What is Ruhr known for?

major attacks

past culture

Europe, but immigrants also came from France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It has been claimed that immigrants came to the Ruhr from over 140 different nations. Almost all their descendants today speak German as a mother tongue, and for various reasons they do not identify with their Polish roots and traditions, often only their Polish family names remaining as a sign of their past. Culture The city of Essen (representing the Ruhr

work film

the special effects sequences in ''The Dam Busters''. In addition, the sequence was partially inspired by the climax of the film ''633 Squadron'' (1964) directed by Walter Grauman,


. * '''Maximilianpark''' in Hamm, leisure park on the ground of former mine Maximilian. Its highlight the butterfly house and the glass elephant which has been built onto the disused coal washery. The central electric powerhouse and the washrooms are now a stage for a wide range of cultural activities and shows. Do Theatre, Musicals The municipal Theatre in Bochum has an excellet repution. A lot of private Theatres in all cities offer excellent shows. Ask at the tourist offices of the cities for addresses and shows. Musical '''Starlight Express''' in Bochum is among the most successful musicals worldwide. Visit '''Colosseum Theatre''' in Essen. It is a former production hall with an wonderful industrial ambiente. The play and concert festival '''Ruhr Triennale''' offers a wide range of events spread all over the region. Another example for the re-use of a former industrial building is the '''Jahrhunderhalle (Hall of the Century)''' in Bochum - one of the most extraordinary stages worldwide. Festivals Every year at the first weekend of summer schoolout starts '''Bochum Total'''. For 4 days the city turns into a stage for rock music. Sport In May the '''Ruhr Marathon''' takes place with about 20.000 athletes and 100.000 viewers. You must have seen it. Football soccer is the most popular sport in the region. Every town has several pitches and in the summer there are few grassy areas not used for playing. The Ruhr also has several professional football teams, creating at times an intense rivalry. The most intense is between supporters of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. As a rule of thumb you should avoid wearing football jersies in blue and white in Dortmund and yellow and black in Gelsenkirchen. The rivalry between these two teams rarely turns into violence, but the atmosphere can get a bit hostile, especially if you don't understand the people. Bochum, Oberhausen and Duisburg also have professional teams, but these are considered non-contenders by supporters of the two big teams. Matchdays are between Friday and Sunday and can lead to heavy traffic at the roads and public transport. You should behave like the locals and avoid the playing cities on match day unless you have tickets for the match. Excellent conditions for cycling offer the '''Ruhrtalradweg''' with a length of about 230 kilometers through rural regions, the '''Emscher Radweg''' leads 225 km beside river '''Emscher''' and '''Rhein-Herne-Canal''' through industrial panorama. For short trips '''Lake Kemnade''' and '''Lake Baldeney''' (not at the weekend) as well as the '''Ore-Route''' (Erzbahntrasse - without any crossing) from Bochum '''Westpark''' to river '''Emscher''' with connection (from October 2008) to '''Emscher-Route''' and '''Kray-Wanner-Route''' (5 street-crossings) from '''Colliery Zollverein''' towards to the city of Wanne-Eickel with connection to Ore-Route. Both routes offer an excellent view on industry surroundings, settlements and suburbs. Inline scating you can do very well around '''Lake Kemnade''' (910 km) at the southern limits of Bochum and '''Lake Baldeney''' (16 km) at the southern limits of Essen. But avoid to visit this locations at the weekend - it will be too crowded. For '''jogging''', the routes above are very suitable but also there are '''Nordsternpark''' at Gelsenkirchen, '''Gyserberg-Park''' at Herne and '''Rombergpark''' at Dortmund (for all of them entry admission free) Buy Shopping Characteristic for the Ruhr are lots of kiosks in the suburbs, smallest shops for nearly erverything. Opened mainly from afternoon till late night they act also as a communication spot for the neighborhood. The city centers of Duisburg, Essen, Bochum und Dortmund offer excellent shopping conditions. Popular shopping centers are Centro at Oberhausen, Rhein-Ruhr-Zentrum at Mülheim, Limbecker Platz in Essen and Ruhr Park Bochum But the centers of the major cities offer also best shopping conditions. Souvenirs Buy a pit lamp. Eat Restaurants The traditional Ruhr cuisine has died out. Today it is mainly an international cuisine with influences from Westphalia and Rhineland as well as from the Mediterranean cuisine. Since a high percentage of the population has a migration background and Germans like to taste foreign food you will find a lot of foreign restaurants. Most of all Italian, Greek or Chinese restaurants, but there are also Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Egyptian, Arabic, Mongolian, Russian, Indian and Japanese restaurants. All those who like pancake should visit a 'Pfannkuchenhaus'. There is a wide variation of covering: you can get them sweet or with bacon, meat or vegetables. Dishes of the season During all months ending with letter 'r' (in german January and February also) blue mussels are offered. During May fresh asparagus (white or green)is available. Fast Food Takeaway bars can be found everywhere. The most common fast food is Pizza, Döner as well as chips and fried sausage. The typical German 'Currywurst', a fried sausage with ketchup and curry powder is available everywhere. But insiders say the best one you will get in Bochum made by 'Dönninghaus'. Cafes Cafes and ice cream palours are very common. On warm days many of them offer some tables at the pavement where you can see and watch and being watched. Drink The traditional drink is Pils, simply called beer. Not so long ago, the region had the highest density of brewing houses in Germany. The decline of heavy industry followed a decline of breweries. Local breweries are still Fiege from Bochum, Stauder from Essen and König Pilsener from Duisburg. An excellent beer from a smaller brewing house with smooth taste is 'Borbecker Dampfbier', but it is not available everywhere; the same applies to 'Rüttenscheider' which you will only get in Rüttenscheid (a suburb of Essen). Of course you can also get non-local beers in most bars and restaurants. Recently, lots of cocktail bars opened in the region, especially in the cities of the bigger towns. Many restaurants also offer a huge varieties of wines. In the last years, there has been a tendency to drink German white wine, but grape varieties from all over the world are also common. Stay Safe The cities within the Ruhr area are among the safest in Germany. Since the Ruhr area has fewer tourists, it is not in the focus of pickpockets. But it is still a good idea to take the usual precautions. Never leave your camera unattended or flash around a fat wallet. Since many citizens are from elsewhere, strangers are widely accepted and the chance of encountering racism or other prejudices is low. Because of unemployment and the demise of the once excellent German social system, beggars and bottle collectors are becoming rather common problems, but they are usually harmless. Go next * Bonn * Cologne * Düsseldorf

