Shopping and exploring in XXL format
Gasometer and CentrO Oberhausen
With a storage volume of 350,000 cubic metres, the Gasometer in Oberhausen is the largest gas tank in Europe, and the second-largest in the world. In 1994, it began its second life as the now highest exhibition hall on the continent. The 117-metre high building, known in Oberhausen as the "Tonne", will undergo renovation and will remain closed until the spring of 2021.
Right next door, the view is dominated by big shopping bags. The CentrO Oberhausen, Europe’s largest shopping and leisure centre, contains around 250 retail shops on two levels, with a total sales area of 120,000 square metres. On the CentrO promenade, over 20 international restaurants offer seating for up to 4,000 people in good weather, and the right menu to suit all tastes.
Europe’s hottest thermal springs
Water temperature can reach up to 75 degrees Celsius.
In Aachen, at the hottest thermal springs in central Europe, the water temperature can reach up to 75 degrees Celsius. The springs were already used for healing purposes during the Roman times. Today, visitors can benefit from their soothing properties in the Carolus spa, for example.
The oldest brewery in the world
Brewery history stretches back to 1266
The history of the private brewery Bolten in Korschenbroich stretches back to 1266, making it the oldest brewery in the world producing Altbier (a tradtional style of beer), and it is still in the same place today, in Kraushof. Visitors can try out the different beer specialities in the Altbier hall or in the picnic beer garden.
Museums with world records
NRW is top of the league when it comes to museums
North Rhine-Westphalia is top of the league when it comes to museums. Visitors will find over 1,000 world-famous exhibition venues and less well-known insider tips throughout the state. Two of these stand out in particular. The Heinz-Nixdorf-Museums-Forum in Paderborn is the largest computer museum in the world, and tells the 5,000-year-old story of information technology from its early beginnings, with interactive stations along the way.
With over 1,500 exhibits, the Red Dot Design museum in Essen holds the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design. In the former boiler house of the Zeche Zollverein colliery, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, beautifully formed products are exhibited in a space of around 4,000 square metres. In the largest design competition in the world, all the pieces shown were awarded the internationally acclaimed red dot.
The wonders of technology
The inland port in Duisburg and the Müngstener Brücke bridge
The Rhine is not only hard to beat when it comes to romanticism, but also holds several world records. Over the last 300 years, the largest inland port in the world has been created at the mouth of the Ruhr in Duisburg, with 22 port bays and covering around 180 hectares of water surface. Daily boat tours pass barges carrying freight and warehouses. Visitors interested in finding out more about the history of the city on the Rhine should visit the Museum der Deutschen Binnenschifffahrt (Museum of German inland shipping).
The highest railway bridge in Germany spans the Wupper valley at 107 metres up in the air, connecting the towns of Solingen and Remscheid in the Bergisches Land region. It’s well worth taking a look under the bridge, too: the Müngsten bridge park not only offers a nature experience and background information on the industrial history and engineering skills, but also wide open spaces for playing and taking a picnic, as well as a floating ferry as an alternative way of crossing the river.
Big, glittering and beautifully restful
Reservoirs in the Bergisches Land region
There is plenty of dammed up water in the Bergisches Land. Here, twelve reservoirs not only provide high-quality drinking water, but also excellent opportunities for spending a day out on and in the water. With twelve reservoirs in total, the Bergisches Land has more than any other region in Europe. Visitors can relax and enjoy cycling and hiking on the marked routes along their shores. During the summer months in particular, the Bever, Lingese, Wupper and Aggertal reservoirs are popular destinations for taking a break and cooling off. Some of the enormous stone walls can be admired not only from above, but also from the inside on a guided tour.
From one castle to another, and another, and another...
More than 100 castles and fortresses
In the region spanning the three cities of Aachen, Cologne and Bonn, there are more moated castles per square kilometre than anywhere else in Europe. Over 120 residences used by the nobility line the Moated Castles Route, a cycle route covering around 400 kilometres, which passes through the Eifel, the Jülicher Börde and the Rheinische Bucht (Rhine Bay). There are more than 50 castles, palaces and manors in the Rhine-Erft district alone, including the Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces in Brühl, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Schloss Gracht in Erftstadt-Liblar and Schloss Paffendorf in Bergheim, which are part of the “Straße der Gartenkunst” (Horticulture Route) in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Funfairs offer a great day out
Carousel rides throughout the year
Whether on river banks or in a historic old town centre, North Rhine-Westphalia offers great carousel rides throughout the year. Over the last few centuries, the Soest Allerheiligenkirmes, the All Saints' Day fair, which was first held in 1338 to celebrate the inauguration of the St. Petri church, has become the largest old town fair in Europe, and is a great hit with visitors every November.
In Düsseldorf, a colourful funfair town is created every July on the Oberkasseler Rheinwiesen river banks next to the Rhine. Here, the St. Sebastianus rifle association, which was created 690 years ago, celebrates the name day of its patron, St. Apollinaris. A historical costume parade, with over 3,000 uniformed riflemen, bands, horse-drawn carts and carriages, is one of the largest of its kind in Germany, and is among the traditional highlights of the fair.