Rhine-Ruhr: Wikis


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Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region
Metropolregion Rhein-Ruhr
The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region according to the LEP NRW, 1995
Country  Germany
State  North Rhine-Westphalia
Largest Cities Cologne
 - Metro 7,110 km2 (2,745.2 sq mi)
Highest elevation 494 m (1,621 ft)
Lowest elevation 20 m (66 ft)
Population [1] [2]
 Metro 11,500,000
 - Metro Density 1,430/km2 (3,548/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
GRP 2004
Nominal €330.9 billion (3rd in EU)
Rhine in Cologne
Rhine in Düsseldorf
Ruhr in Essen

The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region (German: Metropolregion Rhein-Ruhr) is the largest metropolitan region in Germany with about 10,000,000 inhabitants. It is of polycentric nature and the only megacity in Germany. It covers an area of 7,110 square kilometers and lies entirely within the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region spreads from the Dortmund-Bochum-Essen-Duisburg (Ruhr Area) megalopolis in the north, to the urban areas of the cities of Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf (the state capital), Wuppertal, Cologne (the region's largest and Germany's fourth largest city), and Bonn in the south. The location of the Rhine-Ruhr at the heart of the European "blue banana" makes it well connected to other major European cities and metropolitan areas like Amsterdam and the Randstad, the Flemish Diamond and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Region.

The metropolitan area is named after the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, which are the regions's defining geographical features and historically its economic backbone.



There are many different sub-definitions of what belongs to the Rhine-Ruhr area, but the metropolitan area itself has officially defined borders with Hamm in the east, Mönchengladbach in the west and Bonn in the south and the small city Wesel as its northernmost point. The northern border is similar to the border of the Ruhr Area.

The table below shows an unofficial summation of regions. In the official definition the metropolitan area is much smaller.

Region major cities area population
Ruhr Metropolitan Region[3] 5,182 km² 5,654,000
Dortmund 280 km² 585,670
Essen 210 km² 580,751
Duisburg 233 km² 496,665
Düsseldorf Metropolitan Region 2,921 km² 3,154,000
Düsseldorf 217 km² 582,222
Mönchengladbach 170 km² 264,335
Wuppertal 168 km² 355,158
Cologne/Bonn Metropolitan Region[4] 3,364 km² 2,887,000
Cologne 405 km² 996,690
Bonn 141 km² 316,416
Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region 11,467 km² 11,695,000

Eurostat's Urban Audit splits the Rhine-Ruhr region into six Larger Urban Zones (LUZ). These six Urban Zones do not cover the cities of Remscheid and Solingen nor the district of Rhein-Kreis Neuss.

Larger Urban Zone major cities area population
Ruhr Larger Urban Zone[5][6] 5,234 km² 5,654,000
Dortmund 280 km² 585,670
Essen 210 km² 580,751
Duisburg 233 km² 496,665
Düsseldorf Larger Urban Zone[7][8] 1,200 km² 1,525,029
Düsseldorf 217 km² 582,222
Mönchengladbach Larger Urban Zone[9][10] 170 km² 264,335
Mönchengladbach 170 km² 264,335
Wuppertal Larger Urban Zone[11][12] 168 km² 355,158
Wuppertal 168 km² 355,158
Cologne Larger Urban Zone[13][14] 1,627 km² 1,873,580
Cologne 405 km² 996,690
Bonn Larger Urban Zone[15][16] 1,295 km² 908,503
Bonn 141 km² 316,416
Rhine-Ruhr Region 9,694 km² 10,582,000

Cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants

Dortmund, Essen, Düsseldorf (state capital), Cologne

Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants

Ruhr area (Westphalian part)

Bochum, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamm, Herne, Iserlohn, Recklinghausen, Witten

Ruhr area (Rhenish part)

Duisburg, Moers, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen

Bergisches Land

Bergisch Gladbach, Remscheid, Solingen, Wuppertal

Rhine Valley

Bonn, Krefeld, Leverkusen, Mönchengladbach, Moers, Neuss


Historically, most of the Ruhr area was for the most characterized by heavy industry since the age of industrialisation in the late 19th and early 20th century. Since the Middle Ages, Cologne, Dortmund and other cities were important regional trading cities, but during the 19th century the city of Düsseldorf grew to become the administrative center of the region and since 1945 its political capital.

