Essen (German pronunciation: [ˈʔɛsn̩] ( listen); Latin:
Assindia) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Its population
of approximately 589,000 (as of 31 March 2016[update]) makes
it the ninth-largest city in Germany. It is the central city of the
northern (Ruhr) part of the Rhine-
Ruhr metropolitan area and seat to
several of the region's authorities.
Essen is seat to 13 of the 100
largest German corporations, including three
DAX corporations, placing
the city second only to
Munich and on-par with
Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main in
number of corporate headquarters.
Founded around 845,
Essen remained a small town within the sphere of
influence of an important ecclesiastical principality (
until the onset of industrialization. The city then — especially
Krupp family iron works — became one of Germany's most
important coal and steel centers. Essen, until the 1970s, attracted
workers from all over the country; it was the 5th-largest city in
Germany between 1929 and 1988, peaking at over 730,000 inhabitants in
1962. Following the region-wide decline of heavy industries in the
last decades of the 20th century, the city has seen the development of
a strong tertiary sector of the economy.
Although it is the (in total) most indebted city in Germany, Essen
continues to pursue its redevelopment plans. Notable accomplishments
in recent years include the title of
European Capital of Culture
European Capital of Culture on
behalf of the whole
Ruhr area in 2010 and the selection as the
European Green Capital
European Green Capital for 2017.
Essen was chosen to serve as the seat to a Roman Catholic
diocese (often referred to as Ruhrbistum or diocese of the Ruhr). In
early 2003, the universities of
Essen and the nearby city of Duisburg
(both established in 1972) were merged into the University of
Essen with campuses in both cities and a university hospital
2.1 Origin of the name
2.2 Early history
2.3 8th–12th centuries
2.4 13th–17th centuries
2.5 Thirty Years' War
2.7 First World War
2.8 Occupation of the Ruhr
2.9 Phase of the Nazi seizure of power in 1933–34
2.10 1938 November Pogrom
2.11 Forced labor camps and concentration camps
2.12 Second World War
2.13 Under British occupation
2.14 Twenty-first century
3.1 Historical development
3.3 Coat of arms
3.4 International relations
4 Industry and infrastructure
4.6.1 Streets and motorways
4.6.2 Public transport
5.1 Zollverein Industrial Complex
Essen Minster and treasury
5.3 Old Synagogue
5.4 Villa Hügel
Kettwig and Werden
5.6 Other important cultural sites
5.7 Other sites
6 Notable people
6.1 Honorary citizens
10 External links
Mülheim an der Ruhr
(Map of districts and boroughs)
2 Mettmann district
Essen is located in the centre of the
Ruhr area, one of the largest
urban areas in
Europe (see also: megalopolis), comprising eleven
independent cities and four districts with some 5.3 million
inhabitants. The city limits of
Essen itself are 87 km
(54 mi) long and border ten cities, five independent and five
kreisangehörig (i.e., belonging to a district), with a total
population of approximately 1.4 million. The city extends over
21 km (13 mi) from north to south and 17 km
(11 mi) from west to east, mainly north of the River Ruhr.
Ruhr forms the Lake Baldeney reservoir in the boroughs of
Fischlaken, Kupferdreh, Heisingen and Werden. The lake, a popular
recreational area, dates from 1931 to 1933, when some thousands of
unemployed coal miners dredged it with primitive tools. Generally,
large areas south of the River
Ruhr (including the suburbs of Schuir
and Kettwig) are quite green and are often quoted as examples of rural
structures in the otherwise relatively densely populated central Ruhr
area. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, Essen
with 9.2% of its area covered by recreational green is the greenest
city in North Rhine-Westphalia and the third-greenest city in
Germany. The city has been shortlisted for the title of European
Green Capital two consecutive times, for 2016 and 2017, winning for
2017. The city was singled out for its exemplary practices in
protecting and enhancing nature and biodiversity and efforts to reduce
Essen participates in a variety of networks and
initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the
city’s resilience in the face of climate change.
The lowest point can be found in the northern borough of Karnap at
26.5 m (86.9 ft), the highest point in the borough of
Heidhausen at 202.5 m (664 ft). The average elevation is
116 m (381 ft).
Essen comprises fifty boroughs which in turn are grouped into nine
suburban districts (called Stadtbezirke) often named after the most
important boroughs. Each
Stadtbezirk is assigned a
Roman numeral and
has a local body of nineteen members with limited authority. Most of
the boroughs were originally independent municipalities but were
gradually annexed from 1901 to 1975. This long-lasting process of
annexation has led to a strong identification of the population with
"their" boroughs or districts and to a rare peculiarity: The borough
of Kettwig, located south of the
Ruhr River, and which was not annexed
until 1975, has its own area code. Additionally (allegedly due to
relatively high church tax incomes), the
Archbishop of Cologne
Archbishop of Cologne managed
Kettwig directly subject to the Archdiocese of Cologne,
whereas all other boroughs of
Essen and some neighboring cities
constitute the Diocese of Essen.
Essen Main Station
Despite its industrial history,
Essen is generally regarded as one of
Germany's greenest cities. The picture shows the borough of
Kettwig, annexed in 1975.
