Dortmund skyline
Dortmund skyline
Flag of Dortmund
Coat of arms of Dortmund
Dortmund is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°31′0″N 7°28′0″E / 51.516667°N 7.466667°E / 51.516667; 7.466667Coordinates: 51°31′0″N 7°28′0″E / 51.516667°N 7.466667°E / 51.516667; 7.466667
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Arnsberg
District Urban district
Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 280.4 km2 (108.3 sq mi)
Elevation 152 m  (499 ft)
Population 580,444 (31 December 2010)[1]
 - Density 2,070 /km2 (5,361 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate DO
Postal codes 44001-44388
Area codes 0231, 02304

Dortmund [ˈdɔːdmʊnt] ( listen) is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 585,045 (in December 2006) makes it the 7th largest city in Germany and the 34th largest in the European Union.

The river Ruhr flows south of the city, and the small river Emscher flows through the municipal area. The Dortmund-Ems Canal also terminates in the Dortmund Port, which is the largest European canal port, and links Dortmund to the North Sea.

Dortmund is known as Westphalia's "green metropolis." Nearly half the municipal territory consists of waterways, woodland, agriculture and green spaces with spacious parks such as Westfalenpark and the Rombergpark. This contrasts with nearly a hundred years of extensive coal mining and steel milling within the city limits.



Dortmund 1647

A small village at the location of Dortmund was mentioned in official documents from 880 to 885 as Throtmanni. After it was destroyed by a fire, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) had the town rebuilt in 1152 and resided there for two years. It became an Imperial Free City in 1220. During that century, it was the "chief city" of the Rhine, Westphalia, the Netherlands Circle of the Hanseatic League.

After 1320, the city appeared in writing as "Dorpmunde", and the 1661 earthquake collapsed the Reinoldikirche. Within the Prussian Province of Westphalia, Dortmund was a district seat within Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg until 1875, after which it was an urban district within the region. During the industrialization of Prussia, Dortmund became a major centre for coal and steel.

Under Nazi Germany, the synagogue was destroyed in 1938. Also, the Aplerbeck Hospital in Dortmund transferred mentally and/or physically disabled patients for euthanasia at the Hadamar mental hospital as part of the Action T4 (an additional 229 children were killed in the "Children's Specialist Department", which was transferred from Marburg in 1941). Dortmund bombing targets of the Oil Campaign of World War II included Hoesch-Westfalenhütte AG, the "Hoesch-Benzin GmBH" synthetic oil plant, and the Zeche Hansa coking plant;[2] and bombing destroyed about 66 % of the Dortmund homes[3] and about 98 % of the inner city area. The code word Dortmund was radioed to initiate the 1941 Operation Barbarossa campaign against the Soviet Union.

The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Dortmund in April 1945. The US 95th Infantry Division, attacked the city on 12 April 1945 against a spirited German defense. The division, assisted by close air support, advanced through the ruins in urban combat and completed its capture on 13 April 1945.[4]

Post-war, buildings such as the Reinoldikirche and Marienkirche (churches) were restored/rebuilt, and extensive parks and gardens were laid out. The LWL-Industriemuseum began in 1969,[5] and the city subsequently became a centre for hi-tech industry.

Main sights

Cultural history tones are set by the churches in the city centre whose towers characterise the skyline of Dortmund. The Reinoldikirche and the Marienkirche are gems of medieval architecture.

The city centre of Dortmund still retains the outline of the medieval city. A ring road marks the former city wall, and the Westen-/Ostenhellweg, part of a medieval salt trading route, is still the major (pedestrian) street bisecting the city centre.

Reinoldikirche (St. Reinoldus Church)
  • Reinoldikirche, a Protestant church (c. 800)
  • Petrikirche, a Protestant church, the building of which dates from the 14th century. It is famous for the huge carved altar (known as "Golden Miracle of Dortmund"), from 1521. It consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.
  • Marienkirche, a Protestant church originally built in 1170-1200 but rebuilt after World War II. The altar is from 1420.
  • U-Tower, former Dortmund Union brewery, now a museum
  • Florianturm, (television tower Florian)
  • Westfalenstadion: Football ground of Borussia Dortmund, licensed until 2016 under the name Signal Iduna Park. Close to it are the Westfalenhallen, a large convention centre, the site of several major conventions, trade fairs, ice-skating competitions, concerts and other major events since the 1950s.
  • Westphalian Industrial Museum Zollern Colliery, an Anchor Point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage
  • Hansa Coking Plant
  • Haus Bodelschwingh (13th century), a moated castle
  • Haus Dellwig (13th century), a moated castle partly rebuilt in the 17th century. The façade and the steep tower, and two half-timbered buildings, are original.
  • Haus Rodenberg (13th century), a moated castle.
  • Altes Stadthaus, built in 1899 by Friedrich Kullrich
  • Wasserschloss Bodelschwingh
  • Romberg Park Gatehouse (17th century), once a gatehouse to a moated castle. Now it houses an art gallery.
  • RWE Tower (120 metres high skyscraper — the tallest in Dortmund)
  • Opernhaus Dortmund, opera house built in 1966 on the site of the old synagogue which had been destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.
  • The major art museums include the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte and the more recent Museum Ostwall.


Signal Iduna Park is the biggest stadium in Germany

Dortmund is home of the sport club Borussia Dortmund which won the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 1997, as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup against Liverpool in 1966. This made it the first European Cup Winner in Germany. They play at Westfalenstadion, currently known as Signal Iduna Park. It was built for the 1974 FIFA Football World Cup and also hosted some matches of 2006 FIFA World Cup, including Italy's 2-0 defeat of Germany in the semi-finals. It is Germany's largest football stadium with a maximum capacity of 80,720 spectators.[6]
Borussia Dortmund also has a women's handball team playing in the first Bundesliga, while the table tennis team and the basketball team SVD 49 Dortmund play their respective second national divisions.

