In this article you will find an exact delineation of the Ruhr area as well as an overview of the major cities in the area.
What belongs to the Ruhr area?
As a rule, the Ruhr area is understood to include the cities and districts in the Ruhr Regional Association. This is a statutory special-purpose association responsible, for example, for promoting the environment, leisure and tourism in the Ruhr region. The seat of the Ruhr Regional Association is in the city of Essen.
The 11 independent cities in the Regionalverband Ruhr are: Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim and Oberhausen.
In addition, there are the following 4 districts: Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis, Landkreis Wesel, Landkreis Recklinghausen and Landkreis Unna.
What does not belong to the Ruhr area?
According to this definition of the Ruhr area, the cities of Wuppertal and Düsseldorf, for example, do not belong to the Pott. This is also generally accepted. Nevertheless, we want to publish information about these cities in this travel guide because many tourists also visit Wuppertal with its suspension railway and the interesting capital of NRW Düsseldorf.
What belongs to the VRR?
If you are travelling by local transport in the Ruhr area, the area of the VRR (Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr) is important. Various tickets are valid in the entire area of the VRR or in certain tariff areas of the VRR.
The VRR includes the largest parts of the Ruhr area. It is the transport association with the most inhabitants in Germany. It does not include the city of Hamm, for example. With some VRR tickets you can even travel across the border into the Netherlands (for example, to Venlo in the province of Limburg).
The VRR area also includes many cities and municipalities that are not part of the Ruhr region. Examples are the major cities of Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Mönchengladbach and Wuppertal.
List of large cities in the Ruhr region with number of inhabitants
The following is an overview of the largest cities in the Ruhr region sorted by approximate number of inhabitants. The figures are from the years 2015 to 2017.
1. Dortmund 587,000 inhabitants
2. Essen 583,000
3. Duisburg 492,000
4. Bochum 365,000
5. Gelsenkirchen 260,000
6. Oberhausen 211,000
7. Hagen 190,000
8. Hamm 180,000
9th Mülheim an der Ruhr 170,000
10. Herne 156,000
11. Bottrop 117,000
12. Recklinghausen 115,000
13. Moers 105,000
Not far from the Revier and frequently visited by Ruhrgebiet tourists are Düsseldorf (612,000 inhabitants), Wuppertal (350,000 inhabitants) and Mönchengladbach with a population of around 260,000.
Incidentally, the largest city in NRW is Cologne with about 1.05 million inhabitants.
You can find more interesting data and figures about the Ruhr region on this page.