Cologne is a major economic center separated from Düsseldorf by only 30 miles. What the city lacks in industry it makes up for with its stable Mittelstand and important companies from the chemical and petrochemical industries. Cologne is also a trade-fair site and a major insurance center.

Significant developments:

- In early 2016, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer intends to announce a decision for merging its Düsseldorf and Cologne offices. Many fear this could end in it closing the Cologne office.