Why Cologne is the crossword capital of Germany:
- The RHINE or RHEIN flows through it.
- It's eponymous for an EAU.
- DER ALTE was born here and became its most famous mayor ever.
(He has, in addition, the distinction of having gone to the same grammar school I went to:-)
- Its cathedral is named in poll after poll the most famous tourist sight in Germany.
What’s less well known is that said cathedral houses a magnificent golden shrine that, in turn,
contains the bones of the MAGI--yes, the MAGI of xword puzzle fame.
- UDO Kier as well as NICO (once assoc. with Velvet Undergound) were born here.
(Nico's surname was Päffgen, which is also the name of a well-known brewery making the local beer
- Brian ENO produced Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! in Cologne.
- TINA Turner lived here for many years with her German boyfriend
(I don’t know their current circumstances).
- And if that’s not enough, here's the home run: MAX ERNST and HANS ARP formed the Cologne
DADA group here in the 1920’s.
Arp was born in Alsace (German "Elsass") when it belonged to Germany.
When it became French (again) after WWI, he had to change his first name to Jean.
Max Ernst was local. He was born in Brühl, a small town a few kilometers west of Cologne.
He gained early notoriety when he exhibited with the Dadaists and showed a painting titled
The Mother of God spanks the Baby Jesus, and that's exactly what the painting showed, done in the style of Rafael, no less.
(Although the archbishop railed against it from the pulpit of the cathedral at the time, it's now one of the prized exhibits of the Museum Ludwig next to the cathedral).
Brühl now has a Max-Ernst-Museum that's worth visiting,
and a few kilometers up-river from Cologne at Rolandseck, the
Arp-Museum recently opened; it was designed by the American architect Richard Meier
and it really worth the trip because of both the architecture and the exhibits (which include some great Anselm Kiefers).
PS I have to mention also, although it's not xword-related, that the guy with one the greatest German names I’ve ever encountered,
Florian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (writer and director of the Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others",
which would have made my list of favorite movies were it not for the ending) was born in Cologne.
Last change made to this page: March 30, 2010