Bonn was the postwar seat of the federal government and parliament until Berlin became its capital again in 1999. Aptly described by the title of John le Carré's spy novel A Small Town in Germany, the quiet university town was chosen as a stopgap measure to prevent such weightier contenders as Frankfurt from becoming the capital, a move that would have lessened Berlin's chances of regaining its former status. With the exodus of the government from Bonn, the city has become a bit less cosmopolitan. Still, Bonn thrives as the headquarters of two of Germany's largest multinational corporations (Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post/DHL), and the UN has expanded its presence in the city as well. The fine museums and other cultural institutions that once served the diplomatic elite are still here to be enjoyed.
Need trip ideas? Get inspired by our curated collections of the world's best destinations.More