Essen: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°27′3″N 7°0′47″E / 51.45083°N 7.01306°E / 51.45083; 7.01306

Essen skyline at night
Essen skyline at night
Coat of arms of Essen
Essen is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°27′3″N 7°0′47″E / 51.45083°N 7.01306°E / 51.45083; 7.01306
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Düsseldorf
District Urban district
City subdivisions 9 districts, 50 boroughs
Lord Mayor Reinhard Paß (SPD)
Governing parties SPDCDU
Basic statistics
Area 210.32 km2 (81.21 sq mi)
Elevation 116 m  (381 ft)
Population  578,990  (30 September 2007)[1]
 - Density 2,753 /km2 (7,130 /sq mi)
 - Urban 5.302.179
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate E
Postal codes 45001-45359
Area codes 0201, 02054 (Kettwig)

Essen (German pronunciation: [ˈɛsən]) is a city in the central part of the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Located on the River Ruhr, its population of approximately 579,000 (as of June 30, 2008) makes it either the 7th- or 8th-largest-city in Germany. For the year 2010, Essen is the European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr Area.

Formerly one of Germany's most important coal and steel centres and historically linked to the centuries-old Krupp family iron works, the city has developed a strong tertiary sector of industry and (sometimes together with nearby Düsseldorf) claims to be the "desk of the Ruhr area".[2] It is home to 13 of the 100 largest German corporations and seat to several of the region's authorities.

In 1958, the city was chosen to serve as the seat to a Roman Catholic diocese (often referred to as Ruhrbistum or diocese of the Ruhr). In early 2003, the universities of Essen and the nearby city of Duisburg (both established in 1972) were merged into the University of Duisburg-Essen with campuses in both cities and a university hospital in Essen.



Location, neighbouring communes and general geography

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Wappen Stadt Bottrop DE.svg
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Stadtwappen der kreisfreien Stadt Gelsenkirchen.png
Wappen Mülheim an der Ruhr.jpg
Mülheim an der Ruhr
Map of the Districts and Boroughs of Essen
(Map of districts and boroughs)
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1 Recklinghausen district
2 Mettmann district
3 Ennepe-Ruhr district

Essen is located in the centre of the Ruhr Area, one of the largest urban areas in Europe (see also: megalopolis), comprising 11 independent cities and 4 districts with some 5.3 million inhabitants. The city limits of Essen itself are 87 km (54 mi) long and border 10 cities, 5 of them independent and 5 kreisangehörig (i.e., belonging to a district), with a total population of approximately 1.4 million.

The city extends over 21 km (13 mi) from north to south and 17 km (11 mi) from west to east, mainly north of the River Ruhr, which forms the Lake Baldeney reservoir in the boroughs of Fischlaken, Kupferdreh, Heisingen and Werden. The lake, a popular recreational area, dates from 1931–1933, when some thousands of unemployed coal miners dredged it with primitive tools for the Reichsarbeitsdienst. Generally, large areas south of the River Ruhr (including the suburbs of Schuir and Kettwig) are quite green and are often quoted as examples of rural structures in the otherwise relatively densely populated central Ruhr Area.

The lowest point can be found in the northern borough of Karnap at 26.5 m (86.9 ft), the highest point in the borough of Heidhausen (202.5 m/664 ft). The average elevation is 116 m (381 ft).

City districts

Despite its industrial history, Essen is generally regarded as one of Germany's greenest cities. The picture shows the borough of Kettwig, annexed in 1975.

Essen comprises 50 boroughs which in turn are grouped into nine suburban districts (called Stadtbezirke) often named after the most important boroughs. Each Stadtbezirk is assigned a Roman numeral and has a local body of nineteen members with limited authority. Most of the boroughs were originally independent municipalities but were gradually annexed from 1901 to 1975. This long-lasting process of annexation has led to a strong identification of the population with "their" boroughs or districts and to a rare peculiarity: The borough of Kettwig, located south of the Ruhr River, and which was not annex until 1975, has its own area code. Additionally (allegedly due to relatively high church tax incomes), the Archbishop of Cologne managed to keep Kettwig directly subject to the Archdiocese of Cologne, whereas all other boroughs of Essen and some neighboring cities constitute the Diocese of Essen.

For a list of all boroughs of the city, see the end of this article.


Climatic Diagram of Essen[3]

The average temperature is 9.6 °C (49 °F), the average annual precipitation 829 millimetres (33 in). The coldest month of the year is January, when the average temperature is 1.5 °C (35 °F). The warmest month is July, with an average temperature of 17.5 °C (63 °F). August has the highest average monthly rainfall: 90 mm (4 in).


Essen on an engraving from 1647

Origin of the name

In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of the name[4], there remain a few noteworthy interpretations. The oldest known form of the city's name is Astnide, which changed to Essen by way of forms such as Astnidum, Assinde, Essendia and Esnede. The name Astnide may have referred either to a region where many ash trees were found or to a region in the East (of the Frankish Empire)[5]. The Old High German word for fireplace, Esse, is also commonly mentioned due to the industrial history of the city, but is highly unlikely since the old forms of the city name originate from times before industrialization.

Early history

The oldest archaeological find, the Vogelheimer Klinge, dates back to 280,000 - 250,000 B.C. It is a blade found in the borough of Vogelheim in the northern part of the city during the construction of the Rhine-Herne Canal in 1926.[6] Other artifacts from the Stone Age have also been found, although these are not overly numerous. Land utilization has been very high - especially due to the mining activities during the Industrial Age - and any more major finds, especially from the Mesolithic, are not expected. Finds from 3,000 B.C. and onwards are far more common, the most important one being a Megalith tomb found in 1937. Simply called Steinkiste (Chest of Stone), it is referred to as "Essen's eldest preserved example of architecture"[7].

Essen was part of the settlement areas of several Germanic peoples (Chatti, Bructeri, Marsi), although a clear distinction among these groupings is difficult.

The Alteburg castle in the south of Essen dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BC, the Herrenburg to the 8th century AD.

8th–12th centuries

The west work of Essen Cathedral

Around 845, Saint Altfrid (around 800-874), the later Bishop of Hildesheim, founded an abbey for women (coenobium Astnide) in the centre of present-day Essen. The first abbess was Altfrid's relative Gerswit (see also: Essen Abbey). In 799, Saint Liudger had already founded Benedictine Werden Abbey on its own grounds a few kilometers south. The region was sparsely populated with only a few smallholdings and an old and probably abandoned castle. Whereas Werden Abbey sought to support Liudger's missionary work in the Harz region (Helmstedt/Halberstadt), Essen Abbey was meant to care for women of the higher Saxon nobility. This abbey was not an abbey in the ordinary sense, but rather intended as a residence and educational institution for the daughters and widows of the higher nobility; led by an abbess, the members other than the abbess herself were not obliged to take vows of chastity.

Around 852, construction of the collegiate church of the abbey began, to be completed in 870. A major fire in 946 heavily damaged both the church and the settlement. The church was rebuilt, expanded considerably, and is the foundation of the present Essen Cathedral.

The first documented mention of Essen dates back to 898, when Zwentibold, King of Lotharingia, willed territory on the western bank of the River Rhine to the abbey. Another document, describing the foundation of the abbey and allegedly dating back to 870, is now considered an 11th century forgery.

