The area between the Ruhr, Lippe and Rhine rivers consisted mainly of rural villages until the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution turned it into one of Europe’s largest centres for coal mining and steel production (which soon earned it the nickname Ruhrpott, or Coal Pot). Hundreds of thousands migrated from all over Germany, Poland and other countries to work in the Ruhrgebiet’s collieries, coking plants, and foundries.
Today, its population of over 5 million (who live in cities like Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Bochum) makes it one of the largest conurbations in Europe. Today’s workforce is concentrated more in manufacturing and technology, but the former industrial sites have since been renovated and reborn as vibrant tourist attractions and cultural centres on a route called the Industrial Heritage Trail. In recognition of this, Essen and the Ruhrgebiet were recently named the European Capital of Culture for the year 2010.
Get free and discounted admissions to almost 120 attractions across the Ruhrgebiet with the RuhrTOPCard, including museums, cinemas, theatres, music festivals, amusement parks, hotels, tours and transport. Valid until 31 December 2006, the card costs €33 (€23 for children) and has two levels of service. First, choose any three individual days throughout the year to get free admission to any attraction displaying the green “Eintritt Frei” (Free Entrance) sign. Furthermore, a blue “Extra Frei” (Extra Free) sign means free entrance any day of the year when you show your card, while a red “Ermäßigung” (Reduced) sign means you’ll pay discounted rates - and neither of these will use up any of your three selected days. Buy the RuhrTOPCard from any area tourist centre, or from the website. Both of these also have more information on participating attractions and cities. Info Hotline: 0 18 05 - 18 16 180 (€0.12/min), www.ruhrtopcard-2006.de.
Ruhrgebiet Tourism Centre
Gutenberg Str. 47, Essen, tel. 0201/176 70, email@example.com, www.ruhrgebiettouristik.de.