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Technology discovered and developed in Cologne

High-tech from the Middle Ages to today

If you think of Cologne, high-tech probably isn’t the first thing which springs to mind. However, a closer look reveals that over the course of history, Cologne has produced some partly world-changing inventions and inventors. Beginning with the construction of Cologne Cathedral in the 13th century, which was for some time the tallest building in the world, this history includes Nicolaus August Otto, inventor of the petrol engine, the precursor of all of today’s modern engines, and today incorporates companies such as Deutz AG, Ford Deutschland, TÜV Rheinland and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR - Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt), all of which have their headquarters in Cologne.

Deutz AG

Deutz AG
is one of the engine manufacturers founded by the very same Nicolaus August Otto in 1864 under the name of N. A. Otto & Cie, making it the oldest engine plant in the world. Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Ettore Bugatti, founders of the vehicle manufacturers of the same name, were all Deutz AG employees before they struck out on their own.

Ford Deutschland

The head office of vehicle manufacturer Ford-Werke GmbH has been located in Cologne since 1930. It is a subsidiary of the US-American Ford Motor Company. Cologne has also been the headquarters of Ford of Europe, the European subsidiary of Ford, since 1996.

TÜV Rheinland

TÜV Rheinland AG
is a leading international inspection service provider for various technologies. TÜV Rheinland guaranties quality and safety at over 500 locations in 65 countries around the world. The company, also based in Cologne, was founded back in 1872.


The Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (German Aerospace Centre) is one of the Federal Republic of Germany’s research centers. Although the center focuses mainly on aerospace, it also conducts research in the fields of energy and transport. Apart from its head offices in Cologne, the DLR also has other locations in Germany, and is involved in national and international research projects.


UPS Airlines, the cargo airline of the American parcel delivery service, UPS, has its only European hub located at the Cologne/Bonn airport. By 2013, the sorting center will have grown so large it will be biggest UPS Airlines hub outside the USA. Apart for the headquarters of the airline in Louisville, USA, this hub is the only global UPS hub in the world.

Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum

Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH
is one of the world’s leading providers of application- and customer-specific vacuum generation and process gas handling systems, with a history dating back to 1850. The company employs around 17,000 people in more than 30 branches around the world.