In 971, Mathilde II, granddaughter of Emperor Otto I, took charge of the abbey. She was to become the most important of all abbesses in the history of Essen. She reigned for over 40 years, and endowed the abbey's treasury with invaluable objects such as the oldest preserved seven branched candelabrum, and the Golden Madonna of Essen, the oldest known sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the Occident. Mathilde was succeeded by other women related to the Ottonian emperors: Sophia, daughter of Otto II and sister of Otto III, and Teophanu, granddaughter of Otto II. It was under the reign of Teophanu that Essen, which had been called a city since 1003, received the right to hold markets in 1041. Ten years later, Teophanu had the eastern part of Essen Abbey constructed. Its crypt contains the tombs of St. Altfrid, Mathilde II, and Teophanu herself.

13th–17th centuries

In 1216, the abbey, which had only been an important landowner until then, gained the status of a princely residence when Emperor Frederick II called abbess Elisabeth I Reichsfürstin (Princess of the Empire) in an official letter. In 1244, 28 years later, Essen received its town charter and seal when Konrad von Hochstaden, the Archbishop of Cologne, marched into the city and erected a city wall together with the population. This proved a temporary emancipation of the population of the city from the princess-abbesses, but this lasted only until 1290. That year, King Rudolph I restored the princess-abbesses to full sovereignty over the city, much to the dismay of the population of the growing city, who called for self-administration and Reichsunmittelbarkeit. The title free imperial city was finally granted by Emperor Charles IV in 1377. However, in 1372, Charles had paradoxically endorsed Rudolph I's 1290 decision and hence left both the abbey and the city in imperial favour. Disputes between the city and the abbey about supremacy over the region remained common until the abbey's dissolution in 1803. Many lawsuits were filed at the Reichskammergericht, one of them lasting almost 200 years. The final decision of the court in 1670 was that the city had to be "duly obedient in dos and don'ts" to the abbesses but could maintain its old rights—a decision that did not really solve any of the problems.

In 1563, the city council, with its self-conception as the only legitimate ruler of Essen, introduced the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic abbey had no troops to counter this development.

Thirty Years' War

During the Thirty Years' War, the Protestant city and the Catholic abbey opposed each other. In 1623, princess-abbess Maria Clara von Spaur, Pflaum und Valör managed to direct Catholic Spaniards against the city in order to initiate a counter-reformation. In 1624, a "re-Catholicization" law was enacted, and churchgoing was strictly controlled. In 1628, the city council filed against this at the Reichskammergericht. Maria had to flee to Cologne when the Dutch stormed the city in 1629. She returned in the summer of 1631 following the Bavarians under Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim, only to leave again in September. She died 1644 in Cologne.

The war proved a severe blow to the city, with frequent arrests, kidnapping and rape. Even after the Peace of Westphalia from 1648, troops remained in the city until September 9, 1650.


The three rings of Krupp

The first historic evidence of the important mining tradition of Essen date back to the 14th century, when the princess-abbess was granted mining rights. The first silver mine opened in 1354, but the indisputably more important coal was not mentioned until 1371, and coal mining only began in 1450.

View over Central Essen from Bottrop

At the end of the 16th century, many coal mines had opened in Essen, and the city earned a name as a centre of the weapons industry. Around 1570, gunsmiths made high profits and in 1620, they produced 14,000 rifles and pistols a year. The city became increasingly important strategically.

Resident in Essen since the 16th century, the Krupp family dynasty and Essen shaped each other. In 1811, Friedrich Krupp founded Germany's first cast-steel factory in Essen and laid the cornerstone for what was to be the largest enterprise in Europe for a couple of decades. The weapon factories in Essen became so important that a sign facing the main railway station welcomed visitor Benito Mussolini to the "Armory of the Reich" in 1937[8]. The Krupp Works also were the main reason for the large population growth beginning in the mid-19th century. Essen reached a population of 100,000 in 1896. Other industrialists, such as Friedrich Grillo, who in 1892 donated the Grillo Theatre to the city, also played a major role in the shaping of the city and the Ruhr Area in the late 19th and early 20th century. Although no weaponry is produced in Essen any more, old industrial enterprises such as ThyssenKrupp and RWE remain large employers in the city. Foundations such as the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung still promote the well-being of the city, for example by supporting a hospital and spending €55 Million for a new building for the Museum Folkwang, one of the Ruhr Area's major art museums.


Old and new government seats: Essen Cathedral (front) and the city hall (background)

Historical development

The administration of Essen had for a long time been in the hands of the princess-abbesses as heads of the Imperial Abbey of Essen. However, from the 14th century onwards, the city council increasingly grew in importance. In 1335, it started choosing two burgomasters, one of whom was placed in charge of the treasury. In 1377, Essen was granted Reichsunmittelbarkeit [9] but had to abandon this privilege later on. Between the early 15th and 20th centuries, the political system of Essen underwent several changes, most importantly the introduction of the Protestant Reformation in 1563, the annexation of 1802 by Prussia, and the subsequent secularization of the principality in 1803. The territory was made part of the Prussian Province of Jülich-Cleves-Berg from 1815–22, after which it became part of the Prussian Rhine Province until its dissolution in 1946.

During the Nazi era (1933–1945), mayors were installed by the Nazi Party. After World War II, the military government of the British occupation zone installed a new mayor and a municipal constitution modeled on that of British cities. Later, the city council was again elected by the population. The mayor was elected by the council as its head and as the city's main representative. The administration was led by a full time Oberstadtdirektor. In 1999, the position of Oberstadtdirektor was abolished in North Rhine-Westphalia and the mayor became both main representative and administrative head. In addition, the population now elects the mayor directly.

City council

The last local elections took place on August 30, 2009. As a result, Reinhard Paß (SPD) was elected Lord Mayor and the following political parties gained seats in the city council:

(Social Democrats)
(Christian Democrats)
Alternative Essen
The Left
(National Conservatives)
(National Democratics)
Essen steht AUF (MLPD)
31 26 9 5 5 3 1 1 1 82

The city is governed by a coalition of SPD and CDU.

Coat of arms

Essen's coat of arms
The Handelshof Hotel with modified coat of arms and unofficial motto

The coat of arms of the city of Essen is a heraldic peculiarity. Granted in 1886, it is a so-called Allianzwappen (arms of alliance) and consists of two separate shields under a single crown. Most other coats of arms of cities show a wall instead of a crown. The crown, however, does not refer to the city of Essen itself, but instead to the secularized ecclesiastical principality of Essen under the reign of the princess-abbesses. The dexter (heraldically right) escutcheon shows the double-headed Imperial Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, granted to the city in 1623. The sinister (heraldically left) escutcheon is one of the oldest emblems of Essen and shows a sword that people believed was used to behead the city's patrons Saints Cosmas and Damian. People tend to connect the sword in the left shield with one found in the Cathedral Treasury. This sword, however, is much younger [10]. A slightly modified and more heraldically correct version of the arms can be found on the roof of the Handelshof hotel near the main station.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Essen is twinned with:[11]

The City of Monessen, PA, situated along the Monongahela River, was named after the river and Essen.[13]

Industry and infrastructure

Major companies based in Essen

The RWE Tower

Essen is seat to several large companies, among them the ThyssenKrupp industrial conglomerate which is also registered in Duisburg and originates from a 1999 merger between Duisburg-based Thyssen AG and Essen-based Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp. The largest company registered only in Essen is Germany's second-largest electric utility RWE AG. Essen also hosts the worldwide corporate headquarters of DB Schenker, the logistics division of Deutsche Bahn. Other major companies include Germany's largest construction company Hochtief AG, as well as ALDI Nord, Evonik Industries, Arcandor AG, Medion AG and Deichmann, Europe's largest shoe retailer. With Eon-Ruhrgas, Germany's largest gas company also has its seat in Essen. The Coca-Cola Company had also originally established their German headquarters in Essen (around 1930), where it remained until 2003, when it was moved to the capital Berlin.


