Coal Pot? Outdated Image of an Underrated Region
Favorite thing: The Ruhr District, nicknamed the Kohlenpott (coal pot), is one of the most underestimated regions in Germany and beyond. The general image involves coal and steel industry, bad air, grey cities and no green at all in those few bits of landscape that are left between cities. This was valid three, four decades ago but is long outdated. Since the late 1980s the Ruhrgebiet underwent a profound change from an industrial zone to a region of culture and high tech.
The coal ressources were exploited by around 1985/1990. First the mines died, then the steel mills. There is some coal remaining along the northern edge of the area but it is deep down and accessible only with enormous efforts, costs and dangers. Only four mines are still working (2010) but with high state subventions. EU politicians have recently decided to close them down in the near future, despite protests.
The death of the heavy industries lead to high unemployment and hopelessness at first. However, things have changed and ideas have changed and the region is on the way into a new future.
The change started with the International Architecture Exhibition (IBA) and the ambitious project Emscher Park. The Emscher, a river that became a canalized drain through the worst part of the industrial zone. This underdevelopped area with its factory and mine ruins was to be turned into the "Route of Industrial Culture" with technical monuments, attractions, new housing quarters and green nature. The planners' imagination found new uses for the huge, impressive buildings of mines, steel mills, factory halls, gas tanks, power plants. They became art exhibition halls, dance clubs, cinemas, freeclimbing centres, concert halls, museums, landscape parks... The flagship, Zollverein coal mine (see things to do tipps), achieved the status of UNESCO World Heritage in 2001.
Fondest memory: Today's "Coal Pot" is a green landscape with clear sky, lakes and rivers. 5 million people live in "Germany's biggest village". People are down-to-earth, open-minded, rough but hearty. Although there are of course rivalries between neighbouring suburbs and cities and between the fans of neighbouring soccer clubs, there is a general "Ruhrpott" identity.
The Ruhrgebiet consists of 53 separate cities. Dortmund and Essen are the biggest with more than 500,000 inhabitants each. Each of them offers everything city life requires. The density of opera houses, first and second league soccer stadiums, museums, shopping centres, nightlife... is higher than anywhere else. Cultural life is as varied and vibrant as in a metropolis like Berlin, Paris, London. There is heaps to do and see within short distances. All cities are well interconnected by trains and S-Bahn so city hopping is easy. One would need a year to see them all and do them justice.
Named European Capital of Culture for 2010
Favorite thing: The EU Commission has selected Essen as the "European Capital of Culture" for the year 2010. Essen applied for the entire Ruhr region, the industrial heart of Germany.
Touristikzentrale Essen (tourist office)
Favorite thing: The Touristikzentrale Essen (tourist office) is across the street from the Essen Hauptbahnhof (central train station). This office can provide you with information and guidance about the different sights and attractions in the city of Essen and the surrounding area.
Finally I had the time to explorer Essen
Favorite thing: Finally I had the time to explorer Essen a bit, so few tips has been added here.
Anyhow you can check also the official site:
General tourist information
Essen has also a soccer team....
Favorite thing: Essen has also a soccer team. Rot-Weiß Essen, but this team isn't in the major league. It's just in the regional league. But it's a part of Essen and the fans stand behind their players. But bewarned there are also many hooligans and this means trouble.
Also visit: www.rot-weiss-essen.de
You have to visit Werden. It's...
Favorite thing: You have to visit Werden. It's a district of Essen at the river Ruhr. It has a historic and wonderful center with ol churches and historic buildings. But when you visit this district please don't take the car to drive to Werden because it's full of cars and it's very stressful to find a parkingspace. Take the train or busses to come to Werden.
I just realized and thought...
Favorite thing: I just realized and thought about it what you can do when you woke up damn early in the morning, like 5 or 6 am and you don't wanna stay in bed or in the hotel or where you are in the moment. What can you do so early in Essen. Hmm.....I don't know. You can go jogging through one of the many parks here in Essen. On Saturdays and Sundays you can visit a flea market, buy rolls for a nice breakfast or just try to sleep again. There is nothing special in the morning in Essen. Or you take some pictures of the must see activitys in the morninglight.
OK, there are many places you...
Favorite thing: OK, there are many places you must see when you visit Essen. For example Zeche Zollverein (coalmine) It's an old coaldmine.
The lake Baldeney.
GRUGA, a botanical garden.
Sure there are more places you can visit in Essen but I can't remember all these places.
Fondest memory: Because I live here in Essen I have many memorys of Essen. It's really cool to sit with friends in a park on a warm summernight and have fun.
Make a picnic on the Brehminsel (island), in the Ruhr. Not far from Werden.
Fishing at the Ruhr
Fondest memory: I am always fascinated by serene activities like this ~ fishing brings to mind calmness and quiet :-) We had to lower our tone when talking as we did not want to disturb the fish :-))
a very big modern city
Favorite thing: difficult to find in this area a little place without buildings,but at least you are sure to find a pharmacy open night and day
- Adventure Travel
Here is a map of Essen. you...
Favorite thing: Here is a map of Essen. you can find any street and location in Essen.
Map of Essen: http://www.stadtplandienst.de/query;ORT=e;LL=7.013815x51.452493;GR=4'
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