North Rhine-Westphalia has many items on the menu in 2024 to offer reasons for travelling based on many different preferences. Athletic excitement is not limited to the European championships in football, with as many as four venues in NRW in Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen, and Cologne, but also includes the handball ECH or the bob-and skeleton WCH in Winterberg. Anniversaries such as “75 years of democracy made in Bonn” supplement exhibition openings and a classic festival in the realm of festive events. Touch, immerse yourself, and try out is the motto of newly added offerings such as the MoorErlebnisWelt Bad Driburg or the Wissenswerkstatt Bielefeld.
Large athletic events
Centred on the ball or in the racing sled
The largest number of Bundesliga associations, the oldest clubs, the most emotional derbies: North Rhine-Westphalia has a tradition of loving and playing football. In the context of the 2024 European Championships, the state is beckoning with a great extra helping of football emotions, as well as with currywurst sausage and beer, mining history and World Heritage, inner-city beach, and chocolate. These experiences can be found around the four NRW venues of Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Düsseldorf, and Cologne.
Enthusiasm for ball sports is experiencing a surge early in the year already. The handballers are meeting up for the first men’s European Championships in Germany, and also in NRW, in January 2024. 24 teams will be competing in Düsseldorf, Cologne, and in four other cities for the EHF EURO 2024. The opening game will launch the event in Düsseldorf on 10 January, with the finale following in Cologne on 28 January.
Bob and skeleton-WCH
The Sauerland is focusing on winter sports: A number of world cups is drawing the international athletic elite to Winterberg. Participants in bob & skeleton racing will set out on an artificial ice track that numbers among the most cutting-edge and technically demanding ones in the world. An international top highlight will be added for 2024, when the racing toboggan site in Winterberg is hosting the bob and skeleton world championships from 19 February to 3 March 2024.
Anniversaries and special dates
Democracy, city history, and industrial culture
800th birthday of the city of Siegen
Germany’s greenest city, with the planted ratio of the city area reaching almost 86 percent, is celebrating its anniversary, offering a particularly large number of reasons to drop by. For its 800th anniversary, the city of Siegen is to turn into a stage, starting with a New Year’s concert of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen and continuing through an XXL city festival on the last weekend of August until culminating in a great laser show for New Year’s Eve to illuminate the historical old town. The city area on either side of the river Sieg is also offering many cycling and hiking options year-round, among other things to the eight mountains on which Siegen is built.
650th birthday of the city of Solingen
Solingen is known world-wide as the “City of Blades”. It remains the centre of Germany’s knife and cutlery industry to this day and is the home of the Deutsches Klingenmuseum (German Blade Museum). Count Wilhelm von Berg granted a letter of freedom to the city on 23 February 1374, bestowing city rights on Solingen. That anniversary is reason for celebration with local quarter festivals spread out across the year as well as a great party to mark the middle of the year.
75 years of democracy made in Bonn
Two basic pillars for democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany were laid in Bonn 75 years ago: The German Constitution was declared on 23 May 1949, and the first German Bundestag had its constituting session on 7 September in that same year. A number of anniversary events, including a great festival with “Open House Day” at the Bonn office of the Federal President, an opportunity to visit the Bundesrat and the former plenary hall of the Bundestag in the building that is now the WorldCCBonn is supplemented by history to be experienced up close and hiking offerings year-round. The “Weg der Demokratie” (path of democracy), for example, is leading through the Federal quarter, passing by about 20 historical sites where political history was once written. The round tour starts at the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (house of history of the Federal Republic of Germany) and can also be completed in an extended version that includes sites relevant for political history outside of the government quarter as well.'
25 years route of industrial culture
400 kilometres, 27 anchor points, 17 vantage points, and 13 settlements are witnesses of a century and a half of coal, steel, and history in the Ruhr area that are worth visiting. They form the backbone of the Route der Industriekultur. For a quarter of a century, brown signs with white text have been pointing the way here. The marked route on the streets is supplemented by a bicycle route of 700 km that leads past highlights of industrial-culture such as the Gasometer Oberhausen, Zeche Zollverein in Essen, and the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord. A bicycle summer of industrial culture with a festival to launch the cycling season is planned to mark the anniversary.