The city's fair grounds, Messe Essen, host some 50 trade fairs each year. With around 530.000 visitors each year, Essen Motor Show, the top international car tuning fair, is by far the largest event held there. Other important fairs open to the consumers include SPIEL, the world's biggest consumer fair for gaming and also occasion of the presentation of the Essen Feather and of the Deutscher Spiele Preis, Techno-Classica (vintage cars) and one of the leading fairs for equestrian sports, Equitana, held every two years. Important fairs restricted to professionals include Security (security and fire protection), IPM (gardening) and E-World (energy and water).


The Westdeutscher Rundfunk has a studio in Essen, which is responsible for the central Ruhr Area. Each day, it produces a 30-minute regional evening news magazine (called Lokalzeit Ruhr), a 5-minute afternoon news programme, and several radio news programmes. A local broadcasting station went "on-the-air" in the late 1990s. The WAZ Media Group is one of the most important (print) media companies in Europe and publishes the Ruhr Area's two most important daily newspapers, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ; 580.000 copies) and Neue Ruhr/Rhein Zeitung (NRZ; 180.000 copies). In Essen, the WAZ Group also publishes the local Borbecker Nachrichten (at times Germany's largest local newspaper) and Werdener Nachrichten, both of which are formerly independent weekly newspapers for parts of Essen. Additionally, Axel Springer run a printing facility for their boulevard-style daily paper Bild in Essen.


One renowned educational institution in Essen is the Folkwang University, a University of the Arts founded in 1927, which is headquartered in Essen and has additional facilities in Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund.

The University of Duisburg-Essen, which resulted from a 2003 merger of the universities of Essen and Duisburg, is one of Germany's "youngest" universities. One of its primary research areas is urban systems (i.e., sustainable development, logistics and transportation), a theme largely inspired by the highly urbanised Ruhr area. Other fields include nanotechnology, discrete mathematics and "education in the 21st century". Another university in Essen is the private Fachhochschule für Oekonomie und Management, a university of applied sciences with over 6000 students and branches in 15 other major cities throughout Germany.


Essen offers a highly diversified health care system with more than 1,350 resident doctors and almost 6,000 beds in 13 hospitals, including a university hospital. The university hospital dates back to 1909, when the city council established a municipal hospital; although it was largely destroyed during World War II, it was later rebuilt, and finally gained the title of a university hospital in 1963. It focuses on diseases of the circulatory system (West German Heart Centre Essen), oncology and transplantation medicine, with the department of bone marrow transplantation being the second-largest of its kind in the world.


Streets and motorways

Ruhrschnellweg facing towards the central business district of Essen

The road network of Essen consists of over 3,200 streets, which in total have a length of roughly 1,600 km (994 mi).

Three motorways touch Essen territory, most importantly the Ruhrschnellweg (Ruhr fast way, A 40), which runs directly through the city, dividing it roughly in half. In a west-eastern direction, the A 40 connects the Dutch city of Venlo with Dortmund, running through the whole Ruhr Area. It is one of the arterial roads of the Ruhr Area (> 140,000 vehicles/day) and suffers from heavy congestion during rush hours, which is why many people in the area nicknamed it Ruhrschleichweg (Ruhr crawling way). A tunnel was built in the 1970s, when the then-Bundesstraße was upgraded to motorway standards, so that the A 40 is hidden from public view in the inner-city district near the main railway station.

In the north, the A 42 briefly touches Essen territory, serving as an interconnection between the neighboring cities of Oberhausen and Gelsenkirchen and destinations beyond.

A segment of the A 52 connects Essen with the more southern region around Düsseldorf. On Essen territory, the A 52 runs from the southern boroughs near Mülheim an der Ruhr past the fairground and then merges with the Ruhrschnellweg at the Autobahndreieck Essen-Ost junction east of the city center.

With the A 40/A 52 in the southern parts of the city and the A 42 in the north, there is a gap in the motorway system often leading to congestion on streets leading from the central to the northern boroughs. An extension of the A 52 to connect the Essen-Ost junction with the A 42 to close this gap is considered urgent[14]; it has been planned for years but not yet been realized - most importantly due to the high-density areas this extension would lead through, resulting in high costs and concerns with the citizens.

Public transport

Essen Hauptbahnhof in the city centre

As with most communes in the Ruhr Area, local transport is carried out by a local, publicly-owned company for transport within the city, the DB Regio subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn for regional transport and Deutsche Bahn itself for long-distance journeys. The local carrier, Essener Verkehrs-AG (EVAG), is a member of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) association of public transport companies in the Ruhr Area, which provides a uniform fare structure in the whole region. Within the VRR region, tickets are valid on lines of all members as well as DB's railway lines (except the high-speed InterCity and Intercity-Express networks) and can be bought at ticket machines and service centers of EVAG, all other members of VRR, and DB.

A southbound Stadtbahn line

EVAG operates 3 Stadtbahn, 7 tram and 59 bus lines (16 of these serving as Nacht Express late-night lines only), with a total length of 29 kilometres (18 mi), 83 kilometres (52 mi) and 459 km (285 mi), respectively[15]. One tram line and a few bus lines coming from neighboring cities are operated by these cities' respective carriers. The Stadtbahn, which partly runs on used Docklands Light Railway stock, is a mixture of tram and full underground systems. Two lines are completely intersection-free and hence independent from other traffic, and the U 18 line leading from Mülheim main station to the Berliner Platz station at the gates of the city center partly runs above ground amidst the A 40 motorway. On the same motorway, a long-term test of a guided bus system is being held since 1980. Many EVAG rail lines meet at the main station but only a handful of bus lines. However, all but one of the Nacht Express bus lines originate from / lead to Essen Hauptbahnhof in a star-shaped manner. All EVAG lines, including the Nacht Express lines, are closed on weekdays from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Of the Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn net's 13 lines, 5 lines lead through Essen territory and meet at the Essen Hauptbahnhof main station, which also serves as the connection to the Regional-Express and Intercity-Express network of regional and nationwide high-speed trains, respectively. Following Essen's appointment as European Capital of Culture 2010, the main station, which is classified as a station of highest importance and which had not been substantially renovated over decades, will be redeveloped with a budget of € 57 million until early 2010[16]. Other important stations in Essen, where regional and local traffic are connected, are the Regionalbahnhöfe (regional railway stations) in the boroughs of Altenessen, Borbeck, Kray and Steele. Further 20 S-Bahn stations can be found in the whole urban area.


