Ruhr

Regional Overview

Landscapes of Industry

The Ruhr may not be beautiful, but it has industry and a lot of it. Exploring the Ruhr Valley is not a proposition to take lightly. You will not find the usual tourist activities here. There are few old buildings, no famous statues or monuments, dirty cities, and uninspiring natural landscapes. Visiting the Ruhr will let you explore the industries that shaped human society, from coal and iron mining to steel and textile mills.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • Some of the world’s best preserved industrial heritage sites, esp. the UNESCO Zeche Zollverein, the Art Nouveau Zeche Zollern, and the vast Duisburg Industrial Landscape
  • The Villa Architecture of the new capitalist class, e.g., the Villa Hügel and Hohenhof
  • Utopian Garden Cities and Worker Settlements

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What is the Ruhr?

The Ruhr, Ruhrgebiet, or Ruhrpott, as it is known in many places, is the geographical invention of the 20th century. There is an official list of German counties which comprise the “Ruhrgebiet,” though the region has no de jure political meaning. Historically, most of the area belonged to the County of Mark, though nothing remains of this heritage today. Holding it together is the massive Ruhr Coalfield that lies beneath the soil and which powered Germany’s industrial revolution. 

The legacy of the coalfield is that the Ruhr remains a significant center of heavy industry. With such longstanding traditions in specific industries, local communities, and governments have sought to retain much of the surviving industrial legacy. The result is a remarkable collection of museums, mines, and factories that tell the story of Germany’s industrial revolution from the beginning to today.

Interactive Map

Hiking in the Region

Hiking: Forests of the Upper Ruhr

Hiking: Forests of the Upper Ruhr

For a river as industrialized as the Ruhr, it still has its beautiful parts. As you follow the river into the Sauerland, it takes on…

Hiking: Castles of the Ruhr

Hiking: Castles of the Ruhr

This hike follows the heights along the Ruhr as the Rhineland transitions into Westphalia. The primary destination is the ruins of the castle Blankenstein, but…

My Quantitative Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

Social Score

3.4 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Hype: 1.4
  • Growth: 3.3
  • Wealth: 5.8
  • Recognition: 1.8
Ease of Travel

5.7 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 7.4
  • Transportation: 2.0
  • Ease of Planning: 5.5
  • Infrastructure: 6.0
  • Interactivity: 1.8
  • Airport: Yes
Historical Immersion

3.8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Historical Context: 3.0
  • Monuments: 6.8
  • Quality*: 3.0
  • Landscape: 9.8
  • Vineyards: 0
Authenticity

3.8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Undiscovered: 3.2
  • Cultural Immersion: 2.4
  • Tradition*: 8.0

Navigation

Westphalia

Timeless villages and moated castles

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