All of us remember the 1990s and what it was like in Cologne back then. Since then, however, the face of the city has changed fundamentally – even if you don’t see it that way at first. The journalist and filmmaker Hermann Rheindorf has these days A film about Cologne in the 1990s was released and shows more than 2 hours of recordings that were mostly shot with a camcorder in Cologne in the 1990s.
Times were different. The three largest Cologne newspapers had a daily circulation of 800,000 copies. In Bocklemünd, the TV studio was called Hollymünd, and the FC players from the 1990 world champion team were welcomed by 10,000 fans in front of Cologne City Hall after their arrival in Cologne.
The film is underscored by Rheindorf’s voice, which leads you through a world that is still familiar to all of us, but is now so far away. Here you can see 6 pictures of Cologne from the 1990s, which I can share with you here with the permission of Hermann Rheindorf.
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Today’s media park
Today’s Mediapark was built on the site of the classic St. Gereon freight station in the 1990s. There were also discussions about the freight yard directly after the Second World War.
At that time, there was a proposal to move Cologne’s main station away from the cathedral. However, under the pressure of the accelerated reconstruction of the city, this proposal was not implemented. The picture shows the main dimensions of the freight yard:
In 1990, the freight yard was taken out of service, and then construction work began. Incidentally, the first completed building of the Mediapark was the Cineplex cinema, which was the largest cinema complex in the European War at the time.
Some of the other buildings were to follow years later. This aerial view shows the huge construction site in the early 1990s and the Cineplex building. Today’s pond was already created, and the later structure of the Mediapark can already be seen in the picture:
The 4711 lettering in Cologne Central Station
It might just be a side note: the legendary 4711 advert was already there in Cologne Central Station in the 1990s.
But it looked different than today’s advertisement. The lettering at the time read: Eau de Cologne. Today it says: Real Eau de Cologne.
Flood in the old town
In 1995 it came to the last devastating flood in the old town of Cologne. The Rhine level rose to 10.69 meters. More than 30,000 people were affected at the time. A scenario unimaginable today. The picture shows what it looked like back then in the heart of Cologne’s old town on the fish market against the famous backdrop of the colorful houses: everything was completely under water.
Following this flood, the city of Cologne implemented a flood protection concept for over 400 million euros. Today the old town is protected up to a level of 11.30 meters.
The old Rheinauhafen
Today, the Rheinauhafen is a chic Veedel for high society. fur an apartment in the crane houses you have to shell out amounts in excess of a million. The Rheinauhafen in the 1990s was an old industrial port without any major function.
Where today there are expensive apartments, there used to be useless halls. This aerial photo shows how today’s Rheinauhafen looked like in the 1990s. What does that remind us of? Exactly, on the opposite Deutz port.
The Barmer district
Where misanthropic concrete blocks are currently being raised, there used to be a lively Veedel from the Wilhelminian era with the Barmer district, in which around 1000 people lived. In the 1990s it was decided to demolish the Veedels, and in the 00s the last residents had to move out.
A disaster on all levels, because the city spent a lot of money to simply flatten a traditional residential area in the heart of Deutz.
A process that would be completely unthinkable today. Here you can see what the Barmer district looked like before it was demolished. At the end of the street is the entrance to the Deutz train station:
Cologne – a film trip to the 1990s – a documentary by Hermann Rheindorf shows a journey through time through Cologne, which is almost 2.5 hours long. The film is now available from Hermann Rheindorf rheindvd.de available (as a DVD and as a film on demand) and costs 17.80 euros. You can see a trailer for the film here.