Essen has a temperate–
Oceanic climate with relatively mild winters
and cool summers. Its average annual temperature is 10 °C
(50 °F): 13.3 °C (56 °F) during the day and
6.7 °C (44 °F) at night. The average annual precipitation
is 934 mm (37 in). The coldest month of the year is January,
when the average temperature is 2.4 °C (36 °F). The
warmest months are July and August, with an average temperature of
18 °C (64 °F). The record high is 36.6 °C
(98 °F) and the record low is −24 °C
Climate data for Essen
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization (UN), Hong Kong
Observatory for data of sunshine hours
See also: Timeline of Essen
Essen on an engraving from 1647
Origin of the name
In German-speaking countries, the name of the city
Essen often causes
confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the
German infinitive of the verb for "eating" (written as lowercase
essen), and/or the German noun for food (which is always capitalized
as Essen, adding to the confusion). Although scholars still dispute
the interpretation of the name, there remain a few noteworthy
interpretations. The oldest known form of the city's name is Astnide,
which changed to
Essen by way of forms such as Astnidum, Assinde,
Essendia and Esnede. The name Astnide may have referred either to a
region where many ash trees were found or to a region in the East (of
the Frankish Empire). The
Old High German
Old High German word for fireplace,
Esse, is also commonly mentioned due to the industrial history of the
city, but is highly unlikely since the old forms of the city name
originate from times before industrialization.
The oldest archaeological find, the Vogelheimer Klinge, dates back to
280,000 – 250,000 BC. It is a blade found in the borough of
Vogelheim (de) in the northern part of the city during the
construction of the
Rhine–Herne Canal in 1926. Other artifacts
Stone Age have also been found, although these are not overly
numerous. Land utilization was very high – especially due to mining
activities during the Industrial Age – and any more major finds,
especially from the
Mesolithic era, are not expected. Finds from 3,000
BC and onwards are far more common, the most important one being a
Megalithic tomb found in 1937. Simply called Steinkiste (Chest of
Stone), it is referred to as "Essen's earliest preserved example of
Essen was part of the settlement areas of several Germanic peoples
(Chatti, Bructeri, Marsi), although a clear distinction among these
groupings is difficult.
The Alteburg castle in the south of
Essen dates back to the 1st or 2nd
century BC, the Herrenburg to the 8th century AD.
Recent research into Ptolemy's Geographia has identified the polis or
Navalia as Essen.
Around 845, Saint
Altfrid (around 800–874), the later Bishop of
Hildesheim, founded an abbey for women (coenobium Astnide) in the
centre of present-day Essen. The first abbess was Altfrid's relative
Gerswit (see also:
Essen Abbey). In 799, Saint
Liudger had already
Werden Abbey on its own grounds a few kilometers
south. The region was sparsely populated with only a few smallholdings
and an old and probably abandoned castle. Whereas
Werden Abbey sought
to support Liudger's missionary work in the
Essen Abbey was meant to care for women of
the higher Saxon nobility. This abbey was not an abbey in the ordinary
sense, but rather intended as a residence and educational institution
for the daughters and widows of the higher nobility; led by an abbess,
the members other than the abbess herself were not obliged to take
vows of chastity.
Around 852, construction of the collegiate church of the abbey began,
to be completed in 870. A major fire in 946 heavily damaged both the
church and the settlement. The church was rebuilt, expanded
considerably, and is the foundation of the present
The first documented mention of
Essen dates back to 898, when
Zwentibold, King of Lotharingia, willed territory on the western bank
of the River
Rhine to the abbey. Another document, describing the
foundation of the abbey and allegedly dating back to 870, is now
considered an 11th-century forgery.
In 971, Mathilde II, granddaughter of Emperor Otto I, took charge of
the abbey. She was to become the most important of all abbesses in the
history of Essen. She reigned for over 40 years, and endowed the
abbey's treasury with invaluable objects such as the oldest preserved
seven branched candelabrum, and the Golden Madonna of Essen, the
oldest known sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the western world.
Mathilde was succeeded by other women related to the Ottonian
emperors: Sophia, daughter of Otto II and sister of Otto III, and
Teophanu, granddaughter of Otto II. It was under the reign of Teophanu
that Essen, which had been called a city since 1003, received the
right to hold markets in 1041. Ten years later, Teophanu had the
eastern part of
Essen Abbey constructed. Its crypt contains the tombs
of St. Altfrid, Mathilde II, and Teophanu herself.
Alte Kirche (Old Church, built 1887), Altenessen
In 1216, the abbey, which had only been an important landowner until
then, gained the status of a princely residence when Emperor Frederick
II called abbess Elisabeth I Reichsfürstin (Princess of the Empire)
in an official letter. In 1244, 28 years later,
Essen received its
town charter and seal when Konrad von Hochstaden, the Archbishop of
Cologne, marched into the city and erected a city wall together with
the population. This proved a temporary emancipation of the population
of the city from the princess-abbesses, but this lasted only until
1290. That year, King Rudolph I restored the princess-abbesses to full
sovereignty over the city, much to the dismay of the population of the
growing city, who called for self-administration and imperial
immediacy. The title free imperial city was finally granted by Emperor
Charles IV in 1377. However, in 1372, Charles had paradoxically
endorsed Rudolph I's 1290 decision and hence left both the abbey and
the city in imperial favour. Disputes between the city and the abbey
about supremacy over the region remained common until the abbey's
dissolution in 1803. Many lawsuits were filed at the
Reichskammergericht, one of them lasting almost 200 years. The final
decision of the court in 1670 was that the city had to be "duly
obedient in dos and don'ts" to the abbesses but could maintain its old
rights—a decision that did not really solve any of the problems.