Together with the neighbouring city of Mülheim an der Ruhr and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Essen maintains Essen/Mülheim Airport (IATA: ESS, ICAO: EDLE). While the first flights had already arrived in 1919, it was officially opened on August 25, 1925. Significantly expanded in 1935, Essen/Mülheim became the central airport of the Ruhr Area until the end of the Second World War, providing an asphalted runway of 1,553 m (5,095 ft), another unsurfaced runway for gliding and destinations to most major European cities. It was heavily damaged during the war, yet partly reconstructed and used by the Allies as a repairing airport since the view is less often obscured there than at Düsseldorf Airport. The latter then developed into the large civil airport that it is now, while Essen/Mülheim nowadays mainly serves occasional air traffic (some 33,000 passengers each year[17]), the base of a fleet of airships and Germany's oldest public flight training company. Residents of the region around Essen typically use Düsseldorf Airport (~ 20 driving minutes) and occasionally Dortmund Airport for both domestic and international flights.


Zollverein Industrial Complex

Shaft XII of Zollverein Coal Mine

The Zollverein Industrial Complex is the city's most famous landmark. For decades, the coal mine (current form mainly from 1932, closed in 1986) and the coking plant (closed in 1993) ranked among the largest of their kinds in Europe. Shaft XII, built in Bauhaus style, with its characteristic winding tower, which over the years has become a symbol for the whole Ruhr Area, is considered an architectural and technical masterpiece, earning it a reputation as the “most beautiful coal mine in the world”[18]. After UNESCO had declared it a World Heritage Site in 2001, the complex, which had lain idle for a long time and was even threatened to be demolished, began to see a period of redevelopment. Under the direction of an agency borne by the land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city itself, several arts and design institutions settled mainly on the grounds of the former coal mine; a redevelopment plan for the coking plant is to be realised.

On the grounds of the coal mine and the coking plant, which are both accessible free of charge with paid guided tours (some with former Kumpels) available, several tourist attractions can be found, most importantly the Design Zentrum NRW/Red Dot Design Museum. The Ruhrmuseum, a museum dedicated to the history of the Ruhr Area, which had been existing since 1904, will open its gates as one of the anchor attractions in the former coal-washing facility in autumn 2009.

Essen Cathedral and treasury

Ottonian Mathilde Cross, 10th century.

The former collegiate church of Essen Abbey and nowadays seat of the Bishop of Essen is a Gothic hall church made from light sandstone. The first church on the premises dates back to between 845 and 870; the current church was constructed after a former church had burnt down in 1275. However, the important westwork and crypt have survived from Ottonian times. The cathedral is located right in the centre of the city, which evolved around it. It is not spectacular in appearance and the adjacent church St. Johann Baptist, which is located directly at the pedestrian precinct, is often mistakenly referred to as the cathedral. The cathedral treasury, however, ranks amongst the most important in Germany since only few art works have been lost over the centuries. The most precious exhibit, located right within the cathedral, is the Golden Madonna of Essen (around 980), the oldest known sculpture of the Madonna and the oldest free-standing sculpture north of the Alps. The Madonna is commonly referred to as Essen sein Schatz or Essen its treasure, to translate literally. Other exhibits include the alleged child crown of Emperor Otto III, the eldest preserved seven-branched Christian candelabrum and several other art works from Ottonian times.

Old Synagogue

Opened in 1913, the then-New Synagogue served as the central meeting place of Essen's pre-war Jewish community. The building ranks as one of the largest and most impressive testimonies of Jewish culture in pre-war Germany. In post-war Germany, the former house of worship was bought by the city, used as an exhibition hall and later rededicated as a cultural meeting centre and house of Jewish culture.

Villa Hügel

Villa Hügel

Built in 1873 by industrial magnate Alfred Krupp, the 269-room mansion (8,100 m2/87,190 sq ft) and the surrounding park of 28 ha (69.2 acres) served as the Krupp family's representative seat. The city's land register solely lists the property, which at times had a staff of up to 640 people, as a single-family home[19]. At its time of construction, the villa featured some technical novelties and peculiarities, such as a central hot air heating system, own water- and gas works and electric internal and external telegraph- and telephone systems (with a central induction alarm for the staff). The mansion's central clock became the reference clock of the whole Krupp enterprise; every clock was to be set with a maximum difference of half a minute. It even got its own railway station, Essen Hügel, which is still a regular stop. The Krupp family had to leave the Gründerzeit mansion in 1945, when it was annexed by the allies. Given back in 1952, Villa Hügel was opened for concerts and sporadic yet high profile exhibitions.

Kettwig and Werden

Historic town centre of Kettwig

In the south of the city, the boroughs of Kettwig and Werden exceptionally stand for towns once of their own, which have been annexed in the mid-20th century and which have largely preserved their pre-annexation character. While most of the northern boroughs have been heavily damaged during the Second World War and often lost their historic town centres, the more southern parts got off more lightly. In Werden, St. Ludger founded Werden Abbey around 799, 45 years before St. Altfrid founded the later cornerstone of the modern city, Essen Abbey. The old church of Werden abbey, St. Ludgerus, was designated a papal basilica minor in 1993, while the main building of the former abbey today is the headquarters of the Folkwang Hochschule of music and performing arts. Kettwig, which was annexed in 1975, much to the dismay of the population that still struggles for independence[20], was mainly shaped by the textile industry. The most southern borough of Essen is also the city's largest (with regard to area) and presumably greenest.

Other important cultural sites

  • Museum Folkwang: One of the Ruhr area's major art collections, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. Major parts of the museum have recently been rebuilt and expanded according to plans by David Chipperfield & Co. The Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation is the sole funder of the €55 million project which was completed in early 2010. After its re-opening, it also hosts the collection of the Deutsches Plakat Museum (more than 340 000 exhibits).
  • Aalto Theatre: Opened in 1988 (according to plans dating back to 1959), the asymmetric building with its deep indigo interior is home to the Essen Opera.
  • Saalbau: Home of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, completely renovated in 2003/2004. Critics have repeatedly voted the Essen Philharmonic as Germany's Orchestra of the Year.[21]
  • Colosseum Theater: Situated in a former Krupp factory building at the fringe of the central pedestrian precinct, the Collosseum Theatre has been home to several musical theatre productions since 1996.
  • Zeche Carl, a former coal mine now a Cultural Centre and venue for Rock concerts and home of Offener Kanal Essen.

Other sites

Marketplace of Margarethenhöhe I
  • Gartenstadt Margarethenhöhe: Founded by Margarethe Krupp in 1906, the garden city with its 3092 units in 935 buildings on an area of 115 ha (284.2 acres) (of which 50 ha are woodland) is considered the first of its kind in Germany. All buildings follow the same stylistic concept, with slight variations for each one. Although originally designed as an area for the lower classes with quite small flats, the old part Margarethenhöhe I has developed into a middle class residential area and housing space has become highly sought after. A new part, Margarehenhöhe II, was built in the 1960s and 1970s but is architecturally inferior and especially the multi-storey buildings are still considered social hot spots.
  • Grugapark: With a total area of 70 ha (173.0 acres), the park near the exhibition halls is one of the largest urban parks in Germany and, although entry is not free of charge, one of the most popular recreational sites of the city. It includes the city's botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten Grugapark.
  • Lake Baldeney: The largest of the six reservoirs of the River Ruhr, situated in the south of the city, is another popular recreational area. Swimming in the lake is forbidden but it is actively used for sailing, rowing and ship tours. The hilly and only densely developed forest area around the lake, from which the Kettwig area is easily reachable, is also popular with hikers.