including oil

to attack German targets east of the Rhine on May 15, 1940; the Air Ministry authorized Air Marshal Charles Portal to attack targets in the Ruhr, including oil plants and other civilian industrial (Industry) targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnaces (which at night were self-illuminating). Hastings 1979, p. 6 Taylor References (#References) Chapter "Call Me Meier", Page 111 The first attack took place on the night of 15 16 May, with 96 bombers setting off to attack targets east of the Rhine, 78 of which were against oil targets. Of these, only 24 claimed to have found their targets. Richards 1953, p.124. Bomber Command's strategic bombing campaign on Germany had thus begun. Hinchliffe, 2000. p. 44 Infrastructure before 1945 The Neumark region long featured agriculture and forestry. The medium-sized towns were mostly ''Ackerbürgerstädte'', or farmer-citizen-towns. The textile industry became prominent in the 19th century. With the construction of modern roadways, of the ''Fernverkehrstraße 1'' (an arterial road from Berlin to Königsberg), and of the Prussian Eastern Railway, the Neumark also began to develop industrially. Such development was primarily geared toward agricultural needs and was concentrated near the cities of Landsberg and Küstrin, and the Neumark did not become nearly as industrialized or densely-populated as other German areas such as the Ruhr, Saxony, or Upper Silesia. This caused an eruption of mass strikes in the Ruhr District, the Rhineland and in Saxony. Members of the USPD, the KPD and even the SPD called for a general strike which started on 4 March. Against the will of the strike leadership the strikes escalated into street fighting in Berlin. The Prussian state government, which in the meantime had declared a state of siege, called the Imperial government for help. Again Noske employed the Gardekavallerie-Schützendivision commanded by Pabst against the strikers in Berlin. By the end of the fighting on 16 March they had killed approximately 1,200 people, many of them unarmed and uninvolved. Amongst others 29 members of the Peoples Navy Division, who had surrendered, were arbitrarily executed as Noske had ordered anybody found armed to be shot on the spot. During Operation Barbarossa the Luftwaffe again achieved air supremacy for some time over the Soviet Union. As the war dragged on, the USA joined the fight and the combined Allied air forces gained air superiority in the West, eventually gaining ''air supremacy''. Russia did the same on the Eastern front, such that the Luftwaffe could not effectively interfere with Allied land operations. Achieving total air superiority later allowed the Allies to carry out ever-greater strategic bombing raids on Germany's industrial and civilian centers, most notably the Ruhr and Dresden (Bombing of Dresden), and to prosecute the land war successfully on both the Eastern and Western fronts. Mülheim was the first city in the Ruhr Area to become totally free of coal mines, when its last coal mine "Rosenblumendelle" was closed. The former leather and coal city had successfully made a complete transformation to a diversified economic centre. With more than 50% covered by greenery and forest, the city is regarded as an attractive place to live between Düsseldorf and the Ruhr. It is the home of two Max Planck Institutes (Max Planck Society) and, since 2009, the technical college Ruhr West. It has a station (Mülheim (Ruhr) Hauptbahnhof) on the important railway between Dortmund and Duisburg (Witten Dortmund–Oberhausen Duisburg Railway) and is served by Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn lines S1 (S1 (Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn)) and S3 (S3 (Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn)). * March 5 – In the North Atlantic Ocean, the first U.S. Navy antisubmarine hunter-killer group (Hunter-killer Group) begins combat operations, centered around the escort aircraft carrier