In 1563, the city council, with its self-conception as the only
legitimate ruler of Essen, introduced the Protestant Reformation. The
Catholic abbey had no troops to counter this development.
Thirty Years' War
During the Thirty Years' War, the Protestant city and the Catholic
abbey opposed each other. In 1623, princess-abbess Maria Clara von
Spaur, Pflaum und Valör, managed to direct Catholic Spaniards against
the city in order to initiate a Counter-Reformation. In 1624, a
"re-Catholicization" law was enacted, and churchgoing was strictly
controlled. In 1628, the city council filed against this at the
Reichskammergericht. Maria had to flee to
Cologne when the Dutch
stormed the city in 1629. She returned in the summer of 1631 following
Bavarians under Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim, only to
leave again in September. She died 1644 in Cologne.
The war proved a severe blow to the city, with frequent arrests,
kidnapping and rape. Even after the
Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia from 1648,
troops remained in the city until 9 September 1650.
The three rings of Krupp
Historic House of the
The first historic evidence of the important mining tradition of Essen
date back to the 14th century, when the princess-abbess was granted
mining rights. The first silver mine opened in 1354, but the
indisputably more important coal was not mentioned until 1371, and
coal mining only began in 1450.
At the end of the 16th century, many coal mines had opened in Essen,
and the city earned a name as a centre of the weapons industry. Around
1570, gunsmiths made high profits and in 1620, they produced 14,000
rifles and pistols a year. The city became increasingly important
Essen since the 16th century, the
Krupp family dynasty and
Essen shaped each other. In 1811, Friedrich
Krupp founded Germany's
first cast-steel factory in
Essen and laid the cornerstone for what
was to be the largest enterprise in
Europe for a couple of decades.
The weapon factories in
Essen became so important that a sign facing
the main railway station welcomed visitor
Benito Mussolini to the
"Armory of the Reich" in 1937. The
Krupp Works also were the main
reason for the large population growth beginning in the mid-19th
Essen reached a population of 100,000 in 1896. Other
industrialists, such as Friedrich Grillo, who in 1892 donated the
Grillo-Theater to the city, also played a major role in the shaping of
the city and the
Ruhr area in the late 19th and early 20th century.
First World War
Riots broke out in February 1917 following a breakdown in the supply
of flour. There were then strikes in the
Occupation of the Ruhr
On January 11, 1923, the Occupation of the
Ruhr was carried out by the
invasion of French and Belgian troops into the Ruhr. The French Prime
Raymond Poincaré was convinced that
Germany failed to comply
the demands of the Treaty of Versailles. On the morning of March 31,
1923 it came to the sad culmination of this French-German
confrontation. A small French military command, occupied the Krupp
car hall to seize several vehicles. This event called 13 deaths and 28
injured. The occupation of the
Ruhr ended in summer 1925.
Phase of the Nazi seizure of power in 1933–34
Heinrich Maria Martin Schäfer was appointed mayor of
December 21, 1932. After the Nazi seizure of power Theodor
Reismann-Grone became on April 5, 1933 the mayor.
Essen was then
divided in 27 local NSDAP groups (NSDAP-Ortsgruppe).
1938 November Pogrom
On the night of 10 November 1938, the synagogue was sacked, but
remained through the whole war in the exterior almost intact. The
Steele synagogue was completely destroyed.
Forced labor camps and concentration camps
Tens of thousands of forced laborers arrived in the Nazi era in 350
Essen camps, forced to Forced labour under German rule during World
War II at companies like Krupp, Siemens and for mining work.
Essen there were in
Second World War
Second World War several Subcamps as the ssub
campHumboldtstraße, the Gelsenberg ssub camp and the subcamp Schwarze
Second World War
As a major industrial centre,
Essen was a target for allied bombing,
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping a total of 36,429 long tons of
bombs on the city. Over 270 air raids were launched against the
city, destroying 90% of the centre and 60% of the suburbs. On 5
Essen was subjected to one of the heaviest air-raids of the
war. 461 people were killed, 1,593 injured and a further 50,000
Essen were made homeless. On 13 December 1944 three
British airmen were lynched.
Krupp and Bombing of
Essen in World War II
The Allied ground advance into
Essen in April 1945.
The US 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne
Division, acting as regular infantry and not in a parachute role,
entered the city unopposed and captured it on 10 April 1945.
Under British occupation
After the successful invasion of
Germany by the allies,
assigned to the British Zone of Occupation. On 8 March 1946, a German
Army Officer and a civilian were hanged for the lynching of three
British Airmen in December 1944.