Notable personalities

For a comprehensive list of people who were born or acted/lived in Essen, see this article in the German Wikipedia.

Honorary citizens

The city of Essen has been awarding honorary citizenships since 1879 but has (coincidentally) discontinued this tradition after the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. A notable exception was made in 2007, when Berthold Beitz, the president of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation received honorary citizenship for his long lasting commitment to the city.[22] The following list contains all[23] honorary citizens of the city of Essen:

Today, the highest award of the city is the Ring of Honour, which Berthold Beitz, for example, had already received in 1983. Other bearers of the Ring of Honour include Essen's former lord mayor and later President of Germany, Gustav Heinemann, as well as Franz Cardinal Hengsbach, the first Bishop of Essen.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ ("Schreibtisch des Ruhrgebiets")
  3. ^ Geoklima 2.1
  4. ^
  5. ^ Paul Derks: Der Ortsname Essen, in: Essener Beiträge 103 (1989/90), pp. 27-51
  6. ^
  7. ^ Detlef Hopp: Essen vor der Geschichte – Die Archäologie der Stadt bis zum 9. Jahrhundert, in Borsdorf (Ed.): Essen – Geschichte einer Stadt, 2002, p. 32
  8. ^
  9. ^ History of Essen (in German)
  10. ^ Origin of the sword in the Essen Cathedral Treasury
  11. ^ a b c d e f "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr Destrict". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  12. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Bundesverkehrswegeplan 2003, p. 124
  15. ^
  16. ^ Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs:,302.1040342/doc.htm
  17. ^ RVV-Stats 2007
  18. ^ European Route of Industrial Heritage
  19. ^ Official Villa Hügel Web Page
  20. ^ Official Site of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphaila
  21. ^
  22. ^ Speech by Mayor Wolfgang Reiniger (German)
  23. ^ Honorary Citizens of Essen

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Essen [1] is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

"Essen- the shopping city"
"Essen- the shopping city"

Get in

By plane

The largest international airport nearby is located in Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf-International (IATA:DUS) [2] (30 km, ca. 30 mins by train). Smaller airports in the vicinity are Dortmund Airport (IATA:DTM) [3] (45 km) and Flughafen Münster-Osnabrück (IATA:FMO) [4] (ca. 100 km). Of these two the airport in Dortmund is faster to reach by public transport and is used by some no-frills airlines.

By car

Essen is located on autoroute 40.

By bus

Essen is part of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr [5] bus and train system. In addition, Hespertalbahn [6] operates historic trains between Haus Scheppen and Kupferdreh.

By boat

The Rhine river transportation system can be reached via the Herne Kanal. Weiße Flotte Baldeney [7] and Mülheimer Verkehrsgesellschaft [8] operate ships on the Ruhr river.

Get around

Essen has a big subway, tram, bus and night bus system.

  • Zeche Zollverein Called the most beautiful coal mine in the world (in fact, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Zollverein nowadays hosts diverse cultural highlights including a outstanding design center and several museums. It is also famous for its Bauhaus architecture.
  • Folkwang Museum Known for the exhibits covering the history of photography as well as paintings from all eras.
red dot design Museum
red dot design Museum
  • Villa Hügel Hügel 15. +49-201-616290, fax +49-201-6162911, [9] [10]. Krupp family historical chateau, art history museum and concert venue.
  • Aalto Opera-House Interesting piece of architecture by Alvar Aalto (Finland)
  • Essener Münster Cathedral 14th century cathedral and treasure museum.
  • St. Ludgerus Basilica
  • Kettwig Historical District featuring 17th and 18th century streets and buildings.
  • Kettwig Pictures [11]
  • Synagogue and Jewish Museum
  • The old town of Werden One of the oldest German sites in entire Germany! Highly recommended.
  • International Christmas Market from late November to early December the streets and historic allies of the city center are filled with over 200 arts and crafts stalls.
  • Essen Light Weeks [12].
  • Lake Baldeney (Baldeneysee). Essen-Hügel and Essen-Kupferdreh stations. Boat rentals, sailing, canoing.
  • Enjoy Essen ("Essen genießen", this is a word play since "Essen" translates to "food" as well) [13] Gourment Highlights in autumn.
  • Alte Badeanstalt' [14] sauna, swimming pool, massages, fitness, wellness.
  • Visage & Body [15] massage, wellness, cosmetic treatments.
  • Baldeneysee in Essen [16], Gastronomie und Natur im essener Suüden.


The University of Duisburg-Essen is part of a consortium of three universities in the Ruhr-area (University of Duisburg-Essen, Bochum, and Dortmund) - Germany's largest academic hub.



Many shops are located in the city center pedestrian zone. A big shopping-mall in the western part of the city-center opened in Summer 2008. Also pay attention to the "Rüttenscheid"-district.

