Cologne is the largest city in the German federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth most populated city (1,060,582 inhabitants by 2015) in Germany (after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich). It is located within the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas with a population of 3,573,500.
A landmark of High Gothic architecture set amid reconstructed old town, the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral is also known for its gilded medieval reliquary and sweeping river views. The adjacent Museum Ludwig showcases 20th-century art, including many masterpieces by Picasso, and the Romano-Germanic Museum houses Roman antiquities.
Historically, Cologne has always been an important trade city, with land, air, and sea connections.
In competition with Düsseldorf, the economy of Cologne is primarily based on insurance and media industries, while the city is also an important cultural and research centre and home to a number of corporate headquarters.
The German flag carrier Lufthansa and its subsidiary Lufthansa CityLine have their main corporate headquarters in Cologne. The largest employer in Cologne is Ford Europe, which has its European headquarters and a factory in Niehl (Ford-Werke GmbH).
The Cologne trade fair (Koelnmesse) ranks as a major European trade fair location with over 50 trade fairs and other large cultural and sports events.