Dortmund is the Olympiastützpunkt for Westphalia.

The Sparkassen Chess-Meeting has been hosted in Dortmund since 1982.


The Old Town Hall

Dortmund Airport is a medium-sized, but fast growing airport 13 km (8.1 mi) east of the city centre at the city limit to Holzwickede.[7] The closest intercontinental airport is Düsseldorf International Airport.

The central train station (Dortmund Hauptbahnhof) is the third largest long distance traffic junction in Germany.

Dortmund Harbour (Hafen) is the largest canal harbour in Europe and the 11th fluvial harbour in Germany.

Dortmund also serves as a major European and German crossroads for the Autobahnsystem. The Ruhrschnellweg follows old Hanseatic trade routes to connect the city with the other metropolises of the Ruhr Area. Connections to the more distant parts of Germany are maintained by the A1 and the A2 which pass closely to the north and east of the city and cross each other at the Kamener Kreuz interchange northeast of Dortmund. Together with the A45 in the west they built the Dortmund Beltway (Dortmunder Autobahnring).

For public transportation, the city has an extensive Stadtbahn and bus system. In April 2008, the newly constructed east-west underground light rail line was opened, completing the underground service in the city centre and replacing the last trams on the surface.[8]

The H-Bahn at Dortmund University of Technology is a hanging monorail built specifically to shuttle passengers between the university's two campuses,[9] which are now also flanked by research laboratories and other high-tech corporations and startups. A nearly identical monorail system transfers passengers at Düsseldorf Airport.[10]


As of 2010, Dortmund had a population of 581.300 of whom about 180.000 (~30%) were of non-German origin.

Number of minorities (1st and 2nd generation) in Dortmund by country of origin per 31. December 2009 [11]

Rank Ancestry Number
1  Turkey 50,000
2  Poland 10,000
3  Greece 7,000
4  Ukraine 6,000
5  Italy 6,000
6  Morocco 5,500
7  Yugoslavia 4,000
8  Iraq 3,000


Dortmund has historically been an industrial area. Dortmund is now home to a number of medium-sized information technology companies,[12] many linked to the local university TechnologieZentrumDortmund program.[13] The city works closely with research institutes, private universities, and companies to collaborate on the commercialization of science initiatives.[14]

In 2009, Dortmund was classified as a Node city in the Innovation Cities Index published by 2thinknow.[15]


The politics of Dortmund are dominated by the social-democratic SPD. Since World War II, the SPD has been the biggest party on the town council (German: Stadtrat). Since the 2004 local election, there have been 9 parties and electors' groups on the town council (88 seats; 1999: 82 seats):

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 92,509 41.3% (-0.3) 36 (+2) 40.9%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 73,282 32.7% (-9.0) 29 (-5) 33.0%
Alliance '90/The Greens (Grüne) 25,635 11.5% (+2.6) 10 (+2) 11.4%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 8,591 3.8% (+2.0) 3 (+2) 3.4%
German People's Union (DVU) 6,880 3.1% (+1.1) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Citizens' List (Bürgerliste) 6,874 3.1% (+0.5) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Party of Democratic Socialism-Open List (PDS-OL) 6,346 2.8% (+2.8) 2 (+2) 2.3%
Left Alliance Dortmund (Linkes Bündnis Dortmund) 1,751 0.8% (-0.2) 1 (=) 1.1%
Law and Order Offensive Party (Offensive D) 1,669 0.7% (+0.7) 1 (+1) 1.1%
Town-Greens (Stadtgrüne) 265 0.1% (+0.1) 0 (=) 0.0%
Totals 223,802 100.0% 88 (+6) 100.0%

Since May 2010, the lord mayor of Dortmund is Ullrich Sierau (SPD). He leads a coalition made up of SPD and Grüne.


Westfalenpark with Tower

The city has a long tradition of music and theatre. The orchestra was founded in 1887 and is now called Dortmunder Philharmoniker. The first opera house was built in 1904, destroyed in World War II and opened again in 1966 as Opernhaus Dortmund. It is operated by Theater Dortmund together with other locations, including (since 2002) the Konzerthaus Dortmund. The city is namesake for the Dortmunder style beer and is home to the Dortmunder Actien Brauerei.

Twin towns — sister cities

Dortmund is twinned with:[16]


  1. ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. 31 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Historisches Centrum Hagen : Chronik 1945" (in German). Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  3. ^ A. Schildt, Die Sozialgeschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland bis 1989/90, Munich: Oldenbourg, 2007
  4. ^ Stanton, Shelby, World War II Order of Battle: An Encyclopedic Reference to U.S. Army Ground Forces from Battalion through Division, 1939-1946 (Revised Edition, 2006), Stackpole Books, p. 171.
  5. ^ "LWL-Industriemuseum". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Fakten & Kurioses". Signal Induna Park official website. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Arriving by car - Dortmund Airport". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  8. ^ "Neuer U-Bahn-Tunnel: keine Straßenbahn mehr in Dortmunder City". Oliver Volmerich. 2008-04-25.,243917. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  9. ^ "H-Bahn - Route map". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  10. ^ "H-Bahn - Sky-Train Düsseldorf". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change" Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency Retrieved 2010-07-30 
  13. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change" Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency Retrieved 2010-07-30 
  14. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change". Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  15. ^ "2thinknow Innovation Cities Global 256 Index". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Leeds - Dortmund partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 

External links

Media related to Dortmund at Wikimedia Commons

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