Essen invites you to discover its diverse cultural attractions. From museums and exhibitions to a world heritage site - the city in the Ruhr metropolitan region is worth exploring.
In January 2010, the new Museum Folkwang building designed by British star architect David Chipperfield was inaugurated amid great media interest. In the new, bright rooms the works of art of the past three centuries are displayed to their best advantage, as is the collection of the German Poster Museum.
The gourmet restaurant "Vincent & Paul" in the new building offers guests exquisite international cuisine.
Museum Folkwang was founded in 1902 by Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen. With its outstanding collection inventories, it is one of the most prestigious museums in the country. After the death of Osthaus, the Museum Folkwang Association, an Essen citizens’ initiative by art enthusiasts, acquired the collection for the city of Essen.
Until its closure in 1986, the main shaft mine commissioned in 1932 and built by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer in the New Objectivity style was the largest and fastest conveyor coal mine in Europe. Starting in 1990, the Zollverein Shaft XII was renovated and was given UNESCO World Heritage status along with the coking plant and the mine shaft 1/2/8.
All around the “Ruhr region’s Eiffel Tower” diverse cultural activities attract up to 800,000 visitors annually to the grounds: On any given day, you can immerse yourself in the history of the mine on a trip through the "Coal Path" and choose between numerous exhibitions, concerts and dance performances. The first stop for visitors is the visitor centre in the converted coal washing plant, which is accessible by a 58 meter long free-standing escalator.
"In addition to shafts XII and 1/2/8, the coking plant -which was not decommissioned until 1993 - is the third important component of the World Heritage Zollverein complex. And when the sun goes down, an impressive work of art awaits visitors. The entire plant is lit up spectacularly. In summer, visitors frolic in the industrial plant’s art project swimming pool. In winter, you can explore the industrial landmark on skates at one of the most bizarre skating rinks in Europe.
The Ruhr Museum, which opened in the coal washing plant in January 2010 as the first museum for the whole Ruhr area, provides insights into the history of the region.
The Essen cathedral treasury reveals the city’s illustrious history. The sacral exhibits shown here are priceless, and bear witness to the power and wealth of the princely abbesses who ruled the abbey and the city of Essen from the 9th to the 19th century. The Golden Madonna is the oldest fully sculptured figure of Mary in the West.
In the 9th century, Bishop Altfrid founded the free secular abbey for women of the high nobility, from which the city emerged. Through the close family ties with the Ottonian dynasty, the canonesses lacked neither wealth nor political influence. A symbol of their secular power is the childhood crown of Otto III, a gift from his godmother, the Essen abbess Mathilde. In contrast, the four processional crosses from the Ottonian period are symbols of piety. Only six examples of these masterpieces survive worldwide."
In early summer 2010, the Old Synagogue was opened as the only ""House of Jewish Culture"" in Germany. The five exhibition areas inside the building provide an insight into the lives and everyday activities of Jewish communities from around the world. This adds a new chapter to the eventful history of the house.
The Old Synagogue opened in 1913 and - like almost all other Jewish places of worship - was burned in the 1938 Kristallnacht fire and its interior was largely destroyed. The city acquired the former temple in 1959. During the reconstruction many mosaics were painted over, the Torah shrine was demolished and the dome, which sheltered 1,400 people once upon a time, was taken down.
The castle-like residence testifies not only to the wealth of the industrial family Krupp, but also to the economic importance of Essen during the Industrial Revolution. Alfred Krupp had the villa, which was recorded as a single-family house with 220 rooms in the land register, built according to his own design from 1868 to 1872 in a 75-acre park.
The Villa Hügel is filled with valuable tapestries, precious Italian coffered ceilings and an impressive library. Chamber music concerts and high profile international art exhibitions are regularly held here today. The historic Krupp collection and the "Krupp Today" exhibition can be viewed in the guest house.
Whether watch or accessory, mobile phone or television set: Each of these objects is an example of human daily life and consumer culture. At the Red Dot Design Museum, everyday items become cult objects. The very different exhibits have one thing in common - their exemplary design - for which they were awarded the internationally coveted and recognized "Red Dot".
The museum showcases the world's largest exhibition of contemporary design. About 1,000 products from all over the world are displayed on more than 4,000 square meters. With its headquarters in the boiler house of the Zollverein World Heritage site, the museum has become a mecca for culture, architecture and design enthusiasts worldwide.