Once known for its belching steelworks and filthy coal mines, the Ruhrgebiet – a sprawling post-industrial region of 53 cities and 5.1 million people – has worked hard in recent decades to reboot for a high-tech future.
Rather than eschew their lowbrow heritage, the people of the Ruhrgebiet have embraced it by recasting dormant furnaces, steelworks, coking plants and other vestiges of the Industrial Age in creative ways. For travellers, the Ruhrgebiet delivers a trainload of surprises and unique sights, locations and experiences. You can see cutting-edge art in a huge converted gas tank, free-climb around a blast furnace or hear classical music in a gas power station. You can also feast your eyes on old masters, majestic churches and great architecture ranging from Gothic to Bauhaus to postmodern.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Ruhrgebiet.