Ruhr area: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ruhr Area within North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany

The Ruhr (German Ruhrgebiet, colloquial Ruhrpott, Kohlenpott, Pott or Revier) is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 7.3 million (2008), it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany. It consists of several large, formerly industrial cities bordered by the rivers Ruhr to the south, Rhine to the west, and Lippe to the north. In the Southwest it borders on the Bergisches Land. It is considered part of the larger Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area of more than 12 million people.

Since the Ruhr is polycentric, coordinates shown are general in nature and so can be used to focus on the entire area of the Ruhr: 51°30′N 7°30′E / 51.5°N 7.5°E / 51.5; 7.5.

From west to east, the area includes the city boroughs of Duisburg, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Herne, Hagen, Dortmund, and Hamm, as well as parts of the more "rural" districts Wesel, Recklinghausen, Unna and Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis. Historically, the western Ruhr towns, such as Duisburg and Essen, belonged to the historic region of the Rhineland, whereas the eastern part of the Ruhr Area, including Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund and Hamm, were part of the region of Westphalia. Since the 19th century, these districts have grown together into a large complex with a vast industrial landscape, inhabited by some 7.3 million people, the fourth largest urban area in Europe after Moscow, London and Paris.

In 2010 The Ruhr became "European Capital of Culture" [1]



Map of the Ruhr Area

The urban landscape of the Ruhr Area extends from the Lower Rhine Basin east onto the Westphalian Plain and south onto the hills of the Rhenish Massif. Through the centre of the Ruhr Area runs a segment of the loess belt that extends across Germany from west to east. Historically, this loess belt has underlain some of Germany's richest agricultural regions.

Geologically, the region is defined by the occurrence of coal-bearing layers from the upper Carboniferous period, more or less independent of their depth. The coal seams reach the surface in a strip along the River Ruhr and dips downward from the river to the north. Beneath the River Lippe, the coal seams lie at a depth of 600 to 800 metres (2,000 to 2,600 feet). The thickness of the coal layers ranges from one to three metres (three to ten feet). This geological feature played a decisive role in the development of coal mining in the Ruhr Area.

According to the Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR, Ruhr Regional Association), 37.6% of the region’s area is built up. A total of 40.7% of the region’s land remains in agricultural use. Forests account for 17.6% of the region’s area. Bodies of water and other types of land use occupy the rest of the Ruhr Area’s land. The inclusion of four mainly rural districts in the otherwise mainly industrial Ruhr Area helps to explain the large proportion of agricultural and forested land. In addition, the city boroughs of the Ruhr Area have outlying districts with a rural character.

Seen on a map, the Ruhr Area could be considered a single city, since—at least in the north-south dimension—there are no visible breaks between the individual city boroughs. For this reason, the Ruhr Area is described as a polycentric urban area. The area is characterized by a similar history of urban and economic development.

Because of its history, the Ruhr Area is structured differently from monocentric urban regions such as Berlin and London, which developed through the rapid merger of smaller towns and villages with a growing central city. Instead, the individual city boroughs and urban districts of the Ruhr Area grew independently of one another during the Industrial Revolution. While large European cities typically have population densities of up to 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometre (about 50,000 per square mile), the population density of the central Ruhr Area—with only about 2,100 inhabitants per square kilometre (about 5,400 per square mile)—is thin compared to other German cities.

The transitions from one Ruhr city to another consist of relatively open suburbs and even open or agricultural fields. In some places, the borders between cities in the central Ruhr Area are unrecognizable due to continuous development across them.

Replanting of brownfield land has created new parks and recreation areas. The Emscher Landschaftspark (Emscher Landscape Park) lies along the River Emscher, formerly virtually an open sewer, parts of which have undergone natural restoration. This park connects strips of parkland running from north to south, which were developed through the regional planning in the 1920s, to form a green belt between the Ruhr cities from east to west.


Zeche Zollern in Dortmund

The Ruhr Area first developed as an urban region during the Industrial Revolution. Before industrialisation began in the early 19th century, the region was mostly agrarian and indistinguishable from surrounding parts of Westphalia and the Rhineland. Its loess soil made it one of the richer parts of western Germany.

During the Middle Ages, much of region that later became the Ruhr Area lay within the counties of Berg, Mark, and Cleves. Other parts lay within the territories of the bishops of Münster and the archbishops of Cologne. The Hellweg, an important trade route, crossed the future Ruhr Area from east to west. Trade along the Hellweg spurred the growth of the medieval cities of Duisburg and Dortmund. Both were members of the Hanseatic League, and Dortmund was a free imperial city.

