European Capital of Culture: Ruhr.2010
The European Capital of Culture for 2010 is Essen in Germany, on behalf of the Ruhr Area (“Ruhrpott” or “Ruhrgebiet” as we say) and its several cities (e.g. Bochum, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Duisburg, Oberhausen, …). The official homepage can be found here . As I grew up in Essen and practically lived there the first “part” of my life I thought I take the opportunity and provide you with some background information and links, just in case you are in Germany in 2010 and you have a chance to visit that diverse and really interesting area. Unfortunately, some of the articles are in German only, but I tried to provide English resources whenever possible.
According to wikipedia, the Ruhr Area is the fourth largest urban area in Europe with some 7.3 million inhabitants. What is special about this area is its unique industry culture and the transformation in the 90’s away from heavy industry to a more service oriented area (see , , , German only). As you can imagine, this transition brought a lot of initial problems and desperation to people heavily relying on heavy industry for their income and the fact that those people could not be easily moved to different jobs (see , German only). Now that this transition is (almost) complete, the Ruhr Area presents its distinguished face to the world as the European Capital of Culture. Also check out the special issue on Spiegel (, German only) about Ruhr.2010.
Events and must-sees:
An event planer with events scheduled in 2010 can be found in  and following the same link, you can also find the Top-10 attractions in the Ruhrpott (according to Spiegel and I kinda agree).
Impressions from the Ruhr Area:
In  you can listen to some “typical” sounds of the Ruhr Area. These sound recordings were taken by Richard Ortmann and represent some of the day to day noises you would have heard (and partly still would hear today). Also check out his sound archive with a more comprehensive collection of sound nostalgia . Probably one of the most famous songs about the Ruhr Area is Herbert Grönemeyer’s “Bochum” (about one of the big cities in this area):
Right now, 09.01.2010 15:47, there is a live show about Ruhr.2010 as the European Capital of Culture on ZDF (one of the German main tv stations). You can find it also in the ZDF mediathek  together with many other shows and pictures about the Ruhr Area where you can watch it for free.
Here are a few pictures from various photographers depicting the Ruhr Area:
: “Wir sind die Dinosaurier – und wir wollen nicht aussterben” – Spiegel 11.02.2007 (German only)
: Von der stinkenden Brühe zum Lebenselexier – Spiegel 29.08.2007 (German only)
: Kulturhauptstadt Ruhr.2010 – Spiegel 08.01.2010 (German only)
: Industrie in XXL – Spiegel 22.06.2009 (German only)
: Der Pulsschlag aus Stahl verklingt – Spiegel 20.10.2007 (German only – but for the sounds it does not matter)
: Richard Ortmann – Sound Archive (German only – but for the sounds it does not matter)
: ZDF mediathek’s Ruhr.2010 collection (tv shows and pictures)
: Spiegel Ruhr.2010 event planer including Top 10 attractions (German only – but rather self-explaining)
: Ruhr.2010 – official homepage