Having lived in Dortmund for over 6 years before moving to Berlin, I have lots to say about one of my favourite parts of Germany: The Ruhr District. Or as the Germans say “Ruhrpott”, which is just one of many names for our country’s largest industrial area. When people think of this place, they tend to attribute the Ruhrgebiet with mostly underground mining, coal, unemployment, dirty cities, currywurst, beer and football. I won’t say that all of them aren’t true, but those are definitely not the main things the Ruhrgebiet is about. Lo and behold – the Ruhr District is worth a visit and you’re about to find out why.

My top 5 reasons to go to… the Ruhrgebiet:

1. Halden

What the hell is a “Halde”, you probably think. Well, its pretty much a spoil tip. There are around 30 of them in the area, most of them built into public parks. For example, there is Halde Haniel with a “totem” sculpture or Halde Hohewardt with a horizon observatory, a modern version of Stonehenge, at their tops.

After hiking on top of one of them, you’ll have a spectacular view on the surrounding area and will see, that it’s not just greay industry, cities next to each other, but that it is full of green. Actually 60% of the Ruhrgebiet are green areas.

2. Industrial Culture

Besides the “Halden” there is also a lot more they did from all the leftovers from industrial years. For example the “Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord“. There, they built an entire recreation park from an old coal and steel production plant. Old structures found new uses, such as a diving center in a gasometer, a climbing park in the old coal bunkers, different pathways, an open air cinema, concert halls, a lookout on top of the former blast furnace and even a hostel.

3. Trinkhallen

Trinkhallen are very typical types of kiosks in West Germany, especially the Ruhrgebiet. There you can not only buy one of the 50 different local beer brands, but will also most likely meet the most interesting people in the area. Theses places aren’t just stores, but rather communication points. Places, where everyone in the neighbourhood meets up for a chat, exchanges gossip or just has a beer or two while watching the world go by.

4. Free open air festivals

The area is basically the capital of free open air festivals. Small local bands also as well known international musicians like Whitest Boy Alive or Friska Viljor perform at Bochum Total, Olgas Rock or the Werden Open Air (just to name a few).

5. The Ruhr

Last but not least the river who named the area. There is a bunch of things to do, such as a boat cruise in the port of Duisburg or a canoe tour on the untreated part of the river.

Writing this, actually makes me feel really homesick for my beloved Ruhrpott, the people, the currywurst (way better than Berlins’) and the beer.

Pay it a visit an say hi from Nina.

This post was written by Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk, who has a funny name even for Germans; she is a wicked go-getter and creative freelance designer, photographer and blogger.

She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.