Urban Bike Tour

• Sun 27 06 2021 / 12 – 3 pm •
Klöppeln, Schmieden, Streiten: ARBEIT IN DER STADT

This is a postponed event from our last program Works in Shifts.


A guided bicycle tour around Cologne reflects on the value of work and how working conditions and job opportunities have changed over time. As part of the tour, the historian Muriel González Athenas makes clear that it was not until the modern age that ‘work’ became a key category and took on a central, life-defining role in society. From a historical perspective, as we look back down the centuries into the Middle Ages, the importance of ‘work’ diminishes ever further.

At the forefront of this tour, which is narrated in the form of various readings, are two perspectives: gender on the one hand, and foreignness and racism on the other. The division of labor on the basis of gender and race was what made industrialization possible in the first place, and was one of the main prerequisites for the emergence of capitalist societies. Ever since the Middle Ages, women have always been represented in the workforce, even if their position there has been less secure than men’s. The racist segregation of work, in turn, is inextricably bound up with the colonial era in Cologne and the construction of foreignness.

The tour includes nine stops: in the south of the city there is one at Severinskirchplatz focusing on the women workers at the Stollwerck factory, and another on Claudiusstraße looking at Cologne’s colonial trading activities and the former business school. At the Botanical Garden there is a stop devoted to the ‘Völkerschauen’, at which people were forced to reconstruct their ‘day-to-day work’ for the voyeuristic gaze of the public. Following a bicycle ride along the River Rhine into the city centre, there is a stop looking at the role of women in the early modern period. Markets selling just one type of product (such as the fish market), the specialization of different trades and the impact of the Inquisition on craftswomen and female traders all played a part in entrenching the division of labor by gender. Female traders in Cologne did have wide-ranging rights and privileges, but for them too, success in business was determined by their background and economic circumstances. In the Seidmacherinnengäßchen there is a stop focusing on guilds – particularly women’s guilds, for which Cologne was well-known – and at the Andreaskloster there is a stop looking at the organization of work in convents and monasteries (one in three women lived in such an institution). The last stop, at the Academyspace, is dedicated to disputes, and includes a reading to introduce and discuss several conflicts from the rich collection of materials in the Cologne City Archive.

The three-hour tour begins in the south of the city and finishes at the Academyspace. At all nine stops there are readings from historical sources, with fairly long bicycle rides in between. In the event of rain, the tour will be conducted on foot and will focus on the city centre, beginning at the Andreaskloster.

Meeting Point: Stollwerckarbeiterin, Severinskirchplatz 2, 50678 Köln
Language: German
Sold out

Own bicycle required.
The event is not barrier-free. If you still want to participate, we will try to make it possible. Please contact us for this purpose at produktion@adkdw.org.

We will ensure that the general rules of hygiene are maintained outdoors as well: The group size is limited, at the stations the minimum distance must be kept and it is compulsory to wear a mouth and nose protection - on the bike this can be taken off. If you have any questions, please contact us under the following number: +49 (0)221 337748 92.