The city of cities – No place like any other

Home to over 5 million people and one of the largest metropolitan regions in Europe

The Ruhr Area – kindly called “Pott” by locals – is the fifth largest metropolitan region in Europe with over 5 million inhabitants. The region owes its name to the river Ruhr, which runs along its southern borders. Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg, and Essen are the largest cities of the Ruhr Area. The borders between the cities are not always visible at first sight. Therefore, it might happen that you cross the borders of a neighboring city during a walk without noticing it.

From industrial mining to digitalization hub

Industrial mining has shaped the cultural history of the Ruhr Area. Over 200 years of mining, about 3,200 mines were built. The economic expansion was accompanied by a strong population growth. Many of the industrial workers settled down in one of the cities. After the coal crisis in 1957, the region was confronted with a strong structural transformation. However, this gave the metropolis the opportunity to reestablish in other industrial branches. 37 of the 500 largest German companies are located in the Ruhr Area, including for example innogy SE, E.ON SE, RWE AG or ALDI Nord.

The area is also a popular location for start-ups who are interested in digital corporate culture. Different initiatives such as the ruhr:HUB actively support young entrepreneurs by offering them connections to enterprises, investors and scientists. But the area not only attracts job seekers.

Beyond, it is also popular with German as well as international students and researchers. Counting a total of 5 universities and 17 universities of applied sciences, the Ruhr Area provides a lot of space for research and education. It has one of the densest educational and research landscapes in Europe. Besides that, the metropolis also offers a wide range of non-university research, for example in terms of technology parks or start-up centers.

Spending your spare time in the Ruhr Area

If you decide to visit the Ruhr Area, there are some sights you should not miss. A good point to start your tour is the Tiger and Turtle in Duisburg. This large sculpture is modeled after a roller coaster. If you are brave enough to climb the sculpture, you will be rewarded with a view over the surrounding industrial landscape. The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is also worth visiting, since it combines industry, culture and nature. The park has already won its first award: It was voted one of the ten most beautiful city parks in the world by the British newspaper The Guardian. The Landschaftspark offers many leisure activities, such as diving, climbing or hiking. At night, the park becomes a special eye-catcher because it is illuminated by a light installation by a British artist.

If you are interested in learning more about the industrial history of the Ruhr Area, a visit to the Zeche Zollverein in Essen is worthwhile. It is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ruhr region. You can book a guided tour through the mine where the individual steps of the mining process are explained. In case you are more interested in design and culture, the park is still worth a visit. The Red Dot Design Museum is located on the grounds and offers alternating exhibitions of modern art.