Industrial Area of ​​the Ruhr Area

The Ruhr area is the region to the right of the Rhine, which stretches in the west between the Ruhr and Lippe rivers and in the east over Dortmund to Hamm. The Ruhr area is located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Together with the industrial centers on the Lower Rhine and the Wupper, as the Rheinisch-Westfälisches industrial area (Rhine-Ruhr) it forms one of the largest industrial conurbations in Europe.

The basis of the economic development formed the large deposits of hard coal. A diverse industry followed the mining industry. The sales crisis for iron and steel in the 1970’s led to major structural changes, including the closure of collieries and the closure of the blast furnaces.

The densely populated agglomeration has excellent transport links. Duisburg-Ruhrort has the largest German inland port.

According to youremailverifier, the Ruhr area is still the most important German and one of the largest European industrial districts. It forms the main part of the economic area Rheinisch-Westfälisches industrial area, Rhein-Ruhr for short, in North Rhine-Westphalia. Its core area extends as a wide band of cities from the left bank of the Rhine in Duisburg (Rheinhausen) to Dortmund in Westphalia. In its peripheral areas, the Ruhr area stretches from near the Dutch border in the west to Hamm in the east, in the north over the Lippe and in the south partly over the Ruhrout. Within the limits of the Municipal Association of the Ruhr Area (KVR), which also includes the entire Ennepe-Ruhr district to the south, the Ruhr area with 4433 km² comprises 13% of the area and with around 5.2 million residents, more than 30% of the population of North Rhine -Westphalia. In the Ruhr area, there are so many large cities close together than anywhere else in Germany.

The great economic importance of the Ruhr area, also known as the Ruhr district in mining terms, was based on its rich coal reserves. The deposits in the Ruhr area originated in the Carboniferous region around 300 million years ago, when there was a warm and humid climate in this area. In a rock package over 3000 m thick, up to 150 coal deposits, i.e. seams, can be determined in some places using drill cores in the Ruhr area. The initially flat layers were folded and discarded several times in the course of geological development due to tectonic movements.

Hard coal in the Ruhr area is first mentioned in 1298. It was promoted in the Middle Ages, especially in the south of the area. However, the steam engine did not allow a greater extraction depth until the middle of the 19th century and favored the rapid development of industry and the increase in population. In the wake of the ever expanding mining industryA significant iron and steel industry with iron and steel production and their processing emerged. Large companies in the chemical industry also settled in the Ruhr area. Numerous people moved into the room. As early as the 19th century, Poles came who had fled or been expelled from their country. Before and during the Second World War, forced laborers, so-called foreign workers, also came to the Ruhr area mainly from Poland.

The crisis …

The structural one-sidedness of industry on the Ruhr led to crises in mining in the late 1950’s and crises in the steel industry in the 1970’s. Many mines had to close because the import of foreign hard coal had become much cheaper than domestic production. Attempts were made to limit the negative consequences by means of state subsidies. Hard coal production and the steel industry fell sharply. In 2009 there were only four mining mines left in the Ruhr area, namely West, Prosper-Haniel, Auguste Victoria and East. There are also three coking plants: the Prosper coking plant in Bottrop, the Schwelgern coking plant in Duisburg and the Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann.

… and overcoming them

The crisis in the coal and steel industry reached its peak in the steel sector in the 1970’s and required a radical structural change. Many municipalities offered inexpensive building areas on the former colliery and smelter site. The transport network was generously expanded in order to further improve the location advantages. State and federal government promoted in particular the settlement of vehicle and mechanical engineering as well as the electrical industry. Medium-sized and smaller companies found fully developed properties or already completed buildings in numerous industrial and commercial parks. Numerous educational and service facilities were also established. As a result of the six universities that were founded in 1964, research increased. In terms of number of employees and turnover, the mechanical engineering and vehicle construction industry groups,

Nevertheless, many of the former colliery and smelting sites are now fallow land and the unemployment rate remains high.


No other area in Europe is as densely developed as the Ruhr area by railroad lines, roads and waterways. The Rhine, the Wesel-Datteln, Datteln-Hamm, Rhein-Herne and Dortmund-Ems canals connect the area with many important European economic areas, including the north-western European seaports. The largest inland port in Germany is located in Duisburg-Ruhrort and, together with other Rhine ports, forms the largest inland port facility in the world.

The Ruhr area, popularly known as the “Kohlenpott”, is now the industrial area with the most green spaces. After all, 47% of the total area of ​​the Ruhr area is used for agriculture, 17% is forest. Thanks to new shopping centers and cultural facilities, such as the Aalto Theater in Essen and the festival, as well as other leisure facilities, the Ruhr area has also been able to significantly increase its attractiveness as a residential area.

The Ruhr coal district settlement association was founded in 1920 as the first German spatial planning authority. In its place, the Ruhr Area Municipal Association stepped in 1979, which, however, lost the competence for state planning in favor of the newly established district planning councils. The tasks of the association based in Essen include securing areas, traffic calming and waste management.


The Ruhr area is embedded in the Rhine-Westphalian industrial area, or Rhine-Ruhr for short. It covers an area in which about 10 million people live. The cities of Aachen, Mönchengladbach, Düren, Bonn, Lüdenscheid, Hamm and Wesel form borders. In addition to the Ruhr area, the Rhine-Ruhr area includes the Bergisch-Märkische industrial area with a specialized iron and steel industry, the Krefeld-Mönchengladbach economic area with the textile and clothing industry, the Aachen-Düren area with the metal goods and paper industry, the Rhenish lignite area and the Cologne-Bonn area and Düsseldorf. The Rhenish lignite mining area is located between Neuss, the Ville and Eschweiler and, with an area of ​​2500 km², is the largest contiguous lignite deposit in Europe. The largest opencast mines are located near Grevenbroich, Jülich, Eschweiler and Garzweiler. The five large power plants generate 15% of Germany’s electricity generation.

Industrial Area of ​​the Ruhr Area