View over Central
Essen from Bottrop
Although no weaponry is produced in
Essen any more, old industrial
enterprises such as Thyssen
RWE remain large employers in the
city. Foundations such as the Alfried
Krupp von Bohlen und
Stiftung still promote the well-being of the city, for example
by supporting a hospital and donating €55,000,000 for a new building
for the Museum Folkwang, one of the
Ruhr area's major art museums.
of foreigners
Old and new government seats:
Essen Cathedral (front) and the city
The administration of
Essen had for a long time been in the hands of
the princess-abbesses as heads of the
Imperial Abbey of Essen.
However, from the 14th century onwards, the city council increasingly
grew in importance. In 1335, it started choosing two burgomasters, one
of whom was placed in charge of the treasury. In 1377,
granted imperial immediacy but had to abandon this privilege later
on. Between the early 15th and 20th centuries, the political system of
Essen underwent several changes, most importantly the introduction of
Protestant Reformation in 1563, the annexation of 1802 by Prussia,
and the subsequent secularization of the principality in 1803. The
territory was made part of the Prussian Province of
Jülich-Cleves-Berg from 1815 to 1822, after which it became part of
Rhine Province until its dissolution in 1946.
During the German Revolution of 1918–19,
Essen was the home of the
Essen Tendency (Essener Richtung) within the Communist Workers' Party
of Germany. In 1922 they founded the Communist Workers' International.
Essen became one of the centres of resistance to
Social Democracy and
During the Nazi era (1933–1945), mayors were installed by the Nazi
Party. After World War II, the military government of the British
occupation zone installed a new mayor and a municipal constitution
modeled on that of British cities. Later, the city council was again
elected by the population. The mayor was elected by the council as its
head and as the city's main representative. The administration was led
by a full-time Oberstadtdirektor. In 1999, the position of
Oberstadtdirektor was abolished in
North Rhine-Westphalia and the
mayor became both main representative and administrative head. In
addition, the population now elects the mayor directly.
The last local elections took place on 27 September 2015. Thomas Kufen
(CDU) was elected Lord Mayor and the following political parties
gained seats in the city council:
SPD (Social Democrats)
CDU (Christian Democrats)
The Left (Left-wing)
Essener Bürgerbündnis (Independent)
REP (National Conservatives)
NPD (Far right-wing)
Essen steht AUF (MLPD) (Marxist–Leninists)
The city is governed by a coalition of SPD and CDU.
Coat of arms
Essen's coat of arms
The Handelshof Hotel with modified coat of arms and unofficial motto
The coat of arms of the city of
Essen is a heraldic peculiarity.
Granted in 1886, it is a so-called Allianzwappen (arms of alliance)
and consists of two separate shields under a single crown. Most other
coats of arms of cities show a wall instead of a crown. The crown,
however, does not refer to the city of
Essen itself, but instead to
the secularized ecclesiastical principality of
Essen under the reign
of the princess-abbesses. The dexter (heraldically right) escutcheon
shows the double-headed Imperial Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire,
granted to the city in 1623. The sinister (heraldically left)
escutcheon is one of the oldest emblems of
Essen and shows a sword
that people believed was used to behead the city's patron Saints
Cosmas and Damian. People tend to connect the sword in the left shield
with one found in the Cathedral Treasury. This sword, however, is much
more recent. A slightly modified and more heraldically correct
version of the coat of arms can be found on the roof of the Handelshof
hotel near the main station.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Essen is twinned with:
France (since 1974)
Russia (since 1991)
City of Sunderland,
United Kingdom (since 1949)
Tampere, Finland (since 1960)
Tel Aviv, Israel (since 1991)
City of Monessen, Pennsylvania, situated along the Monongahela
River, was named after the river and Essen.
There are cooperations with the following cities:
Germany (since 1991)
Poland (since 2008)
China (since 2008)
Industry and infrastructure
Essen is home to several large companies, among them the ThyssenKrupp
industrial conglomerate which is also registered in
originates from a 1999 merger between Duisburg-based Thyssen AG and
Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp. The largest company
registered only in
Essen is Germany's second-largest electric utility
Essen also hosts parts of the corporate headquarters of
Schenker AG, the logistics division of Deutsche Bahn. Other major
companies include Germany's largest construction company Hochtief AG,
as well as
Aldi Nord, Evonik Industries, Karstadt,
Medion AG and
Deichmann, Europe's largest shoe retailer.
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company had
also originally established their German headquarters in
1930), where it remained until 2003, when it was moved to the capital
Berlin. In light of the Energy transition in Germany, Germany's
largest electric utility
E.ON announced that, after restructuring and
splitting off its conventional electricity generation division (coal,
gas, atomic energy), it will also move its headquarters to
2016, becoming a sole provider of renewable energy. Further the
chemical distribution company
Brenntag announced to move its
Essen end of 2017.
