Land Nordrhein-Westfalen Favorite Tips by diocletianvs Top 5 Page for this destination
Land Nordrhein-Westfalen Favorites: 13 reviews and 12 photos
Favorite thing: After we more-or-less decided on what to see it was time to plan our relatively short 5-day visit to the region. The main question was whether to stay in one place or choose two or more places as a base.
At first we planned to stay in two places - one for the western and one for the eastern part. D or DU seemed Ok for the first, BO or DO for the latter. (Please see my Warnings and Dangers tip). But then, after more carefully examining the map we decided to stay in one place. E seemed almost perfect , but at the end we ended in GE for five nights which was almost perfect.
Now seriously - if you stay in the center of the Ruhrgebiet you'll never be more than half an hour drive from any point of interest. We planned of staying in Essen but since that was the time of the fair hotel prices were higher so we stayed in the nearby Gelsenkirchen instead and it was a pretty good choice location-wise.
Favorite thing: Although all important attractions of the Route Industriekultur are well marked, you should know that Ruhrgebiett is not a single city but a region measuring some 80 by 30 kilometres. Around five and a half million people live here in cities that form one of the world's largest conurbations. The area has very dense Autobahn network and various means of public transport are well integrated, but still - PLANNING your visit here is very important.
Otherwise, you may find yourself wandering around the pedestrian streets that all look the same and wandering where are those attractions Dio mentioned on his page.
Fondest memory: We did a good planning before we went on our trip, doing research in books and on the Internet and marking all attractions on our Ruhrgebiet map. We had a general idea of what we wanted to see, and we planned what attractions we wanted to see at which part of the day (sunsets and night visits need to be carefully planned!).
We managed to return every evening to our hotel, satisfied with what we had seen that day to the greatest amazement of the hotel receptionists that all thought we were crazy and that there is absolutely nothing in the area that would keep a normal tourist interested for more than a day.
(Told you we weren't a regular tourists).
Favorite thing: One of the aims of IBA Emscher Park was also development of tourism in the area. Back in the 1980s it must have looked as quite an utopist project - to develop tourism in one of dirtiest, most polluted and most industrial areas in Europe.
Well, times have changed and now area is rich in tourist attractions that can keep you occupied for at least a week. Some of the former industrial sites are now centres of new museums and exhibitions of the industrial and mining history of the area. Zeche Zollverein even found itself on UNESCO's list of world cultural heritage, and with a good reason.
Well-organized tourist infrastructure includes the thematic routes known as the Industrial Heritage Trails. Some trails are concentrated to certain areas (Duisburg and its harbour, Krupp and the city of Essen,...), other routes offer overview of industrial development along certain geographical areas while some of them are oriented towards certain themes like "Early Industrialization", "Canals and Water Transport", "Railways in the Ruhr", "Workers' Settlements", "Tycoon' Villas" or "Historical Gardens and Parks".
"Landmark Art" route provides an overview of works of famous artists like Richard Serra, Dani Karavan, Dan Flavin, Jonathan Park, Herman Prigann and others who left traces in the Ruhr landscape, their works often competing with the surrounding chimneys.
Fondest memory: All the points mentioned in various routes are well marked by brown signs that are visible everywhere in the region and that will guide you to various attractions. Included in the route are 19 industrial sites, 6 museums, 12 housing settlements and 9 panorama points.
Outside of each attraction there is a yellow cone-like pole with the words "Route Industriekultur".
Visitors center in Duisburg
Favorite thing: In all places of interest along the "Route Industriekultur" there are informative panels that have a unique design and offer the basic info about the site. In all places where you have to pay the entrance there are info pools with free brochures that are all easy to recognize as they all have the same design and have the same "Route Industriekultur" sign.
At the beginning of your trip the best you can do is to visit one of the three main visitors centres along the routes. You will find them in Zeche Zollverein in Essen, in North Duisburg Landscape Park in Duisburg and in Zeche Zollern in Dortmund.
All visitors centres offer numerous free brochures and maps as well as books, postcards, souvenirs etc. All members of the staff speak English and most of the brochures are in German and in English.
Fondest memory: The main visitors center is:
Visitor Centre Zeche Zollverein XII
Gelsenkirchener Straße 181
Fon 01 80 | 4 00 00 86
Fon 02 01 | 8 30 36 36
Fax 02 01 | 371 9126
1. November - 31. March: Mo - Su 10 - 17, Fr 10 - 19
1. April - 31. October: Mo - Su 10 - 19
Zeche Zollverein, Essen
Favorite thing: Germany has a long tradition of Garden shows and Architectural shows. The idea is to concentrate on one place, make an event and leave something new to the local community. While garden shows last only one year, International Architectural Exhibitions (IBAs) last longer and have bigger aims. Previous IBA's (Die Internationale Bauausstellung) were held in Darmstadt (1901), Stuttgart (1927), Hannover (1951) and Berlin (1957, 1987).
The IBA Emscher Park was launched in 1989 and for the first time it wasn't focused on one city but on the whole region. It was a project for structural, urban, ecological and economical renewal of the Ruhr area - largest industrial area in Europe that was back in the 1980s hit by the de-industrialisation process. This left many people jobless but also left many areas of former industrial sites without the proper use.
The state-owned IBA Emscher Park company provided a general framework for more than 100 projects that were implemented in various fields that included ecological renewal of the region, programs for innovative cultural activities, new housing and new business parks programmes as well as new artist interventions in former industrial sites.
Definitely the largest challenge was the program for preservation and transformation for new uses of old industrial monuments and architecture. Industrial heritage is one of the main elements of the region's identity and emphasis was put on adaptive re-use of the former industrial monuments. After ten years (1989-1999) of the IBA program in the form of international exhibition for urbanism and architecture the area became rich in industrial monuments linked by various routes for the lovers of the "Industriekultur".
Fondest memory: www.iba.nrw.de
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