Bochum and Gelsenkirchen were predominantly coal towns (Bochum already had 25 mines in 1735). The first Ruhr coal mine to use a steam engine was here in 1799 in Zeche Vollmond (the designer, Franz Dinnendahl, later set up a factory in Essen) . But the last mine closed in 1973, followed by steel closures. On the up side, the Ruhr University was founded here in 1965 and Opel and Nokia factories were set-up, although these have later fallen into difficulties.
The town has received a certain amount of publicity from Herbert Grönemeyer, the actor and singer who hails from the city. A song he released (Bochum) has become an unofficial song of the city, notably at matches of Vfl Bochum.
Local tram and bus transport is provided by BOGESTRA (Bochum-Gelsenkirchener Strassenbahn Aktiengesellschaft)
The sculpture 'Terminal' by Richard Serra (who also designed the Bramme für the Ruhrgebiet in Essen) was acquired by the city in 1979, after it had been a prominent exhibit at a scultpure exhibition in Kassel two years earlier, and placed on a traffic island adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof. The right-wing CDU made it an issue in a Landtag election - its candidate Kurt Biedenkopf made a speech in front of the sculpture in which he declared he was going to pull it down.