Today, the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region accounts for roughly 15% of the GDP of the German economy, which would place it as the 3rd largest GRP of metropolitan area in the European Union and the 16th largest GDP in the world. Despite this size, the Rhine-Ruhr region often lacks international competitiveness from the lack of a unified presentation, in which cities and urban areas within it, often pursue a separate investment policy against each other[17].

From within, Düsseldorf and Cologne are by far the largest economic centers[18], with specialisation in financial/high tech and insurance/multi media services respectively. Other major economic centers are Bonn, Dortmund and Essen. The region is home to twelve[19] Fortune Global 500 companies, among them E.ON AG, Düsseldorf, Deutsche Post AG, Bonn, Metro AG, Düsseldorf, Deutsche Telekom AG, Bonn, ThyssenKrupp AG, Düsseldorf, RWE AG, Essen, Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, Duisburg, Evonik Industries, Essen, Arcandor AG, Essen, Hochtief AG, Essen and the Henkel Group, Düsseldorf.


The metro area boasts the two international airports of Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf International and several regional/national airports like Dortmund Airport, Düsseldorf-Mönchengladbach Airport and Weeze Airport. The city of Cologne is also connected to Frankfurt Airport via the 1 hour Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line.


Commercial airports

Airport IATA code ICAO code annual passenger traffic
Düsseldorf International Airport DUS EDDL 18,15 Mio. (2008)
Cologne Bonn Airport CGN EDDK 10,35 Mio. (2008)[20]
Dortmund Airport DTM EDLW 2,30 Mio. (2008)

North Rhine-Westphalia has the densest network of Autobahns in Germany and the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr is the region's rapid transit system which interconnects all cities and their respective local U- and S-Bahn systems (Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn).

Duisburg Port (Duisport) and Dortmund Port are large industrial inland ports and serve as hubs along the Rhine and the German inland water transport system.



The region is host to numerous mega events, comprising fun fairs and cultural events like the Cologne and Düsseldorf carnivals, the Cologne Comedy Festival, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, the RuhrTriennale and the Cologne Gay Pride, as well as trade fairs at koelnmesse - Cologne Trade Fair and Messe Düsseldorf. With a capacity of up to 20,000 people, Kölnarena and Westfalenhallen belong to the largest indoor arenas in Germany.

The region is home to eight Fußball-Bundesliga clubs, the most successful among them are Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1. FC Köln, FC Schalke 04 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


Several tourist destinations within the region attract over 12 million tourists per year; Cologne Cathedral over six million alone. Other major attractions are the Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces near Bonn and Schloss Benrath near Düsseldorf, as well as the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex and other sights of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.


NRW Forum, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Museum Koenig, Museum Ludwig, Romano-Germanic Museum, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Neanderthal Museum and Deutsches Museum Bonn are some of the most famous examples.


The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region is home to nine universities and over 30 partly postgraduate colleges, with a total of over 300.000 students. Largest and oldest university is the University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln), originally founded in 1388 AD. Other universities include:


This map of the Rhine-Ruhr Area spans approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) from north to south.

The following register lists all municipalities that officially belong to Rhine-Ruhr area. Demographically, these municipalities include 20 cities (German: ″Kreisfreie Städte″), each with more than 100,000 inhabitants, and 11 districts (German: "Kreis"), each with a population of more than 250,000 inhabitants. Some districts only belong partly to Rhine-Ruhr area. In such a case only the municipalities that belong to the metro area are listed.

