On June 18 and 19 (2016) my wife Hennie and I visited the Hanseatic town of Cologne. We stayed in a very nice apartment on the left bank of the Rhine (the right side on the picture). From the terrace we had a grand view over the river. Looking to the right we could see the Siebengebirge, which lies just to the north of Honnef, Bernhard Kronauers birthplace.

Rhine river viewing south from Severinsbrücke
The Rhine river viewing south from Severinsbrücke

We’re here to meet Heiko Schmidt (one of Krieg’s main vocalists), to do some sightseeing and to promote Krieg. The friendly owner of Der andere Buchladen (the other bookstore) in the Südstadt (the southern part of town) proved interested in Krieg 1916. We agreed on a possible presentation of the album there next fall.

Der andere Buchladen

Der andere Buchladen

Meeting up with Heiko was a blast, as usual. We talked about the presentation of Krieg in Groningen on September 17 and possibilities to bring Krieg 1916 under the attention in Germany. Apart from getting some ideas and new thoughts, we had a good laugh. Heiko is a very inspiring, friendly guy with a good sense of humour.

Cologne is a town full of history obviously connected to the war. Like many other German towns it was almost completely destroyed during WW2. In the Kölnisches Stadtmuseum (Cologne’s town museum) we saw an impressive exhibition of the town’s history. The WW2 part showed the cause and impact of 2000 hours of allied bombing between 1940 and 1945.

Cologne was also the garrison town of Infantry Regiment 65. This regiment brought ‘home’ the Windfahne (weather vane) of a mill. This trophy was the gain of heavy fighting around the town of Souain (Champagne) in 1914/1915 which took countless casualties on both sides. The Windfahne was part of the Kölnisches Stadtmuseum’s collection until it was returned to the community of Souain/Perthes-lès-Hurlus in 2015.

Mühle von Souain

The museum has a remarkable collection of WW1 era items, some showing the military character of daily (childhood) life.

We visited the fantastic museum Ludwig also. Its stunnig collection of modern art displays one of August Macke’s work. Macke fell near Souain in September 1914, during which time Bernhard Kronauers regiment also saw action on that battlefield.

ML August Macke

Another intriguing work from the collection: The Portable War Memorial by Edward Kienholz.

ML Portable War Memorial - Edward Kienholz

On Sunday morning, before we left, we jogged along the Rhine River and crossed it over the Hohenzollern Bridge. Its four kings and emperors still guarding the approach. May we meet again!

Wilhelm II