of Cologne Carnival, the annual reggae summerjam.
Within Germany, Cologne is known as an important media center. Several radio and television stations, including Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), RTL and VOX, have their headquarters in the city. Both Pro7 and Sat.1 produce TV shows in Cologne as well. Further, the city hosts the Cologne Comedy Festival, which is considered to be the largest comedy festival in mainland Europe.
Cologne hosted the Catholic World Youth Day 2005 with Pope Benedict XVI.
The Twinning between Cologne and Bethlehem has included a wide range of activities in the field of cultural and knowledge exchange. In November 2015 a delegation from Bethlehem attended the German-Palestinian Municipal Partnership meeting in Jena, Germany which included workshops on strengthening sustainable local development, establishing new partnerships, consolidating existing partnerships, and developing common project ideas for new partnerships. In April 2014 a delegation from Bethlehem attended a workshop in Cologne entitled ‘Strengthening local and regional development and German-Palestinian city-to-city cooperation in the Bethlehem region’.
In 2012 Cologne fire brigade donated equipment to the Municipality of Bethlehem. Other key events building ties between the two cities have included the Cologne Mayors’ Conference ‘Euro-Middle East City to City cooperation’ in 2011, where the Cologne Memorandum of Agreement for Israeli-Palestinian and Euro-Middle East City-to-City Cooperation activities was signed. In 1999 a stone was donated from Cologne Cathedral, which was later destroyed during the Second Intifada in the year 2002. After the Intifada another stone was donated from Cologne Cathedral to replace the destroyed one and is now located in Al Madbaseh area in the center of Bethlehem.