North Rhine-Westphalia, in the far west of Germany, is the state with the highest population and the greatest contribution (21%) to the domestic economy, even though the coal and steel industries are now history. An especially impressive testament from the heyday of industry in this region is the Zollverein Industrial Mine Complex in Essen, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Which federal state in Germany is your favorite? Let us know. All participants have a chance to win a trip to Germany in the first week of December 2019! Round-trip flights, accommodation and train transport within Germany are all covered. The lucky winner and one accompanying person will visit the most beautiful Christmas markets in Cologne and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. (The trip is partly sponsored by Rothenburg Tourism Service.)
Rhine metropolis Cologne
Most of the residents do not live in the state capital Düsseldorf, but in Cologne. The Rhinelanders are considered cheerful, cosmopolitan and tolerant. The presenter of the DW travel magazine Check-in travel magazine , Nicole Frölich, explains her love for the “kölsche Lebensjeföhl,” the local term for Cologne’s way of life!
State capital Düsseldorf
What does Düsseldorf have that Cologne doesn’t? For Frölich, the schedule includes shopping, a visit to the Japanese community and, of course, enjoying an ‘Alt’ local dark beer at the longest bar in the world in the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital.
The cycling city of Münster
The greenery of Westphalia is in stark contrast to the Rhineland with its large cities. This is where Germany’s bicycling capital, Münster, lies. Cycling is an integral part of life in this university town, and not just for students. From the mayor to the bishop, everyone rides a bike. So does Check-in host Lukas Stege, of course.
In the far west, on the border to the Netherlands and Belgium, lies the old royal city of Aachen. This is where Germany’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, Aachen Cathedral, stands. It’s part of the imperial palace built for Charlemagne in the late 8th century, and was for many centuries the church where German kings were crowned.
UNESCO World Heritage in Essen
Like Cologne would be unthinkable without its cathedral in Cologne, the Zeche Zollverein colliery is part of Essen. Its striking winding tower is the landmark and symbol for the era of coal in the entire region. Instead of three million tons of coal per year being mined today, art, cultural events and concerts are being produced in the middle of the industrial backdrop.
A Highlight in our 360 degree video
One of Germany’s most popular theme parks is also in North Rhine-Westphalia: Phantasialand in Brühl, near Cologne. Visitors can enjoy the whole day here, and ride on the roller coaster or Germany’s steepest log flume.
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Your trip to Germany
Are you looking for recommendations for your visit to Germany? We’ve got them: Tips for Germany — state by state.