Cologne (German: Köln, Ripuarian: Kölle) is situated on the river Rhine, it's the largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth largest city in Germany with more than 1.000.000 inhabitants (greater area <3.500.000 inhabitans). In medieval times it was the largest city of the Holy Roman Empire. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots. Cologne is known to be one of the most liberal cities in Germany.
The distinctive flavour to the city of Cologne is often linked to the city's inhabitants, or Kölsche, who take an enormous amount of pride in their city. Cologne is a traditionally Ripuarian-speaking city, though this has mostly been replaced by German, which is now the main language of the city. English-speaking guides and information are available for many of the landmarks of the city. For tourists who speak German and wish to practice it, the citizens usually have a lot of patience with those trying to come to grips with the language. Cologne's citizens are very friendly and jovial people, welcoming tourists of all types and with all interests. Away from the landmarks, workers of the Deutsche Bahn (German railways) often speak English reasonably well, and ticket machines have a language selection feature. In general, older people in Cologne tend to have little or no knowledge of English, while younger Germans and those working in the business world tend to be reasonably proficient. Language is rarely a strong barrier, so this shouldn't be too much of a worry for the average tourist. Just approach a friendly native and use a smile on your face.