Industrialization began in the region with the establishment of several iron works in the late 18th century within the borders of the present-day city of Oberhausen. During the same period, locks built at Mülheim on the Ruhr allowed the expansion of coal mining further up the river and led to the expansion of Mülheim as a port. Development of the Ruhr Area’s coal deposits fueled further expansion of its iron and steel industry.

By 1850, almost 300 coal mines were in operation in the region. The coal was processed in coking ovens into coke, which was needed to fuel the region’s blast furnaces, which produced iron and steel. Before the coal deposits along the Ruhr were used up, new mines were sunk farther north. The Ruhr Area’s mining industry migrated northward from the Ruhr to the Emscher and finally to the Lippe, sinking ever deeper mines as it went. The expansion of railways across Germany beginning in the mid-19th century gave further impetus to the Ruhr Area’s iron and steel industry.

Employers recruited workers to the Ruhr Area’s mines and steel mills as industry expanded. The population climbed rapidly. The old cities along the Hellweg experienced rapid growth. Former villages developed into cities. Skilled workers in the mines were often housed in so-called miners’ colonies, many built by the mining firms. The Ruhr coal-mining district grew into the largest industrial region of Europe.

In March 1921, French and Belgian troops occupied Duisburg, which formed part of the demilitarised Rhineland, according to the Treaty of Versailles. In January 1923 French and Belgian forces occupied the rest of the Ruhr area as a reprisal after Germany failed to fulfill reparation payments demanded by the Versailles Treaty. The German government answered with "passive resistance," which meant that coal miners and railway workers refused to obey any instructions by the occupation forces. Production and transportation came to a standstill, but the financial consequences contributed to German hyperinflation and completely ruined public finances in Germany. Consequently, passive resistance was called off in late 1923. The end of passive resistance in the Ruhr allowed Germany to undertake a currency reform and to negotiate the Dawes Plan, which led to the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr Area in 1925.

WWII Ruhr Bombing Operations

1943 March: Battle of the Ruhr
1943 May: Operation Chastise
1944 October: Operation Hurricane
1944 September: Bombing of German oil facilities during World War II

Map from March 1946 showing details of a French post war proposals for the detachment of an expanded Ruhr area from Germany.

World War II

During World War II, the "Ruhr 1940–1945" bombing caused a loss of 30% of plant and equipment (compared to 15–20% for the entire German industry).[1] A second battle of the Ruhr (6/7 October 1944–end of 1944) is claimed to have begun with an attack on Dortmund.[2] In addition to the strategic bombing of the Ruhr Area, in April 1945, the Allies trapped several hundred thousand Wehrmacht troops in the Ruhr Pocket.

Post-World War II

The Level of Industry plans for Germany abolished all German munitions factories and civilian industries that could support them and severely restricted civilian industries of military potential. The French Monnet Plan pushed for an internationalization of the area,[3] and the subsequent Ruhr Agreement was imposed as a condition for permitting for establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany.[4]

During the Cold War, the Western allies anticipated that any Red Army thrust into Western Europe would begin in the Fulda Gap and have the Ruhr Area as a primary target. Increased German control of the area was limited by the pooling of German coal and steel into a multinational community in 1951. The nearby Saar area, containing much of Germany's remaining coal deposits, was handed over to economic administration by France as a protectorate in 1947 and did not politically return to Germany until January 1957, with economic reintegration occurring two years later. Parallel to the question of political control of the Ruhr, the Allies conducted an effort to decrease German industrial potential by limitations on production and dismantling of factories and steel plants, predominantly in the Ruhr. By 1950, after the virtual completion of the by-then much watered-down "level of industry" plans, equipment had been removed from 706 manufacturing plants in the west, and steel production capacity had been reduced by 6.7 million tons.[5] Dismantling finally ended in 1951.

As demand for coal slowly decreased after 1958, the area went through phases of structural crisis (see steel crisis) and industrial diversification, first developing traditional heavy industry, then moving into service industries and high technology. The air and water pollution of the area are largely a thing of the past. In 2005 Essen[6] was the official candidate for nomination as European Capital of Culture for 2010.