Krupp headquarters in Essen
RWE AG headquarters in the business district
RWE AG headquarters
Hochtief AG headquarters
Evonik Industries headquarters
Schenker AG headquarters
Deutsche Bank branch in the financial district
The city's exhibition centre, Messe Essen, hosts some 50 trade fairs
each year. With around 530.000 visitors each year,
Essen Motor Show is
by far the largest event held there. It has been described as "the
showcase event of the year for the tuning community" and as the
German version of the annual
SEMA auto show in Las Vegas. As
contrasted with the
Frankfurt Auto Show, the
Essen show is smaller and
is focused on car tuning and racing interests.Other important
fairs open to consumers include SPIEL, the world's biggest consumer
fair for gaming, and one of the leading fairs for equestrian sports,
Equitana, held every two years. Important fairs restricted to
professionals include "Security" (security and fire protection), IPM
(gardening) and E-World (energy and water).
Messe Essen south entrance
Messe Essen, east entrance
Messe Essen south entrance
Westdeutscher Rundfunk has a studio in Essen, which is responsible
for the central
Ruhr area. Each day, it produces a 30-minute regional
evening news magazine (called Lokalzeit Ruhr), a 5-minute afternoon
news programme, and several radio news programmes. A local
broadcasting station went on air in the late 1990s. The WAZ Media
Group is one of the most important (print) media companies in Europe
and publishes the
Ruhr area's two most important daily newspapers,
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ; 580,000 copies) and Neue
Ruhr/Rhein Zeitung (NRZ; 180,000 copies). In Essen, the WAZ Group also
publishes the local Borbecker Nachrichten (at times Germany's largest
local newspaper) and Werdener Nachrichten, both of
which had been independent weekly newspapers for parts of Essen.
Additionally, Axel Springer run a printing facility for their
boulevard-style daily paper
Bild in Essen.
One renowned educational institution in
Essen is the Folkwang
University, a university of the arts founded in 1927, which is
Essen and has additional facilities in Duisburg,
Bochum and Dortmund. Since 1927, its traditional main location has
been in the former
Werden Abbey in
Essen in the
Ruhr Area, with
additional facilities in Duisburg, Bochum, and Dortmund, and, since
2010, at the Zeche Zollverein, a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site also in
Folkwang University is home to the international dance
company Folkwang Tanz Studio (FTS). In 1963 the Folkwang school was
renamed Folkwang-Hochschule (Folkwang Academy). In 2010 the
institution began offering graduate studies and was renamed Folkwang
University of the Arts. This coincided with Ruhr.2010, the festival in
Ruhr district was designated the European Capital of Culture
for the year 2010.
Folkwang University of the Arts
Zollverein School of Management and Design
The University of Duisburg-Essen, which resulted from a 2003 merger of
the universities of
Essen and Duisburg, is one of Germany's "youngest"
universities with about 42,000 Students. One of its primary
research areas is urban systems (i.e., sustainable development,
logistics and transportation), a theme largely inspired by the highly
Ruhr area. Other fields include nanotechnology, discrete
mathematics and "education in the 21st century". Another university in
Essen is the private
Fachhochschule für Ökonomie und Management, a
university of applied sciences with over 6,000 students and branches
in 15 other major cities throughout Germany.
Essen offers a highly diversified health care system with more than
1,350 resident doctors and almost 6,000 beds in 13 hospitals,
including a university hospital. The university hospital dates back to
1909, when the city council established a municipal hospital; although
it was largely destroyed during World War II, it was later rebuilt,
and finally gained the title of a university hospital in 1963. It
focuses on diseases of the circulatory system (West German Heart
Centre Essen), oncology and transplantation medicine, with the
department of bone marrow transplantation being the second-largest of
its kind in the world.
University Hospital Essen
Streets and motorways
Ruhrschnellweg facing towards the central business district of Essen
The road network of
Essen consists of over 3,200 streets, which in
total have a length of roughly 1,600 km (994 mi).
Three Autobahnen touch
Essen territory, most importantly the
Ruhr expressway, A 40), which runs directly through
the city, dividing it roughly in half. In a west-eastern direction,
the A 40 connects the Dutch city of
Venlo with Dortmund, running
through the whole
Ruhr area. It is one of the arterial roads of the
Ruhr area (> 140,000 vehicles/day) and suffers from heavy
congestion during rush hours, which is why many people in the area
nicknamed it Ruhrschleichweg (
Ruhr crawling way). A tunnel was built
in the 1970s, when the then-
Bundesstraße was upgraded to motorway
standards, so that the A 40 is hidden from public view in the
inner-city district near the main railway station.
In the north, the A 42 briefly touches
Essen territory, serving as an
interconnection between the neighboring cities of
Gelsenkirchen and destinations beyond.
A segment of the A 52 connects
Essen with the more southern region
around Düsseldorf. On
Essen territory, the A 52 runs from the
southern boroughs near
Mülheim an der
Ruhr past the fairground and
then merges with the Ruhrschnellweg at the
junction east of the city centre.
With the A 40/A 52 in the southern parts of the city and the A 42 in
the north, there is a gap in the motorway system often leading to
congestion on streets leading from the central to the northern
boroughs. An extension of the A 52 to connect the Essen-Ost junction
with the A 42 to close this gap is considered urgent; it has been
planned for years but not yet been realized – most importantly due
to the high-density areas this extension would lead through, resulting
in high costs and concerns with the citizens.
