Kettwig Old Town

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There are not too many towns in the Ruhr area with an old town centre worth seeing. One important reason is the extensive destruction by American and British bombers during the Second World War. But there are exceptions. One particularly beautiful exception is the old town of Kettwig.

Kettwig used to be a town in its own right, but in 1975 it became part of the city of Essen against the will of the majority of the population. Until today, however, Kettwig has remained a small town. The centre of Essen is far away, about 12 kilometres.

Kettwig’s old town is almost directly on the river Ruhr. Next to the old centre of Kettwig is a dam on the Ruhr. There is a bridge over the dam. On one side of the dam is a larger reservoir (Kettwiger See). It is the smallest of the six reservoirs in the Ruhr valley. The largest, by the way, is Lake Baldeney (also in Essen, a few kilometres upstream).

In Kettwig you don’t have the feeling of being in the Ruhr area, but rather in an old small town. So Kettwig is a nice destination for a day trip for people who need a change from a big city. The beautiful nature around Essen-Kettwig is a good and popular walking area in the middle of the Ruhr area.

If you get off the S-Bahn at Kettwig station, you walk about 10 to 15 minutes to the city centre. Even the old station building is a sight to see.

In the picturesque, car-free old town you will find the half-timbered houses and narrow alleys with cobblestones that are typical of the region. The most beautiful area is around the Protestant church and the Tuchmacherplatz.

The Tuchmacherplatz is the centre of Kettwig’s old town. In the past, the clothmaker’s trade was an important industry in Kettwig.

Because of the many large towns in the area, many day-trippers come to Essen’s most beautiful district, especially in the summer at weekends. That is why you will find several good cafés, ice cream parlours and restaurants in the idyllic alleys of Kettwig’s old town.

The small park on an island between the Ruhr and the old town with a great old bridge over the Mühlenkanal is also an inviting place for a walk.

The barrage with a larger lock for ships is interesting. If you are lucky, you can watch a ship pass through the lock from a few metres away on the bank next to the old town.

If you still have some time, you should visit the old town hall of Kettwig. It is a little above the old town and is a former cloth factory.

Directions to Kettwig

Kettwig lies far outside the centre of Essen and seems to be a town in its own right.

There are two railway stations in Essen-Kettwig. Both are on the S-Bahn line No. 6 from Essen to Düsseldorf and Cologne. One station is simply called “Kettwig, the other, on the other side of the river, is called “Kettwig Stausee”. At Kettwig, a railway bridge crosses the Ruhr, and the S-Bahn changes sides of the river. Both stations are a good 10-minute walk from the old town.

It takes about 15 minutes to get to the centre of Essen by S-Bahn line 6. On the way, you pass the legendary Villa Hügel, the former home of the Krupp family of industrialists. The two sights of Villa Hügel and Kettwig can therefore be easily combined in a day trip by S-Bahn.

Hiking around Kettwig

There are good walks around Kettwig. An information board in the town park near the Ruhr bridge describes four possible walks of several hours’ length.

Some great hiking trails around Kettwig lead through the Ruhr valley with its beautiful nature.