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Hello from Bonn!
“I’m going to Bonn!” A statement usually met with a shrug or a slightly raised eyebrow. Not what you’d call enthusiasm. Why go to Bonn when Cologne is right next door? Somehow, the city has slowly fallen off many people’s radars since the honour of capital of a united Germany was handed to Berlin in 1990. The city on the river Rhine has a lot to offer, however, and this year is coming back into the limelight celebrating the 250th birthday of Beethoven—along with the 15th anniversary of Bechtle Bonn.

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Bonn is without a doubt one of the most tradition-steeped cities along the Rhine. The Germanic people and the Romans both prized the mild climate and advantageous location, electoral princes erected numerous palaces and churches, and the university was built as early as 1818. And this is just a short excerpt of the rich history that awaits visitors to Bonn whether they are cruising on the river or walking through its streets. The Path of German Democracy (Weg der Demokratie) gives tourists the opportunity to visit 64 locations associated with key moments in the history of German post-war democracy.Featured are the Bundeshaus where the Bundesrat (federal government) sat from 1949 to 2000; the Schaumburg Palace, office of the Federal Chancellor from 1949 to 1976; the Langer Eugen parliamentary office tower, which has become the city’s landmark, and the Haus der Geschichte (House of History) which presents German history from 1945 to the present day.

 

Another of the city’s landmarks is somewhat older, but more current than ever in 2020. In 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven first saw the light of day, and the city is celebrating his 250th birthday together with the entire world. The opening of the remodelled Beethoven House and an opening ceremony in the Bonn Opera in December 2019 kicked off an entire year packed with concerts, exhibitions and symposiums—physical and virtual. The works of perhaps the most-performed classical composer will be highlighted from various perspectives, because Beethoven wasn’t just a musical genius, he was also a nature lover, world citizen, and visionary, meaning that he remains a perfect match for a city that’s so diverse, cosmopolitan and future-oriented.

The Beethoven House is a memorial, museum and cultural institute.

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The Rheinaue is the green oasis in Bonn's city centre. Pure relaxation on 160 hectares.

The United Nations – Convening in Bonn.

Bonn is a pro in redefining itself over and over again. After the German government moved to the city on the Spree river, more than 20 federal agencies came to Bonn and numerous international organisations settled in, including the UN. Parts of the former government district are being turned into a UN campus in which 20 UN agencies are now based.

In just over a couple of decades, Bonn has become a centre for global future issues, above all climate protection and sustainability. The city is starting to get a bit cramped for the UN’s 1000+ employees, so an 18-story tower, due for completion at the end of 2020, is being constructed to provide more space for the growing population. Some of this is to come from the time-honoured University of Bonn which, with more than 38,000 students, is one of the largest in the region. Politics, economics, and science run through the veins of Bonn as virtually nowhere else. This has given birth to globally-significant research projects and pioneering technology fields in healthcare and IT and communication studies.

"Langer Eugen" was once a high-rise building for members of parliament; today the building houses 17 UN organisations.

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The Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität is one of the largest universities in Germany.

Bechtle Bonn turns 15.

In comparison to the city’s over 2,000-year history, Bechtle Bonn is still in its infancy. Bechtle has been present in the Bad Godesberg area of the city since March 2005, being complemented by an office in the Rheinau port in neighbouring Cologne in September 2008. An even larger presence in the region was secured in 2012 and 2019 with branches in Koblenz and Mainz with a team in Sankt Augustin joining the ranks.

But it wasn’t built from scratch. Bechtle Bonn launched in 2005 with some 40 former employees of the Taskarena AG company. Now, 15 years later, Bechtle is present in Bonn, Cologne, Mainz, and Koblenz with a total of 437 employees. And it’s not just the headcount that’s grown—revenues have also steadily risen—from 7.5 million euros to an impressive 188 million in 2019. A real success story.

