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"Essen, Cultural Capital 2010" Top 5 Page for this destination Essen by Kathrin_E

Essen Travel Guide: 195 reviews and 731 photos

A long weekend in Essen? Huh?? Yes I did, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to go back. The Ruhr District is, to me, the most underrated region in Germany. Since the end of coal mining in the 1980s the region underwent a profound change. The old image of a dirty industrial zone simply isn't true any more.

Essen is not exactly what I'd call a beautiful city, at least the city centre isn't. However, Essen is what I call an interesting city with a rich cultural heritage and a long history back to the foundation of the convent in 852. It is a surprisingly green city. To me it's the most fascinating city in the Ruhr district and surroundings. I am inclined to rate Essen much higher than for example snobby Düsseldorf, I never understood the hype about the latter. Essen is down-to-Earth, well aware of its background as a mining and industrial city, and at the same time a vibrant cultural centre on a high level of quality.

Zollverein mine is the flagship since it was promoted to the status of UNESCO World Heritage. But there is more, much more to see. Museums, worker settlements from the early industrialization, church treasures from the early middle ages, museums, art collections and theatre, the landscapes along the Ruhr river and the lakes - and 52 other cities in close vicinity, connected by a dense public transportation network.

  • Last visit to Essen: Aug 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (43)

Comments (6)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2016 at 1:37 AM

    Kathrin, you have clarified many things on Essen for me. Thanks a lot for your generous travel advice...

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Updates have been completed.

  • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Oops! I thought I had finished the 2012 updates, now I see that I haven't. Work is in progress!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Hello Kathrin. I?m very impressed with your Essen page. I?ve been to Essen several times (on business and for the opera) but from your tips I see that the city has much more to offer. I toured the Zollverein in 2007, but it seems to have changed a lot since then.

    • Kathrin_E's Profile Photo
      Oct 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

      Hi Don, thank you for visiting - indeed, Essen has a lot to offer. I highly recommend the new Ruhrmuseum to you. I'll be in Essen again at the end of November for some culture and some Christmas markets.

  • german_eagle's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Seems there's really a lot to see and do there. Thanks for this very interesting page. The hotel is a true gem!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    nice photos of interesting architecture here


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