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River with weir

At the end of the eighteenth century, industrialisation began where large coal deposits were found in the area alongside the river Ruhr. Henceforth, the watercourse was primarily used for economic and industrial purposes. It became one of the most frequently used waterways in Germany. Today, the Ruhr is used more for energy generation and for the supply of water to countless private households, businesses and industrial plants. Approximately three hundred waterworks along the banks of the river purify and prepare its water while continuous and diligent analysis guarantees high water quality.

For those looking for recreation and quality of life, the Ruhr region is the place to be. From the banks of the Ruhr and at some lakes in the area, water sports such as sailing, swimming or fishing are possible and the biodiversity of the surroundings can be admired.

One of the largest lakes in the region is the Haltener Stausee, which is easily accessible by car and by train. Especially popular with visitors is the Seebad where sandy beaches invite relaxed sunbathers. The Xantener Südsee conveys the atmosphere of the South Seas with its large sandy beach, clear water, and adventure parks for the youngest of visitors. A place for the whole family.

River Emscher

Straightening of the riverbed and industrial sewage had ecologically disastrous effects on this relatively small tributary of the Rhine. Due to more recent and effective projects, the saddest situation of an open sewage channel is nowadays reverting back to a natural river.

River Lippe

As with most rivers in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Lippe is a tributary of the Rhine. Originating in the famous Teutoburg Forest, the Lippe measures one hundred and fifty-eight miles or some two hundred and fifty kilometres in length. The history of shipping on the Lippe dates back to Roman times. Nowadays, carriage of goods takes place on canals alongside the Lippe which were created specifically for the purpose.

River Rhine

With a total length of eight hundred and twenty miles or over thirteen hundred kilometres, the Rhine is one of the longest rivers and one of the most important waterways in Europe. Originating in the Swiss Alps, the Rhine flows through five countries and empties its waters in the North Sea south of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

River Ruhr

The name-giving river Ruhr is also a tributary of the Rhine measuring one hundred and thirty-five miles or almost two hundred and twenty in length. It originates in the Rothaargebirge, a low mountain range in Westphalia famous for its winter sports areas.

By Tanja Kanthak, edited Vincent Green, Aug 7 2013

Beach scene with sunbathers


It may come as a surprise of newly arrived expats that beaches can be found in the Ruhr Metropolis. Fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. People flock to enjoy spaces beside the rivers and lakes, especially on warm and sunny summer days. Photo © Ralph Lueger.


The airport in nearby Düsseldorf offers a fresh modern layout and design that is easy to navigate. Whist some airports are massive hubs processing many tens of millions of passengers, Düsseldorf’s is one of those few favourites around the globe where necessary formalities surrounding a flight can normally be surprisingly smooth.

The city guide for expats

Amazing Capitals Ruhr is a fresh and informative location guide full of insights for expats. Dedicated to helping international professionals make choices, settle and participate in the Ruhr Metropolis, the vast powerhouse of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.