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Introduction / about Essen

Its function as a centre point in one of the most varied event and cultural regions in Europe makes the City of Essen an ideal destination and starting point for all visits.

Founded in the ninth century, it is a major iron and steel centre that was largely rebuilt after heavy bombing during World War II.

The region's last coal mine closed in 1986 and in recent years there has a move away from heavy industry into the service and technology sectors.

Located on the river Ruhr, it ranks as the second largest city of the Ruhr area and as the 8th largest city in Germany.

One of Europe's largest conurbations, the Ruhr area offers an impressive store of cultural wealth. In a candidacy process promoting “Essen for the Ruhr” the city of Essen and the Ruhr area have been selected as the Cultural Capital of Europe 2010.

Today Essen has 581,000 inhabitants and is seat to several large companies, among them Germany's fifth-largest industrial enterprise RWE AG. The ThyssenKrupp industrial conglomerate with its seats amongst others in Essen originates from a 1999 merger between Duisburg-based Thyssen AG and Essen-based Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp. With Eon-Ruhrgas AG, Germany's largest gas company also has its seat in Essen.


What to see

Check out for yourself the sheer variety of events in Essen: Starting with the musical "MAMMA MIA" and city events such as classics like the "Essener Lichtwochen" (Essener light weeks) , "Essen Motor-Show", and the "International Christmas Market Essen", there is one highlight after another.

But Essen also offers a great deal else to day tourists as well as event and cultural visitors: Immerse yourself in the not so long ago but today completely historic epoch of its industrial past. In Essen, past ways of life and working come alive again. Tours through the above ground plant of the former "Zeche Zollverein" take tourists on a "coal journey" from the point where it was mined, via the coal washing facility, and to the point of loading and shipment. An insight into the life of an entrepreneur at the time of industrialisation can be gained by a visit to "Villa Hügel", for decades the company and family seat of the Krupp dynasty.

In Essen, you can find art and culture on the pavement: A trail made up from blue illuminated stones leads visitors from the city centre to the "Museum Folkwang" as well as the "Ruhrlandmuseum". This culture trail takes you past major works of sculpture, new and old architecture, and also points you in the right direction for the "Aalto Opera House", a further gem in the crown of Essen, City of Culture.

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