Dortmund: German Football Museum ©DZT (Mark Wohlrab Fotodesign)

Inspiring Germany

Hip culture, historic halls

Passionate: that's the best way to describe fans of Borussia Dortmund. Besides its enthusiasm for football, this city in the Ruhr region is known for its rich industrial history.

Südkurve! This one word symbolises what makes Dortmund football fans so enthusiastic about their sport. Home games for Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park the Westphalia stadium, are a passionate event. A sea of black- and gold-clad fans and a powerful chorus singing the team anthem are standard at the Südkurve, the largest football arena in Germany. This "temple to football" holds more than 80,000 spectators, and The Times Magazine has named it the most beautiful stadium in the world. It's no wonder that the German Football Museum is based in Dortmund.

From brewery to cultural site

Be sure to visit the legendary Dortmunder U. This 9-metre-high gilded letter – visible from a distance – stands atop a tower. What was originally a company logo for a brewery has become a city landmark. Beer is no longer brewed inside this building; instead, the space has been reinvented as a hub for art and creativity, and has become an important part of the cultural scene in Dortmund. It also houses the Ostwall Museum and its modern art collection. Among the paintings are works by Marc Chagall, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso.

Blast furnaces and parks

Another monument of industrial history is to be found in Phoenix West, where the Skywalk takes you over a disused furnace facility and provides an impressive view from above. You can see the stadium and the expansive Westphalia Park grounds; this green city is dominated by the 219-metre-high Florian Tower. Heavy industry is history: where the steelworks once stood, the Phoenixsee, with its boardwalk and restaurants, now offers relaxation and cuisine close to the city centre.

Stösschen and Salzkuchen

Try a local beer in the pub-packed Kreuzviertel with its gorgeous Gründerzeit houses. Blink and it's gone: the Stösschen is a really small glass of beer, first devised as a clever business idea for travellers to pass the time while waiting at railway crossings. The barriers have disappeared, but the Stösschen remains a staple in Dortmund. Be sure to try some Salzkuchen with Mett, a bun seasoned with caraway seeds topped with ground pork. In the Kaiserviertel you'll find cosy cafes and restaurants along with small boutique shops.

Discover the history of the region

A day trip outside of Dortmund shows you how the Ruhr region has changed from industrial to a scenic, varied landscape. Take a ride along the RuhrtalRadweg through green landscapes, pausing at the many industrial monuments along the way.

An especially exciting sight is the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen, which is another important stop on the Industrial Heritage Trail. This pit coal mine, once the largest in the world, closed in 1986 and has since become a first-rate cultural monument. This UNESCO World Heritage Site regularly hosts concerts and festivals. You can learn more at the Ruhrmuseum.