The local dialect of German is commonly called Ruhrdeutsch or Ruhrpottdeutsch, although there is really no uniform dialect that justifies designation as a single dialect. It is rather a working class sociolect with influences from the various dialects found in the area and changing even with the professions of the workers. A major common influence stems from the coal mining tradition of the area. For example, quite a few locals prefer to call the Ruhr Area either "Ruhrpott", where "Pott" is a derivate of "Pütt" (pitmen's term for mine; cp. the English "pit"), or "Revier".


Italian Gastarbeiter, working at the Walsum mine (Duisburg)

During the 19th century the Ruhr area attracted up to 500,000 ethnic Poles, Masurians and Silesians from East Prussia and Silesia in a migration known as Ostflucht. By 1925, the Ruhrgebiet had around 3.8 million inhabitants. Most of the new inhabitants migrated from Eastern Europe, however, immigrants also came from France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has been claimed that immigrants came to the Ruhr from over 140 different nations. Almost all of their descendants today speak German only and consider themselves Germans, with only their Polish family names remaining as a sign of their past.

In 1900, the main concentrations of the Polish minority were:

After World War II, even more immigrants flocked from the east. These guest workers or Gastarbeiter came mostly from Italy, Yugoslavia and Turkey and since the fall of communism most other Eastern European countries as well.


The city of Essen (representing the Ruhr area) was selected as European Capital of Culture for 2010 by the Council of the European Union.

Public transport

All public transport companies in the Ruhr Area are run under the umbrella of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr, which provides a uniform ticket system valid for the entire area. The Ruhr Area is well-integrated into the Deutsche Bahn, both in passenger and cargo rail.

See also


  1. ^ Botting (1985), p. 125
  2. ^ Bishop,
  3. ^ French Directorate for Economic Affairs, Memorandum on the separation of the German industrial regions, 8 September 1945
  4. ^ Yoder (1955), pp. 345–358
  5. ^ Gareau (1961), pp. 517–534
  6. ^ "Essen for the Ruhrgebiet"


  • Botting, Douglas (1985). From the Ruins of the Reich: Germany 1945–1949. New York: Crown Publishing. ISBN 0-517-55865-3. 
  • Bishop, Patrick. Bomber Boys Fighting Back 1940–1945
  • French Directorate for Economic Affairs, Memorandum on the separation of the German industrial regions, 8 September 1945.
  • Gareau, Frederick H. "Morgenthau's Plan for Industrial Disarmament in Germany" in The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Jun., 1961), pp. 517–53
  • Yoder, Amos. The Ruhr Authority and the German Problem in The Review of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jul., 1955), pp. 345–358

Further reading

  • Kift, Roy, 'Tour the Ruhr – the English language guide' (third updated edition 2008) (ISBN 3-88474-815-7 Klartext Verlag, Essen [2]
  • Berndt, Christian. Corporate Germany Between Globalization and Regional Place Dependence: Business Restructuring in the Ruhr Area (2001)
  • Crew, David. Town in the Ruhr: A Social History of Rochum, 1860–1914 (1979) (ISBN 0231043007)
  • Gillingham, John. Industry and Politics in the Third Reich: Ruhr Coal, Hitler, and Europe (1985) (ISBN 0231062605)
  • Chauncy D. Harris, "The Ruhr Coal-mining District," Geographical Review, 36 (1946), 194–221.
  • Norman J. G. Pounds. The Ruhr: A Study in Historical and Economic Geography (1952) online
  • Royal Jae Schmidt. Versailles and the Ruhr: Seedbed of World War II (1968)
  • Elaine Glovka Spencer. Management and Labor in Imperial Germany: Ruhr Industrialists as Employers, 1896–1914. Rutgers University Press. (1984) online

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Ruhr article)

From Wikitravel

The Ruhr area (German: Ruhrgebiet ) is a region of state North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. The region was formed during the 20th century by montan industry (coal and steel) and runs currently through a structural transformation which makes it to one of the most dynamic regions in Europe. Its extension is limited by river Ruhr in the south, river Lippe in the north, river Rhine in the west and the city of Hamm in the east. That makes about 100 kilometers from west to east and about 40 kilometers from north to south. About 5.3 Million people live in the Ruhr Area, which makes it beside London and Paris to the third largest metropolitan region in Middle Europe.

Map Ruhr Area
Map Ruhr Area


The region consists of the main cities

the peripheral and smaller cities

the counties

  • Recklinghausen
  • Wesel
  • Unna
  • Ennepe-Ruhr

A common representative of the communities is Regionalverband Ruhr[12]
The city of Düsseldorf, state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, is located very close to the Ruhr Area, but not part of it.

panorama view of the Ruhr Area
panorama view of the Ruhr Area


From outside the region is often called simply 'The Ruhr'. Do not confuse it with the river Ruhr, from which the region got its name.

