Requirements for exception of the “culture tax” (“Kulturförderabgabe”) [updated II]

Tourist-Tax, Grafik: DEHOGA

Since December 1st 2014 the City of Cologne raises a new so called “Kulturförderabgabe” (“culture tax”). We have to add 5% to the price for lodging as this tax. Those who travel for work or business reasons do not need to pay this tax, if they hand out all the necessary documents at check-in. Please understand that we have to collect the tax anyway if the documents are not complete or have faults. These are the requirements:

For employed persons:

  1. The form „Erklärung des Beherbergungsgastes zur Kulturförderabgabe” (with all fields filled correctly and sighed).
  2. Confirmation of the employer
    1. A form for the necessary confirmation of the employer can be downloaded form the city’s website.
    2. If the confirmation of the employer is done not on this form, make sure it is in German language on business letter paper or with a business stamp. The employer has to certify doubtless that the accommodation of his employee was necessary for work-related mandatory reasons. The exact period of the stay must be named! (Link: phrasing assistance)
    3. “Other documents, which prove that the accommodation is or was necessary for work-related mandatory reasons.” Please be aware that the work-related mandatory reason can be checked by the city administration with your employer.

For self-employed persons:

  1. The form „Erklärung des Beherbergunsgastes zur Kulturförderabgabe” (with all fields filled correctly and sighed). You must put your fiscal authority for income tax on this form or have other documents.

Download-links for the forms and information by the City of Cologne about this tax:

This is the address for complaints about this procedure related to the City of Cologene:

Amt für Anregungen und Beschwerden
Ludwigstr. 8
50667 Köln
Fax: 0221-22126065

Culture tax? What you need to bear in mind as our guest!

From the 1st of December 2014 we must, just like all other hotels and guest houses, charge the so-called “culture tax” to our overnight guests on top of the room price itself. There is an exception for those guests who are staying in Cologne on a “compulsorily” basis, i.e. for work or business.

The cultural tax fee amounts to 5 percent of your accommodation costs, i.e. to be placed on top of the gross accommodation sale. It is the hotelier’s responsibility to collect the amount from the guest. Those who are staying on a “compulsory basis”, for work purposes, must fill out a corresponding form for “dependent employees” or for “businesspeople and the self-employed”. They shall, in addition to their personal data, also indicate their identification or passport number as well as their tax identification number, if they are self-employed. Employees must attach a signed statement from their employer to the form. If we do not receive all the required documentation we will have no choice but to add the culture promotion tax to the guest’s bill.

Guest staying in Cologne for work or business should therefore arrive at the hotel prepared:

  • As a dependent employee, you should have a signed statement from your employer, as well as your passport or personal identification with you.
  • As a businessperson or if you are self-employed, you should have your tax identification number as well as your passport or personal identification with you.

We shall then keep the relevant form at hand for you. It is, however, advisable to download the form before your trip and have it filled out upon arrival. You can find the form ready for download on the following page of the Cologne City website:

Please note this procedure applies to all guests, regardless of whether they stay in a single room or double room. Should the employer statement not include, for example, the accompanying wife of the guest, the fee is thereby levied in proportion!

Rent a bicycle in Cologne

Bicycles at the river Rhine © Andreas Zuda

Update from July 2020: We offer rental bikes in our pension. There are only a limited number of them, so you can order the bikes when you book. The bike will then be reserved for you when available.

Spring is already there, the warmer weather is ideal for biking. If you want to rent a bike for your stay in Cologne, you might find the following list helpful:

Apart from these bike-rentals there is also Deutche Bahn with Call-a-bike a system of rental bikes which can be led and given back at crossroads by using a phone call or a smartphone app.


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Pension am Helenenwall: 50.933510, 6.973911

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Cologne christmas markets 2013 ✩

Cologne Old Town: Home of the elves

Cologne Old Town “Home of the elves”

Cologne christmas markets open their gates again at November 25th, 2013. First time this year also a winter-market is taking place, it starts earlier at November 22nd. The unique atmosphere of the differently designed markets is attracting many visitors from home and abroad every year. We made a list of the biggest markets, every one is worth visiting:

Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral

“Against the backdrop of the Gothic Cathedral, you will find a fascinating array of high-quality arts & crafts with many gift ideas, delicious food and drinks as well as more than onehundred stage events under the resplendent starlight tent.”

Cologne Old Town “Home of the elves”

“In the heart of the old town, this Christmas market captivates visitors with traditional craft stalls, wonderfully decorated pavilions and hidden figurines. New: A large spectacular ice rink offers a unique winter experience.

Market of Angels – Christmas at Neumarkt

“The magical smiles of angels incarnate and a sea of gleaming stars awaits you in the centrally located Market of Angels between Cologne’s most popular shopping streets. This has to be seen!”

Fairytale Christmas market at Rudolfplatz

“Just a ten minute walk from Neumarkt, the Fairytale Christmas market is situ­ated at Rudolfplatz. The motto of the sixty huts at the Hahnentorburg is the Brother’s Grimm tales. Therefore, this Christmas market delights particularly younger visitors.”

Cologne Harbour Christmas market at the Chocolate Museum

“Special Christmas-Highlight in Cologne. Very comfortable and elegant maritime Christmas market located in picturesque scenery directly at the Rhine offering high-quality products and exciting programme. A must see!”

Christmas market at Stadtgarten

Treat yourself to a special time. This is the motto of our Christmas market which is being held in the City Garden (Stadtgarten) for the eighth time where it offers visitors a festive romantic village idyll which is quite unique.”

Christmas Avenue

“Between the KölnBonn Sparkasse and the Westgate on the Rudolfplatz Cologne’s gay and lesbian Christmas market rings in the festive period in glittering and atmospheric style. The CHRISTMAS AVENUE offers high quality products, culinary highlights and many shows. Everyone is welcome!”

Alpenzauber Cologne – The Austrian Winter Market

The Austrian winter market is located at Mediapark Cologne. Different from the Christmas markets, the winter market starts sooner at November 22nd 2013 and is open untill February 2nd 2014.

Bildnachweis: Quelle aller Bilder der Weihnachtsmärkte, bei denen nichts anderes vermerkt ist: Koelntourismus

Kölner Weihnachtsmärkte

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Kölner Weihnachtsmärkte: 50.939771, 6.958122

Quelle aller Zitate: Koelntourismus