  • Fährmann am See, Lanfermannfähre 118, +49-201-846080, fax +49-201-8460819. W-M 11:30AM-10PM. Regional home cooking. (accepts ECcard).
  • Wohnraum im Unperfekthaus, Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 20, +49-201-847350, fax +49-201-8536605 [18] [19]. 10AM-10:30PM. Mediterranean / nouveau cuisine / vegetarian. (no credit cards).
  • Tablo, Huyssenallee 5, +49-201-8119585. Turkish. Reservation recommended.
  • Mintrops Stadthotel Margarethenhöhe - Restaurant M, Steile Str. 46 (U-17: Laubenweg), +49-201-43860, fax +49-201-4386100, 12AM-2:30PM and 6:00PM-10:30PM. Asian.
  • Gummersbach, Fürstenbergstr. 2 (Tram 105: Heißener Str), +49-201-676464. W-M 5PM-10:30PM. French; reservations recommended. (ECcard accepted).
  • Capobianco, Rottstr. 7, +49-201-226603. Mon-Sat 12AM-3PM and 5:30PM-midnight, Sun 12AM-midnight. Classic/Italian. Vegetarian options. Reservations recommended.
  • Hülsmannshof, Lehnsgrund 14 a(U 17: Laubenweg), +49-201-871250. 11:30AM-2:30PM and 5:30-10PM. Home cooking.
  • Stop-Club vis à vis, Schmiedestr. 5, +49-201-235453. Mon-Sat 5-11:30PM. Reservation recommended. International. Vegetarian options.
  • Lukas, Prinz-Friedrich-Str. 1, +49-201-848353. Daily 6-11PM. Indian. (Accepts ECcard).
  • Ange d'Or Junior, Ruhrtalstr. 326 (S6: Kettwig), +49-2054-2307. Wed-Sun 6:30-10:30PM. Italian. Vegetarian options.
  • La Cena, Haumannplatz 32 (Tram 106: Landgericht), +49-201-2790269. Mon-Sat 12AM-3PM, 6-11PM. Italian.
  • Landhaus Schnitzler, Nöckersberg 65, +49-201-848140. W-F 12AM-3PM, 6-10:30PM, Sat 6-10:30PM, Sun 12AM-9PM. Italian, German, International.
  • L'Opera, Theaterpassage/Hirschlandplatz (U11/17/18: Hirschlandplatz), +49-201-239124. Daily 12AM-11PM. Italian.
  • Mintrops Stadthotel Margarethenhöhe - Restaurant M, Steile Str. 46 (U 17: Laubenweg), +49-201-43860. Daily 12AM-2:30PM, 6-10:30PM. Italian.
  • Oase Due, Rüttenscheider Str. 189 (U11, Tram 101/107: Martinstr.), +49-201-790640, Mon-Sat 12AM-2:30PM, 5:30-11:30PM. Italian.
  • Cavallino Rosso, Velberter Str. 126, +49-201-404977. Daily 12AM-2:30PM, 5:30-11PM. Mediterranean.
  • Gummersbach, Fürstenbergstr. 2 (Tram 105: Heißener Str.) +49-201-676464, accepts ECcard, W-M 5-10:30PM. Reservation recommended. Mediterranean.
  • Hannappel, Dahlhauser Str. 173, +49-201-534506, accepts ECcard, W-M 5:30-10PM, (S1: Essen-Eiberg or RE 14 / S 3 / S 9 / Tram 103 / 109: Essen-Steele, then Bus 164: Breloher Steig). Mediterranean.
  • Jagdhaus Schellenberg, Heisinger Str. 170a, +49-201-437870, Mediterranean.
  • Casino Zollverein, Gelsenkirchener Str. 181 (Tram 107: Zollverein), +49-201-830240, Tue-Fri 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10:30PM, Sat-Sun 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-midnight. Nouveau cuisine.
  • Mintrops Landhotel - Mumm, Schwarzensteinweg 81 (SB 15: Burgaltendorf Burgruine.), +49-201-571710. 12AM-2PM, 6-11PM. Nouveau/International cuisine. Vegetarian options.
  • Parkhaus Hügel, Freiherr-vom-Stein-Str. 209 (S6: Essen-Hügel), +49-201-471091. 11:30AM-10:30PM. Nouveau/International cuisine.
  • raum.eins, Rüttenscheider Str. 154, +49-201-4553747. Mon-Thu 12AM-2:30PM, 6-10:30PM, Fri 12AM-2:30PM, 6-11PM, Sat 6-11PM. Nouveau/International cuisine.
  • Résidence - Püree, Auf der Forst 1, +49-2054-95590. Tue-Fri 6:3010PM. Nouveau/International cuisine.
  • Schloss Hugenpoet - Hugenpöttchen, August-Thyssen-Str. 51, +49-2054-12040. 12AM-11:30PM. Nouveau/International cuisine.
  • Kockshusen, Pilgrimsteig 51, +49-201-3601166. W-M 11:30AM-10PM. Regional. (Accepts ECcard).
  • Kölner Hof, Duisburger Str. 20, +49-201-763430, accepts ECcard, dogs not welcome. Wed-Sun 12AM-2PM, 6-10PM. Regional. (Accepts ECcard).
  • Landhaus-Knappmann - Frankenheim-Brauhaus, Ringstr. 198, +49-2054-7809. M-F 4-12PM; Sat/Sun 11AM-midnight. Regional.
  • Schote, Emmastr. 25 (U11, Tram 101/107: Martinstr.), +49-201-780107. Tue-Sun 6-11PM. Regional.
  • Landhaus Schnitzler, Nöckersberg 65, +49-201-848140. W-F 12AM-3PM, 6-10:30PM; Sat 6-10:30PM; Sun 12AM-9PM. Seasonal.
  • Der Löwe, [20] Kopstadtplatz. Bavarian-style restaurant.
  • Gastronomie Katalog, [21] Gastronomie Übersicht für Essen und das übrige Ruhrgebiet.
  • La Grappa, Rellinghauser Str. 4 (Tram 105/106: Aalto Theater), +49-201-231766. M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; 5:30- 11:30PM; Sa 5:30-11:30PM. Italian/nouveau cuisine.
  • Schloss Hugenpoet, Nesselrode, August-Thyssen-Str. 51, +49-2054-12040. Th-M 6:30-10PM. International food. Dogs not welcome.
  • Résidence, Auf der Forst 1, +49-2054-95590. Tu-Sa 6:30-10PM. Nouveau cuisine.
  • Schloss Hugenpoet-Nesselrode, August-Thyssen-Str. 51, +49-2054-12040, Th-M 6:30-10PM. Nouveau cuisine. Dogs not welcome.
  • Rüttenscheider Hausbrauerei, Girardetstr. 2 (U11, Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or Tram 105: Rellinghausen Rathaus or SB15: Annental or S6: Kettwig, then Bus 142: Girardet Haus), +49-201-790060. Reservation recommended.
  • Daktari, Juliusstraße 2, +49-201-2698595. Small Cocktail-Bar with big cocktails, located 5 miutes away from main station. 7PM-4AM.
  • Europa, Hindenburgstr. 35, +49-201-232041, fax +49-201-232656.
  • Hotel am Schlosspark[22], Borbecker Str. 183 (RE14/S9/Tram 103: Essen-Borbeck Bf), +49-201-675001, fax +49-201-687762, [23].
  • Ibis, Hollestr. 50 (SB15,16/Tram 103,109: Hollestr.), +49-201-24280, fax +49-201-2428600.
  • Landhaus Knappmann, Ringstr. 198, +49-2054-7809, fax +49-201-6789, [24], [25].
  • Schmachtenbergshof, Schmachtenbergstr. 157, +49-2054-12130, fax +49-2054-121313, [26] [27].
  • Sengelmannshof, Sengelmannsweg 35, +49-2054-95970, fax +49-2054-83200.
  • An der Gruga[28] (U11, stop: Messe Ost/Gruga), Eduard-Lucas-Str. 17, +49-201-841180, fax +49-201-8411869, [29].
  • Best Western Hotel Ypsilon[30], Müller-Breslau-Str. 18-20, +49-201-89690, fax +49-201-8969100, [31], (U11, Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or Tram 105: Töpferstr. or Tram 106: Cäcilienstr. or SB15: Huttropstr. or Tram 103/109: Schwanenbuschstr. or RE1/2/6/11/14/16, RB40/42, S1/2/3/6/9, U11/17/18, SB16/19: Essen Hbf or U18: Breslauer Str. or Tram 110: Flughafen Essen/Mülheim, then Bus 145/146/160/161: Paulinenstr.)
  • Hotel im Girardet Haus[32], Girardetstr. 2-38, +49-201-878800, fax +49-201-8788088, [33] (U11, Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or Tram 105: Rellinghausen Rathaus or SB15: Annental or S6: Kettwig, then Bus 142: Girardet Haus).
  • Jägerhof, Hauptstr. 23, +49-2054-84011, fax +49-2054-80984, (S6: Kettwig or SB 19: Werdener Markt or Tram 110: Mülheim Wilhelmstr. or Tram 102/104/112/901: Mülheim Stadtmitte or RE1/2/6/11, S1/3, U18: Mülheim Ruhr Hbf or U11: Messe West/Süd / Gruga or Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or Tram 105: Rellinghausen Rathaus or SB15: Annental, then Bus 142/151/190: Kettwiger Markt).
  • Mintrops Landhotel Burgaltendorf[34], Schwarzensteinweg 81 (SB15: Burgaltendorf Burgruine), +49-201-571710, fax +49-201-5717147, [35].
  • Mintrops Stadthotel Margarethenhöhe, Steile Str. 46 (U17: Laubenweg), +49-201-43860, fax +49-201-4386100.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Essen, Am Hauptbahnhof 2 (stop: Essen Hbf), +49-201-17080, fax +49-201-1708173.
  • Résidence, Auf der Forst 1, +49-2054-95590, fax +49-2054-82501, [36], [37]. (S6: Kettwig or SB 19: Werdener Markt or Tram 110: Mülheim Wilhelmstr. or Tram 102/104/112/901: Mülheim Stadtmitte or RE1/2/6/11, S1/3, U18: Mülheim Ruhr Hbf or U11: Messe West/Süd / Gruga or Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or Tram 105: Rellinghausen Rathaus or SB15: Annental, then Bus 142/151/190: Ringstr.) No dogs.
  • Ruhr-Hotel, Krawehlstr. 42 (Tram 106: Zweigertstr), +49-201-778053, fax +49-201-780283.
  • Scandic Hotel, Theodor-Althoff-Str. 5, +49-201-7690, fax +49-201-7691143, (U11: Messe West/Süd / Gruga or U 17: Margarethenhöhe or Tram 101/107: Bredeney or Tram 101/107: Martinstr. or S6: Essen-Werden or SB19: Werdener Markt or Tram 105: Rellinghausen Rathaus or SB15: Annental or SB66: Velbert Willy-Brandt-Platz, then Bus 142/169: Sommerburgstr).
  • Top Hotel Essener Hof, Teichstr. 2 (stop: Essen Hbf), +49-201-24250, fax +49-201-2425751, [38], [39]. No dogs.
  • Top Rema-Hotel Essen, Viehofer Platz 5 (Tram 101/103/105/109: Rheinischer Platz), +49-201-105610, fax +49-201-236685.
  • Villa Vogelsang, Antonienallee 1, +49-201-8536600, fax +49-201-8536605, [40] [41] (S1: Essen-Eiberg or RE 14, S3/9, Tram 103/109: Essen-Steele, then Bus 164/184: Carl-Wolf-Str.).
  • Holiday Inn Essen City Centre, Frohnhauser Str. 6, +49-201-24070, fax +49-201-2407240.
  • Mercure Plaza, Bismarckstr. 48-50 (U11, Tram 101/107: Philharmonie/Saalbau), +49-201-878580, fax +49-201-87858700,
  • Schloss Hugenpoet, August-Thyssen-Str. 51, +49-2054-12040, fax +49-2054-120450, (RE1 / RE2 / RE6 / RE11 / S1 / S3 / U18: Mülheim Ruhr Hbf, then Bus 132: Am Biestenkamp, then Taxi (should be reserved in advance)).
  • Sheraton, Huyssenallee 55 (U11, Tram 101/107: Philharmonie/Saalbau), +49-201-10070, fax +49-201-1007777,
  • Welcome Hotel Ruhr Residenz[42], Schützenbahn 58 (Tram 106/107: Viehofer Platz), +49-201-17790, fax +49-201-1779199, [43].