A rural region, which was the Ruhr area till 1850, became within 50 years the heart of heavy industry of Germany. Population increases in this time by 50 times. People imigrated from everywhere in Europe, but mainly from East-Prussia. Today the Ruhr area is still a densely populated part of Germany with around 5.3 million people. In the last decades of the 20th century a structural transformation began. Most mines and steel mills were closed down, the remaining updated to the current state of the art. New key technologies are IT, research, solar energy, logistic and medicine engineering althrough about 30% of the european streel production still comes from the Ruhr. Pollution of air and water has come to an end and the region has more parks, leasure grounds and rural districts than most visitors expect.

But the people's identity is still strongly derived from the formerly prevailing heavy industry. They are proud of their industrial heritage. Often former industrial buildings are re-used as stages, theatres, museums or exebition halls. They offer a extraordinary atmosphere. Some pithead towers have become the landmark of technology parks. So the skyline of some districts look like before although mining has nearly came to an end.

To characterize the region in a few keywords: diversity and structural transformation

The Ruhr Area offers a wide rage of cultural events and needs not to fear the comparison with any other European Metropolis.
In 2010 the Ruhr Area, represented by the city of Essen, will obtain the title European Capital of Culture 2010.

Heavy Industry nearby Bottrop
Heavy Industry nearby Bottrop
the green side of The Ruhr: Meadows at the banks of River Ruhr
the green side of The Ruhr: Meadows at the banks of River Ruhr
Bochum Downtown: Massenberg Boulevard
Bochum Downtown: Massenberg Boulevard
... and this is also The Ruhr: medival City Center of Hattingen
... and this is also The Ruhr: medival City Center of Hattingen
coal seam at the surface in Mutten-valley
coal seam at the surface in Mutten-valley
Theatre in former factory building: Colosseum Theater
Theatre in former factory building: Colosseum Theater


Do not expect that everyone understands English, although most people had English lessons at school. You will have fewer problems if you are able to communicate in German. But communication in English is possible if you do not hesistate to ask the next guy if the first one does not nderstand you. At some qarters you will find a lot of people able to talk Turkish and, according to the immigration of the last decade, some guys with Polisch or Russian language. Other languages are not very common.

Most ticket machines at stations, underground and bus stop can be switched to English and ofter to French, Dutch or Turkish.

Get in

By plane

Düsseldorf international (DUS)[13]

Düsseldorf has excellent highway connections. By car you can be inside the Ruhr Area in about 15 minutes. Or take the train. The airport has two stations. Take the S-Bahn from the terminal station to Düsseldorf main station and from there the Regional-Express towards Duisburg. Or use the overhead railway 'Skytrain' to get to long-distance station (about five minutes) and from there the Regional-Express towards Duisburg. For early morning departures, a direct RegionalExpress train runs from the Ruhr area to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station.

Airport Dortmund (DTM) [14] Shuttle buses to Dortmund main railway station and Holzwickede railway station. Public transport buses towards Unna and Dortmund-Aplerbeck Stadtbahn station.

Airport Weeze-Niederrhein (NRN)[15] Public transport bus towards Duisburg and Essen.

By train

The Ruhr is well-connected by several long-distance trains from the East, North and South. From the West, passengers need to change trains at Cologne (from Brussels) or Viersen (from Venlo).

By bus

Direct long-distance buses run from many major European cities. Deutsche Touring[16] is the major operator.

Get around

Since most cities have their separate transport association the coordination is not always the best. But they are all linked together including trains like S-Bahn and Regionals-Express by Verkehrsverbund Rhein Ruhr (VRR) and Tarifraum Münsterland/Ruhr-Lippe (VRL) at the eastern limits. Look for tarifs and timetables there. Within a city use bus, tram or underground. Many lines cross city limits several times during their route, this is common and should not be considered alarming. Since most cities in the region blend into one another, traveling across cities is possible but slow. However riding a bus or tram can give you insights you will get nowhere else. If you are short on time, use the S-Bahn or Regional-Express. These are trains, you will have to get to the nearest station. They all have the same pricing system so that the tickets are valid for all vehicles within the borderlines of the VRR on one hand and VRL on the other hand. For change from VRR to VRL and vice versa exists special conditions. Refer to the internet sites or contact one of the information offices of the organisations.

