Right in the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia, a region that is unequalled anywhere in Germany is booming. The Ruhr Area is a metropolitan area where city limits blur and it has gone through an incomparable transformation in recent decades. Where once steel was smelted and coal was mined, rewilded green areas and recreation areas are now to be found, inviting you to take a walk or go for a cycle. Art and culture, leisure sports and entertainment have found a new home in transformed industrial facilities. That is living industrial culture.
Industrial culture and renowned festivals
Various art and culture festivals in the region use the backdrop of the decommissioned industrial arenas, such as Gasometer Oberhausen, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen or the blast hall at Landschaftspark Nord in Duisburg. Internationally renowned festivals such as the Ruhrfestspiele, the Ruhr Piano Festival or the Ruhrtriennale are a cut above other German festivals specifically because of the unusual location, and delight audiences with the very special atmosphere.
Once a year, a festival takes place in the Ruhr metropolis that connects the special places in the Ruhr region: ExtraSchicht – Nacht der Industriekultur (Night of Industrial Culture) is a huge night-time event that celebrates all of the important industrial locations in the region with a programme of about 500 art and cultural events. By day, visitors can follow the industrial culture route and get to know many former arenas of the coal and steel industries and their current use as cultural locations. The route, which can also be explored by bicycle, connects the most important industrial monuments such as the Zollern Coal Mine Industrial Complex, the Hansa coking plant in Dortmund or the Henrichenburg boat lift in Hattingen. Museums such as the German Mining Museum in Bochum and the German Football Museum in Dortmund are also along the route.
Experiences of nature and slag heap-hill-hopping
In the green Ruhr region, both locals and visitors can find peace and relaxation in nature. At Gruga Park or Emscher Landschaftspark, nature has been allowed to spread out and re-conquer its former terrain. The river that gives the Ruhr region its name is also a natural focal point of the region: along the banks of the Ruhr, those seeking relaxation can do more than just walk or cycle - slag heap-hill-hopping allows hikers and walkers to scale the natural elevations and mine slag heaps of the Ruhr region and look down on a region that has recently reinvented itself.