With 365,000 residents, Bochum ranks as Germany’s 16th most populated city. First reaching prominence for its heavy industry, modern-day Bochum is a cultural powerhouse of lush greenery, fashionable cafés, and museums. Simply strolling down the streets offers a visual treat for art and architecture lovers. Visit the imposing Renaissance-style City Hall, or take a trip further into the past at the castles of Blankenstein, Kemnade, and Weitmar. Nature lovers can kick back and enjoy the beautiful trails along Lake Kemnade and the Ruhr River, while theaters and nightclubs provide after-dark entertainment. Don’t miss the Starlighthalle—this theater was built specifically for the production of the immensely popular Starlight Express Musical, which has been running permanently since 1988.
Location: A City Amongst Rolling Hills and Rivers
Part of the massive urban region known as the Ruhr, Bochum sits atop gently rolling hills between the rivers Emscher and Ruhr in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Founded as a royal court by Charlemagne in the 9th century, the city remained fairly small and unassuming until the industrialization of the 19th century spurred rapid development. Transportation links to and from Bochum are well established, as the city is serviced by autobahns A 40, A 43, and A 44, as well as a central railway station and intercity bus operations
Business: An Economic Powerhouse in the Heart of the Ruhr
For hundreds of years after the city’s founding, Bochum was a small, primarily agricultural town. This changed with the arrival of the Industrial Age, when the coal mining and steel industries skyrocketed Bochum’s growth. Today, you’ll find over 15,000 large- and medium-sized businesses operating successfully here, with major corporations including Adam Opel AG (currently operating three car manufacturing factories) and the headquarters of Germany’s largest real estate company, Deutsche Annington Immobilien GmbH. United Cinemas International Multiplex GmbH also seats its German headquarters in the city.
Culture: A Garden Nestled in Urban Sprawl
After suffering extensive damage in World War 2, the city began reinventing itself as a cultural center, and today Bochum is famous for its zoo, gardens, and parks. Ruhr University has some of the world’s most stunning and varied botanical gardens, including Qian Yuan, the only Chinese scholar’s garden in Germany. An active event scene with many popular theaters, bars, and festivals keeps the excitement going. Check out the monthly jumble sale, held near city hall, or the biennial steam festival, showcasing steam-powered vehicles. Germany’s largest music festival, the annual Bochum Total, takes place every summer with free entry for all.
Activities: Relax, Recharge, and Re-live History
It’s nearly impossible to get bored in Bochum. The enchanting gardens and parks are home to gorgeous walking and biking trails, and public artworks can be found across the city. The Bergbaumuseum, one of the world’s leading mining museums, memorializes Bochum’s industrial history, while the Kunstmuseum and the collection at the Ruhr University display a wide arrangement of classical and modern art from Germany and beyond. The trendy Bermudadreieck, or “Bermuda Triangle”, district is a popular meeting point, and home to many cafes, restaurants, and bistros.