Tariff, Tickets

There are 5 fare levels. As a rule of thumb: if you travel 3-4 bus stops or 1.5 km (different rules for each city) you need level K, for travelling within one city or two adjacent suburbs you need level A, for a ride to the next neighbour city fare level B is needed, if you transit to a neighbour city of a neighbour city use level C and level D is for rides to any location within the area of VRR.

You can obtain tickets from the customer offices of the local transport association, from the ticket-machines at the subway stations, from ticket machines within the trams, from bus drivers and from designated kiosks. If there is a ticket machine at a station, it is usually not possible to buy a ticket within the vehicle. Even if you just enter the platforms of a subway station without holding a valid ticket, you may be fined.

Do not forget to stamp you ticket before you enter a vehicle. The orange stamp-boxes are located at the entrance of the platforms of subway and trains, within trams and busses.

If you depart from a station without the possibility to buy tickets and without a ticket machine onboard the train, you need to ask the conductor or - if there is none - the driver what to do.


Information about timetables and routes you can obtain here

Regional Transport

Regional Trains may be used with tickets of VRR within the VRR-area.


Going by Taxi is quite expansive. Calculate a price of about 1.6 Euros per kilometer plus a onetine charge from the approach.


It is impossible to specify all places to go of the region here, it would be a good idea to refer the sites of the cities making the Ruhr also. So only the highlights are listed here. Also the site of ReginalVerband Ruhr [17] is worth visiting.

  • Bochum: Mining Museum.
  • Bottrop: Ascent the Tetraeder situated on rock-dump Prosper/Haniel. Thge dump has a hight of 90 Meters, the Tetraeder is 60 Meter high. The view from top onto the Ruhr is nonrecurring - but select a day with fine weather.
  • Dortmund: DASA
  • Duisburg: Habour Trip
  • Essen: World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein.
  • Hagen: open air museum
  • Waltrop: Ship Lift Henrichenburg
  • Witten: Mutten-valley
  • Bochum: Eisenbahnmuseum (Railway Museum) - one of the biggest of its kind
  • Dortmund: Zeche Zollern (Mine Zollern) - a mine with the sharpe of a palace
  • Duisburg Inner Habour - from industrial plant to an fascinating residential and leisure quarter
  • Duisburg: Binnenschifffahrtsmuseum (Inland Waterway Museum) - all about inland water transport
  • Duisburg: Landschaftspark (Landscape Park) - the steel plant Meiderich as a park, highlight is the accessible furnace
  • Essen: old synagogue - an exhibition about jewish life and culture
  • Essen: Villa Hügel - the palace of the family Kupp
  • Hagen: Hohenhof - the villa of the Hagener Impulse, an ensemble of art nouveau
  • Hamm: Tamil Temple Sri Kamadchi Ampal
  • Marl: Chemiepark - the superlative chemistry set
  • Mülheim an der Ruhr: Aquarius - an exhibition about water with lots of hands on activities
  • Oberhausen: Centro/neue Mitte (new center) and Gasometer (Gas-Tank) - most modern shopping center and largest exhibition hall

Industrial Heritage

Industrial Heritage Trail

The most interesting sites of the industrial heritage are combined under the keyword Industrial Heritage Trail[18]. The is a fine brochure which you can download as a pdf-file here.


  • Zeche Zollverein and Red-Dot-Museum. Colliery Zollverein, World Heritage Site, has become a symbol of the structural transformation. See that functional architecture can also be beautiful. There is also an information office for the Ruhr Area and the Industrial Heritage Trail. Open (Information Office) (April-Oktober) daily 10-19.00, (November-March) daily 10-17.00, fridays till 19.00, Gelsenkirchener Straße 181, 45309 Essen, Tel: 0201 83036 - 36, free entrance, guided tours are charged
  • Gasometer Oberhausen Europe's largest disc-type gas holder (117 m high) has been converted into an extraordinary exhibition hall Open Tue-Sun, holidays 10-18.00, Arenastraße 11, 46047 Oberhausen (Neue Mitte), Tel: +49 208 850 37 30
  • Mine Zollern in Dortmund is a large old coal mine in the art nouveau style. A mine like a palace. Open Tue-Sun, holidays: 10-18.00, Grubenweg 5, 44388 Dortmund (suburb Bövinghausen), Tel: 0231 6961-111

Characteristic for The Ruhr are Workers Settlements and Rock Dumps.

Between 1850 and 1900 the population of Bochum increased from about 4500 to 100,000 by immigration. It would be absolutely impossible to offer enough living space and infra structure by the commune. In order to avoid slums companies began to erect settlements, supermarkets and hospitals for their employees aside their grounds. Even if the companies knew to combine this with their own benefits, it was also a social act. It prevented ghettos and poverty. The living conditions in those settlements was above the standard of that times. Often build in the style of a garden city they are preferred quarters today. The most interesting settlements are:

Workers Settlements

Bergarbeiter Siedlung Dahlhauser Heide
Bergarbeiter Siedlung Dahlhauser Heide
  • Eisenheim in Oberhausen was founded in 1846 for the workers of steel plant Gutehoffnungshütte. The still remainingt 38 houses are the oldest workers settlement at the Ruhr.
  • Margarethenhöhe in Essen is the best known and and probably nicest settlement at the Ruhr. It bases on a foundation of Margarethe Kupp as a garden city ba plans of architectc Georg Metzendorf.
  • Dahlhauser Heide in Bochum-Hordel: no doupt - the showcase-mine of the Krupp-trust needed a adequate settlements for its workers. The settlement Dahlhauser Heide, the name was given by a former estate, was built from 1907 to 1915 in a style of a garden city.
  • Settlement Teutoburgia in Herne-Börnig, is traeted as one of the nicest garden cities at the Ruhr. The variation of only 4 different types of houses resulted in a very diversified ensemble. It was built in 1909 to 1923 for the employees of mine Teutoburgia.

Rock Dumps

With increasing degree of mechanisation of mining the part of unusable rocks brought to daylight increased. Onla a part of them could used to fill those given up galleries underground. The rest was dumped to sometimes to considerable hills. Within the flat landscape of the northern Ruhr they form a apparent skyline. Most of the dumps are opened for public now.

  • Dump Haniel in Bottrop is with its 160 meters one of the highest dumps. The peak bears a crux made by guide rails, which is the end of a Via Dolorosa. Elements of mining technology form the 15 stations of the Via Dolorosa, copper plates designed by the artist Tisa von Schulenburg - also known as nun Paula - connect to religios topics and the Good Friday procession here in industrial surrounding has a long tradition. Also beneath the peak you will find a amphitheater with 800 seats, called the Mountain Arena. It is stage for some theater-plays and events. And last not least the dump bears an installation of the spanish sculptor Agustin Ibarrola. Its name is „Totems“ and it consists of 100 railroad ties. It forms a link between the industrial ambiente and nature.
  • The Dump of Mine Prosper in Bottrop, about 90 meters, with the Tetraeder, a accessable framework of steel tubes of 60 meters height. Here you can experience whether you a really free from giddiness. But from top the panorama is grand. At nighttime the Tetraeder is illuminated and forms a visible landmark.
  • Hoppenbruch in Herten, has a level of 70 meters. This dump is opened for public since many years, its trees and vegetation are rown up to goody hight. So you can walk on fine tracks or small pathes to the peak, which are two of them. On the northern one you will find a windmill and a lot of plates giving some information about wind. Also mountain bikers like this dump for training. Location: map.
  • Hoheward in Herten has with 150 meters a respectable level. It is situated right hand to Hoppenbruch, together they form the most extended dump scenery in Europ. The eastern part is opend for public. The plateau bears the season observation plant. As of January 2010 the plateau is acessible, but not open to the public. Even without the observatory there is a stagering view of the surrounding cities. They also plan to build a open air stage with catering in 2009. And they think about the realisation of a "sky lake".
  • Dump Großes Holz (big forrest) in Kamen
  • The former house of the industrial family Krupp Villa Hügel (in english: "Hill House") is situated in a pitoresque hillside above lake Baldeney. What Alfred Krupp called a country estate is in fact the "Buckingham Palace of the Ruhr". Open: the park is open daily from 8.00 to 20.00, the estate is open daily apart from Mondays from 10.00 to 18.00, Villa Hügel, 45133 Essen, Phone: + 49 - (0)201 - 61 62 9 - 0


