"The beauty of the post-industrial age" Top 5 Page for this destination Gelsenkirchen by diocletianvs

Gelsenkirchen Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 81 photos


Gelsenkirchen is not the place most people would include in their tourist visit to Germany. When I asked my German friends about this place, their comments were something like "This is not the ugliest and the most boring place in Germany, but it is very close".

I visited Gelsenkirchen in 2005 as part of our Tour of the Ruhr region. The fact that Gelsenkirchen was located almost in the center of the region made us decide to stay here during our visit.

Once known as the "Town of Thousand Fires", Gelsenkirchen developed fast in the 19th century around coal industry, and was for long the leading coal producer in the region. Strategically important during the World War II it was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombs. Post-war reconstruction was not the most creative one - it was efficient and fast.

The post-industrial era reconstruction on the other hand was definitely more creative. One of the most important projects for the 1990s IBA Emscher park was the transformation of the Nordstern colliery into a large landscape park. This was our main point of interest here, but we also visited some other sites as well as the famous Gelsenkirchen arena/stadium. (To a big surprise of my friends when I suggested this visit, but it was all for the architectural reasons of course!).

Gelsenkirchen today is rapidly changing its image from dirty industrial town to a dynamic place centred around new science parks. It is the leading German center for the use of solar energy.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The beauty of the post-industrial age
  • Cons:The image of the industrial place
  • In a nutshell:Industrial heritage and its creative use
  • Last visit to Gelsenkirchen: May 2005
  • Intro Updated Jun 11, 2006
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Reviews (16)

Comments (9)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2007 at 1:48 PM

    Interesting tips on the creative things that they have started doing since they closed the coal mines. I have been to Gelsenkirchen twice (see my new VT page) but haven't seen the Nordsternpark or the Küppersbuschgelände yet.

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2007 at 1:24 AM

    Didn't know that there is "anything" to see in Gelsenkirchen... now I do!

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    That is pretty impressive!!! The only thing I "know" about Gelsenkirchen is their soccer team "Schalke 04"!!! Thanks for the nice postcard from your yumyum Zagreb VT meeting!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2006 at 10:14 AM

    prettiest slag heaps i have ever seen

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2006 at 3:16 AM

    Though I'll probably not have this on my German itinerary one cannot but help be impressed by your efforts.

  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2006 at 1:13 PM

    Interesting tour of a little known place with a very long name. I look forward to reading about your next industrial wasteland holiday, Niksa ;-)

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2006 at 1:08 PM

    Excellent page! Why does it not surprise me that the Germans have invented a moveable football pitch!

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2006 at 2:27 PM

    Interesting tips for what seems to be an interesting destination.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2006 at 10:28 AM

    Brilliant photos ..so you are building this page just on time for the world cup ...anyway, the Arena auf Schalke is more an event hall than a football Stadium ...now I am waiting for your commentaries ...so speed up with things ... ;-)

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