Essen Tourism Office Im Handelshof. Am Hauptbahnhof 2, Tel: +49-201-19433, [44]. Mon-Fri 9AM-5:30PM, Sat 10AM-1PM. Closed on Sundays and bank holiday.


Religious services

Holy mass in catholic churches in the citycenter:

  • Hohe Domkirche, Münster, An St. Quintin 3 (5-10 min north from central station). [45] Sat 6:30PM; Sun 7:30AM*, 10AM, 4PM*, 7PM; (*in the Anbetungskirche: Mon-Fri: 7AM, 10AM, 5:30PM (except Sat)).
  • St. Engelbert, Fischerstraße 12 (10 min south from central station) [46]. Sat: 6:15PM; Sun: 9:45AM, 2PM (engl.); Mon 7:30PM; Tue 9AM; Wed 9:15AM; Fri 6PM.
  • St. Ignatius, An Sankt Ignatius 8 (10 min southwest from central station). [47] Sat 9AM, 5PM; Sun 11:15AM, 6PM; Tue/Thu/Fri 7PM.

Index of catholic churches in the diocesis of Essen: [48]

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ESSEN, a manufacturing town of Germany, in the Prussian Rhine province, 22 m. N.E. from Dusseldorf, on the main line of railway to Berlin, in an undulating and densely populated district. Pop. (1849) 8813; (1875) 54,79 0; (1905) 229,270. It lies at the centre of a network of railways giving it access to all the principal towns of the Westphalian iron and coal fields. Its general aspect is gloomy; it possesses few streets of any pretensions, though those in the old part, which are mostly narrow, present, with their grey slate roofs and green shutters, a picturesque appearance. Of its religious edifices (twelve Roman Catholic, one Old Catholic, six Protestant churches, and a synagogue) the minster, dating from the 10th century, with fine pictures, relics and wall frescoes, is alone especially remarkable. This building is very similar to the Pfalz-Kapelle (capella in palatio) at Aix-la-Chapelle. Among the town's principal secular buildings are the new Gothic town-hall, the post office and the railway station. There are several high-grade (classical and modern) schools, technical, mining and commercial schools, a theatre, a permanent art exhibition, and hospitals. Essen also has a beautiful public park in the immediate vicinity. The town originally owed its prosperity to the large iron and coal fields underlying the basin in which it is situated. Chief among its industrial establishments are the famous iron and steel works of Krupp, and the whole of Essen may be said to depend for its livelihood upon this firm, which annually expends vast sums in building and supporting churches, schools, clubs, hospitals and philanthropic institutions, and in other ways providing for the welfare of its employees. There are also manufactories of woollen goods and cigars, dyeworks and breweries.

Essen was originally the seat of a Benedictine nunnery, and was formed into a town about the middle of the 10th century by the abbess Hedwig. The abbess of the nunnery, who held from 1275 the rank of a princess of the Empire, was assisted by a chapter of ten princesses and countesses; she governed the town until 1803, when it was secularized and incorporated with Prussia. In 1807 it came into the possession of the grand dukes of Berg, but was transferred to Prussia in 1814.

See Funcke, Geschichte des Furstenthums and der Stadt Essen (Elberfeld, 1851); Kellen, Die Industriestadt Essen in Wort and Bild (Essen, 1902); and A. Shadwell, Industrial Efficiency (London, 1906).

<< Esseg

Essenes >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de

See also essen




Old High German ezzan, akin to Old Saxon etan, compare Dutch eten



Essen n. (genitive Essens, plural Essen)

  1. meal

Proper noun


  1. A large industrial city in Germany.

Derived terms



  1. plural form of Esse

Simple English

Villa Hügel near the river Ruhr

Coordinates 51°27′3″N 7°0′47″E / 51.45083°N 7.01306°E / 51.45083; 7.01306
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Düsseldorf
District Urban district
City subdivisions 9 districts, 50 boroughs
Lord Mayor Reinhard Paß (SPD)
Governing parties SPDGreens
Basic statistics
Area 210.32 km2 (81.21 sq mi)
Elevation 116 m  (381 ft)
Population  581,406  (31 March 2007)[1]
 - Density 2,764 /km2 (7,160 /sq mi)
 - Metro 5.302.179 (12/2004)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate E
Postal codes 45001-45359
Area codes 0201, 02054 (Kettwig)

Essen is a German city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the Ruhr River and it is near Cologne, Duisburg and Bochum. 585,000 people live in Essen. Together with Dortmund Essen is the biggest city of the Ruhr area with its 5,000,000 inhabitants. Essen is often called the shopping city (Einkaufsstadt) because there are so many malls and shops in it.


