The Route of Industrial Culture is an unmissable circuit of sites that is approximately 400 km in length. Brown tourist signposts point the way to over 20 key sites of industrial heritage from Essen to Duisburg, Oberhausen, Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund and then back to Essen. The UNESCO World Heritage Site and major visitors' centre, the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (Zeche Zollverein) , for example, is to be found in Essen.
Welcome to the Ruhr area, a region of Germany full of surprises. The comprehensive Route of Industrial Heritage, which forms part of the European Route of Industrial Culture, takes visitors on a "tour through the Ruhr" to explore the region's industrial heritage hotspots. Along the route you will encounter industrial monuments, as well as a vibrant cultivated landscape full of surprises.
There's more to this route than meets the eye
The attraction of the Ruhr region lies primarily in its monuments to engineering and its industrial sites, some of which are still active today. These treasures of the region's industrial past make up the Route of Industrial Heritage, which takes you to more than 50 cultural monuments – including numerous mines – that cover 150 years of industrial heritage up to the changes taking place today.
Have fun while discovering the legendary Ruhr area
Nowhere else can you see so many spectacular sights so close to each other. With collieries that became temples of design and industrial wastelands that became the playgrounds of the 21st century, there is much to both see and experience in this unique location. Enjoy rest and relaxation at reservoirs and public parks, culture in the Gasometer Oberhausen exhibition centre, dancing in the Old Colliery Washhouse (Zechen-Waschhaus), German beer on a brewery tour, strong football traditions, the latest niche sports and much more.
A hands-on experience that will hold you captivated
The interactive museums in former mines, coking plants and steelworks are fascinating visitor attractions during the day and by night, they are transformed into fantastic illuminated worlds, creating a night-time panorama that is simply breathtaking. These almost surreal cathedrals to industrial heritage are great subjects for photos.
Going away is old news – today it's all about discovering!
The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen, is one of the most spectacular places to visit in the Ruhr region, and is a site so powerful, you'll simply have to return. You can also combine your journey into the Ruhr's industrial heritage with a bicycle tour. Highlights of the region's industrial heritage on the Emscher, Lippe, Rhine and Ruhr rivers are connected by a 700 km network of cycle paths.
Length: approximately 400 km
Theme: industry, culture
Bochum: railway museum, Century Hall (Jahrhunderthalle), German Mining Museum (Deutsches Bergbaumuseum)
Dortmund: Zollern II/IV colliery, Hansa Coking Plant (Kokerei Hansa), Westphalia Stadium (Westfalenstadion)
Duisburg: Inner Harbour (Innenhafen), German Inland Waterways Museum (Museum der deutschen Binnenschifffahrt)
Essen: World Heritage site Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (Zeche Zollverein), Villa Hügel mansion, Ruhr Museum (Ruhrlandmuseum)
Gelsenkirchen: North Star Park (Nordsternpark), Veltins-Arena (football stadium)
Hagen: Hagen Open-air Museum (Westfälische Freilichtmuseum Hohenhof)
Hattingen: Henrichshütte Industrial Museum
Oberhausen: Gasometer exhibition centre, Rhineland Industrial Museum (Rheinisches Industriemuseum)
Waltrop: old ship lift, Henrichenburg boat lift
Witten: Nachtigall Coal Mine (Zeche Nachtigall), Muttental valley
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