Leverkusen is known internationally as the headquarters of Bayer AG, the world-renowned chemical and pharmaceutical company. But there is much more to this industrial city, which has plenty of opportunities for relaxation thanks to its location in the foothills of the Bergisches Land region. Leverkusen is a place where urban buzz and village-like tranquillity exist in close proximity.
For a long time, Leverkusen was nothing but a collection of villages between Cologne and Düsseldorf that did not unite to form a town until 1930. A large factory had been situated here before that however. In 1863, Messrs Weskott and Bayer had opened Friedr. Bayer et comp. in Barmen, now Wuppertal . Later, they acquired the chemical company Leverkus and, in 1891, relocated Bayer's headquarters to a green-field site in Wiesdorf, today a district of Leverkusen. The businessman Leverkus named the settlement that sprung up around the plant after his family's residence – Leverkusen. Despite this heritage, Leverkusen is no longer merely a city built round a factory. It has its own identity and character that throughout the city you feel like you could almost reach out and touch. An example of this is Forum Leverkusen, a venue that has built up a reputation throughout Germany. This arts centre with its modern conference and meeting facilities hosts the acclaimed International Leverkusen Jazz Festival every autumn. The city's other major venue for concerts, plays and other events is the Erholungshaus, which dates from 1908 and belongs to Bayer. For many decades, it was the top address for culture in Leverkusen. Palatial Villa Römer in the district of Opladen is a good place to learn about the city's past. It is run by Leverkusen history associations as the 'house of municipal history'.
Modern-day culture can be found in Morsbroich House, a beautiful hunting lodge about a kilometre from the city centre, which is home to the Municipal Museum for Modern Art. Its collection encompasses more than 400 paintings and sculptures as well as some 5,000 prints. Temporary exhibitions are devoted to artists such as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Günther Uecker and Yves Klein. Morsbroich House's Japanese garden is a year-round oasis of bliss and beauty that will delight anyone – especially you – and is so beautiful that it attracts people to Leverkusen in its own right.