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Tudor style houses

Recreation and idyllic rural environments can be found within and right on the doorstep of the Ruhr Metropolis. Some are great villages that are historically highly valuable and can be a pleasure to visit with the whole family. Xanten is in the Ruhr region.

A haven for recreation and an idyllic rural environment can be found just a short distance from Düsseldorf. Some miles farther afield, a few great historically valuable villages can be found that are a pleasure to visit with the whole family.


Meerbusch, on the fringe of Düsseldorf on the western side of the Rhine is where in 1001 a castle named Meer was established as a forerunner of the current parish. Residents, a high number of whom are millionaires, live rurally yet have all the advantages of being close to the state capital. Here it is possible to experience the Rhenish way of life in a green, artful and aesthetic, sometimes fashionable and but also down-to-earth and comfortable environment.


A real historical sensation is Mettmann, only a few kilometres to the east of Düsseldorf. This snug little town with the epithet Neanderthalstadt owes its name to two grand personalities. On the one hand Joachim Neander, a poet of very famous anthems. On the other, a prehistoric human who bears even today the symbolic name Neanderthaler. The sensational find took place in 1856. Those wishing to learn more about the prehistoric remains should visit the Evolution path, the Neanderthal museum and the glacial animal park.


Dormagen is known as a substantial economic location in the triangle of Cologne, Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf. It lures investors from trade and industry with its very good traffic connection. It has much to offer for leisure, education and shopping for its inhabitants so the small municipality is unequivocal also for families. An attractive sight is the district named Zons, which is proof of the early beginnings of the settlement with its many medieval walls and towers. Also the construction of the Romanesque basilica of the cloister of Knechtsteden is worth a visit.


Xanten is the only town in Germany that starts with the letter X. The 800 year-old settlement is known as a place of pilgrimage. According to legend, a boy was cured when he found the statue of Maria, which he had seen in his dreams in the little village Marienbaum, a small place nearby. Also very considerable is the so-called Klever Tor, a city gate from the 14th century, which today accommodates flats. But the most important figure of the village is the patron saint of the cathedral, Saint Victor, who was executed by Roman legionaries because of his Christian faith. Believers have made pilgrimages to his grave since the early Middle Ages. The village thereby got his name “ad Sanctus” and was formerly known as Santen.


Discover a gem of a small, historical village named Gruiten, which possibly originates from the year 1,000 AD. In 1975 it was combined with Haan so that the number of inhabitants grew to approximately 7,500 people. The tradition-conscious inhabitants cherish the many wonderful and well-preserved half-timbered houses in the original village. The arrangement of old churches and dwellings reveals a structural style of typical villages of the Bergisches Land in former times. A pure Western German landscape.

By Vincent Green, Jul 27 2021

Cyclist on narrow modern bridge


Cycling in the Ruhr Metropolis can be enjoyable and most rewarding. Bike paths criss cross the whole of the region and weave their way across most urban areas. Hop on a bicycle to discover quieter city districts or nearby villages. Try riding along the banks of local rivers, in wilder natural spaces or the open meadows of outlying regions.

Actors on stage


Happenings vary from celebrations, marking an opening or anniversary to a market or one-off concerts and activities. Information for the expat community to acquire an insight on such unique events and gatherings large or small.

Railway platform with sky


The massive major rail operator Deutsche Bahn remains strong in Germany. North-south trains run through the Ruhr Metropolis on their way past Hamm and Dortmund, onward to Düsseldorf, Cologne, Bonn and beyond. Many also travel via nearby Wuppertal.




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