Technical Museums

  • German Mining Museum in Bochum, one of the largest of its kind. Open Tue-Fri: 8.30 - 17.00, Sunday, saturday and holiday: 10.00 - 17.00, Am Bergbaumuseum 28, 44791 Bochum
  • German Railway Museum in Bochum's suburb Dahlhausen. Open from March till mid od November, Tue-Fri and sun- and holydays: 10-17.00, Dr.-C.-Otto-Straße 191, 44879 Bochum
  • The Museum of Heavy Industry in Oberhausen presents an overview of heavy industry at the Ruhr. Open Tue-Sun: 10-17.00, Hansastraße 20, 46049 Oberhausen
  • Deutsche Arbeitsschutz Ausstellung (DASA) in Dortmund. In spite of the name German Occupational Safte and Health Exebition it is a very interesting museum dealing with many branches of work with a lot of hands-on activities. Open Tue-Sat: 9-17.00, Sundays: 10-17.00 charge 3 €, Friedrich-Henkel-Weg 1-25. 44149 Dortmund
  • Open air museum of craftmanship in Hagen. Over 60 crafts and trades of a period from the late 18th century to the end of the 19th century are presented. You can watch working methods in action inside a lot of authentic buildings that strech over a lovely hillside. Open from April till end of October, Tue-Sun: 9-18.00, Mäckingerbachtal, 58091 Hagen
  • The Muttental a nice valley within a forrest near Witten (Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis) presents equipments and galleries from the beginning of mining. Open every time, free entrance


  • Worth seeing are the changing exhibitions in the Folkwang Museum in Essen. Open Tue-Sun: 10-18.00, Kahrstraße 16, 45128 Essen, Phone: +49 (0)201 8845301
  • The Museum am Ostwall in [Dortmund] is dedicated to arts of the 20th and 21st century. OPEN Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun 10-17.00, Thu 10-20.00, Sat 12-17.00, Ostwall 7, 44122 Dortmund
  • A special kind of zoo is Zoom Erlebniswelt [19] in Gelsenkirchen, it is imitating the natural surrounding of the animals.
  • The Chinese Garden [20] in Bochum is the only one in south chinese style. It is situated inside the botanic garden of the Ruhr University. Open (April–September) 9-18.00, (October-March)9-16.00, Entry is admission free.
  • Botanic Garden Westfalenpark [21] in Dortmund
  • Botanic Garden Gruga [22] in Essen
  • Leasure park Nordsternpark [23] in Gelsenkirchen, landscape park designed for the National Garden Show in 1997. It does not deny its industrial past. Highlights are the goat farm, the crag, the mining gallery and the "Deutschlandexpress", a very large model railway installation. Many attractions are admission free.
  • Maximilianpark in Hamm, leisure park on the ground of former mine Maximilian. Its highlight the the butterfly-house and the glass elephant which has been built onto the disused coal washery. The central electric power house and the washrooms are now a stage for a wide range of cultural activities and shows.


Theatre, Musicals

The municipal Theatre in Bochum has an excellet repution.

A lot of private Theatres in all cities offer excellent shows. Ask at the tourist offices of the cities for addresses and shows.

Musical Starlight Express in Bochum is amoung the most successful musicals worldwide.

Visit Colosseum Theatre in Essen. It is a former production hall with an wonderful industrial ambiente.

The play and concert festival Ruhr Triennale offers a wide range of events spread all over the region.

Another example for the re-use of a former industrial building is the Jahrhunderhalle (Hall of the Century) in Bochum - one of the most extraordinary stages worldwide.


Every year at the first weekend of summer schoolout starts Bochum Total. For 4 days the city turns into a stage for rock music.

In 2010 Duisburg will host the Love Parade, Gelsenkirchen will follow in 2011.


In May the Ruhr Marathon takes place with about 20.000 athletes and 100.000 viewers. You must have seen it.

Football/Soccer is the most popular sport in the region. Every town has several pitches and in the summer there are few grassy areas not used for playing. The Ruhr also has several professional football teams, creating at times an intense rivalry. The most intense is between supporters of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. As a rule of thumb you should avoid wearing football jersies in blue and white in Dortmund and yellow and black in Gelsenkirchen. The rivalry between these two teams rarely turns into violence, but the atmosphere can get a bit hostile, especially if you don't understand the people. Bochum, Oberhausen and Duisburg also have professional teams, but these are considered non-contenders by supporters of the two big teams. Matchdays are between Friday and Sunday and can lead to heavy traffic on the roads, the autobahn and in public transport. You should behave like the locals and avoid the playing cities on matchday, unless you have tickets for the match.