world view

. During the 1920s, Hitler’s thinking on foreign policy went through a dramatic change. At the beginning of his political career, Hitler was hostile to Britain as one enemies of the ''Reich'', but strongly influenced by the British opposition to the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, Hitler came to rank Britain as a potential ally. Jäckel, Eberhard ''Hitler's World View'' page 31 In ''Mein Kampf'', and even more in its sequel, ''Zweites Buch'', Hitler

strongly criticized the pre-1914 German government for embarking on a naval and colonial challenge to the British Empire, and in Hitler’s view, needlessly antagonizing the British. Jäckel, Eberhard ''Hitler's World View'' page 20 In Hitler’s view, Britain was a fellow “Aryan” power, whose friendship could be won by a German “renunciation” of naval and colonial ambitions against Britain. ref name "Jäckel, Eberhard page 20

strong social

of culture in any way. Although, after the end of the German coal and steel boom, many companies of all kind have settled at The Ruhr Valley, unemployment here is quite high (7.7% national average, 11.5% of the Ruhr, as of July 2008). This has several reasons. First, many immigrants stick to the living and educational ideals of their origin. Second, the residents of all nationalities are very down to earth, because they are involved generally in strong social networks that mitigate the worst effects of unemployment. In addition, good-quality housing in the Ruhr area is quite inexpensive. Therefore, the attendance for migration is low. Also, many of the newly created jobs are in the high-tech sector and cannot easily be filled by workers exempted from production. Characteristics * Do not expect that every German wears leather-trousers. They are common only in Bavaria and, even there, only on special occasions. * Germans mind (in general) the traffic rules and often become angrily if others do not. Crossing the road while traffic lights atr green for drivers can become dangerous. Drivers rely on that you mind the rules too. * Germans are not prude, so be prepared if you watch German TV. * If you get the idea that a parking slot is quite small, look for a bigger one before you touch another car when parking. * There are not so many public toilets. If you need one, try a snack bar or a restaurant. Also, big shopping malls have a customer toilet. Not recommended are the toilets of the fast food chains. They are often badly serviced. * To be dressed casually in the streets is generally accepted and most restaurants. * Smoking is forbidden in public buildings as well as in bars and restaurants, except the owner has set up a separate smoking room. * You may drink water from the tap every time and everywhere. It is always of best quality. Climate The main rule about the central European climate is that you cannot predict the weather. Sometimes summers can be cold and wet, while April (most years very rainy) is warm and sunny. But in general the best chance for sun will be from May to August and in October. July and August can become very hot with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. In wintertime, from December to February, the average temperature is about zero. Winter is not generally recommended for travelling to the Ruhr area, but on the other hand in December, Germany's famous Christmas markets take place. The Christmas markets in Dortmund and Münster are definitely worth a visit. class "galleryTable; style "float:right;" - thumb 120px Heavy Industry nearby Bottrop (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Industrie_060922_42_30.jpg) - thumb 120px Farmland at the banks of River Ruhr (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Ruhrauen_060719_28_20.jpg) - thumb 120px inside a big city (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Bochum_080909_063_30.jpg) - thumb 120px ... and this is also The Ruhr: '''medival City Center of Hattingen''' (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Hattingen_070912_017_30.jpg) - thumb 120px coal seam at Mutten-valley (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Muttental_060509_015_30.jpg) - thumb 120px Industrial ambiente: '''Colosseum Theater''' (Image:Ruhrgebiet_Essen_colosseum_061121_006_30.jpg) Talk The pronounced Ruhr dialect (Herbert Knebel Dr.Stratmann, Atze Schröder) of the 20th century is generally disliked and is hardly spoken. The openness of the people of the region is shaping now a new dialect, which was enriched by linguistic and grammatical elements of the immigrants from 167 nations. Do not expect that everyone understands English, although most people have had English