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25 years of UN in Bonn

On June 20, 1996, the United Nations flag was ceremoniously hoisted in front of House Carstanjen in Plittersdorf in the presence of the then UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali. This was, in a way, the birth of the United Nations City of Bonn.

  1. Highlights in the anniversary year
  2. Review of past events
  3. UN Talk on 25 Years of UN City of Bonn

Inside the UN Campus – click here to take a virtual tour of the ‘Langer Eugen’ building and learn about the UN Secretariats working in and from Bonn

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Happy Birthday, UNBonn!

On June 20, 1996, the United Nations flag was ceremoniously hoisted in front of House Carstanjen in Plittersdorf in the presence of the then UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali.

Also present at this event was Angela Merkel, then Minister of the Environment and German Chancellor today.

In the following years, the United Nations Secretariats in Bonn grew strongly and more organizations relocated to or were established in Bonn. As a result, Haus Carstanjen was soon about to burst at the seams. UN Bonn definitely needed more space! 

Another important milestone in the development of the UN City of Bonn was therefore the handover of the former "Langer Eugen" high-rise building to the United Nations in 2006 - exactly 10 years after the Climate Secretariat had moved to Bonn. The UN Secretary-General also traveled to Bonn for this event - at that time it was Kofi Annan. And again, Mrs. Merkel was there - this time as German Chancellor.  

Today, Langer Eugen forms the heart of Bonn's UN Campus, which also includes the Old Parliament Building and the Old Waterworks – home to the German Bundestag from 1986 to 1992/93. Bonn’s UN Campus is thus a very special site of German parliamentary history and at the same time a symbol of the transformation of our city from the former German capital to a center for international cooperation. Another building is currently being constructed on the grounds of the UN Campus, which is expected to be occupied by the end of this year. Then all UN facilities in Bonn will be gathered on the city’s UN Campus.

The impressive development of Germany’s United Nations City, which will welcome precisely its 25th UN entity this year would not have been possible without the great support of the Federal Government and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Roughly 1,000 UN staff are working from the banks of the Rhine today.

The City of Bonn has developed into an internationally renowned location of the United Nations and a hub for sustainable development. The city also gained international recognition as the venue for the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2017, when more than 20,000 delegates and observers traveled to Bonn to participate in the climate negotiations under the presidency of the Republic of Fiji. To date, this has been the largest international conference held in Germany.

But Bonn is not only the German host city for the United Nations. The city also sees itself as bearing a special responsibility, especially when it comes to such important issues as environmental and climate protection, the Sustainable Development Goals or peace and justice in our world. It is therefore important to Bonn to support and provide visibility to UN Bonn and its valuable work from here. 

It is in this spirit that Bonn is also celebrating "25 Years of Bonn as a Germany’s UN City" this year. The entire Bonn international family is invited to participate in this wonderful anniversary and to place related events under this umbrella. 

We hope that in fall we will be able to host our annual birthday celebration for the United Nations in Bonn’s city center. This year’s birthday party will feature a colorful program with information, entertainment and music for all. Hopefully we will be able to look back on Corona with relief then, and the defeated pandemic will have become yet another fine example of what states can achieve together, in the true spirit of the United Nations. 

Video message by Mayor Katja Dörner

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UN Talk on 25 Years of UN City of Bonn

UN Talk Bonn 2021

The special anniversary "25 years of UN City of Bonn" was the topic of this year's UN Talk to which the City of Bonn invites on the occasion of United Nations Day. This year’s event took place at the Federal Art and Exhibition Hall on Friday, October 22, 2021, at 6 p.m. as a hybrid event in German and English and could have been followed via livestream.

The ceremonial raising of the United Nations flag in front of Haus Carstanjen on June 20, 1996, laid the foundation for Bonn's development into Germany's United Nations City. Today, the city of Bonn counts 25 UN institutions and representations with approximately 1,000 staff. The UN Campus around the former "Langer Eugen" high-rise building for members of parliament forms the heart of Bonn as an international location. For this year’s UN Talk on the occasion of 25 Years of UN City of Bonn, Mayor Katja Dörner and the moderators Insa Backe and Ralf Erdenberger will welcome contemporary witnesses and supporters who will speak about the beginnings and developments of the German UN City as well as about the perspectives of Bonn as an international location against the background of global challenges.

Former Mayor Bärbel Dieckmann, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and former Federal Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer, and Richard Kinley, long-time Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Secretariat in Bonn, are expected to attend. The current head of the European Centre for Environment and Health of the World Health Organization (WHO), Francesca Racioppi, is also among the guests, as is the general music director of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Dirk Kaftan. Also participating will be Bohyun Kim, former United Nations Volunteer, as well as Nancy Prieto and Neele Hartel from the student organization BIMUN/SINUB, who once a year simulate a United Nations conference with young delegates. 

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  • Michael Sondermann/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Foto: Michael Sondermann/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Foto: Sascha Engst/Bundesstadt Bonn