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Supermarket door

Supermarkets in the Ruhr Metropolis and Germany as a whole have improved markedly in more recent years. Demands from customers to meet expectations in alignment with international standards have lead to produce being presented in a brighter environment. Some are aided by more generous aisles and a as well as a friendlier, more open style too.

Stores are often slotted into small buildings in city neighbourhoods. However, newer premises are larger, often erected on the peripheries with plenty of space for both shopping and parking.

Staff attitudes towards clientele have improved and service levels have also changed for the better. Younger staff with positive attitudes and cheerful manners have perhaps inspired colleagues willing to change. Thankfully, most customers also seem to respect employees far more than even just a few years ago.

The sector is split between companies offering a wider assortment of brands as well as the famous German discount chains, popular in other European countries. The challenge of lower prices is cited as a major factor in limiting improvements.

Netto and Penny are in the midfield and generally considered to be less expensive, while discount giants Lidl and Aldi tend to offer better deals. Real presents larger supermarkets on the outskirts of urban areas.

Rewe was noticeable in leading the way on redesigning their supermarkets. Edeka is taking a dual approach with stores sometimes challenging, yet others, such as their Zurheide offering a shopping experience more in alignment with that found abroad. For instance, in the US, UK, France, Finland and Estonia, to name just a few. Thankfully, they have opened larger stores in several cities in the Ruhr. Besides ambience and quality, the company is a favourite for international produce thus delighting many expats. 

By Vincent Green, Jul 5 2021

Plastic recycling


Recycling starts in the home. Aiming to save important resources, the Germans are famous for having one of the most complex and detailed recycling systems. They introduced deposits very early on. Coloured bins are available for separation at home and in the streets.

Subway station


The public transport system in Ruhr is extensive, safe and normally efficient. A dense network of trams above and below ground as well as buses serve the cities and suburbs. Links via the local and S-Bahn train systems interconnect many neighbouring communities.

Socialising in the Ruhr

Staying in touch and getting together with others living in a similar situation can be important. Expat groups in social media are highly valuable sources for connecting. Socialising in the Ruhr Metropolis can include events, international clubs or heading for a popular spot to meet international residents.