b-school, History, MBA, Personal, Politics, Spain, Thoughts

A weekend in Cologne (Köln) and some bits of European construction

I’ve been this weekend in Cologne, an amazingly thriving city on the Rhine born about 50BC as a Roman outpost. A city that grew in the industrial revolution thanks to the enterprisingness of its inhabitants that strategically used their proximity to the coal of the Ruhr region.

Catholics, in 1248 they began the construction of their cathedral. It would stop in 1560 for as long as four centuries, with a crane that would be Cologne’s symbol and witnessed lots of generations live and die. Until 1848 you could have seen something like this…

cologne-cathedral-1856.jpg

This was the tallest building of the wold as well, until the Washington Monument‘s capstone was set in 1884.

Let’s make another step in time to 1945 after the second World War. Cologne was obliterated with bombings. Less than 10% of its buildings survived. One of them was the Cathedral. Although hit by several bombs, maybe miraculously, the Dom still stood in the middle of a lake of rubble.

wwii-bombing-cc-gordonr

Little remains of those years. Where Adolf Hitler rallied his troops, now there’s a lake where students gather instead to have fun and drink beer. Now Cologne is a cosmopolite city, a mix of cultures and lifestyles, somewhat disordered for a German city, but very much alive and breathing. It is the broadcast centre in Germany, the fourth biggest city and see to many international art festivals. Their inhabitants celebrate the good weather sitting in the terraces at night and have one of the largest Karnevals, or Mardi Gras, in Germany. Last Saturday’s view was quite different:

23052009070

Yes, I went there to study, to prepare the forthcoming exam on Strategic Direction and Corporate Finance and Governance with my German peers on the MBA. We had a great time and also worked a lot.

Now for European construction. We saw the next election’s publicity in many streets. I saw it again in Barcelona, when I came back yesterday. I read the newspapers and saw, to my amazement, how Spanish politicians are using the European elections to talk about local issues, even to try to condone some misbehavings some of their numbers have committed.

Our politicians, and I do thing that’s an European wide issue, are inadvertently but irresponsibly turning us away from democracy with their constant cynicism, hypocrisy and abuse. And our democracies, our peace, our union and our prosperity are the most valued shared good that we have. They are the only guarantee that neither Cologne nor Barcelona’s inhabitants, both cities whose civilian population have been bombed by air, each from a different political side, as if it mattered now or then to any crying child whose life had been severed, are not going to endure that cruelty anymore.

We are the ones benefiting and inadvertently collaborating to the European Union by travelling, by getting to know each other, by learning to respect our difference, by meeting to study an MBA from a British business school in a German roaring town.

I’m going to miss Cologne… it is a city I could live in!

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3 thoughts on “A weekend in Cologne (Köln) and some bits of European construction

  1. Great post! I totally agree with you with your thoughts about Spanish politicians. Unfortunately there are no ways to do a hostile takeover to politicians (Well… there is one, but better not to use it 😉 )

  2. Thanks David. Your comment is really appreciated. We are stuck with little alternatives, maybe we don’t have the possibility of revolutionary change, but we have no excuse not to do incremental improvements.

    Best regards 🙂

  3. The images taken in the World War 2 remember the danger of the was for this amazing cathedral. I think God was protected this monument by bombs.

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