I was born in the Merheim area of Cologne but moved away for a long time. Eight years ago, I came back and found an apartment in the Belgisches Viertel through friends. I feel right at home here because it’s so urban. As soon as I step outside my door, I’m in the middle of the action and have everything I need — kiosk around the corner, supermarket, cafés and lots of little restaurants. But the relentless buzz here at the evenings and weekends all gets a bit too much for me. I have the feeling that the crowds who flock here treat the neighbourhood differently than its residents do. But I don’t let it bother me too much. I used to live in Barcelona’s Gracia district, which is quite similar to Cologne’s Belgian Quarter because it has so many little, alternative options. I like Caveedel (Brüsseler Str. 69), for example, where they bake their own cakes. It becomes a party venue in the evening. The choice of culinary options in the Belgian Quarter is truly international — I pretty much have the whole world on my doorstep. I also like Belgischer Hof (Brüsseler Str. 54) — which has a kind of French tapas bar at the front and a laid-back restaurant to the left and right of the courtyard. Top of my list of recent discoveries is Tigermilch (Brüsseler Str. 12). It’s great to see that they offer wines from the Imi Winery and are supporting local suppliers. That’s important to me personally — I’m a member of the Food Policy Council for the greater Cologne area and a spokesperson for the Edible City and Urban Agriculture committee. By 2025 our goal is to have a total of 20 “Edible Spaces”, where edible plants can be grown for people and animals. Unfortunately, that’s not possible at Brüsseler Platz, even though its layout would be ideal, because the people who hang out there tend to sit on the flowerbeds and planters. But not far away, at Rathenauplatz, the first Edible Space was developed together with the residents’ association.