“We are a reliable, innovative, and future-proof partner for our customers, providing superior services, particularly in Client Management, Data Centre, Networking Solutions, Virtualisation, Security, and Software. This commitment and productivity forms the foundation of our success and also connects our teams,” says Managing Director Waldemar Zgrzebski about the branch’s impressive growth. Customers can get a real taste of this spirit in the Experience Forum and get to grips better with solutions for a modern data centre together with Bechtle specialists. It’s also worth taking a look at the new Cultivation 720 workplace of the future in the new branch in neighbouring Sankt Augustin. And ensuring happy Rhine-dwellers need some leisure alongside their work—or perhaps simply a mix of both, the roof terrace sees team events and meetings held with a view over the river and the famous Drachenfelsen mountain. Because in Bonn, you can work where others can only holiday. Even the popular Lonely Planet guide has recognised this and placed Bonn on its “Best in Travel 2020” list, the city making it into the top 5 just behind Salzburg, Washington, Cairo, and Galway. And even if it’s a bit tricky to get there in 2020, a trip to the former capital city is just as good any year!

The Bechtle building in the Bad Godesburg district of Bonn.

 

The roof terrace of Bechtle Bonn sees team events and meetings held with a view over the river and the famous Drachenfelsen mountain.

 

QUESTION? ANSWER.

QUICK FACTS:

Waldemar Zgrzebski

Managing Director,

Bechtle IT Systems Houses Bonn

 

Describe yourself in three words:

Entrepreneurial, libertarian, dependable
 

Your motto:

The best way to predict the future is to create it!
 

The book on your bedside table:

“An interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 -1943”, a biography of the German poet and philosopher Safranski Hölderin by Rüdiger Safranski, and “It’s the Manager” by Jim Clifton und Jim Harter
 

One thing nobody knows about you:

I was a child refugee. My parents fled former East Prussia with me and my sister in 1969.
 

The super power you’d like to have:

I would like to be able to heal terminally ill people.
 

Your perfect day:

Saturday. No meetings, going to the market at 7 am, meeting friends, having a leisurely breakfast, reading in peace, and reflecting on the past week.
 

Your favourite town and why:

Rome. The city I got engaged in and in which I can always discover something new, despite having visited it 15 times already.
 

Things you couldn’t live without:

Material things aren’t important to me, but I couldn’t live without my family.
 

Most exciting project:

A development aid project at Strathmore College in Nairobi. When it opened in 1961, it was the first multi-ethnic and multi-religious college in Kenya.
 

If you cast an eye over your desk, you see...

Too much paper and three pictures: Drawings by my  friend, Martin Noël, who sadly was taken from us too young.
 

It’s this job and nothing else because:

...I’m currently working in the most interesting and exciting industry in the world and have lots of freedom to shape the future.

MY BONN.

Kathrin Wexeler

Inbound Sales,

Bechtle IT Systems Houses Bonn

 

Bonn is a city with tradition, culture, and heart—“Bonna solum felix” has been its motto since the 16th century, which, roughly translated, means Bonn, you happy place. Visitors to Bonn can expect history, Rhineland cheerfulness and a beautiful landscape.

Kathrin Wexeler, Inbound Sales, Bechtle Bonn, shares her top tips.

 

See.

As the birthplace of Beethoven, former capital city and home to one of the largest universities in Germany, Bonn is the home of many famous museums. Culture-junkies shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Beethoven Haus, where the German composer and pianist was born and which holds the largest Beethoven collection the world over. The Haus der Geschichte covers German history since 1945. With 850,000 visitors annually, it is one of the most-visited museums in Germany.

The Drachenfels is the most famous mountain in the region of Cologne and Bonn. Numerous myths surround the 321 metre high elevation that towers over the Rhine valley. Legend has it that this is where Siegfried slew the dragon Fafnir, freed the princess Brunhilde and became invincible. Today, the mountain—with its ruins, castle, reptile zoo and restaurant—is one of the best-loved local tourist destinations in the Rhineland. And if you don’t want to climb up to the summit on foot, simply take the Drachenfelsbahn, Germany’s oldest running cog railway.