lessons at school. You will have fewer problems if you are able to communicate in German. But communication in English is possible if you do not hesitate to ask the next guy if the first one does not understand you. At some quarters you will find a lot of people able to talk Turkish and, according to the immigration of the last decade, some guys with Polish or Russian. Other languages are not very common. Get in By plane '''Düsseldorf international''' (DUS)has excellent highway connections. By car, you can be inside the Ruhr Area in about 15 minutes. Or take the train. The airport has two stations. Take the S-Bahn from the terminal station to Düsseldorf main station and from there the Regional-Express towards Duisburg. Or use the overhead railway 'Skytrain' to get to long-distance station (about five minutes) and from there the Regional-Express towards Duisburg. For early morning departures, a direct RegionalExpress train runs from the Ruhr area to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station. '''Airport Dortmund''' (DTM) Shuttle buses to Dortmund main railway station and Holzwickede railway station. Public transport buses towards Unna and Dortmund-Aplerbeck Stadtbahn station. '''Airport Weeze-Niederrhein''' (NRN) Public transport bus towards Duisburg and Essen. By train The cities of Duisburg, Mühlheim (note that not all trains stop here), Essen, Bochum, Dortmund and Hamm are situated at the main south-north route and are therefore often hit by long-distance trains. From there, there is a non-straight-tight, but sufficient network of commuter trains and subways in other cities at the Ruhr. By bus Direct long-distance buses run from many major European cities. Deutsche Touring is the major operator. By car Highways lead to the Ruhr from all directions. In the north-south direction, the A1 (Hamburg-Cologne) leads through the eastern Ruhr area. The A3 (Arnhem-Cologne-Frankfurt) opens to the west part and Oberhausen and Duisburg. In east-west direction, the A2 (Oberhausen-Hannover) runs through the northern part of the Ruhr. The central and southern area around Duisburg, Essen and Dortmund is accessible from the A40 (Ruhrschnellweg). East of Dortmund, the A40 changes its name to A44. Directly from the north, crossing the Münsterland, the A31 leads to the center of the region, from the south the A45 (Sauerland line) leads the Ruhr.There are numerous other highways which run through the different regions of the Ruhr. Get around In general inside the big cities public transport is well developed and faster than going by car. But outside the car is often the better choice. Public Transport Since most cities have their separate transport association, coordination is not always the best. But they are all linked together including trains like S-Bahn and Regionals-Express by Verkehrsverbund Rhein Ruhr (VRR) and Tarifraum Münsterland Ruhr-Lippe (VRL) at the eastern limits. Look for tarifs and timetables there. Within a city use bus, tram or underground. Many lines cross city limits several times during their route, this is common and should not be considered alarming. Since most cities in the region blend into one another, traveling across cities is possible but slow. However riding a bus or tram can give you insights you will get nowhere else. If you are short on time, use the S-Bahn or Regional-Express. These are trains, and you will have to get to the nearest station. They all have the same pricing system so that the tickets are valid for all vehicles within the borderlines of the VRR on one hand and VRL on the other hand. For change from VRR to VRL and vice versa exists special conditions. Refer to the internet sites or contact one of the information offices of the organisations. Generally, single tickets are quite expensive, usually cheaper are day tickets, group tickets, family tickets or for longer stays, tickets with a monthly pass. There are 5 fare levels. As a rule of thumb: if you travel 3-4 bus stops or 1.5 km (different rules for each city) you need level K, for travelling within one city or two adjacent suburbs you need level A, for a ride to the next neighbour city fare level B is needed, if you transit to a neighbour city of a neighbour city use level C, and level D is for rides to any location within the area of VRR. You can obtain tickets from the customer offices of the local transport association, from the ticket-machines at the subway stations, from ticket machines within the trams, from bus drivers and from designated kiosks. The surface of the ticket machines can be switched to several languages, english is always among them. '''If there is a ticket machine