Insider tips on the most beautiful parks and gardens in NRW
Wildlife and sculpture parks, botanical gardens and nature parks are all part of North Rhine-Westphalia's diverse green landscape
In NRW's parks and gardens, visitors encounter wildlife, art, exotic plants and extensive landscapes. Discover your ideal green getaway!
Little and large natural wonders
Lavender fields in Fromhausen
Fancy a short holiday in the south of France? In the Lippisch Provence in the Teutoburg Forest region, nature lovers will feel like they are in the Mediterranean in perfumed, purple lavender fields. Butterflies and bumble bees tumble about amongst the violet blossoms; it smells like summer. This place not only enchants nature lovers, but also photographers - so don’t forget your camera. Our tip: A lavender photo shoot at sunset.
www.biolandhof-meiwes.de | www.wanderbaresleben.de
The Bluebell Woods near Hückelhoven
Near Hückelhoven in the district of Heinsberg, the common bluebell grows in a small woods. The blue flowers, which are normally at home in England, France or Belgium, bloom from about mid-April to mid-May. Short walks take you through the forest of blue blossoms - benches invite you to relax and enjoy the view. A real hotspot for photo lovers!
Kaldenkirchen sequoia farm
A sequoia farm in the middle of the Lower Rhine region? In Kaldenkirchener Grenzwald, 67-year-old mountain redwoods grow; there is also a grove of coastal redwoods, which are up to 40 metres in height, as well as 400 other rare tree species. Visitors can walk through the park and marvel at the impressive giants. Rare birds also bustle about in the treetops.
Wildlife parks: tracking down the local fauna
Wildwald Vosswinkel wildlife centre
At the Wildwald Vosswinkel wildlife centre in Arnsberg, Sauerland , visitors can get close to nature and the local fauna in a woodland setting. A lack of fences means that people can roam freely throughout most of the 250-hectare site, making the experience as close to nature as possible. The ani-mals that can be spotted at Wildwald Vosswinkel include roe deer, mouflons, wild boar, red foxes, badgers, eagle owls and martens. Some rare livestock breeds are also kept at the old Haarhof farm, including Shropshire sheep and a variety of pigs, goats, geese and ducks. Visitors who are interested in the park's ecosystem can learn more at the Waldakademie Vosswinkel forest education centre.
Dülmen Ponies in Merfeld Marsh
A very different kind of wildlife park can be found in Merfeld Marsh a few kilometres to the west of Dülmen in Münsterland: this 400-hectare reservation is home not just to red deer, roe deer and sheep, but also the last remaining herd of wild horses in continental Europe. Around 400 Dülmen Ponies roam Merfeld Marsh, which has been declared a nature reserve. From spring to autumn visitors can watch the ponies as they peacefully graze in the park. The last Saturday in May is always a spectacular event: the herd is rounded up and the young stallions are separated and subsequently sold at auction.
Where nature meets art: sculpture parks, etc.
Stadtpark (Municipal Park) at the Museum Quadrat in Bottrop
The Stadtpark (Municipal Park) at the Museum Quadrat in Bottrop is also worth seeing. A sculpture park surrounds the museum of prehistory and local history, and entry is free. The sculptures exhibited include works by Max Bill and Walter Dexel.
Slag heap art in the Ruhr region
A little effort is required to experience the slag heap art of the Ruhr region: visitors first have to climb the great heaps of coal mining slag, now land-marks of the Ruhr region. At the top, climbers will find sculptures, landscape art and landmarks by artists including Richard Serra.
Museum Insel Hombroich in Neuss
The Museum Insel Hombroich in Neuss is a unique attraction in the Lower Rhine region. The amazing ensemble of art on show in small exhibition pavil-ions includes sculptures visitors can walk on, all in a park landscape charac-terised by floodplains.
Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden (Waldfrieden Sculpture Park) in Wuppertal
Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden (Waldfrieden Sculpture Park) is an enchanting sculpture park established by the British sculptor Tony Cragg in Wuppertal. His amorphous works look particularly impressive as the natural light plays amid the oak, beech and chestnut trees. Sculptures by other artists are also regularly displayed in the park.
Waldskulpturenweg Wittgenstein-Sauerland (Wittgenstein-Sauerland Wood Sculpture Path)
Those who like to combine hiking and art will be interested in the unique Waldskulpturenweg Wittgenstein-Sauerland (Wittgenstein-Sauerland Wood Sculpture Path). The 23-kilometre route across the Rothaarkamm ridge re-veals a series of sculptures, including conceptual art by Jochen Gerz and a huge golden egg by Magdalena Jetelová.
Skulpturenpark Köln sculpture park, Cologne
A rotating ensemble of major contemporary sculpture can be viewed in Skulpturenpark Köln sculpture park in Cologne. The exhibits are rearranged and replaced every two years.
Discover rare plants in botanical gardens
Botanical Garden in Bonn
The botanical gardens of North Rhine-Westphalia's university cities are not just for budding biologists: the public can also visit and marvel at the speci-mens on view. The botanical garden in Bonn has a particular rarity in the titan arum, the world's largest flower. On the rare occasions when the plant flowers, the 100 kg fleshy inflorescence grows to a height of up to 1.80 metres in two days – and then swiftly collapses.
Ruhr-Universität Bochum Botanical Garden
The botanical garden of the University of Bochum also has an oversized at-traction: the round leaves of the Victoria water-lilies have a diameter of 1.50 metres, which makes them impressive enough without the added curiosity of flowers that start out white before turning pink.
Green cities: garden city and urban gardening
The cities of North Rhine-Westphalia have always taken a creative approach to integrating nature into the urban landscape. In the 1920s, Germany's first garden city was built in Margarethenhöhe, Essen. Residents and visitors alike are still in love with the detached gablefront houses, romantic terrace façades and pretty front gardens of this village-within-a-city.
NeuLand Köln: urban gardening in Cologne
More and more city dwellers want a garden close to where they live instead of moving out to the countryside. In urban gardening, open spaces in the city are used to create little green oases or to grow vegetables. These are usually neighbourhood projects, like the mobile community garden NeuLand Köln. Locals have created their own garden with raised beds between the areas of Südstadt and Bayenthal at this former industrial site in Cologne.
Wonders of the Orient in NRW
Japanese gardens in Leverkusen and Düsseldorf
In North Rhine-Westphalia, amateur botanists will not just find gardens influ-enced by the main European horticultural traditions. Two extraordinary Jap-anese gardens in Leverkusen and Düsseldorf temporarily transport visitors to the Orient. The Japanese-themed park in Leverkusen fuses a number of Asian and European horticultural styles, whereas the topiary and character-istic stone lanterns of the Japanese garden in the state capital are in strict accordance with the Japanese garden design rulebook.
www.leverkusen.de | www.duesseldorf.de
Ruhr-Universität Bochum Chinese Garden
The Chinese garden of the University of Bochum provides an oasis for meditation and relaxation. Natural materials like stone, wood and tiles have been integrated into the intricately designed gardenscape to create a harmonious combination of architecture, water features and plants.