Das Wasserschloss Haus Rodenberg in Dortmund © europhotos /

Visit Dortmund: Heart of the Eastern Ruhr Region

A History in Brief

Sitting cosily at the heart of the North Rhine-Westphalia region, Dortmund has proven itself historically to be both reactive and resilient. The city in its earliest incarnation was attested as far back as the late ninth century, where it enjoyed the status of an Imperial Free City reporting only to the Holy Roman Emperor. Some five hundred years later Dortmund had established itself as the region's most important city, and although its destruction during the Thirty Years' War hampered its development somewhat it was able to roar back to prominence. From the onset of German industrialisation right through to the decline of coal mining in the 1970s, Dortmund remained a central pillar of the country's coal, steel, and beer production.

Even the decline of the former two of these industries was not enough to curb the city's expansion, as an adaptable approach to technological advancement led to a shift in focus; today Dortmund is renowned as a centre of excellence in both biomedical technology and micro systems technology. 2015 estimates place the population at approximately 586,181, the eighth-highest in Germany. At present, the city is presided over by Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau, serving his third (non-consecutive) term.

Sights and Sounds

Those travelling to Dortmund for leisure will find no shortage of comfortable and modern accommodation to choose from. The NH Dortmund on Konigswall is a popular choice for its convenient location, whilst the Steigenberger Hotel on Berswordtstrasse consistently draws praise for the luxury feel of its rooms and service. Regardless of the length of your trip, the fine selection of hotels in Dortmund guarantees a good night's sleep. The city has for many years been known for its cultural offerings, and those inclined towards artistic appreciation and historical insight are catered to by the breadth of galleries and museums in Dortmund. The Westfalian Museum of Industry on Grubenweg is a window into the city's coal mining heritage, and the Brewery Museum on Steigerstrasse is a compelling and educational look at the history of beer in Dortmund. If great creative works are more to your tastes, the Museum of Art and Art History on Hansastrasse houses a collection that is sure to delight and inspire.

Like many of the larger cities in Germany, there are popular seasonal events in Dortmund. Chief among these is the Dortmund Christmas Market; from mid-November to late December every year the city is overcome with festive vigour centred around what, at 147 feet, is the world's largest Christmas tree. Tourists and locals alike revel in the selection of handmade crafts, local culinary delicacies, and overarching feeling of seasonal goodwill. Finally, it would be remiss of us not to mention the dining options: there is a fine variety of restaurants in Dortmund. If traditional German cuisine is what you're after you can certainly do worse than Hovels Hausbrauerei (Hoher Wall 5-7), and even though authentic Vietnamese food is perhaps not what you would expect to find in Germany, Nhy Star on Hansastrasse has cemented its place as a Dortmund fixture. These are just two examples of the myriad eateries lining the city's streets, meaning there's no excuse for an empty stomach during your visit.

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