Location of Essen

Essen is in North Rhine-Westphalia and part of the Ruhr area, where eleven cities and four districts are. The rivers Ruhr and Emscher flow through the city. The lake Baldeney is part of the Ruhr. Essen's neighbour cities are Oberhausen, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Ratingen, Heiligenhaus and Velbert in the Rhineland and Hattingen, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Gladbeck and Bottrop in Westphalia. Other near cities are Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Dortmund and Münster.


Because of the large number of coal mine workers in Essen the SPD, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, always was very strong in Essen. Just during the time of National Socialism the Nazi Party installed the mayors. But from 1999 to 2009 the Christian Democratic Party ruled the city with the mayor Dr.Wolfgang Reiniger. At the local elections of 2009, the SPD's candidate Reinhard Paß became the new mayor.

Famous things in Essen

  • Villa Hügel (the villa of the family Krupp)
  • Cathedral (Münster) (head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Essen. In the Domschatzkammer, the dome treasure chamber, is the Golden Madonna of Essen)
  • Old Synagogue (Alte Synagoge)
  • Lichtburg (the oldest cinema of Germany)
  • Zeche Zollverein (Zollverein Coal Mine, part of the UNESCO-World Heritage Sites since 2001)
  • Folkwang museum (a big musum with a famous music academy)
  • Werden abbey (a monastery from the Order of Saint Benedict, founded in 800)
  • Aalto theatre (the greatest theatre of Essen, built by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto)
  • Essen philharmonic orchestra (this building, also known as Saalbau, is next to the Aalto theatre)
File:Essen Lichtburg
The cinema Lichtburg
The Aalto theatre

History of Essen

Around 850 Saint Altfrid founded the Damenstift, an abbey for women, ruled by a prince abbess. In this time the cathedral of Essen was built. In those days the name of the city was Assindia in Latin. Later it changed over Essendia and Essend to Essen. 1377 Essen became a free imperial city. At this time, Essen was just a small city in a region where few people lived. The city became more important when the industrialization began. In 1811 Friedrich Krupp founded a small steel factory in Essen which was fast growing. The city population also grew and 80 years after the foundation of Krupp's steel work Essen was a big city with 100,000 inhabitants. Because in the region of the Ruhr River much coal fas found, many coal mines were founded in Essen and other near cities. Great industrial families like the Krupps, the Haniels and the Grillos gave money for cultural buildings like the Grillo theatre and the Folkwang museum. Because it's big industry Essen was destroyed with bombs at the Second World War. Many people gave their live and many buildings were destroyed restless. Not all were rebuild after WW2. But because the coal mining industry ended mining in Essen in the 1970's (coal from abroad was getting cheaper), the city was getting poor. The Strukturwandel (structural change)saved Essen. Old collieries like Zeche Zollverein became museums or theatres. 2003 the universities of Essen and Duisburg built together the univerity Duisburg-Essen. 2010 Essen will be Kulturhauptstadt Europas (European Capital of Culture) together with Istanbul and Pécs in Hungary.

Media in Essen

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WDR-studio in Essen

The WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk/Western German Broadcasting) has a TV-station in Essen. The two biggest newspapers, the WAZ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung/Western German common newspaper) and the NRZ, the Neue Ruhr Zeitung/New Ruhr newspaper (at the lower Rhine regionNeue Rhein Zeitung/New Rhein newspaper)) are in the city. Both newspapers belong to the WAZ-media group. Essen also has a radio station named Radio Essen.

Boroughs of Essen

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Zeche Zollverein in Essen-Katernberg

[[File:|thumb|Borbeck castle]]

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Districts and boroughs of Essen

Essen has nine districts (Bezirke) and 50 boroughs (Stadtteile). The most famous and most known are Kettwig, which was till 1975 a separate town and not part of Essen, with the Altstadt of Kettwig, where many timber framing houses are (Fachwerkhäuser). Also well-known is Werden. It lays like Kettwig in the south of the city and is the oldest borough of Essen. The Werden abbey stands here. In Essen-Rüttenscheid many cultural buildings are located (like the Folkwang or the Ruhrland museum). The WDR-studio and Essen's trade fair, the Gruga are also in Rüttenscheid. In the north of Essen is Katernberg, where in the past the coal mine workers lived. Here is Zeche Zollverein. In Katernberg many houses were built by the family Krupp for their workers. Another big coal mine worker's borough, perhaps the biggest, is Margarethenhöhe near Rüttenscheid. It is named after Margarethe Krupp, wife of Friedrich Alfred Krupp. The Krupps wanted, that their workers were absolutely dependent on them. So they built houses and malls for them, where they should spend their money, what they got from Krupp, again to the industrials. Today Margarethenhöhe is one of the most beautiful boroughs of Essen. Another big borough of Essen is Steele in the east of the city, that was in the 19th and the early 20th century a city as big as Essen. In the west of Essen is Borbeck, which was long very separate from Essen. In Borbeck is the great Borbeck Castle (Schloss Borbeck). The people of Borbeck speak their own regional dialect the Borbecker Platt.

The nine districts of Essen are:

  • Bezirk I (Stadtmitte/Frillendorf/Huttrop)
  • Bezirk II (Rüttenscheid/Bergerhausen/Rellinghausen/Stadtwald)
  • Bezirk III (Essen-West)
  • Bezirk IV (Borbeck)
  • Bezirk V (Altenessen/Karnap/Vogelheim)
  • Bezirk VI (Katernberg/Schonnebeck/Stoppenberg)
  • Bezirk VII (Steele/Kray)
  • Bezirk VIII (Ruhrhalbinsel)
  • Bezirk IX (Werden/Kettwig/Bredeney)

Famous people in Essen

Heinz Rühmann, one of the most famous German actors of the 20th century

The most known people from Essen are the actor Heinz Rühmann, whose parents were the owner of Essen's famous hotel Handelshof near the Central Station (Hauptbahnhof), Carl Humann, explorer of the Great Altar of Pergamon, Karl Baedeker, a publisher whose company made many books for tourists (Baedeker), Alfred Krupp and Franz Dinndendahl, who made the first steam machine in the Ruhr area. These people were born in the city. Other people who were not born in Essen but lived and worked there a long time are Berthold Beitz, who saved the Krupp company from the ruin, Wilhelm Busch, a famous poet and painter or Gustav Heinemann, a German politician who was mayor of Essen and federal president of Germany. Other people like Otto von Bismarck and Paul von Hindenburg were honorary people in Essen.

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Hotel Handeshof - on the roof the armorial of Essen and the text Essen die Einkaufsstadt (Essen the shopping city)


The most popular sport in Germany is Association football or soccer. The most important soccer clubs of Essen are Rot-Weiß Essen (RWE) and Schwarz-Weiß Essen. They play in the 4th and the 5th league. More successfully is the women's association football club SG Essen-Schönebeck that plays in the first Bundesliga. The second big sport is team handball. TUSEM Essen is the most important club in Essen. The most popular ice hockey club is named ESC Moskitos Essen and the biggest basketball club ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen. Essen also has got many table tennis and swimming clubs.

Twin towns

Essen's twin towns are:


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