 

Savour.

Pizza is almost always a good idea. But where to find the best ones? If you’re in the Rhineland area, the answer is a resounding: at Tuscolo. The pizzas at the traditional pizzeria with two restaurants in Bonn and one in Siegburg aren’t just huge, but also delicious. Lemon-lavender or mango-coconut with a hint of chilli—the ice cream creations of the Bonn EisLabor are out of this world. Extraordinarily tasty. Some would say that it makes the best ice cream in Germany. So it should be no surprise that its three shops in the old town, the city centre, and the Bonn-Beuel area have long snaking queues outside them on hot summer days.

The blossoming cherry trees attract thousands of visitors to Bonn's old town every year.

 

Sleep.

Camping and hostels, surely they don’t go together? Oh, but they do! Just go to BaseCamp in the Dottendorf area of Bonn. Take a couple of caravans, two Deutsche Bahn sleeper carriages, two VW classic campervans, a Trabant with a tent roof and a cable car and put them all in a warehouse and there you have it—the craziest hostel in the world.

This is where international design and art meet the finest Rhine hospitality. Those who live for something different could have found their new favourite in the Kameha Grand. Exclusively furnished rooms and suites, a large spa area and four different restaurants—from Michelin-star Japanese to the authentic Rhine-Alm—ensure you can always eat something different.

 

Shop.

The pedestrian zone surrounding Bonn’s Friedrichstraße is one of the largest and most beautiful in Germany, Numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes invite you down narrow alleys to stroll, browse, and linger. There’s sure to be something for everyone here.

 

Sip.

Brauhaus Bönnsch brewery offers a Rhine atmosphere in its purest form—and right in the centre of the city! In a rustic atmosphere, you can enjoy tasty Rhenish specialities from Halven Hahn (a rye bread roll, generally served with butter, slices of gouda cheese, a ring of raw onion and a sprinkling of paprika) to the original Rhenish Sauerbraten (roasted, marinated meat) and the smooth, homemade beer.

The Bonn old town is in the south of the Nordstadt area and characterised by old houses and narrow, winding lanes. Numerous pubs, bars, and cafes make the quarter especially popular with school and university students. But the inner Nordstadt is actually not part of Bonn’s historic old town—this was virtually totally destroyed in the second world war. However, some resourceful innkeepers took the chance and used the name to describe the area between the Breite Straße and Heerstraße streets.

A highlight is in April when the old town becomes the venue for a very special spectacle. In the first warm day of the month, a myriad of cherry trees open their tiny buds, transforming the streets into a sea of petals.

The big fireworks of Rhein in Flammen illuminate the night sky.

Exercise.

Qualifying for finals eight times (championship and cup) in the past 20 years of the German basketball league, the Telekom Baskets Bonn rank among the most successful teams in Germany, In the “Heartberg”, as the 6,000 spectator hall is referred to by the fans, the team fights for points week after week.

With over 100 football clubs, a kickabout is also a top priority in Bonn. Whether active in a club or just for fun" in the Rheinauen in Bonn, football is played everywhere in Bonn. By the way, Bechtle Bonn is currently the title holder of the Bechtle International Soccer Cup—for the second time in a row.

 

Marvel.

For thousands of people, it’s been a fixed event in their calendar for a long time now: On the first Saturday of May, the Rhine in Bonn is lit up during Rhein in Flammen.

Illuminated ships and castles, red glowing Bengal fires and the large, closing firework display set to music create a unique atmosphere. For the largest single event in the series between Bonn and Rüdesheim, around 300,000 visitors gather annually in the Rheinaue in Bonn.

The Rheinaue is the event hotspot in Bonn par excellence.
The KUNST!RASEN festival brings many artists to the city from June to August every year. The open-air stage has already played host to Lionel Richie, Sting, and Deep Purple.

 

This is an excerpt of an article in the print edition of Bechtle update 01/2020.
 

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Bechtle update editorial team
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Published on Jul 27, 2020.