The most modern municipal archive in Europe opened in Cologne

City of Cologne officially inaugurated its new historical archive after the previous building collapsed 12 years ago. It is now the most modern municipal archive in Europe, with room for documents on 50 kilometers of shelves.

Irreplaceable historical documents of the 2,000-year-old city were buried in the rubble and valuable medieval manuscripts and historical photographs were destroyed forever.

Mayor of Cologne Henriette Reker said: “I am happy that the memory of the demonstrably oldest German metropolis has found a new home”. She also added that the new building is built with “several energy-efficient, climate-controlled zones adapted to the fragile historical archival materials”.

The new archive is built approximately 2 kilometers away from the original site and it cost €90 million.

Director Bettina Schmidt-Czaia said the new building was conceived as a “citizen’s archive,” containing 45 workstations in a reading room, a lecture hall and seminar rooms, reports DW. Regular exhibitions, guided tours and events are planned.

Ursula Heinen-Esser, environment minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said: “This is an unbelievable achievement; 95% of the archives contents were able to be recovered. A far smaller share of the archives has been fully restored as yet. They contribute to the identity, the self-image and the culture of the city”.


Photo credit: Oliver Berg/Picture alliance/Dpa