Excellent conditions for cycling offer the Ruhrtalradweg with a length of about 230 kilometers through rural regions, the Emscher Radweg leads 225 kilometers beside river Emscher and Rhein-Herne-Canal through industrial panorama. For short trips Lake Kemnade and Lake Baldeney (not at the weekend) as well as the Ore-Route (Erzbahntrasse - without any crossing) from Bochum Westpark to river Emscher with connection (from October 2008) to Emscher-Route and Kray-Wanner-Route (5 street-crossings) from Colliery Zollverein towards to the city of Wanne-Eickel with connection to Ore-Route. Both routes offer an excellent view on industry surroundings, settlements and suburbs.

Inline scating you can do very well around Lake Kemnade (9/11 Kilometers) at the southern limits of Bochum and Lake Baldeney (16 kilometers) at the southern limits of Essen. But avoid to visit this locations at the weekend - it will be too crowded.

For jogging the routes above are very suitable but also Nordsternpark at Gelsenkirchen, Gyserberg-Park at Herne and Rombergpark at Dortmund (for all of them entry admission free)



The city centers of Duisburg, Essen, Bochum und Dortmund offer excellent shopping conditions.

Popular shopping centers are Centro at Oberhausen, Rhein-Ruhr-Zentrum at Mülheim, Limbecker Platz in Essen and Ruhr Park Bochum.


Buy a pit lamp.



The traditional Ruhr cuisine has died out. Today it is mainly an international cuisine with influences from Westphalia and Rhineland as well as from the mediterranian cuisine. Since a high percentage of the population has a migration background and germans like to taste foreign food you will find a lot of foreign restaurants. Most of all Italian, Greek or Chineses restaurants, but also Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Egyptian, Arabic, Mongolian, Russian, Indian and Japonese restaurants. All those who like pancake should visit a 'Pfannkuchenhaus'. There is a wide variation of covering, you can get them sweet or with bacon, meat or vegetables.

Dishes of the season

During all months ending with letter 'r' (in german January and February also) blue mussels are offered.

During May fresh asparagus (white or green)is available.

Fast Food

The most common fast food is Pizza and Döner.

The typical German 'Currywurst', a fried sausage with ketchup and curry powder is available everywhere. But insiders say the best one you will get in Bochum made by 'Dönninghaus'.


Cafes and ice cream palours are very common. On warm days many of them offer some tables at the pavement where you can see and watch and beeing watched.


The traditional drink is Pils, simply called beer. Not so long ago the region had the highest density of brewing houses in Germany. The decline of heavy industry followed a decline of breweries. Local breweries are still Fiege from Bochum und König Pilsener from Duisburg (slightly bitter). An excellent beer from a smaller brewing house with smooth taste is 'Borbecker Dampfbier', but it is not available everywhere; the same applies to 'Rüttenscheider' which you will only get in Rüttenscheid (a suburb of Essen).

Stay Safe

The cities within the Ruhr area are amoung the safest in Germany. Since the Ruhr area is until now not a tourist region, it is not in the focus of pickpockets. But it is a good idea to take the usual precautions. Don't leave you camera unattended, don't flash around a fat wallet. Since many citizens have a migration background, the acceptance of strangers is high and the possibility of encountering racism or other prejudices is low. Owing to unemployment and the demise of the once excellent German social system, beggars and bottle collectors are becoming a rather common problem, but they are usually harmless.


The main rule about the central European climate is that you cannot predict the weather. Summers can be cold and wet, while April is warm and sunny. But in general the best chance for sun will be from May to August and in October. July and August can become very hot with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. In wintertime, from December to February, the average temperature is about zero. Winter is not generally recommended for travelling to the Ruhr area, but on the other hand in December, Germany's famous Christmas markets take place. The Christmas markets in Dortmund and Münster are definitely worth a visit.

Simple English

The Ruhr Area (German: Ruhrgebiet) is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Many of the cities in the Ruhrgebiet used to have a lot of heavy industry.

The Ruhr Area is bordered by the rivers Ruhr River to the south, Rhine River to the west, and Lippe to the north. Southwest it borders the Bergisches Land.

The area has about 5.3 million inhabitants, and is part of the larger Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area of more than 12 million people.

The Ruhr Area consists of the cities of Duisburg, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Herne, Hamm, Hagen and Dortmund and the rural districts of Wesel, Recklinghausen, Unna and Ennepe-Ruhr


The city of Essen in the Ruhr area was selected as European Capital of Culture for 2010 by the Council of the European Union.

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