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North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia writes ART in capitals. It is the densest cultural region in Europe. Every year, 573 museums attract about 13 million visitors. Important museums in the cities along Rhine and Ruhr offer high-grade exhibitions.

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North Rhine-Westphalia writes ART in capitals. It is the densest cultural region in Europe. Every year, 573 museums attract about 13 million visitors. Important museums in the cities along Rhine and Ruhr offer high-grade exhibitions of the old and new masters and unrivalled treasures of art and culture.

The rural museums also offer many a true attraction. The region has 91 public and 40 private stages, a large variety of orchestras, it hosts many pop and rock concerts, and a musical mile leads from Cologne via Dusseldorf, Duisburg and Essen to Bochum.

Two thirds of North Rhine-Westphalia is covered by fields, meadows and forests. No less than 14 nature parks are listed here, surrounded by a cultivated cultural scene. For an excursion in the country or a short break in between times, you do not have to drive far. Water sports, riding and golf, in terms of sport, North Rhine-Westphalia really is an attractive proposition. And you can even ski here the whole year round. Leisure parks, adventure pools and fun sports, no limits are set to your recreation.

Yet art, music and theatre are not the only attractions of the cities. Architecture, historic traditions as well as large number of shopping opportunities are waiting for you. Or you might want to discover the manors, castles and historic city centres.

Twenty seven building monuments, urban ensembles, natural landscapes and industrial monuments are protected by UNESCO in Germany. North Rhine Westphalia alone owns four, and all of them are very attractive for visitors.

First of all there is the Cologne Cathedral, known as the Koelner Dom. According to information of the German tourist association Deutscher Tourismusverbandes (DTV) the cathedral is the absolute highlight for tourists in Germany with five million visitors per year. Since 1996, the cathedral is protected as world heritage. UNESCO classified it as the purest and most accomplished type of the high-gothic cathedral. And the cathedral offers another superlative: it is the biggest gothic church in Germany.

The Aachen Cathedral, known as the Aachener Dom too stands on the list of the UNESCO world heritage. In 1978, it was the first German cultural monument to be awarded this titled. The cathedral was built between 790 and 800 and it is highly representative of the history of construction and art. It is one of the greatest examples of religious architecture. Over a period of 600 years (936-1531) 30 German kings have been crowned there. The treasure of the cathedral ranks as a historic document of inestimable value. Every year, one million visitors come and get enchanted by the impressing building.

Schloss Augustusburg and its Jagdschloss Falkenlust near Bruehl were added to the UNESCO list in 1984, together with their gardens, as a total work of art of the period of German rococo period. While the German government resided in Bonn, the Bundespraesident received many official international guests in Augustusburg.

A very different age is reflected in the industrial-cultural landscape of the former coal mine Zeche Zollverein in Essen. This was the biggest and most advanced hard coal mining system in the world. Since 2002, the ensemble of coal mine and coking plant has been part of the UNESCO-world heritage. The architecture of the industrial complex is representative for the Bauhaus style. It is of outstanding value and has been a model for modern industrial construction.

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