As with most communes in the
Ruhr area, local transport is carried out
by a local, publicly owned company for transport within the city, the
DB Regio subsidiary of
Deutsche Bahn for regional transport and
Deutsche Bahn itself for long-distance journeys. The local carrier,
Ruhrbahn, is a member of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-
association of public transport companies in the
Ruhr area, which
provides a uniform fare structure in the whole region. Within the VRR
region, tickets are valid on lines of all members as well as DB's
railway lines (except the high-speed Inter
City and Intercity-Express
networks) and can be bought at ticket machines and service centres of
Ruhrbahn, all other members of VRR, and DB.
As of 2009[update], Ruhrbahn operates 3 U-
Stadtbahn lines of the Essen
Stadtbahn network, 7 Straßenbahn (tram) lines and 57 bus lines (16 of
these serving as Nacht Express late-night lines only). The Stadtbahn
and Straßenbahn operate on total route lengths of 19.6 kilometres
(12.2 mi) and 52.4 kilometres (32.6 mi), respectively.
One tram line and a few bus lines coming from neighboring cities are
operated by these cities' respective carriers. The U-Stadtbahn, which
partly runs on used
Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway stock, is a mixture of
tram and full underground systems with 20 underground stations for the
Stadtbahn and additional 4 underground stations used by the tram.
Two lines of the U-
Stadtbahn are completely intersection-free and
hence independent from other traffic, and the U18 line leading from
Mülheim main station to the Bismarckplatz station at the gates of the
city centre partly runs above ground amidst the A 40 motorway. The
Stadtbahn is one of the
Stadtbahn systems integrated into the
Stadtbahn NF2-TW 1601
Essen Hauptbahnhof Main Station
Platforms at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Park
Stadtbahn tram station
Essen Hauptbahnhof in the city centre
Commuter train to Duisburg
On the same motorway, a long-term test of a guided bus system is being
held since 1980. Many Ruhrbahn rail lines meet at the main station but
only a handful of bus lines. However, all but one of the Nacht Express
bus lines originate from / lead to
Essen Hauptbahnhof in a star-shaped
manner. All Ruhrbahn lines, including the Nacht Express lines, are
closed on weekdays from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
Of the Rhein-
Ruhr S-Bahn net's 13 lines, 5 lines lead through Essen
territory and meet at the
Essen Hauptbahnhof main station, which also
serves as the connection to the
Regional-Express and Intercity-Express
network of regional and nationwide high-speed trains, respectively.
Following Essen's appointment as
European Capital of Culture
European Capital of Culture 2010, the
main station, which is classified as a station of highest importance
and which had not been substantially renovated over decades, will be
redeveloped with a budget of €57 million until early 2010. Other
important stations in Essen, where regional and local traffic are
connected, are the Regionalbahnhöfe (regional railway stations) in
the boroughs of Altenessen, Borbeck, Kray and Steele. Further 20
S-Bahn stations can be found in the whole urban area.
In 2017 the public transport organization of Mülheim, the Mülheimer
Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG) and the Essener Verkehrsgesellschaft (EVAG)
merged and became the Ruhrbahn. All vehicles and staff were merged and
are now operated together.
Together with the neighbouring city of
Mülheim an der
Ruhr and the
state of North Rhine-Westphalia,
Essen maintains Essen/Mülheim
Airport (IATA: ESS, ICAO: EDLE). While the first flights had already
arrived in 1919, it was officially opened on 25 August 1925.
Significantly expanded in 1935, Essen/
Mülheim became the central
airport of the
Ruhr area until the end of the Second World War,
providing an asphalted runway of 1,553 m (5,095 ft), another
unsurfaced runway for gliding and destinations to most major European
cities. It was heavily damaged during the war, yet partly
reconstructed and used by the Allies as a secondary airport since
visibility is less often obscured than at
Düsseldorf Airport. The
latter then developed into the large civil airport that it is now,
Mülheim now mainly serves occasional air traffic (some
33,000 passengers each year), the base of a fleet of airships and
Germany's oldest public flight training company. Residents of the
Essen typically use
Düsseldorf Airport (~ 20 driving
minutes) and occasionally
Dortmund Airport (~ 30 driving minutes) for
both domestic and international flights.
Zollverein Industrial Complex
Main article: Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex
The Zollverein Industrial Complex is the city's most famous landmark.
For decades, the coal mine (current form mainly from 1932, closed in
1986) and the coking plant (closed in 1993) ranked among the largest
of their kinds in Europe. Shaft XII, built in
Bauhaus style, with its
characteristic winding tower, which over the years has become a symbol
for the whole
Ruhr area, is considered an architectural and technical
masterpiece, earning it a reputation as the "most beautiful coal mine
in the world". After
UNESCO had declared it a World Heritage Site
in 2001, the complex, which had lain idle for a long time and was even
threatened to be demolished, began to see a period of redevelopment.
Under the direction of an agency borne by the land of North
Rhine-Westphalia and the city itself, several arts and design
institutions settled mainly on the grounds of the former coal mine; a
redevelopment plan for the coking plant is to be realised.
