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The Ruhr District is an economie center in radical change. The former montan region, based on coal and steel, is on its way to a modern industriel region. In the beginning of the 70s about 500 000 poeple worked in mines, today there are only about 60 000 left and there will be only 30 000 soon. The figures for steel are comparable. On the other hand the number of total employees has not changed much, from 1.6 mil. in 1986 to 1.55 mil. in 1998. The part of employees in service sector has increased from 47% to 60 %. Many new jobs have been created, many of them in service sector and in high-tech sector. Today there are in the Ruhr District 6 Universities and 9 Universities of applied science. Besides the universities, there is also a wide variety of other institutes and institutions, the best-known being the four Fraunhofer Institutes with their focus on microelectronics (IMS in Duisburg), material flows and logistics (IML in Dortmund), environmental, safety and energie technologie (UMSICHT in Oberhausen) and software and systems (ISST in Dortmund) as well as the three Max Planck Institutes . Around the centers of science there are foundation parks to help young companies to start a buisiness. But also big concerns have come to the Ruhr offering jobs for the workers have been set free by mines and steel mills. Car production and the world largest factory for solar generators are two examples.

Service sector was increased also. Today there is a large offer of leisure- and culture facilities. Examples are the conversion of the interior habour of Duisburg to a leisure center or the 'Route der Industriekultur' (industriel heritage trail) , which keeps the industriel heritage of the region. There is a lively theater scenery, the theater of Bochum is known all over Germany. Many museums show arts of presence or of times before industrialisation.

In spite of this changes there are no major social problems. The rate of unimployment, in average about 12 %, in some regions up to 18 %, whould be at a level of 40 % without the structure change. Before the background of the radical loss of jobs in montan industry are 12 % not so bad. Even some sectors search for employees urgendly.

Outside the district nobody seems to notice the change. In former times the people have complained about the bad reputatiom, today hardly anybody outside Germany seems to have heard about the region, which is still one of the most important industriel regions of Europe. Only few poeple are willing to move home to the Ruhr District. But fact is, that most poeple living here are not willing to move away.

The Ruhr District is not a homogeneous region, it consists of 11 Cities and 4 country regions, this has infected the development of the Ruhr District. Each subdistrict is unique, has its own face. Paticularly at the regions limits you will find large areas of farmland beween the cities or a unique mixture of industry and farmland. But for visitors the core region presents like a homogeneous city. Therefore some have created the vision of the Ruhr city.
Economic promotion is done by Projekt Ruhr GmbH, a foundation of the state government, while the 'Kommunalverband Ruhr' (KVR), the oldest municipal association, takes responsibility of local politcs, which exceeds the abilites of single municipalities.

Some of this changes I have seen with my own eyes. Many things I knew when I was young do not exist any more. Therefore I want to document with fotos what is left. Among the photos you will find many showing old industriel buildings. Beside of this I want to show the the Ruhr District of today and I want to show the change. With the end of montan industrie air pollution has decreased drastically (see panorama photo of Wanne-Eikel), but a part of identification was lost.

If you like the fotos, if you are interested in the hints to exebitions or if you find the links usefull please recommend this pages to others.