Germany Trip Plan:
Essen for the Ruhr, European Capital of Culture 2010

Germany trip plan: Essen for the Ruhr, European Capital of Culture 2010
Logo, European Capital of Culture 2010
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

The cultural capital year was officially kicked off on January 9th at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site "Zeche Zollverein Essen", the region's main landmark. Oberhausen, between Essen and Duisburg, is a good starting point to join the mix of cultural events and displays, festivals, fairs, music, theater and culinary specialties of this featured region in Germany.




Note: This is a trip plan (self-driving, stay in a vacation apartment, explore on your own)
Duration: 7 days
Recommended Destination Airport: Frankfurt Airport

Trip Plan Details:

The cultural capital year was officially kicked off on January 9th at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site Zeche Zollverein Essen, the region's main landmark. Oberhausen, between Essen and Duisburg, is a good starting point to join the mix of cultural events and displays, festivals, fairs, music, theater and culinary specialties of this featured region in Germany.

Under its slogan, The Ruhr mythology, the European Capital of Culture 2010 places the Ruhr Metropolis in its historical context, revealing its roots and highlighting its search for the future. The Ruhr mythology is a story set against a backdrop of coal and steel, hard work and solidarity and, no less important in the eyes of many, football. It has been cast by the coexistence of different cultures and religions, the influx of millions of immigrants, the development of close local ties, the economic boom caused by the presence of black gold, and the culmination of a critical European and global era: industrialization.

The program for the European Capital of Culture 2010 Essen for the Ruhr consists of three guiding themes: mythology, metropolis and Europe. These are interwoven into and portrayed by the disciplines and topic areas of image, theater, music, language, creative industries and festivals, all telling the story of change.

[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet ]

Cost Estimate:

We compiled some starting prices and rough estimates to help you better with your Germany trip planning.

Lodging: starting at $407 for 2 persons / 7 days
Admissions: starting at $300 for 2 persons / 7 days
Car Rental: starting at $420 / 7 days
Gas: starting at $200 / 7 days
Estimated Total Cost:2 persons, starting at $1327 / 2 days
 4 persons, starting at $1771 / 4 days

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Oberhausen

Day 1: Arrival in Oberhausen
North Duisburg Landscape Park, Pic: Manfred Vollmer
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

Settle in your fully fitted vacation apartment and familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. You will find a very friendly and helpful neighborhood, making it easy for you find your favorite food stores, bakeries and restaurants. Since the Ruhr-Region always has been a melting pot of people from various countries, you will love the offered range of food!


Day 2: Two Hills - One Landscape

Day 2: Two Hills - One Landscape
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein Essen, Pic: Reinicke/StandOut.de
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

All manner of festivals are celebrated by the multi cultural population of the urban triangle of Bochum, Essen and Gelsenkirchen. Children and young people take part in the Celebration of Lights, February 1st, the Spring Festival, March 20th, the Straw Festival, August 25th and the Scarecrow Parade, October 31, 2010.

The Mechtenberg hill, one of the few natural elevations in the Ruhr, rises gently above the city of Essen. Well within view, the grey, conical shape of the Rheinelbe spoil-heap at Gelsenkirchen looms large, along with the Stairway to Heaven. From here you will enjoy a daring experiment, which turns the primeval landscape of the ice age and the excesses of industrial development into a beautiful, colored design of landscape, featuring distinct lines of color in a swirling sea of petals and grasses. Strips of land will be washed with colors and fields will turn from light to dark. A feast for your eyes! (All year round at Mechtenberg, Essen / Rheinelbe, Gelsenkirchen)


Day 3: The longest Banqueting Table

Day 3: The longest Banqueting Table
Still-Life A40, motorway blocked for Banqueting Table, Graphics: TAS Emotional GmbH
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

The people of the Ruhr Metropolis know how to have a good time, and literally millions of people attend its festivals such as Extra Shift, Bochum Total, or the Love parade. They celebrate what unites and invigorate the cities between the Ruhr and Lippe rivers. The largest festival will be celebrated on July 18th 2010 when the A40/B1 motorway from Dortmund-Hörde to Duisburg Inner Harbour is to be turned into one long banqueting table, bringing together different cultures, nationalities and generations. Don't miss out on this unique experience, combining village festivals of the Middle Ages, traditions of market places and fun fairs. A string of 20,000 tables, stretched out on over 37 miles of motorway, will cause the main arterial of the Ruhr region to cease beating for a day. Rest assured those tables won't be empty, but filled with delicious foods and cool drinks!


