Bochum is part of the Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet). It is at the centre of heavy industry in Germany.
Its history is linked closely to that of the region. In 1850, Bochum was a small town of about 4500 inhabitants. The population increased in 1900 to 100 000, and in 1935 to 300 000. During World War II, its centre was nearly completely destroyed. This gave city planners an opportunity to build what were then considered to be modern buildings. A structural transformation began with the end of the coal boom in the 1960s.
Bochum got the first university of the Ruhr Area, which was opened in 1965. Today it is one of the largest universities of the country. In the 1960s, the Opel car production plant offered jobs for miners who had lost their jobs. Mining and steel production came to an end in the 1980s.
Today Bochum is a modern city with a job focus in the service sector.
Bochum lies on the border between the flat Münsterland in the north and the highlands of Bergisches Land in the south. The south of Bochum touches the Ruhr valley with lake Kemnade.
Bochum Dahlhausen Railway Museum
This museum is set at a First World War-era train depot. This is one of the last of its kind remaining. Locomotives were maintained here until the 1960s. Many of the facilities are intact. Some of these are a 14-track roundhouse, a crane and a fully functioning water tower.
German Mining Museum
This is the largest mining museum in the world. And, also one of the most visited museums in Germany. The German Mining Museum is an important research centre for the history and technology of the German mining industry.
An epic 71.4-metre headframe dominates the site. This was moved here from a mine near Dortmund. It has a viewing platform near the top.
Some of the best bits are the 2.5 kilometres of subterranean show tunnels putting you in the boots of a miner. Then you can see a seven-ton fossilised prehistoric tree,. Plus, mining equipment so heavy it has to be kept on lower levels. And you cannot miss a 3,401-carat black diamond!
Zeiss Planetarium Bochum
The “Velvet-FullDome-Projection” system at Bochum’s planetarium is one of the most advanced in the world. The projection equipment was upgraded in 2010. It screens high definition shows of all kind of heavenly bodies onto a dome 20 metres in diameter.
LWL-Industriemuseum Zeche Hannover
A colliery lies a few kilometres northwest of Bochum. This has been kept intact and turned into an industrial museum. Coal was mined here from 1857 to 1973. Shafts descended 750 metres below the surface. The outstanding feature is the Malakow-Turm, a tower, designed like a medieval keep that contained the mine’s conveyor system.
Botanical Garden Of Ruhr University Bochum
The garden is managed by the Ruhr University Bochum. This botanical garden at their campus is open free of charge. It was established in 1968. The garden has been constantly refreshed with new plantings and facilities. There are now four greenhouses, for tropical vegetation. Plus, there is desert flora, plants from savannahs and Alpine plants. Outside, the Chinese Garden is special. It was designed over four years by experts from Shanghai’s Tongji University. A pond takes up around half the garden and is edged by pavilions.
Tierpark Und Fossilium Bochum
The zoo combines a wide array of animal enclosures with exhibitions of fossils. There are almost 4,000 animals at the park from approximately 330 species. It houses exotic animals like lynxes, Seychelles giant tortoises, white buffaloes. And there are lace monitors, ring-tailed lemurs and more. The best part is that there is also a petting zoo with goats sheep and lemurs.
Nothing beats a brewery if you want to understand the culinary heritage of the Ruhr area. Moritz Fiege is a heritage brewery based in Bochum since 1736. It is best known for its Fiege Pils. The place was started as a simple tavern business and has grown into a large-scale brewing business.
Propsteikirche St. Peter Und Paul
It is one of the 12 oldest churches in Westphalia. The Propsteikirche St. Peter und Paul goes back to the end of the 8th century and the rule of Charlemagne. The church took some damage in the war. But was restored by the end of the 1950s. In front of the building is a statue of a mourning woman as a memorial to the tragedy of the Second World War.
The Ruhr to the south of Bochum has been dammed to create a water reservoir. This is one of the prettiest in the region. The water is ringed by wooded nature, which buzzes with outdoor activity in summer. There’s a golf course on the north shore, along with two long (10 km and 8.3 km) circular walking trails. Families can play a round at the mini-golf centre or rent a pedal boat.