73 Cologne

PopulationMetro: 2,175,000
The first time in our Top 100, Cologne is open for business and pleasure.

Germany’s fourth-largest city has long flown under the radar as a European destination. This despite its 2,000-year-old legacy on the banks of the Rhine and one of Germany’s most iconic landmark: the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral, rising above the old town’s High Gothic spires, that become shorthand for stunning European medieval architecture.

Despite these aesthetic riches, and cultural bounty of places like the Museum Ludwig with its 20th-century art, including plenty of Picassos, and the Romano-Germanic Museum’s Roman antiquities, the perception of the city lags its virtues. Cologne ranks cruelly low in our Culture, Attractions and Museums subcategories. But given that this is Cologne’s first year in the Top 100 cities, it’s bound to ascend future rankings.

Place 20
Product 42
Programming 6
People 53
Prosperity 41
Promotion 9

It already ranks #23 in our Product category, an amalgam of university ranking, airport connectivity, convention center space, attractions and museums. The reason for its high score? Its convention center, ranked #4 globally.

It’s also poised for a bright future due to its #40 ranking for Foreign-born Residents and #42 for presence of Global 500 companies located in the city. Talent and innovation, combined with beauty both natural and man made, are the building blocks for a thriving city today.