at a station, it is usually not possible to buy a ticket within the vehicle. Even if you just enter the platforms of a subway station without holding a valid (stamped) ticket, you may be fined'''. Tickets are rarely checked on platforms. Since tickets are not stamped when bought, you have to do it by yourself before entering a vehicle. The orange stamp boxes are located at the entrance of the platforms of subway and trains and within trams and busses. If you depart from a station without being able to buy tickets and without a ticket machine on board the train, you need to ask the conductor or, if there is none, the driver what to do. Regional Transport Regional trains may be used with tickets of VRR within the VRR-area. By taxi Going by taxi is quite expensive. Calculate a price of about 1.60€ km plus a onetime charge from the approach. By car The sometimes very long distances let rise the idea to head for the desired goals by car. You can do so, the road network is consistently good, the orientation due to the numerous places and highways difficult. Avoid the rush hour, which is not so shaped as you might be expect by experience with other cities but more extended to the early morning and late afternoon. All highways are very prone to traffic jam. This is particularly true for the A1 around Dortmund, the A3 between Dusseldorf and Oberhausen, the A40 along the entire length between Duisburg and Dortmund, the A42 between Oberhausen and Herne and the A43, between Bochum and Recklinghausen. By 2010, the A40, between Bochum and Gelsenkirchen will be expanded, which means additional risk of traffic jam. But this highway should be avoided anyway. The better alternative is the A2 or change to bus and train. Only the major traffic jams will be reported during rush hours in the radio program of WDR, information about all jams is available on medium wave 720 KHz. Those who are familiar with the road network can avoid some congestion. Jam forecasts for the next hour with great accuracy is available from road NRW. There, long-term forecasts as well as a travel time calculator are offered, which is very useful for travel planning. Parking garages you will find in adequate number inside the cities, but mind the opening hours. Some close at late evening. By bicycle The Ruhr is not a good spot for cyclists. In the northern part, the situation is perhaps a little better because of the spirit of the Münsterland region nearby than in the southern part, which is quite mountainous. But there are exceptions. The Ruhr Regional Association is buying disused industrial railway lines and converts them to cycle paths. If your target is beside such trails the bike is an opportunity on fine days. But remember, even the core of the Ruhr is 50 km long and the sights are spread over the entire area, in contrast to classical capitals. A list of routes can be found at item “sport”. See * Bochum: '''Mining Museum'''. * Bottrop: Ascent the '''Tetraeder''' situated on rock-dump Prosper Haniel. The dump has a height of 90 Meters, the Tetraeder is 60 Meter high. The view from top onto the Ruhr is nonrecurring - but select a day with fine weather. * Dortmund: '''DASA''' * Duisburg: '''Harbour Trip''' * Essen: World Heritage Site '''Zeche Zollverein'''. * Hagen: '''open air museum''' * Waltrop: '''Ship Lift Henrichenburg''' * Witten: '''Mutten-valley''' * Bochum: '''Eisenbahnmuseum''' (Railway Museum) - one of the biggest of its kind * Dortmund: '''Zeche Zollern''' (Mine Zollern) - a mine with the sharpe of a palace * Duisburg '''Inner Harbour''' - from industrial plant to an fascinating residential and leisure quarter * Duisburg: '''Binnenschifffahrtsmuseum''' (Inland Waterway Museum) - all about inland water transport * Duisburg: '''Landschaftspark''' (Landscape Park) - the steel plant Meiderich as a park, highlight is the accessible furnace * Essen: '''old synagogue''' - an exhibition about jewish life and culture * Essen: '''Villa Hügel''' - the palace of the family Krupp * Hagen: '''Hohenhof''' - the villa of the ''Hagener Impulse'', an ensemble of art nouveau * Hamm: Tamil Temple '''Sri Kamadchi Ampal''' * Marl: '''Chemiepark''' - the superlative chemistry set * Mülheim an der Ruhr: '''Aquarius''' - an exhibition about water with lots of hands on activities * Oberhausen: '''Centro neue Mitte''' (new center) and '''Gasometer''' (Gas-Tank) - most modern shopping center and largest exhibition hall Industrial Heritage Trail The most interesting sites of the industrial heritage are combined under the keyword '''Industrial Heritage Trail''' . The is a fine brochure which you can download as a pdf-file '''here'''. Objects *