towns independent of a Kreis
Municipality Inhabitants
30. Juni 2008[2]
Inhabitants per/
Bochum (BO) 379.910 145,44 2,612.14
Bonn (BN) 316.913 141,22 2,244.11
Bottrop (BOT) 118.227 100,61 1,175.1
Dortmund (DO) 585.670 280,39 2,088.77
Duisburg (DU) 494.920 232,81 2,125.85
Düsseldorf (D) 582.222 217,01 2,682.93
Essen (E) 580.751 210,38 2,760.49
Gelsenkirchen (GE) 263.638 104,86 2,514.19
Hagen (HA) 193.045 160,36 1,203.82
Hamm (HAM) 182.644 226,26 807.23
Herne (HER) 167.718 51,41 3,262.36
Köln (K) 996.690 405,15 2,460.05
Krefeld (KR) 236.516 137,76 1,716.87
Leverkusen (LEV) 161.279 78,85 2,045.39
Mönchengladbach (MG) 259.396 170,45 1,521.83
Mülheim an der Ruhr (MH) 168.669 91,29 1,847.62
Oberhausen (OB) 216.392 77,04 2,808.83
Remscheid (RS) 113.377 74,60 1,519.8
Solingen (SG) 162.293 89,46 1,814.14
Wuppertal (W) 355.158 168,39 2,109.14
total/average 6.535.428 3.163,74 2,065.73
Kreise (districts)
Municipality/Kreis (district) Inhabitants
30. Juni 2008[2]
Surface per
Kreis Mettmann (ME) 501.128 407,09
Kreis Unna (UN) 418.128 542,69
Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis (EN)
Ennepetal 31.256 57,42
Gevelsberg 32.083 26,29
Hattingen 56.384 71,39
Herdecke 25.144 22,40
Schwelm 29.466 20,50
Sprockhövel 25.666 47,79
Wetter 28.618 31,47
Witten 99.320 72,37
Märkischer Kreis (MK)
Hemer 37.524 67,56
Iserlohn 95.834 125,50
Menden 56.981 86,06
Kreis Recklinghausen (RE)
Castrop-Rauxel 76.563 51,66
Datteln 35.898 66,08
Dorsten 78.301 171,19
Gladbeck 75.874 35,91
Herten 63.464 37,32
Marl 89.437 87,63
Oer-Erkenschwick 30.594 38,69
Recklinghausen 120.174 66,43
Waltrop 29.961 46,99
Rhein-Erft-Kreis (BM)
Brühl 44.489 36,12
Frechen 49.660 45,11
Hürth 56.761 51,17
Wesseling 35.149 23,37
Rhein-Kreis Neuss (NE)
Dormagen 63.328 85,41
Grevenbroich 64.430 102,46
Kaarst 41.949 37,40
Korschenbroich 33.228 55,26
Meerbusch 54.200 64,38
Neuss 151.276 99,48
Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (SU)
Alfter 22.872 34,77
Bornheim 48.613 82,71
Niederkassel 37.142 35,79
Sankt Augustin 55.754 34,23
Siegburg 39.530 23,46
Troisdorf 74.948 62,17
Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis (GL)
Bergisch Gladbach 105.967 83,12
Burscheid 18.851 27,38
Leichlingen 27.510 37,33
Kreis Viersen (VIE)
Kempen 36.244 68,81
Tönisvorst 30.274 44,33
Viersen 75.762 91,07
Willich 51.908 67,77
Kreis Wesel (WES)
Dinslaken 69.982 47,67
Kamp-Lintfort 39.084 63,16
Moers 106.951 67,69
Neukirchen-Vluyn 28.062 43,48
Rheinberg 32.005 75,15
Voerde 37.899 53,48
Wesel 61.267 122,53
total 3.632.893 3.946,69

See also



  1. ^ http://www.duesseldorf.de/en/economic/standort/agglomerationen.shtml
  2. ^ a b c d Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen des Landesamts für Datenverarbeitung und Statistik (German)
  3. ^ http://www.metropoleruhr.de/
  4. ^ http://www.region-koeln-bonn.de/
  5. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE006C&CountryCode=DE
  6. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/504.html
  7. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE011C&CountryCode=DE
  8. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/518.html
  9. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE036C&CountryCode=DE
  10. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/529.html
  11. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE016C&CountryCode=DE
  12. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/513.html
  13. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE004C&CountryCode=DE
  14. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/506.html
  15. ^ http://www.urbanaudit.org/CityProfiles.aspx?CityCode=DE034C&CountryCode=DE
  16. ^ http://www.staedtestatistik.de/531.html
  17. ^ http://www2.bezreg-duesseldorf.nrw.de/static/download/chef/raumplanung/versionenglish.pdf Comparative Analysis of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, Düsseldorf Regional Government, August 2002
  18. ^ http://www.raumplanung.uni-dortmund.de/rlp/Personal/Blotevogel/original/2006_Blotevogel_MetropolregionRheinRuhr.pdf Metropolitane Funktionen der Städte in der Metropolregion Rhein-Ruhr
  19. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2008/europe/
  20. ^ http://www.airport-cgn.de/main.php?id=18&d_id=417&kat=&lang=2

Further reading

  • Knapp, Wolfgang (1998). The Rhine-Ruhr area in transformation: Towards a European metropolitan region?. European Planning Studies. 
  • Dieleman, Frans M. (1998). Randstad, Rhine-Ruhr and Flemish diamond as one polynucleated macro-region?. Blackwell Publishing. 
  • Blotevogel, Hans H. (1998). The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region: Reality and discourse. European Planning Studies. 

External links


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