Cologne. On Saturday, July 13th, visitors will once again be able to enjoy the “Kölner Lichter” ("Cologne Lights"), a spectacular display of fireworks over the Rhine with synchronized music. Information about the evening, event areas, tickets and getting there can be found here.
The 19th year of "Cologne Lights" is coming up this Saturday, July 13. Approximately one million visitors are expected once again. The main fireworks display will take place on the banks of the Rhine between the Cologne Cathedral and the Bastei (where it is level with the Tanzbrunnen). Admission is free. Those who want to secure a permanent place and the best possible view of the fireworks can buy tickets for the fee-based areas. Tickets are available from 44.50 euros via ga-bonn.de/tickets. Also, there are still spots available on the river cruisers which will be on the Rhine. Here is an overview of available seats: Kölner Lichter | Schifffahrtskarten 2020 | Schiffe
“Cologne Lights” program
The event officially opens at 2 pm on both sides of the Rhine. Starting at 8:15 pm, the band Cat Ballou will play. At approximately 9:15 p.m., the starting signal will sound for the "89th Cologne Stadtachter" , a traditional regatta which takes place between Rodenkirchen and Cologne city center. The big convoy of ships finally starts around 9:50 pm. A total of 50 festively decorated and lighted ships make their way to the city center, arriving at around 10:25 pm, accompanied by fireworks. The main music-synchronized fireworks display begins at 11:30 pm along the Rhine.
“Cologne Lights” celebrates special anniversary
“Cologne Lights” dedicates its fireworks display this year to one of Cologne's most famous sons: It’s the 200th birthday of composer Jacques Offenbach on 20 June, and his well-known pieces will be included in the program. Offenbach lived in Cologne, Paris and the USA so pieces by Willi Ostermann, Edith Piaf, Catharina Valentes and Glenn Miller will also be heard. The overture to Offenbach's operetta "Orpheus in the Underworld" will be heard at the finale of the spectacular fireworks display.
“Cologne Lights”: The Fireworks
Chief pyrotechnician Georg Alef von Weco wants to synchronize Offenbach's pieces with the main fireworks. Alef and his 55-strong team of experts will launch about 20,000 fireworks from between the Hohenzollern and Zoobrücke bridges by remote control from two 120-meter long ships, starting at 11:30 pm.. The display lasts 25 minutes and 30 seconds - and according to the organizers is the "biggest display of fireworks with synchronized music in Germany".
There will also be fireworks in the "Porzer Groov", a park-like island, in Rodenkirchen, at the Poller Wiesen, the Rheinauhafen, the Tanzbrunnen and in Riehl. At 9:50 pm, there is a fireworks in Porz, from where Alef’s ship convoy moves towards the city center.
Last year, pyrotechnicians used 4.7 tons of fireworks to blast various epochs of paintings into the night sky and there were half a million sparklers. For the 20th “Cologne Lights” next year, Alef already has a concept in mind but he is not yet willing to reveal it.
The music at “Cologne Lights”
The open air stage at the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne will be filled by the band Cat Ballou starting at 8:15 pm. Also after the fireworks the musicians will play, creating a fun mood for visitors. The music will be transmitted via sound towers on both sides of the Rhine.
Regatta at “Cologne Lights”
During the concert break, which takes place after 9 pm, the Cologne Rowing Club of 1877 hosts the traditional Stadtachter regattta on the Rhine. Ten teams duel to win a prize from Cologne's Lord Mayor Henriette Reker. They will all be teams of eight from the region. The competition will take place between Rodenkirchen and Cologne city center.
Cologne Lights: The Photo Competition
Once again this year there will be a photo competition for the event, where you can win vouchers for photo books. More information is available at koelner-lichter.de under the heading "photo competition".
Tips for getting there and leaving
The organizers advise guests to arrive in the afternoon or early evening by 8 p.m. at the latest.
(Original text: Jill Mylonas, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)