"NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN / NORTH RHINE - WESTPHALIA" Germany Things to Do Tip by Leipzig
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North Rhine-Westphalia is with nearly 18 million inhabitants the most populous state. It extends from the Belgian and Dutch border to the Weser Valley. To the north is the Münsterland and the Teutoburger Forest. South of Münsterland is the heavily industrialised Ruhrgebiet, the land of coal and steel. Nearly half of its people live in large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; at 527 persons per square kilometer, its population density is one of the highest in Europe. Formerly an industrial landscape dominated by factory smokestacks it has chanced to a more green and liveable region. Today it is a vibrant centre of culture with many museums, theatres, art galleries and opera houses. Main cities in this area are Duisburg with Germany’s largest internal port, Essen, home of Germany’s newest UNESCO World Heritage site, the Zollverein Coke Plant and Dortmund, with its important brewing industry. South of the Ruhr region is Wuppertal with its unique suspension railway: Schwebebahn. West from Wuppertal lies Düsseldorf, the important commercial and cultural centre is the state capital and home of the Alt-Beer. The heart of the city is the Königsallee or ‘Kö’, a wide boulevard bisected by a waterway and lined with trees, cafés, fashionable shops and modern shopping arcades. Cologne, south of Düsseldorf, was founded by the Romans and developed to an important commercial and media centre. With almost one million inhabitants it is the fourth largest German city. Cologne is dominated by the world famous Cathedral. The beautiful spa town of Aachen is the westernmost German city and was once capital of Charlemagne‘s empire. It is dominated by the Cathedral and the 14th-century town hall. In the south of North Rhine-Westphalia is Bonn, the former capital of Germany. The eastern part of the state is the Sauerland Region, an area of lakes, forests and hills, providing good skiing in winter and walks at any time.
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