Close to home and yet completely 'foreign'
The former coal quarry (Kohlenpott) of Germany, with five million inhabitants one of the largest European agglomerations, is today one of the densest cultural landscapes of the continent. With the metropolises Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Oberhausen and a large number of other cities, the Ruhr area forms a unique urban space full of surprises.
Nowadays there is a lot of space, greenery and culture in the Ruhr area. There are more than 200 museums, shopping centers, fun amusement parks and a large network of cycle paths. Possibly, industrial history appeals to us the most. But even those locations offer so much beauty that members of the more sympathetic sculpted species enjoy it in their own way. And the shopping opportunities in places such as Essen are seen as 'change'.
Location and Region
The Ruhr area is located in western Germany in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and can be reached by car from Utrecht in about an hour and a half. Throughout the region, around 5,7 million people live in 11 larger cities and 42 smaller municipalities. The area of more than 4400 square kilometers is surrounded by rivers. The river Ruhr flows in the south, the Rhine in the west and in the north lies the Lippe.
Cities and themes
The Ruhr area is divided into five so-called visitor portals in 2010. Each portal has one central city with its own theme. So is Bochum the festival and theater city, Dortmund the creative city, the port city Duisburg is "Kulturhafen" Essen artistic and Oberhausen especially popular and spectacular. Many factories, blast furnaces and shaft lifts in these cities have been converted into cultural and tourist attractions and definitely worth a visit.
BEWARE ! Environmental sticker in German city centers
In more and more German city centers, polluting cars are banned. These city centers (Umweltzone) are only accessible with an environmental sticker. NB: this arrangement also applies to foreign tourists. The environmental stickers (Umweltplaketten) are among others for sale at the ANWB.