The city on the Rhine, whose origins date back more than 2000 years, is one of the oldest cities in Germany. It now has approximately 312,000 inhabitants. Several federal ministries are still located in Bonn. With its splendid setting in the Rhine valley backed by the scenery of the Siebengebirge mountains, it is very popular with tourists. The city's character is shaped by the University of Bonn, with its 38,000 students, and by the many renowned companies from the communications and logistics industries, including two companies listed in the DAX index. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Deutsche Welle also have their headquarters here.
Bonn is located right next to the Rhine metropolis of Cologne, but in recent years has emerged as a cultural center in its own right. It is home to many major museums such as the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bonn Museum of Modern Art, and Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik, a museum dedicated to modern German history. From May to September, the traditional Bonner Sommer outdoor music festival features a wealth of open-air concerts in every conceivable genre from jazz, reggae, rock and roll and soul to salsa, swing and hiphop. The city of Beethoven's birth also offers an outstanding program of classical music, for instance at the annual Beethoven Festival.
The many student pubs and cafés in the city center are the heart of a vibrant social scene. Tourists from Germany and abroad enjoy the lively theater scene, the open air concerts and naturally the boisterous fun of the Carnival season. Rheinaue Park is nicknamed the city's green lung. With its 40 km network of paths, a large lake and various gardens, the park is a popular place for open air events, sports and picnics. In the region around Bonn, the Eifel National Park is ideal for hiking, and the Ahrtal Valley awaits with memorable wine-tasting experiences. A boat trip on the Rhine is a wonderful way to see the Rhine valley, a world cultural heritage site, with its many castles and hillside vineyards, and the famous Loreley.