After more than a decade of negotiations, a Cologne couple has withdrawn its pledge to donate an annex to the Cologne City Museum. In a statement published on Wednesday, the founders justified their withdrawal with the personal attacks against themselves, which had led to an enormous strain.
One no longer wants to expose oneself to a "discussion that is becoming more and more unobjective and malicious". The couple, for example, complained that their names had been released to the public against their stated wishes.Cologne's outgoing mayor, Fritz Schramma (CDU), called the decision "a heavy blow to the city's cultural life, to civic engagement and to Cologne's foundation culture."In view of the never-ending accusations and hostility, however, he has quite some understanding for the decision of the founders.They wanted to provide five million euros for the urgently needed extension. The project was criticized because the founders had specified the design of the annex and who would receive the construction contract. For example, it is disputed whether the construction project does not have to be put out to public tender. The donors had also stipulated that they would be involved in the museum concept.