unique extremely

subalterns were transferred to No1 T-Force, a British Army unit which was active in the Ruhr. Their role was to carry out reparations work, evacuating military and industrial equipment needed to rebuild British industry. The 1st Battalion went on to serve in the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya and the Malayan Emergency. His comic techniques are often referred to as highly unique, extremely anarchic (also by himself) and include parody, use of the Ruhr Region (Ruhr) local


the Ruhr and that Essen (bombing of Essen in World War II), in the centre of the conurbation was to be given the dubious honour as the first target that was to be bombed (the first attack on Essen under this directive was carried out on the night of 8 9 March). The objective of the directive was "To focus attacks on the morale of the enemy civil population and in particular the industrial workers. In the case of Berlin harassing attacks to maintain fear of raids and to impose A. R. P. (Air Raid Precautions) measures". Johnston 350px thumb Fans of FC Schalke 04 at home in the Veltins-Arena (Image:Schalke 04 Fans 664.jpg) in Gelsenkirchen '''Revierderby''' ("Derby of the Area"; ''Revier'' being a colloquial form for the Ruhr area) is the name historically given to any football (Football (soccer)) match played between two clubs (List of football clubs in Germany) of Ruhr (Ruhr Area) area, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Strictly speaking, '''Revierderby''' almost always refers to matches played between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke (FC Schalke 04), while a match between two other Ruhr Area teams will often be denoted as a ''Kleines Revierderby'' ("Small Derby of the Area").

international crime

distinct character. The social and economic trends which affected the province in recent decades generated a process of change and renewal which has enabled Limburg to transform its national peripheral location into a highly globalized regional nexus, linking the Netherlands to the Ruhr metro area and the southern part of the Benelux region. A less appreciated consequence of this international gateway location is rising international crime, often drugs-related, especially in the southernmost


The '''Ruhr''' ( ), or the '''Ruhr district''', '''Ruhr region''' or '''Ruhr valley''', is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population density of 2,800 km² and a population of eight and a half million, it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany. It consists of several large, industrial cities bordered by the rivers Ruhr (Ruhr (river)) to the south, Rhine to the west, and Lippe (Lippe River) to the north. In the southwest it borders the Bergisches Land. It is considered part of the larger Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region (metropolitan regions in Germany) of more than 12 million people.

From west to east, the region includes the cities of Duisburg, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Mülheim an der Ruhr (Mülheim), Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Herne (Herne, Germany), Hagen, Dortmund, and Hamm, as well as parts of the more "rural" districts of Wesel, Recklinghausen, Unna and Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis. The most populous cities are Dortmund (approx. 572,000), Essen (approx. 566,000) and Duisburg (approx. 486,000). The Ruhr area doesn't have an administrative center; each city in the area has its own administration, although there exists the supracommunal "Regionalverband Ruhr" institution in Essen. Historically, the western Ruhr towns, such as Duisburg and Essen, belonged to the historic region of the Rhineland, whereas the eastern part of the Ruhr, including Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Dortmund and Hamm, were part of the region of Westphalia. Since the 19th century, these districts have grown together into a large complex with a vast industrial landscape, inhabited by some 7.3 million people (including Düsseldorf and Wuppertal). This agglomeration is the fifth-largest urban area in Europe after Istanbul, Moscow, London and Paris.

For 2010, the Ruhr region was one of the European Capitals of Culture (European Capital of Culture).

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