Living in the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet)
The Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Physiology and its partner universities are located in the wonderful Ruhr area “Ruhrgebiet”. The Ruhr area was famous for its industrial culture and coal mining in the past, but it has developed to a vibrating and productive science environment in recent years. It is home of over 5 million people from over 200 countries, being the largest urban centre of Germany (and the third in Europe, after Paris and London). In 2010 the Ruhr area (Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, the districts Recklinghausen, Unna, Wesel & Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis) was “Kulturhauptstadt” (cultural capital) of Europe. Although the Ruhr area shares a common spirit every city maintains its individual characteristics and provides visitors with new influences. Dortmund for example is home of a very successful soccer team, Borussia Dortmund, and also known for its diversity of breweries. The former industrial sites became venues for cultural events and recreational activities. They have been transformed to climbing areas, swimming pools, museums and scenes for art installations.
The whole area is tightly linked via public transportation and the famous German Autobahnen, which gives you the opportunity to easily visit over 120 theaters, 100 concert halls and 200 museums spread all over the sector. The Ruhr area offers urban flair combined with rural charm in parks and in forests, which can be enjoyed for example on biking trails. One biking trail, the Ruhrtalradweg, takes coarse along the eponymous river for the area, the Ruhr.
Nearby there are also the Sauerland and the Münsterland, which are characterized by their beautiful landscape. The Sauerland is also known as a winter sport region. The Münsterland is famous for its historical buildings and beautiful castles.
You can have a look at the following sites for more information about the region:
Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR): http://www.metropoleruhr.de/en/start/
Bike trails: Ruhrtalradweg (http://www.ruhrtalradweg.de/)