Ruhr Museum


Over thousands of years, the area of what was later to become the Ruhr area consecutively witnessed a series of historic events and developments, migrations and different forms of rule. These were the foundation of traditions that were often important beyond the region. Generally they were determined by geographical factors, the quality of the soil and the development of mountain ranges, rivers and trading routes.

However, these traditions cannot be understood simply as the prelude to industrialisation, and they have little to do with the process that began in the 18th century. The majority of the regional and local traditions were abruptly cut off and submerged by the beginning of the industrialisation. With the end of the industrial era, however, they were once more coming to the surface and played an important role in shaping the region’s identity.

Thus there exist at least two layers of historical identity in the Ruhr area, one coined by the industrialisation, one by tradition that is dating further back in time.