Historical photos

How Bonn has changed over the decades

Ein Ort, zwei Ansichten: Der Bonner Marktplatz in den Jahren 1929 und 2017.

One location, two views: the Bonn Marktplatz in 1929 and 2017.

Bonn. The cityscape of Bonn has changed considerably over the last hundred years. Instead of the old Rhine Bridge, the Kennedy Bridge today spans the Rhine and the Sterntor has changed its location. Here are some old and new photos to compare.

Our photographer has re-visited some of the locations of previous photos. We have set out the old and new photos one over the other.  Below you can see how the Bonn of the past looked in comparison to today. The colour photos are from 2017. If you move the white slide in the centre of the photos to the right or left, you can directly compare the photos.


Occupying troops at the Imperial Memorial

The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, visited the occupying troops in the summer of 1919. The English did not seem to mind the Imperial Memorial, unlike the Germans, who later removed it from its position in front of the university. A private citizen later had it re-erected in front of the hotel at the lower end of Kaisersplatz. A memorial stone to the victims of the Nazis was added in the 1980s.

While the British used the square for a small military parade, today it is mainly bicycles rather than guns that stand there.


View of Bonn Cathedral

The Bonn photographer Adolf Plesser took this arty view of the cathedral in 1908. The Münsterkaree modern extension enhances this simple beauty today.


Martin’s Fountain in winter during the war

This photo from the first winter of the war – 1939/40 – was taken in the street In der Sürst looking towards Gangolfstraße. The Martin’s Fountain can be seen, which stands in front of the west door of the cathedral. The sculptor Heinrich Göttschmann called the fountain, erected in 1902, “Martinitreiben” and it depicts children trying to catch geese for the festive feast on St Martin’s Day. Around 1942, the bronze figures were melted down for armaments and first re-cast in 1958 using the old plaster moulds.


Bonn Marktplatz 1929

This photo, taken by an unknown photographer in 1929 from the stairs in front of the town hall, shows there used to more market and fewer cafes. But that is not the only thing to catch the eye. The stunning and elaborately decorated lantern almost stole the show from the obelisk 90 years ago, as did the architecture of the Blömer department store opposite the Metropol Theatre. The market square also had a direct tram link in 1929.