On the grounds of the coal mine and the coking plant, which are both
accessible free of charge while paid guided tours (some with former
Kumpels) are also available, several tourist attractions can be found,
most importantly the Design Zentrum NRW/
Red Dot Design Museum. The
Ruhrmuseum, a museum dedicated to the history of the
Ruhr area, which
had been existing since 1904, opened its gates as one of the anchor
attractions in the former coal-washing facility in 2010.
Coal mine Zollverein
Shaft XII of Zollverein
Essen Minster and treasury
The former collegiate church of
Essen Abbey and nowadays cathedral of
the Bishop of
Essen is a Gothic hall church made from light sandstone.
The first church on the premises dates back to between 845 and 870;
the current church was constructed after a former church had burnt
down in 1275. However, the important westwork and crypt have survived
Ottonian times. The cathedral is located in the centre of the
city which evolved around it. It is not spectacular in appearance and
the adjacent church St. Johann Baptist, which is located directly
within the pedestrian precinct, is often mistakenly referred to as the
cathedral. The cathedral treasury, however, ranks amongst the most
Germany since only few art works have been lost over the
centuries. The most precious exhibit, located within the cathedral, is
Golden Madonna of Essen (around 980), the oldest known sculpture
of the Madonna and the oldest free-standing sculpture north of the
Alps. Other exhibits include the alleged child crown of Emperor Otto
III, the eldest preserved seven-branched Christian candelabrum and
several other art works from
Golden Madonna of Essen
Golden Madonna of Essen
Cross of Otto and Mathilde, 10th century
Essen Minster overshadowed by the town hall
Main article: Old Synagogue, Essen
Opened in 1913, the then-New Synagogue served as the central meeting
place of Essen's pre-war Jewish community. The building ranks as one
of the largest and most impressive testimonies of Jewish culture in
pre-war Germany. In post-war Germany, the former house of worship was
bought by the city, used as an exhibition hall and later rededicated
as a cultural meeting centre and house of Jewish culture.
Alte Synagogue 2014
Alte Synagogue interior
Main article: Villa Hügel
Built in 1873 by industrial magnate Alfred Krupp, the 269-room mansion
(8,100 m2 or 87,190 sq ft) and the surrounding park of
28 ha (69.2 acres) served as the
Krupp family's representative
seat. The city's land register solely lists the property, which at
times had a staff of up to 640 people, as a single-family home. At
the time of its construction, the villa featured some technical
novelties and peculiarities, such as a central hot air heating system,
own water- and gas works and electric internal and external telegraph-
and telephone systems (with a central induction alarm for the staff).
The mansion's central clock became the reference clock for the whole
Krupp enterprise; every clock was to be set with a maximum difference
of half a minute. It even acquired its own railway station, Essen
Hügel, which is still a regular stop. The
Krupp family had to leave
Gründerzeit mansion in 1945, when it was annexed by the allies.
Given back in 1952,
Villa Hügel is now seat of the Alfried
Bohlen und Halbach Foundation (major shareholder of Thyssen-Krupp) and
was opened for concerts and sporadic yet high-profile exhibitions.
Kettwig and Werden
In the south of the city, the boroughs of
Kettwig and Werden
exceptionally stand for towns once of their own, which have been
annexed in 1929 (Werden) and 1975 (Kettwig), respectively, and which
have largely preserved their pre-annexation character. While most of
the northern boroughs were heavily damaged during the Second World War
and often lost their historic town centres; the more southern parts
got off more lightly.
In Werden, St.
Werden Abbey around 799, 45 years before
Altfrid founded the later cornerstone of the modern city, Essen
Abbey. The old church of Werden abbey, St. Ludgerus, was designated a
papal basilica minor in 1993, while the main building of the former
abbey today is the headquarters of the
Folkwang University of music
and performing arts.
Kettwig, which was annexed in 1975, much to the dismay of the
population that still struggles for independence, was mainly
shaped by the textile industry. The most southern borough of
also the city's largest (with regard to area) and presumably greenest.
Essen Werden historic town centre
Essen Werden, old town hall
Historic town centre of Kettwig
Other important cultural sites
Museum Folkwang: One of the
Ruhr area's major art collections, mainly
from the 19th and 20th centuries. Major parts of the museum have
recently been rebuilt and expanded according to plans by David
Chipperfield & Co. The Alfried
Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Foundation is the sole funder of the €55 million project which was
completed in early 2010. After its re-opening, it also hosts the
collection of the Deutsches Plakat Museum (more than 340 000
Aalto Theatre: Opened in 1988 (the plans dating back to 1959), the
asymmetric building with its deep indigo interior is home to the
Essen Opera and Ballet.
Saalbau Essen: Home of the
Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, completely
renovated in 2003/2004. Critics have repeatedly voted the Essen
Philharmonic as Germany's
Orchestra of the Year.
Colosseum Theater: Situated in a former
Krupp factory building at the
fringe of the central pedestrian precinct, the
Colosseum Theater has
been home to several musical theatre productions since 1996.
Zeche Carl, a former coal mine, now a cultural centre and venue for
Rock concerts and home of Offener Kanal Essen.
Grillo-Theater, a theatre in the centre of the city.
