Essen ©Jochen Tack
May 01, 2017

Essen: 2017 European Green Capital

Welcome to the home of innovators, pioneers and visionaries. The city of Essen in the Ruhr valley has long been far greater than the sum of its parts, and today it is also making a name for itself as the European Green Capital.

Pack your bags and immerse yourself in a city and its ideas as you discover just why the European Commission has named Essen the European Green Capital for 2017. Essen's successful transformation from coal and steel heartland to the greenest city in North Rhine-Westphalia sets an example for other European cities undergoing structural change. People follow a holistic approach to life here and are already putting into practice future-focused concepts and solutions for a greener, more community-minded and simply more liveable city – you can't help but feel inspired!

Back to nature

You are spoilt for choice for ways to discover the green capital Essen. As well as walking tours and open-top double-decker buses, there are renaturalised industrial sites, new places for wild river swimming and nearly 300 kilometres of cycle paths throughout the metropolitan area. With the extensive network of metropolradruhr bike hire points and the free cycling app ESSEN.Erfahren, it couldn't be easier to make your way around the city by bike. Essen boasts 15 themed tours and trails, including the Route of Industrial Heritage and the Valley Route. The parks, churches and friendly beer gardens dotted along the wayside are perfect for a relaxing stop. Or why not break up the journey at the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein mine?

In its capacity as the European Green Capital, Essen is bringing people together to share their knowledge and learn from one another. All year round there will be exhibitions, tours and special events exploring environmental themes, such as the Night of Industrial Culture, Breakfast in the Park, and geological and botanical walks. And if all that leaves you feeling thirsty, then look no further than the nearest tap. The city's drinking water is the cleanest in Germany.

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