The Ruhr Valley (the so called Ruhrpott) is a region in Nordrhein-Westfalen (western part of Germany), which is packed with big cities. It is actually the most densely populated area of Germany. In the 20th century the area was most of all know for its coals mines and industrial sites. At the end of the 20th century the coal mines were shut down and the “Buddies” had to find new jobs. The biggest cities in the Ruhr Valley are Essen, Duisburg, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Mölln, Oberhausen, Bottrop und Mörs.
“You are not a beauty, grey from work, you love yourself without make-up, you are an honest soul, unfortunately spoilt by construction sites, but that is what characterises you”, song writer Herbert Grönemeyer sang in 1985 about the city of Bochum in the so called Ruhrpott. Well, a lot has happened since then. Since the late 90ies the chimneys within the Ruhr Valley are standing still, many cities started a beautification programme. At the latest from 2010, when the Ruhr Valley was culture capital of Europe, the “Pott” received a new facade. Meanwhile nature and theme parks are more typical for that region than sooty facades. However, there is still plenty of opportunity to revive the good old times of coal mines, i.e. at the “Zeche Zollverein” in Essen, which became UNESCO world heritage in 2001, or at the landscape park in north of Duisburg.
Aber auch die Stadt Bochum hat einiges zu bieten. Neben zahlreichen schönen Radwegen, wie z.B. entlang der ehemaligen Bahntrasse oder dem Emscher Radweg, die Sternwarte der Stadt, die im Ortsteil Sundern liegt. Dort gibt es derzeit die Ausstellung “Sputnik 50” zu bestaunen, die zu einer Reise in die Zeit der Raumfahrt einlädt, als Deutschland noch geteilt war und der Kalte Krieg vorherrschte.