New life in old industrial monuments

Winding towers, blast furnaces, the Gasometer and smelting works are witnesses to the industrial past of the Ruhr Metropolis. The former industrial plants shaped the region and are accessible today on the Industrial Heritage Trail. Approximately five million visitors set out on the circuit annually.

Duisburg-North Landscape Park at night. Photo: RVR
Picture: Duisburg-North Landscape Park at night. Photo: RVR

Circuit through the history of industry

Since 1998 the Industrial Heritage Trail has incorporated more than 900 big and small attractions in the Ruhr Metropolis. Amongst these are: industrial monuments, viewpoints, workers settlements, museums and exhibition. These are signposted on a 400 kilometres long circuit, which allows you to experience the region’s history of industry at close quarters.

The gangway to the Visitor Centre of the Ruhr Museum takes visitors up 55 metres. Photo: Hans-Jürgen Abenath
Picture: The escalator up to the visitor centre and Ruhr Museum. Photo: Hans-Jürgen Abenath

Zollverein: World Heritage Site und visitor centre

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Zollverein in Essen is considered the highlight of industrial heritage. It houses the Ruhr Visitor Centre and the industrial heritage portal, which offers information about the Industrial Heritage Trail multimedially. Two former Rundeindicker, i.e. large round settling basins for coal washing, today serve as a presentation room and a 360 degree cinema to allow visitors to get acquainted with the Ruhr region. The Ruhr Museum, which is also incorporated into the cubistic industrial buildings, was reopened in 2010 and gives a multifaceted presentation of the region’s history.

A barrel as exhibition location: The Gasometer in Oberhausen. Photo: RVR/Lueger
Picture: The Gasometer in Oberhausen. Photo: RVR/Lueger

Spectacular locations

Besides the Zollverein colliery and coking plant, you will find another four former industrial sites which are exceptional locations in the Industrial Heritage Trail. The Gasometer Oberhausen is a gigantic, striking barrel in the cityscape and an unusual exhibition location with a viewing platform at a height of almost 120 metres.

The blast furnace plant in Duisburg-Meiderich is now a Landscape Park with a climbing park in the ore bunker and open-air cinema in the blower house. The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum is the imposing festival hall of the Ruhrtriennale and as a living monument the Hansa Coking Plant in Dortmund is witness to the past. Its grounds are slowly being conquered back from nature.


Orientation is simplified by having a brochure on hand. Photo: RVR/Duschner
Picture: Zollverein Colliery visitors. Photo: RVR/Duschner

Routes and cycle paths

Single aspects of the industrial heritage can be discovered on 25 themed trails dealing with mining, shipping and railway history. The routes “Panoramen und Landmarken” (panorama and landmarks) with the Dortmund U and the Nordstern Tower in Gelsenkirchen, as well as “Sole, Dampf und Kohle” (brine, steam and coal) in the region between Unna and Hamm have been newly designed.

Special tours are offered for handicapped people and children. The Industrial Heritage Trail can also be experienced by bicycle: The many attractions are connected by a cycle path of approximately 700 kilometres.

Industrial Heritage Trail (German website)

The Regional Association Ruhr (RVR) plans, develops and builds together with the municipalities of the Ruhr Metropolis


Be our guest! Ruhr Tourismus (RTG) answers all questions related to travelling in the Ruhr Metropolis


The regional business development company, Wirtschaftsförderung metropole Ruhr GmbH (wmr), is the service partner for companies and investors


Transport information

Local public transport:
The Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr transport association

The situation on the motorways:

Renting a bike: