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Regional Profile: Ruhrpott

The Ruhr area – or "Ruhrpott", as Germans affectionately call it – is a former industrial area centrally located in North-Rhine-Westphalia. The region takes its name partly from the river Ruhr, which runs south of this densely populated region. Meanwhile, the word "Pott" comes from "Kohlenpott" (meaning "coal pot") and alludes to the area’s coal-mining past.

A steel factory in Essen during the Ruhr region's industrial heyday, 1920s-
A steel factory in Essen during the Ruhr region's industrial heyday, 1920s© picture alliance / akg-images

For over 2000 years, coal and steel production shaped the region's development. However, the Ruhr area has recently undergone an astonishing transformation, turning one of Europe’s largest industrial regions into a melting pot of cultures and making the area a popular destination for visitors. This reinvention led to the Ruhr area becoming the first region to be named European Capital of Culture in 2010.

The cities and communities of Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Recklinghausen, Unna, Wesel and the Ennepe-Ruhr district form one vibrant and diverse metropolis today, with numerous historical and cultural attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Things to see and do

Zeche Zollverein

Zeche Zollverein in Essen
Zeche Zollverein in Essen© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S
Reminders of the region’s former past can be found throughout the entire area. The former colliery Zeche Zollverein in Essen has become a UNESCO World Heritage in 2001 site hosting various cultural events and activities from theater performances to concerts and exhibitions. Click here for more information (in English):

http://www.zollverein.de/service/english-page

Gasometer

The Oberhausen gasometer by night
The Oberhausen gasometer by night© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S
Built in 1929, the gasometer in Oberhausen - a former storage facility for blast furnace gas - today houses art exhibitions. It is Europe’s tallest exhibition hall, offering a remarkable view of the area from the very top of the gasometer. Reach the observation deck with the glass elevator and enjoy the exhibitions from above. If you are interested to find out more about the gasometer (in English), click here:

http://www.gasometer.de/en/

The German Mining Museum

The German Mining Museum in Bochum invites you to experience the atmosphere in an authentic mine measuring 2.5 km in length. The museum offers insight into the world of mining. Various technical and historical objects are on display, making the museum a renowned research facility for the history of the coal and steel industry. Visitors can go all the way up to the top of the former headframe, from where they have a spectacular view of the Ruhr valley and the city beneath. To learn more about the Museum (in English), click here:

http://www.bergbaumuseum.de/index.php/en/

Landscape Park Duisburg Nord

The Landscape Park Duisburg Nord
The Landscape Park Duisburg Nord© picture alliance / Arco Images

The Landscape Park Duisburg Nord is a park surrounding a spectacularly renovated former steel mill. At night, a light installation by British artist Jonathan Park transforms the scenery into a fascinating sea of light and colour. Find out more about the park (in English) here:

http://en.landschaftspark.de/startseite

The Industrial Heritage Trail

The industrial plants once shaped life in the Ruhr region; today the remains of the region’s past still shape the cityscapes.

The Industrial Heritage Trail invites visitors to embark on a journey through the different attractions industry has left behind. These sites are situated along a 400 km long circuit though the Ruhr valley, leading visitors from former steel mills to coal plants to smokestack workers’ settlements. Nowadays, the soot-shadowed gloom of the past has given way to clear blue skies over an astonishingly beautiful landscape. You can find more information (in English) on the Trail by clicking here:

http://www.metropoleruhr.de/en/home/discovering-experiencing/industrial-heritage-trail.html

Discovery by bicycle, by boat and on foot

Cycling in the Ruhr valley, near Bochum
Cycling in the Ruhr valley, near Bochum© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S
In the Ruhr valley with its many cities and towns visitors will feel like they never left one city before they enter into the next one. Major cities such as Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen and Dortmund are so close to each other that you can travel between them on the suburban railway or even the tram. The Ruhr area and its gorgeous valley attract many visitors every year. So mount your bikes and enjoy a ride through the beautiful Ruhr region! Cyclists can embark on tours along the river, in the countryside and through the remains of the valley’s industrial past. The Ruhr region with its RuhrMetropolis campaign makes it possible that visitors can rent bikes at more than 20 "Revierrad" bicycle stations throughout the region.

A church on the Jakobsweg route
A church on the Jakobsweg route© picture alliance / Christine Koe
However, the same idyllic bike paths are also open to hikers and pedestrians, and the truly ambitious can choose to embark upon the ancient Jacob’s Path (Jakobsweg) pilgrimage route, which leads through Dortmund via Essen to Spain. For more information (in English) on bike and hiking paths, please click here:

http://www.metropoleruhr.de/en/home/discovering-experiencing/cycling-and-hiking.html

Rivers and lakes

A ferry on the Ruhr river
A ferry on the Ruhr river© picture alliance / blickwinkel/S
The Ruhr river's "White Fleet" ferry boats travel up and down the river Ruhr and go all the way to the Baldeneysee. This former water reservoir in Essen is now used as a regional recreational park, where rowing clubs, sailing and surfing schools are situated. Click here for more information (in German):

http://www.baldeneysee.com/startseite.html

The Ruhr area – or "Ruhrpott", as Germans affectionately call it – is a former industrial area centrally located in North-Rhine-Westphalia. The region takes its name partly from the river Ruhr, which runs south of this densely populated region. Meanwhile, the word "Pott" comes from "Kohlenpott" (meaning "coal pot") and alludes to the area’s coal-mining past.

Regional Profile: Ruhrpott

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City Profile: Cologne

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City Profile: Düsseldorf

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.

City Profile: Essen

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