Reopening House of 4711
Just a word with Monika Hadrys, Manager House of 4711
1.) Mrs. Hadrys, please introduce yourself. How long have you been the manager of the historic flagship store of the 4711 brand in Cologne? What makes your job special?
I have been running the house for 15 years. This job is hugely varied: As well as administrative tasks, I give fragrance seminars, organise guided tours and moderate the fragrance menu. I get to meet people of all nationalities and all ages, as the House of 4711 plays host to the whole world. I also represent the 4711 brand in Cologne and use my network in the city.
2.) The house in the Glockengasse has been in existence for more than two centuries. What stories can it tell?
The history of the House of 4711 was significantly influenced by the French occupation at the end of the 18th century. A soldier gave the house its famous name – 4711. Then Napoleon indirectly ensured that the "Aqua Mirabilis", which was originally intended for internal medical use, became a fragrance. This is also when the famous Molanus bottle was developed. The total destruction of the building in the Second World War and its reconstruction in 1964 were other crucial turning points. Not to forget the 225th anniversary of the brand on October 8 this year.
3.) Why was the House of 4711 refurbished in 2017 and how long did the work take? When was the last time such large-scale changes were made?
The House of 4711 is made up of various components. The museum was designed in 2001, while the last major alterations to the shop were made on 4/7/11, which was naturally a very special date for us. Now, on the occasion of our 225th anniversary year, we decided to modernise the interior of the house from the bottom up and give it a whole new splendour. This process took six months and set the tone for the future. After all, the 4711 brand, despite its long tradition, also tallies with the spirit of the age – and we wanted to demonstrate this by redesigning the shop and the museum.
4.) What is the importance of the perfume house and the 4711 brand for the city of Cologne?
After the cathedral we are the second most important destination for many tourists and visitors to Cologne, as 4711 is a true city landmark. Guests from all around the world want to take our products home as a souvenir. 4711 is a key element of this cathedral city and is described in most travel guides. Over the decades, the House of 4711 has become a real sightseeing hotspot in Cologne.
5.) Let's take a little tour of Cologne: Where else can the 4711 brand be found, apart from in the Glockengasse?
4711 is part of Cologne's city image and is present in many places. A 4711 logo adorns one of the main windows of Cologne's main railway station and there are numerous other illuminated signs across the city. We are also found in many 5-star hotels: in display cases, in hotel shops, as a projected image in the lifts or as a decorative feature in large window displays. What's more, our very own Heinz Eau sculpture ensures that the House of 4711 is also part of the Heinz trail that leads through Cologne. The brand features in schools and in the local newspaper, the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, as well as making an eye-catching splash on iconic shirts at Cologne's annual carnival.
6.) Are there specific visitor groups who frequent the House of 4711 more often or with particular enthusiasm?
In the Glockengasse we welcome guests of all nationalities and all ages – especially young guests from Asia, South America, Spain and Italy, who love our brand. Every year, over 100,000 people visit the House of 4711. Increasing numbers of school classes and chemistry students register for our fragrance seminars, and eagerly set about creating their own Eau de Cologne. And banks, agencies and businesses are showing a growing interest in our fragrance menu, and keep booking it with their customers.
7.) What do visitors to the perfume house find most fascinating about the 4711 brand? What are the highlights of the new premises?
The highlights are still the Gobelin tapestry and the 4711 Original Eau de Cologne fountain, which has been the most photographed image for many years. Now we can add the completely refurbished window displays with their fascinating decorations, which showcase the art of perfumery in a truly wonderful way.
Basically, our visitors love the historic atmosphere of the building. They love to visit the gallery and take a great interest in the individual items on display. Many Asians spend hours here because they feel so comfortable.
8.) Which events take place in the House of 4711 and how often is it used?
We offer guided tours, fragrance seminars and fragrance menus. These can also be combined together as wished. We hold around 100 fragrance seminars each year, sometimes two on one day. Over 2,000 visitors participate, and we support them through the creative process. We also offer six public fragrance menus each year. In addition, they are available for private groups by prior arrangement. To date we have put on around 10 fragrance menus each year with some 500 participants. We also host a reading at the Literature Festival and a concert for the Music Festival, both run by the KunstSalon.
9.) How would you describe the new House of 4711 in a single sentence?
The new House of 4711 is a pearl among the attractions of the city of Cologne.