Grugahalle concert hall
Gartenstadt Margarethenhöhe: Founded by Margarethe
Krupp in 1906, the
garden city with its 3092 units in 935 buildings on an area of
115 ha (284.2 acres) (of which 50 ha are woodland) is considered
the first of its kind in Germany. All buildings follow the same
stylistic concept, with slight variations for each one. Although
originally designed as an area for the lower classes with quite small
flats, the old part Margarethenhöhe I has developed into a middle
class residential area and housing space has become highly sought
after. A new part, Margarehenhöhe II, was built in the 1960s and
1970s but is architecturally inferior and especially the multi-storey
buildings are still considered social hot spots.
Moltkeviertel (Moltke Quarter): from 1908 on, following reformative
plans of the city deputy Robert Schmidt, this quarter was developed
just south-east of the city centre. Large green zones, forming broad
urban ventilation lanes and incorporating sporting and playing areas
and high quality architecture – invariably in the style of Reform
Architecture, combine to create a unique example worldwide of modern
town planning. It reflects reformative ideas and dates from the early
part of the 20th century. The
Moltkeviertel continues to be a much
sought-after area for residential, educational, health care and
small-scale commercial purposes. On the Moltkeplatz, the quarter's
largest square, an ensemble of high quality contemporary art is
maintained and cared for by local residents.
Grugapark: With a total area of 70 ha (173.0 acres), the park
near the exhibition halls is one of the largest urban parks in Germany
and, although entry is not free of charge, one of the most popular
recreational sites of the city. It includes the city's botanical
garden, the Botanischer Garten Grugapark.
Baldeneysee: The largest of the six reservoirs of the River Ruhr,
situated in the south of the city, is another popular recreational
area. It is used for sailing, rowing and ship tours. The hilly and
only lightly developed forest area around the lake, from which the
Kettwig area is easily reachable, is also popular with hikers.
Grugapark, Kranichwiese facing the Orangerie and the sculpture Orion
Grugapark, Sculpture "Trauer" by Joseph Enseling
Grugapark, Reichsgartenschau 1938, Keramikhof, i
Grugapark 1929 mit Blick vom Radioturm: hinten
Dahlienarena, davor Pergolagarten und Milchgaststätte
Grugapark Parkleuchten 2015
Marketplace of Margarethenhöhe I
Sculptures by Friedrich Gräsel and Gloria Friedmann at the
For a comprehensive list of people who were born or acted/lived in
Essen, see this article in the German.
The city of
Essen has been awarding honorary citizenships since 1879
but has (coincidentally) discontinued this tradition after the
foundation of the Federal Republic of
Germany in 1949. A notable
exception was made in 2007, when Berthold Beitz, the president of the
Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation received honorary
citizenship for his long lasting commitment to the city. The
following list contains all honorary citizens of the city of
1879 Otto von Bismarck – Chancellor of Germany
1888 Friedrich Hammacher (de) – politician, lawyer and
1895 Johann Heinrich Peter Beising (de) – Roman catholic
1896 Friedrich Alfred Krupp – industrialist (spouse of
Margarethe Krupp, see below)
1901 Heinrich Carl Sölling – tradesman and benefactor
1906 Erich Zweigert (de) –
Lord Mayor (1886-1906)
1912 Margarethe Krupp (de) – benefactress (spouse of
Friedrich Alfred Krupp, see above)
1917 Paul von Hindenburg – Generalfeldmarschall and army
leader, later President of Germany
1948 Viktor Niemeyer – councilman (posthumous recognition)
2007 Berthold Beitz – president of the Alfried
Krupp von Bohlen
und Halbach Foundation
Today, the highest award of the city is the Ring of Honour, which
Berthold Beitz, for example, had already received in 1983. Other
bearers of the Ring of Honour include Essen's former
Lord Mayor and
later President of Germany, Gustav Heinemann, as well as Franz
Cardinal Hengsbach, the first Bishop of Essen.
Friedrich Alfred Krupp, portrait by Ludwig Noster, 1896
Berthold Beitz with the President of Togo,
Villa Hügel Essen
The biggest association football clubs in
Essen are Rot-Weiss Essen
(Red-White Essen) and
Schwarz-Weiß Essen (Black-White Essen). Stadion
Essen, its home stadium, is located in the north of Essen. Rot-Weiss
Essen is playing in the fourth tier of the German football league
system, Regionalliga West, and
Schwarz-Weiß Essen in the fifth tier,
Oberliga Nordrhein-Westfalen. Other football clubs are BV Altenessen
are TuS Helene Altenessen. In women's football,
SGS Essen are members
of top division Frauen-Bundesliga.
The city's main basketball team is ETB Essen, currently called the ETB
Wohnbau Baskets for sponsorship reasons. The team is one of the main
teams in Germany's second division
ProA and has attempted to move up
to Germany's elite league Basketball Bundesliga. The Baskets play
their home games at the Sportpark am Hallo.
Essen hosted the final round of the FIBA EuroBasket 1971.
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See also: Bibliography of the history of Essen
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Essen.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Essen.
Official city website
City Panoramas – Panoramic Views and virtual Tours
Pictures from Kettwig
Essen at sites-of-memory.de
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