Day 4: Fairy-tale Festival

Day 4: Fairy-tale Festival
Cello player in the sunrise, Franz Haniel 2nd shaft, Prosper Haniel pit, Bottrop
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

From early September to mid-October, the city of Gelsenkirchen will be host to the Fairy-tale Festival. This is definitely not just child's play because the diverse program will have something exciting on offer for people of all ages. Storytellers will be inviting audiences to listen, laugh, cry and dream in places all over Gelsenkirchen and surrounding areas. Key events include the Storytelling Festival in the Consol Theater and the International Storytelling Festival. Puppet shows, music, storytelling tents, dance, theater, exhibitions, films and a huge multilingual Fairy-tale Reading Day will also be high on the agenda. Gelsenkirchen reads 125 languages! One of focal points of the international Fairy-tale Festival will be on the story-telling traditions of different cultures. Among others, fairy-tales and stories from the Jewish, Eastern European, Oriental, Turkish and Indian cultures will be told.


Day 5: Emscher Art 2010 and Culture Canal

Day 5: Emscher Art 2010 and Culture Canal
Oberhausen, Gasometer, Pic: Manfred Vollmer
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

The ride in the glass elevator inside the giant gas cylinder of the Gasometer Oberhausen is an experience in itself. On reaching the top, the visitor can peer down on the Rhine-Herne Canal, which will be transformed into the Culture Canal in 2010. The river Emscher follows a parallel course and between the two waterways lies a narrow strip of land which extends as far as the eye can see: the Emscher Island. And it is here that the world-class open-air art exhibition Emscher Art 2010 is to be held. Far from being uninhabited, the Emscher Island boasts housing, parkland, allotments, sports facilities and many adventure, rest and recuperation possibilities, ready to be discovered. From April 2010, more areas of the island are to be made more readily accessible with existing facilities being supplemented by new zones of tranquility, vantage points and a number of delightful picnic areas. A continuous, 27 miles long trail network interlinks these sites and facilities of the island with those of the Emscher Art 2010 exhibition and the Culture Canal experience. A cycling tour map and sign system along the trails will ensure that you don't lose your way.


Day 6: The Angerpark Landmark, Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain

Day 6: The Angerpark Landmark, Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain
Angerpark Landmark, Design: Heike Mutter & Ulrich Genth/Duisburg
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

That's the name of a new landmark for the Ruhr metropolis being built just south of Duisburg in view of the Rhine river. (Berzeliusstrasse, Duisburg-Wanheim) The giant roller-coaster-shaped structure can be climbed and walked. Sitting on top of a former mining stockpile, the sculpture's structure mirrors the artificial hill's spiral-shaped turns. Looking from afar, the metallic sheen of the tracks holds out the promise of extraordinary speed to visitors. Close up, they can conquer the sculpture on foot. They can follow the roller-coaster's twists and turns and can look at the surrounding landscape from completely new perspectives. Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain will be an exciting place for both, those actively conquering it, and for residents and visitors looking at it from afar. The dramatically shaped sculpture will be brightly lit at night. The structure will be linked to the surrounding area in another way as well; it's made of steel and zinc, two raw materials that were important parts of the Ruhr's traditional industries. It will open to the public in autumn 2010 and the admission is free!


Day 7: Departure

Day 7: Departure
Zeche Zollverein Essen, fireworks, Pic: Peter Wieler
[ source: essen-fuer-das-ruhrgebiet.ruhr2010]

Oh what a week! It would be impossible to join all the events and festivals, and to visit all the performances, exhibitions and installations that are featured throughout the Cultural Capital Year 2010. But you witnessed the amazing change of a former industrial region into a thriving cultural metropolis, not denying its past but beautifully integrating it. You don't know Germany if you never visited the Ruhr!


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Where to Stay?

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Mülheim an der Ruhr

Mülheim an der Ruhr
[ source: Wikipedia ]

Mülheim an der Ruhr, also called City on the River, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located in the Ruhr Area between Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen, and Ratingen. It is the home of many major German companies, especially in the food industry,…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Mülheim an der Ruhr Vacation Rentals


Oberhausen

Oberhausen
[ source: Flickr ]

Oberhausen is a Ruhr Area city, located on the Emscher River between Duisburg and Essen. Established in 1954, the annual International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is a highlight of the cultural life in Oberhausen. Visitors may also want to check out…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Oberhausen Vacation Rentals



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