Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund, independent city in the administrative district of Arnsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, 60-254 m above sea level, with (2019) 588,300 residents largest city and most important traffic junction in Westphalia, in the eastern Ruhr area on the upper Emscher.

In the past few decades, Dortmund has undergone a profound change from a mining and industrial city to an important educational and research center. According to educationvv, the city has a Technical University (founded in 1965 as a university, opened in 1968, renamed Technical University [TU] 2007), the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, the North Rhine-Westphalia University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration, the North Rhine-Westphalia Orchestra Center and the International School of Management (ISM, Dortmund location), the international university (IUBH, Dortmund location), the business school (FOM, Dortmund location). At scientific research institutes there is the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Fraunhofer Institutes for Material Flow and Logistics as well as for Software and System Technology, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), institutes for newspaper research, for child nutrition as well as for regional and urban development research, Leibniz institutes for analytical sciences and for work research; There is also the North Rhine-Westphalia Material Testing Office, the Westphalian Economic Archives and the Foundation for University Admission (until 2008 the central office for the allocation of study places).

Cultural institutions are the Dortmund Theater with the opera, ballet, philharmonic, drama and theater for children and young people, the Dortmund Concert Hall (opened in 2002) and a diverse museum landscape with a museum for art and cultural history, for art of the 20th and 21st centuries (Museum Ostwall in Dortmund U) and for natural history, German Football Museum, DASA Working World Exhibition, Westphalian State Museum for Industrial Culture (LWL-Industriemuseum-Zeche Zollern), Westphalian School Museum and Children’s Museum Adlerturm. In Dortmund there is also the Westfalenpark with the television tower (“Florian”, almost 209 m high) and Rosarium, the Westfalenhalle 1 (part of the exhibition, congress and event center Westfalenhallen), the “Signal Iduna Park” stadium (formerly the Westfalenstadion;

The city’s economy has changed significantly as a result of structural change. The once important hard coal mining and steel production have ceased; the brewing industry in the former “beer town” of Dortmund has been reduced to a still active brewery. Many jobs have been permanently lost; the unemployment rate in Dortmund (June 2017) is 11.0% (Germany 5.5%). On the other hand, the insurance industry, microsystem technology, information technology and logistics have established themselves as younger sectors. Companies in mechanical engineering, metal processing, electrical engineering and biomedicine are also important. Dortmund has a partly underground tram; the port on the Dortmund-Ems Canal has an annual turnover of (2017) 2.31 million t; the regional airport is in Wickede.


The old town, which was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War, was only partially rebuilt. The town’s main church is Sankt Reinoldi (13th – 15th centuries, west tower completed in 1701) with rich interior fittings (late Gothic carved altar; eagle desk, around 1450). The Marienkirche (around 1180, choir around 1350–60) houses the Marien Altar (around 1420) by Konrad von Soest, the provost church (14th – 15th centuries) a winged altar by D. Baegert (Completed in 1476), the Petrikirche (14th century) an Antwerp carved altar (around 1520; with over 600 figures and 48 paintings). Also worth mentioning are the Protestant St. Peter’s Church in Hohensyburg (a single-nave building from the 12th century with older parts), the Protestant parish churches of St. Georg in Aplerbeck (12th century) and St. John the Baptist in Brecht (2nd half of the 13th century, with late Romanesque) Wall painting) as well as the Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche by O. Bartning (1950) and Sankt Bonifatius by E. Steffann (1953-54). The moated castle “Haus Bodelschwingh” in the Bodelschwingh district, first mentioned in 1302, essentially dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. Century (the oldest surviving part is probably the »Vogtsturm«). The town hall from the 13th century was destroyed in 1945, the facade removed in 1955.

At the edge of the Phoenix Lake (flooded from 2010, opened in 2011; formerly the site of a steelworks) is the »Hörder Castle«, which is essentially medieval. The “Zollern II / IV” colliery in Bövinghausen, a facility called “Work Castle” with Art Nouveau elements (e.g. the main entrance to the machine hall by B. Möhring [1902/03]), is today one of eight locations and the administrative seat of the Westphalian State Museum for Industrial Culture; On the “Westhausen” colliery (in Bodelschwingh) there is a Malakoffturm from 1873, in Grevel a wrought-iron water tower from 1904 (“Lanstroper Ei”).

The modern buildings include the Westfalenhalle 1 (new building 1949–52), the city theater (1956–65), the casino by H. Deilmann (1982–85) and the town hall on Friedensplatz (opened in 1989). On the east wall, the eagle tower was rebuilt in 1992 on the foundations of the medieval defense tower. The new building of the city and state library based on the design by M. Botta was completed in 1999. The Dortmund Concert Hall, also known as the »Philharmonic for Westphalia«, one of the most modern concert halls in Europe, was built in 2000–02. The German Football Museum is located in the immediate vicinity of Dortmund’s main train station.

The memorial in the Bittermark was erected to commemorate the murder of forced laborers by the Gestapo in 1945.


Dortmund was built on the basis of a Carolingian royal court on Hellweg, which was crossed here by a north-south road, and thanks to its convenient location, it quickly developed into a trading center. Mentioned around 880/884 as Throtmanni(1152 “Tremonia”, 1222 “Dortmunde”), the city probably received its first market rights before 900 and was later the upper court of the most important Westphalian municipal district. Attested as an imperial city since 1220, it remained the only one in the Westphalian region and was able to acquire the surrounding county of Dortmund in 1343 and 1504; In 1332 the city received its rights and freedoms confirmed by the »Privilegium Ludovicum«.

In the middle of the 14th century, Dortmund was a suburb of the “common merchant of Westphalia” under the influence of Soest as part of the Hanseatic League. In the “Great Dortmund Feud” in 1388/89, Dortmund was able to maintain its independence, but its economy has been down since then. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Dortmund Free Chair became Germany’s best-known vein court and became a role model for the development of femoral law; the city was considered a suburb of the Westphalian Feme. Since 1523 the Protestant faith prevailed. In 1543 a Protestant Archigymnasium was founded, and in 1570 the Augsburg Confession was adopted.

From the middle of the 16th century, Dortmund sank to an agricultural town as a result of epidemics, the effects of war and also due to the mercantilism of the sovereigns, which impaired the imperial cities. The city with around 7,000 residents around 1618 had only around 2,000 citizens after the Thirty Years War (1648). The population grew only gradually.

In 1803 Dortmund came to Nassau, 1808 to the Grand Duchy of Berg and in 1809 was declared the capital of the Ruhr-Département. Dortmund had been a Prussian district town since 1815. With the establishment of iron processing companies and the onset of deep coal mining, Dortmund developed rapidly into an industrial city around the middle of the 19th century, which was connected to the Cologne-Minden Railway, which was founded at that time, as early as 1847. In 1899, the opening of the Dortmund-Ems Canal, including the construction of a port in Dortmund, further promoted industrial expansion. The increasing number of residents (1818: around 4,300, 1871: 44,400, 1880: 66,500, 1895: 110,000, 1905: 175,600, 1910: 260,000 and 1925: 320,000 residents) went hand in hand with the gradual expansion of the urban area Incorporation of surrounding villages.

Dortmund, Germany