Essen, Germany

Rail Guide to Essen


Contemporary art is taken very seriously in Essen, with art fairs, subsidised artist studios and the iconic Zollverein, a former coal mine that’s now a cultural centre as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2010 Essen was named the European Capital of Culture, representing the whole of the Ruhr area of western Germany. This push towards the arts has happened partly because the region’s coal and steel industries have disappeared, and now tourism is being greatly encouraged to boost the local economy. Fortunately there’s plenty for visitors to do, with museums, galleries, theatres, the botanical garden at Grugapark, and Lake Baldeney, popular for rowing and sailing.