City Profile: Essen

Essen is one of the largest cities in Germany's western Ruhr region, or "Ruhrpott" as the Germans like to call it. A former industrial city mainly known for coal mining and steel production, Essen has transformed over the years into a vibrant, modern urban centre, offering more than its traditional image might indicate whilst staying true to its historic roots.

Things to see and do

Folkwang Museum

Folkwang Museum in Essen
Folkwang Museum in Essen© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S

The Folkwang Museum houses one of Germany's most renowned art collections, spanning 19th century art - including pieces by Van Gogh and Monet - as well as classical modern art, photography, and sculpture. Find more information here (in English):


Baldeneysee and Villa Hügel

A walker with his dog at Baldeneysee in Essen
A walker with his dog at Baldeneysee in Essen© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S

Once a reservoir, Baldeneysee is now a recreational park, home to rowing clubs, sailing and surfing schools. It's also the perfect place to take a summer stroll or head out on a boat ride. Click here for more information (in German only):


Villa Hügel by the Baldeneysee in Essen
Villa Hügel by the Baldeneysee in Essen© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S

Built in 1873 overlooking Baldeneysee, Villa Hügel is the former residence of the Krupp steel dynasty. The mansion gardens offer a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. Today, it is open to the public and plays host to exhibitions and concerts. Find out more here (in English):


Zeche Zollverein

Zeche Zollverein in Essen
Zeche Zollverein in Essen© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S

Zeche Zollverein is symbolic of the Ruhr region's cultural changeability. Built as a coal-fired plant in 1932, it has since attained UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and hosts various cultural events and activities from theatre performances to concerts and exhibitions. Visitors can learn more about Essen's industrial past while experiencing the city's development into a culturally diverse and vibrant place. To learn more click here (in English):


Aalto Theater

Interior of the Aalto Theatre in Essen
Interior of the Aalto Theatre in Essen© picture alliance / dpa

While walking around Essen's centre you might stumble upon the Aalto Music Theater or the Philharmonic Orchestra Building, which draw in audiences all year around. From opera to ballet performances, there's something for everyone. Click here to learn more about Essen's cultural scene (in German only):


International Christmas Market

Essen Christmas Market
Essen Christmas Market© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S

During Christmas time, Essen's international Christmas market brings many people into the city. Visitors can treat themselves to culinary specialties from all over the world and have a look at the various arts and crafts items on display. Be sure not to miss the ice skating rink at Kennedy Square! For more information on the Christmas market click here (in German only):