What to do in the Duisburg Region
Essen is due to be the European City of Culture 2010.
Essen's emergence as an fully-independent town in 1803 is coincident with its industrialization. It has its origins in the 9th century with a nunnery or abbey which originally controlled the area, its abbess eventually bearing the title of Fürstin-Abtissin and having a seat in the Reichstag. During the 14th century, the City Council was nominally given some independent rights but there appears to have been some sort of perpetual strife between the City Council and the Abbey as to who controlled the town, right up until the Abbey was dissolved in 1803. This reached comic tragic proportions when the City Council introduced Protestantism, and during the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, the City Council and the Abbey were on opposite sides.
Becoming fully independent of the Catholic order, it almost immediately became dominated by the Krupp companies, which started their real rise under Alfred Krupp. By the time of his death in 1887, his companies employed 20,000 of the 60,000 population of the town.
Take a virtual tour here
- The above image shows the Burgplatz with the Cathedral, the former church of the nunnery/abbey, with the 100 meter high Rathaus in the background. The abbey was not an 'ordinary' abbey, but rather intended as residence and educational institution for daughters and widows of the higher nobility - no members apart from the abbess herself were obliged to take vows of chastity. During the 10th century (while the abbess was a granddaughter of the Emperor Otto I) the abbey was endowed with various precious objects such as the oldest preserved seven branched candelabrum, and the Golden Madonna of Essen, the oldest known sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the world. See Domschatz
- The Old Synagogue was set ablaze during Kristallnacht. Being acquired by the City of Essen, it was turned into an industrial exhibition center but from 1988 has been restored back.
Museum District, South of the Central Railway Station
- Folkwang Museum, with notable displays of 19th- and 20th-century painting. Essen Werden
- a museum of industrial design
The Baldeneysee is a reservoir on the River Ruhr built in 1931/3 to provide work in a time of high unemployment. I have seen the surrounding area described as the 'Beverly Hills of the Ruhr district'.
- the former Krupp residence, Villa Hügel, overlooks the Baldeneysee.
The Hespertalbahn Railway runs along the Baldeneysee. To get there, travel on the S9 to Kupferdreh station, from where it is a short walk to the 'other' Kupferdreh station of the preserved railway.
- In a similar vein, further south is the Old Station, Kettwig, which has been into a multi-purpose building. The Ruhr at Kettwig is also worth a visit.
several sights are clusted in the same area
Zollverein The largest coal mine ever in Europe, begun in 1847 and once employing 3000 people. Shaft 12, which is the one in the museum was built in 1932 to service the German United Steelworks, the second-largest steel company in the world at the time, behind U.S. Steel. Its architects were Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer from the Bauhaus.
- Zeche Carl
The Margarethenhöhe is a prestigious area nowadays, but was formerly a residential area for Krupp workers.
- Gruga, short for the Gross Ruhr Garten Ausstellung (the great Ruhr garden exhibition)
Many sites are connected by the tram number 107, see the map below. E-Hbf indicates Essen Hauptbahnhof (the main railway station)
Dusseldorf is the capital of the Land of Nordrhein Westfalen (North Rhine - Westphalia). It was raised to this position by the British occupiers in 1946.
Altstadt is largely re-constructed rather than original (because of war damage) but is well-known for its culinary attractions.
Heinrich Heine was born at Bolkerstrasse 53. He was famously the author of the Loreley song ('Ich weiss nicht, was soll es bedeuten..') No. 53 is now the literature bureau and the literature cafe 'Schnabelewopski'. Almost opposite is the Neanderkirche.
The old town hall lies on Marktplatz. It consists of three buildings from different periods. The so-called 'old town hall' (16th century) at the northern side of Marktplatz, the 'Wilhelminischer Bau' (from the time of Emperor Wilhem II) and the 'Grupello house' at the western side. The 'Wilhelminischer Bau' was constructed in 1875 on the site of the old town theater and was rebuilt after the war to a new design. The Grupello house was originally the residence of the sculptor of the Jan Wellem equestrian statue.
This Jan Wellem Equestrian Statue is situated on the Marktplatz in front of the town hall. It portrays Elector Jan Wellem (1658 - 1716)
The inscriptions on its base are translated as :
'Johann Wilhelm', the Count Palatine on the Rhine, the Lord High Steward and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, the Duke of Bavaria, Jülich, Cleve, Berg, the highly meritorious Prince who has enlarged the city and founded the art gallery'
''Erected by the grateful citizens in 1711. Base renewed in 1831'.
Burgplatz lies on its northern edge. The image shows the Lambertus Church whose origins go back to the 13th century.
The is all that remains of relict of the old Düsseldorf city palace. Burnt down in 1882 and damaged in the 2nd World War, the building was renovated and today houses the Maritime Museum.
The Rhein embankment stretches from the Altstadt to the Rhein Tower. It was built between 1990 and 1995 by putting a two kilometer stretch of a main road, that had previously blocked off the river for pedestrians, underground.
The Rhein Tower is 240 meters high. There is an observation deck, cafeteria and revolving restaurant at about 170 meters. There are lights on the tower itself which acts as a clock. This website shows how it works.
The image below shows the Land buildings (of the Land of Nordrhein Westfalen) from the top of the Rheinturm.
The Königsallee ('Kö' for short) is well-known for its shops.
The boulevard dates from 1804 and has a central watercourse, which is the old town moat, and is occupied by the River Düssel. Earlier it was called Kastanienallee (Chestnut Avenue) but appears to have been re-named as a goodwill gesture after an incident when horse manure (Pferdeäpfel, in Deutsch) was thrown at King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. in 1848.
The docks have been re-developed and is particularly the base of various companies in the fields of advertising, broadcasting and the arts, hence the name Mediahafen.
Schloss Benrath built 1755-1766. Today Schloss Benrath houses various museums, such as the European Horticultural Art Museum.
Kaiserswerth Here you can view the remains of Emperor Barbarossa's medieval palace, formerly one of the most important castles on the Rhine. It dates originally from the 10th century, built during the reign of Emperor Heinrich III and enlarged between 1174-1184 by Emperor Barbarossa, when he needed a fortress to control the Rhine. Passenger boats regularly ply between Dusseldorf and Kaiserswerth
- the Jägerhof Castle. Museum of 20th-century painting. The Goethe Museum
- The city is the site of the National Academy of Art, birthplace of the mid-19th century Dusseldorf school of art. Paul Klee and Joseph Beuys taught there.
- Art Collection, with fine displays of 20th-century painting, including the largest collection of works by Klee in Germany, and works by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, and Marc Chagall
- Hetjens Museum, with a large collection of ceramics covering 8000 years of pottery
- The Aqua Zoo is a small aquarium/museum situated in the Nordpark, which was laid out in 1937. There is an Aqua Zoo stop on the U79 line between Dusseldorf and Duisburg. Although there is a Zoo stop on the S-Bahn, this particular zoo no longer exists
- Airport, dates from 1925
The main attractions of Oberhausen are based in the 'Neue Mitte', namely the CentrO shopping center, the Sea Life Center and the Gasometer. These are based adjacent to the Rhein-Herne Canal which goes through the 'Ruhr Region' proper (the Ruhr itself tends to skirt the southern regions), and is connected further east with the Dortmund-Ems Canal.
- CentrO on the Rhein-Herne Canal. Apart from the shops, it is also a center for night-life.
Gasometer, now an exhibition center with a lift up the outside. From the top you can view the CentrO.
- Sea Life Center
- Rheinland Industrial Museum adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof