Essen 2018-10-24T11:40:57+00:00

ESSEN – ECONOMY, FINE ARTS AND INSPIRATION

Essen, visit the city, travel, travel guide, Germany, NRW, Museum, Architektur, Kunst, Ruhrgebiet, Kulturpfad, Saalbau, Aalt-Theater, Hotel Handelshof, Grill- Theater, Europahaus, Rathaus, Lichtburg, Dom, Villa Huegel, red dot design museum, Zollverein, KokereiMuseum Folkwang, Messe Essen

A LONG TRADITION OF INDUSTRIE

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AN ACTIVE PLACE FOR ECONOMY

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THE BKB TRAVEL GUIDE “3 DAYS IN ESSEN”

You will find detailed information for preparing and enjoying your trip to Essen in our guidebook “3 Days in Essen”. Compact, easy to use and informative! A programme for three days, a city plan, special tips and addresses. We show you the highlights, the pleasant districts, take a break with you, and tell stories … just as much as you need for three days!

3 Days in Essen” is available as a paperback from your bookstore or from the BKB shop!

The travel guide “3 Days in ” is available in german or english language in the BKB Shop or in your bookstore!

The texts and images on our website are to help you get your bearings and plan your trip to Essen. All the information has been carefully checked by the 3-Days-in editorial team and they are continually updated. Nevertheless, it is possible that some details are incomplete or out of date. We are therefore grateful for every correction or addition to our information. Please send your hints to: info@3-tage-in.de

TIPS FROM THE VISIT-THE-CITY EDITORS FOR YOUR 3-DAYS-TRIP TO ESSEN

Essen and the Metropolis Ruhr are one of the most exciting destinations in Germany. Winding towers and blast furnaces have long been a thing of the past. Nowadays office towers and glass facades dominate the skyline of the former coal and steel city. But Essen also has been named European Green Capital, because of its many green spaces. With more than 1,160 years of history, the city has outstanding examples of urban culture, ranging from the cathedral to the Zollverein colliery to the Margarethenhöhe residential area. And the industrial heritage offers plenty of room for one of the most varied and dense cultural landscapes. Former boiler houses and machine shops have become centers of culture, and nowhere else in Europe is there a comparable variety of theaters, music locations, museums, design examples and urban architecture.

ESSEN DAY 1

Take your time and stroll through downtown Essen. Duomo, the architecture of the Golden Twenties and skyscrapers with concert halls bear witness to more than 1,160 years of city history. And again, there is a place in the café nearby where you can watch the everyday life on Essen’s colorful shopping mile.

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STROLLING THROUGH THE CITY

The starting point for a city centre excursion is the Stadtgarten (City Garden) with its many sculptures, where you can view the work of artists like Ulrich Rückriem or Wilhelm Nida-Rümelin. When you come across blue illuminated stones embedded in the pavement, you’re following the tracks of the Culture Trail. It links places of art and culture, architecture and sculptures, and leads about four kilometres from the Museum Folkwang to the “Lichtfinger“ installation at the Steag chimneys on the northern border of the city centre.

THE THEATRE OF ALVAR AALTO

An architectural highlight of international repute is just a bit further on: Alvar Aalto’s theatre in bright granite. The design concept from the noted Finnish architect had already won the architectural competition for a music theatre in Essen in 1954. He did not live to see its realisation, however, because 30 years went by before the grand opening. The harmoniously rolling, asymmetrical exterior remains fascinating to this day. Vaguely reminiscent of a tree stump, it reflects Aalto’s aesthetic conception of a “humane architecture”. In his view, nature provides the model for an edifice, which should blend into the landscape. These gentle contours are continued inside the building down to the smallest detail.

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ARCITECTURE TELLS HISTORY

The walk continues to the railway station, where early Modernist commercial and office buildings on Bahnhofsvorplatz show that Essen was already a flourishing city with a metropolitan character in the early 20th century.

It’s not far from the gigantic, expressionist brick complex on the Hachestrasse (1924 – 1933), the central post office, to the protected group of buildings containing the Hotel Mövenpick (Am Hauptbahnhof 2). This is where the parents of the famous thespian Heinz Rühmann opened the Hotel Handelshof within the 6-storey hotel and commercial building in 1913.

THE CITY-THEATRE

The city of Essen can boast one of the oldest theatres in the Ruhr region: the neo-Classicistic building was a present from the industrialist Friedrich Grillo that was realised by his widow in 1892. What is today the City Theatre keeps alive the memory of the son of a merchant family in Essen who had a decisive influence on the economic and structural development of the Ruhr region through his business empire.

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REALY A FILM PALACE

The cinema theatre situated in the heart of Essen remains a legend in its own right! Opened in 1928 as Germany’s largest film palace with 1,250 seats, it has survived bombing raids, economic crises and the competition from its multiplex rivals. After the postwar reconstruction of Germany, the elegant movie theatre grew into Germany‘s main venue for film premieres in the 1950s and 1960s: alongside first nights, gala presentations and world premieres, its stage also hosted theatrical, satirical and concert performances. Since its glamorous reopening in 2003, the cinema has taken up itsformer function once again.

THE OLD SYNAGOGUE

One of Germany’s largest and finest synagogues, built between 1911 and 1913, it was used for a long time as a forum for documentation and a place of memorial and encounters. Since its renovation this house of Jewish culture informs visitors about the history of the Jewish community in Essen, about Jewish religion and traditions, and is a place to encounter Jewish culture and the Jewish way of life.

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THE CATHEDRAL

What did the rich noble families do with their unmarried daughters and widows in the Middle Ages? They were banished into a ladies’ convent, where they had to swear an oath of celibacy but could marry anytime if they relinquished their maintenance. Essen’s cathedral building from 852 has its roots in such as “care facility”. Under the auspices of various abbesses from the Ottonian imperial dynasty, the convent increasingly gained power and influence and even gained territorial sovereignty in the 13th century. It is then only natural that these abbesses have placed their stamp on the architecture and interior of the collegiate church: the structural highlight of the three-nave hall church is the Romanesque West section built under Abbess Theophanu (1039– 1058), granddaughter of Emperor Otto II

THE GOLDEN MADONNA

The cathedral owes several art reasures of worldwide significance to Abbess Mathilde II (971–1011), a granddaughter of Emperor Otto the Great. She gave Essen “its treasure”, as the Golden Madonna is popularly called: the sculpture in the left side-chapel is 70 centimetres tall and the oldest known three–dimensional depiction of the Virgin Mary in the world. It is one of the most famous masterpieces from the Ottonian period. The figure was cut from lime-tree wood, covered with gold foil and decorated with precious stones. Mathilde also donated a seven-armed candelabrum to the collegiate church, which now stands in the basement of the West section. The two-metrehigh bronze candelabrum is a replica of the cult object housed in the Temple of Solomon and is the oldest surviving example of its kind. It was joined together out of almost 50 individual parts.

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A LOOK INTO THE TREASURY

A visit to the treasury makes it clear just how much the city profited from the reign of the abbesses. These women controlled the fate of the convent and city for almost 1,000 years and enriched the church treasury with valuable works of art. A unique collection of outstanding artworks of ottonian and salian can be admired here today.  Looking at the small enamel plate at the foot of the collection’s most famous piece, one can discover the benefactors: it was Duke Otto of Bavaria and Schwabia who handed over the Procession Crucifix to his sister Mathilde, the abbess of the Essen cloister (971–1011). Look at the figure of Christ on the Otto-Mathilde Crucifix: it is not superimposed but has been pushed out of the gold plating of the cross and then framed by pearly, jewels and filigree decoration.

ESSEN AT NIGHT

Am Abend hat Essen für jeden Geschmack was zu bieten: Hohe Kultur mit Oper, Ballett und Philharmonikern gibt es im Aalto Theater, Schauspiel im Grillo-Theater. Für seine  Musicals ist das Colosseum Theater Essen berühmt, für unterhaltsame Shows das GOP Varieté. Legendär ist die Lichtburg, Deutschlands größter Filmpalast und ein breites Programmangebot bieten auch die Zeche Carl und die Weststadthalle. Wer lieber ausgehen möchte, findet an der „“ (Rüttenscheider Straße) und rund um den Isenbergplatz im Südviertel alle Möglichkeiten von der gemütichen Kneipe über die chillige Bar bis hin zu Clubs und Diskotheken. 

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ESSEN DAY 2

The excursion to the green south of the city leads away from winding towers and machine shops to the estate of the man to whom the city has much to thank. The Villa Hügel by Alfred Krupp is today an impressive witness and place of art. Then lure Baldeneysee and the picturesque district of Kettwig. In the afternoon you may visit the little fancy shops in the district of Rüttenscheid.

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AT KRUPP FAMILY’S HOME

Who hasn’t dreamed of living in a residence like this? 629 rooms covering 8,100 square metres, a ballroom almost as large as that in Berlin’s imperial palace, an expansive 28-hectare park complete with botanical gardens – and all that embedded in an attractive elevated landscape above Lake Baldeney. The building erected by Alfred Krupp in 1873 according to his own plans to be his family’s domicile and the representative address of his company is more like a palace than a villa. Villa Hügel is always worth a visit, even when none of the high-calibre art exhibitions are currently running. The villa has been open to the public since 1954, which enables us to view the historic rooms, inform ourselves about company and family history, or just simply saunter through the impressive park grounds. You will find detailed information for preparing and enjoying your trip to Essen in our guidebook “3 Days in Essen”

STROLLING AND SHOPPING

Kettwiger Strasse, an extensive pedestrian precinct, starts here with the department store Galeria Kaufhof. All the way to the Viehofer Platz, various boutiques, emporia, branches of international store chains and long-established retailers offer a host of wares to browse and buy. There’s a lot going on here at all times of the day and year.  The area around Limbecker Strasse attracts younger shoppers, who find fashion items in chic boutiques, flagship stores and branches of the well-known chains. A new retail highlight is on Limbecker Platz. Here one of the largest German shopping centres of the  inner city has an area of over 70,000 square metres with 200 shops for bargain hunters and all those who want to take a break in a trendy location.  Things are a little quieter on the Rü, as the locals fondly call Rüttenscheider Strasse. Whether you are looking for fine foods or designer furniture, with its boutiques, small independent stores, restaurants and cafés is one of the most popular and entertaining streets in the city for shopping and strolling.

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ESSEN DAY 3

The highlights of the city are on the program today: The Folkwang Museum is the first European Museum of Contemporary Art to offer the highest level of art enjoyment. And the Zeche Zollverein is not just a World Heritage Site, but impressively demonstrates how design, art and culture have moved into the old halls.

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THE MUSEUM FOLKWANG

Das Museum gilt als eines der renommiertesten deutschen Kunstmuseen.The new extended building designed by the London architect David Chipperfield is completed.  On an exhibition space totalling about 6,200 square metres, visitors are able to gain an almost complete overview of German and French painting in the 19th and 20th centuries – from German Romantic painting and French landscapes to Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism and the Bauhaus, from the modern movement right through to contemporary art.  The Graphic Art Collection, which includes 12,000 items from the 19th and 20th centuries, is closely bound up with the history and conception of the collection of paintings.  The German Poster Museum is a further highlight. On the premises of the Museum Folkwang it exhibits its specialised collection, the world’s biggest, of large-format posters from the fields of politics, commerce and culture, and thus traces the evolution of the poster from its beginnings to the present day.

WORLD HERITAGE “ZOLLVEREIN”

A world-famous double winding tower, old industrial buildings in modern dress, design, art and culture make up today’s picture of the facilities that – like no other – are a symbol of the transformation of the entire Ruhr region. The starting point for visits and all tours is the former coal washing plant, the largest aboveground building of Zollverein colliery, which was converted from a machine hall into a museum. A 58-metre-long, free-standing escalator goes up to the 24-metre level and leads into the international visitor centre, which accommodates all service functions such as the information and ticket desk, the cloakroom, café and shop.

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THE MUSEUM OF THE METROPOLIS RUHR

At the same time it serves as the foyer for the Ruhr Museum, which will inaugurate its permanent exhibition here in january 2010. The museum, which incorporates the collections of the former Ruhrlandmuseum in Essen on geology, archaeology, history and photography, sees its role as the memory and shop-window of the new Ruhr metropolis, and will present the fascinating history of one of the world’s greatest industrial regions. The museum tour covering three floors tells the story of the present-day Ruhr cities, the geological background, developments in pre-industrial times and the process of industrialisation in the Ruhr area.

THE RED DOT DESIGN MUSEUM

Lovers of contemporary design are drawn above all to a building which for its architecture alone is one of the attractions of the site: since its conversion by the British architect Lord Norman Foster, the old boiler house has been home to the red dot design museum and the Design Centre of North-Rhine Westphalia. Visitors to what is the world’s largest exhibition of its kind can admire some 1,500 items of everyday and consumer culture from all around the world on an area of over 4,000 square metres. From wrist watches and mobile phones to kitchen appliances and cars, products which have all been winners of the red dot design award  can be discovered amongst the old industrial equipment. More information in our travel guide  „3 days in Essen“.

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IN THE OLD COKING PLANT

The Zollverein coking plant, in which 10,000 tons of coal were once processed into coke each day, is now a popular attraction for its art projects. An installation by the British light artists Speirs and Major turns the whole complex into an impressive work of art after dark, when it is bathed in blue and red light, as there has been a solar power plant of photovoltaic modules on the roof of the loading hall since 1999. In the former salt depot, the Palace of Projects by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, an accessible spiral sculpture, invites visitors to enter a world of dreams and utopias.

YOUR WAY TO ESSEN

Thanks to its central location in the heart of the Ruhr area, Essen can be easily reached by car, train and plane. The nearest airport is Düsseldorf Airport, which is connected through the S-Bahn lines S1 and several regional express and long-distance trains. Other airports nearby are Cologne (about one hour by train) and Dortmund (about 45 minutes by car). Over 100 IC, EC and ICE long-distance trains stop daily at Essen Main Station.

If you travel by car, drive on the A40, A42 and A52, which connect the city to the national and international motorway network.

Cost-effective is the arrival by long-distance bus.

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - May 18, 2016: Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporters), Beluga, is welcomed for the first landing on Henri Coanda International Airport of Bucharest.
Credits: All pictures BKB Verlag except: Essen – Wirtschaft, Kunst und Kreativität: Peter Wieler/Essen Marketing; Hier hat die Industrie Tradition: © Jochen Tack/Stiftung Zollverein; Hier hat die Wirtschaft ihren Sitz: RWE AG; Hier hat die Freizeit ihren Platz: Peter Wieler/Essen Marketing; Essen am 1. Tag: RWE AG; Ein Stadtbummel: Dinnebier Licht GmbH; Das Aalto-Theater: © Aalto Theater; Eine Madonna aus Gold: Martin Engelbrecht; Essen am 2. Tag + Zuhause bei Krupp: © Historisches Archiv Krupp, Essen; Museum Folkwang: © Giorgio Pastore; Zeche Zollverein: © Jochen Tack/Stiftung Zollverein; Das Ruhr Museum: © Brigida González; Das Red Dort Design Museum: © Red Dot Design Museum; Kokerei Zollverein: © Frank Vinken / Stiftung Zollverein.