The National Park’s 20th and the Eifelsteig’s 15th anniversary
The Eifel has double reason to rejoice as two popular destinations are celebrating big anniversaries this year, along with some great success. Diversity of species has clearly increased in the protected area since the National Park was founded: starting out, 230 endangered species were known to be living there. Today, more than 2,600 species on the Red List have been documented. All in all, more than 11,300 different species have gotten comfortable in the area, including beavers, kites, wild cats, black storks, and wild daffodils. The Eifelsteig trail has been taking hikers through North Rhine-Westphalia’s only National Park for 15 years. The total route of 313 kilometres between Aachen and Trier break down into 15 day segments between 15 and 28 kilometres in length.
Experiencing nature and science in new ways
Moor and modern research
Climate experience world in Oerlinghausen
The new climate experience world is to render the subject of climate change and ways to adapt to it vivid and tangible in future, with buildings illustrating climate-adapted construction using sustainable materials and energy generation. The content will focus on redesigning personal living environments and future-oriented agriculture and forestry, among other things.
MoorErlebnisWelt in Bad Driburg
A trip into the moor without getting your feet wet? This is an option available in the MoorErlebnisWelt Bad Driburg, an interactive experience exhibition centred on the moor as a habitat and a witness of our history, from October 2024 onwards. Interactive offerings in the Moorwunderkammer and the MoorLabor invite visitors to touch and immerse (their hands). https://www.moorerlebniswelt.de
Experience paths around the river Weser
Nature around the river Weser can be experienced on new paths. Nine newly designed hiking and cycling trails make treasures of nature visible and tangible. Six short walking paths and three longer cycling trails share background information on natural and cultural peculiarities by the wayside, including the waterway crossing in Minden and a boulder forest in Petershagen. An app is pointing the way, including some additional offerings such as audio stories and augmented reality.
An innovative hot spot for exchange between research and publicity can be found at the core of Bielefeld’s inner city. Its primary target is that of being fun for everyone. The Wissenswerkstadt is going to make exciting research matters tangible and comprehensible for everyone in experimentation labs, exhibitions, maker spaces, and seminar rooms once it opens its doors in the summer of 2024.
Special cultural experiences
Art, music, and the suspension railway
Paris 1874 – Revolution of Art, Cologne
Cologne’s Wallraf-Richartz-Museum is turning its eyes towards France in its “Paris 1874: Revolution in der Kunst - Vom Salon zum Impressionismus” exhibition. It follows the exciting path of painting in France, where the first exhibition of impressionists such as Degas, Morisot, Monet, Renoir, and Sisle, who would become world-famous later on, took place nearly 150 years ago. The exhibition in Cologne is reminding of that characterising phase, presenting a fascinating panorama of artists, styles, genres, and motives from 15 March to 28 July 2024.
Planet Ozean in the Gasometer, Oberhausen
The next exhibition in the Gasometer is taking visitors into barely-known depths: From 15 March to 30 December 2024, large photographs and films will present life in the world’s oceans, including a striped octopus dancing merrily through the Mayotte lagoon, a chance to make direct eye contact with a blue shark, or spotting a cute sea lion watch an artfully camouflaged sea dragon. Human influences and the matter of protection and research of the seas are also part of the subjects presented here.
Corvey and the heritage of Antiquity, Paderborn
Emperors, monasteries, and opportunities for cultural transfer in the Middle Ages are keywords at the centre of a large special exhibition of the Diözesanmuseum Paderborn, which is going to show how the cultural techniques of reading, writing, painting, architecture, and theatre were passed on from the Middle Ages to our times. The exhibition will be open from 21 September 2024 to 26 January 2025.
“Inspired by Bach” will be Münster’s motto from 17 to 26 Mai 2024, when the city will host the 98th Bachfest of the Neue Bachgesellschaft. More than 60 events are about to flood the city with classical music by Johann Sebastian Bach and new programmes inspired by him, including 4 premières and a “Bach opera”. The focus will be on high-quality ensembles and soloists from the Netherlands.
Post-digital painting, Bielefeld und Herford
Kunsthalle Bielefeld and the Marta Herford are bringing together international historical and contemporary artistic positions to be presented in both venues at the same time from 06 July to 27 October 2024 in a large cooperation project on the subject of post-digital painting. The first joint exhibition of the two adjacent museums of art in Ostwestfalen-Lippe is titled “Postdigitale Malerei” and promoted by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
A suspension railway museum
Wuppertal’s new Schwebodrom museum was opened towards the end of 2023. It is unique in the world. This new suspension railways museum uses a VR-tour in the original suspension railway cart from 1900 as its highlight. The virtual trip into 1929 Wuppertal can be supplemented well by an analogue tour of the city as it is today.
Find an overview of further upcoming and current top exhibitions in NRW here.