Bochum and Gelsenkirchen were predominantly coal towns (Bochum already had 25 mines in 1735). The first Ruhr coal mine to use a steam engine was here in 1799 in Zeche Vollmond (the designer, Franz Dinnendahl, later set up a factory in Essen) . But the last mine closed in 1973, followed by steel closures. On the up side, the Ruhr University was founded here in 1965 and Opel and Nokia factories were set-up, although these have later fallen into difficulties.

The town has received a certain amount of publicity from Herbert Grönemeyer, the actor and singer who hails from the city. A song he released (Bochum) has become an unofficial song of the city, notably at matches of Vfl Bochum.

Local tram and bus transport is provided by BOGESTRA (Bochum-Gelsenkirchener Strassenbahn Aktiengesellschaft) Terminal, Bochum

The sculpture 'Terminal' by Richard Serra (who also designed the Bramme für the Ruhrgebiet in Essen) was acquired by the city in 1979, after it had been a prominent exhibit at a scultpure exhibition in Kassel two years earlier, and placed on a traffic island adjacent to the Hauptbahnhof. The right-wing CDU made it an issue in a Landtag election - its candidate Kurt Biedenkopf made a speech in front of the sculpture in which he declared he was going to pull it down.

Bermudadreieck (Bermuda Triangle)


Bermudadreieck, Bochum An 'entertainment' quarter in Bochum has developed which has taken on the name of the Bermudadreieck (Bermuda Triangle), a name which was invented in about 1990 but has now been officially adopted. A famous institution there is the Dönninghaus (Bratwursthaus am Engelbertbrunnen). The image at left shows the southern end of the Dreieck with one of the entrances to the Engelbertbrunnen/Bermudadreieck tram stop.



Mining Museum


The German Mining Museum claims to be the largest mining museum in the world. It was actually opened in 1938 but was largely destroyed during the War and had to be extensively re-built in the 1950s.

Since 1975 it has been towered over by a 71.5m high Doppelbock Winding Tower, which had been designed in 1944 by Fritz Schupp for the central shaft 5 of the Zeche Germania in Dortmund-Marten. Schupp had assisted in designing the museum originally and is also well-known for the winding tower and buildings grouped around shaft 12 of the Zollverein colliery in Essen.

It does not just limit itself to coal-mining in the Ruhrgebiet but also considers other mining regions and other related branches, e.g. the mining of ore or the drilling for oil and gas.

Below the museum there is an Anschauungsbergwerk (model show mine) at a depth of about 15 meters and with a total length of 2.5 km. A guided visit takes about 1 hour, although the commentary is only in deutsch. This is followed by a visit up the tower. Visits are only made in groups - enquire at the desk inside the museum, adjacent to the lifts on the ground floor. There is very brief written information on the trip in English available on payment of a returnable deposit (about 5 euros).

View of Bochum from the top of the winding tower of the Mining Museum, Bochum

In this view from the top of the winding tower, you can just make out the church of St. Josef at the center.

Railway Museum



There is a large Railway Museum in Dahlhausen, and a 'preserved' railway, the Ruhrtalbahn between Bochum and Hagen. It runs railbuses every Friday and Sunday during April to October, and steam trains on every first Sunday in the month during this period. From an even earler period, remains of the Rauendahler Kohlenweg can still be seen - this was an early horse-drawn tram built in 1787 for transporting coal.

Bochumer Verein


In the west the historic grounds of the "Bochumer Verein Für Bergbau und Gussstahlfabrikation" border the Innenstadt. Loosely speaking, what Krupp is for Essen, the Bochumer Verein is for Bochum.It was founded in 1842 and it was there around 1850 that the Swabian Jacob Mayer developed the cast steel process. This made it possible to produce workpieces of very high quality which also had to withstand extremely high stress (e.g. railway wheels, although in current history its work in this area seems to have been overshadowed by the products of the Krupp works). The Bochumer Verein became prominent internationally through its casting of bells. Famous products were, among others, the Jahrhundertsglocke for the Frankfurt Paulskirche (1948), the cast-steel bell of the World Peace Church in Hiroshima (1952) as well as a carillon for the Bochum Rathhaus (ca. 1930/ca. 1950).

The Jahrhundert Hall is a re-converted hall of a former steelworks.

Outside the Rathaus, you can see a bell produced by the Bochumer Verein, the largest of four bells (15 tonnes) produced for the Paris World Exhibition in 1867.



After the closing of the Bochumer Verein works, which in the meantime had passed over to the Krupp concern, the Jahrhunderthalle became a focus of heritage preservation at the beginning of the 1990s. This hall complex is basically of a steel construction and had originally been created for the Dusseldorf Industry and Art Exhibition of 1902 (its name of "Century Hall" indicating the new 20th century). There it functioned - decorated with historicizing decoration complemented by a huge clocktower! - as an imposing "pavilion" for the presentation of products from the Bochumer Verein. After the finish of the exhibition the hall was re-located to the works grounds in Bochum where it housed the central gas installation. After several extensions were added, it functioned latterly as a store- and workshop building. Today the building complex consist of three merging halls and measures 168m by 34m, and has a height of 21m.

The new, cultural usage of the Jahrhunderthalle was introduced to the public on 21.4.1991 with a performance of the first act of the Wagner opera "Tristan and Isolde".

The Exzenterhaus


Exzenterhaus, Bochum

An 89 m high office building visible to the back of the railway station. Exzenterhaus, Bochum



Bochum Observatory derives some fame from being one of the first to detect signals from Sputnik and it has local affection precisely because it caused the name of Bochum to start being heard at the time. The founder of the observatory was Heinz Kaminski. Close to the observatory is the wooded area of Weitmarer Holz.

There is a separate planetarium close to the Stadtpark



There is a separate planetarium, close to the Stadtpark (which was the first public park in the Ruhr). Adjacent to the Stadtpark is a small zoo.

  • Rathaus

    The current Bochum Rathaus on Rathausplatz was built between 1926 and 1931. It encloses an inner court, into which a further wing projects and which carries a spire with a glockenspiel from 28 Bochum cast-steel bells (architect, Karl Roth). A huge bell, which the Bochumer Verein had exhibited at the Paris World Exhibition in 1867, is mounted in front of the Rathhaus as a memorial. The once extensive bronze decoration of the building was largely melted down for armament purposes during the Second World War. Only the bronze main portal remained (with symbolic miniature portrayals of industry and trade) as well as two fountains in the inner court: the "Fountain of Beauty" and the "Fountain of Luck".

    Zeche Hannover

    The last mine in Bochum to close, the Zeche Hannover 1/2/5, is now a museum.

    Test borings were made in 1847 and in 1856, the mine was taken over by the banker Carl Hostmann from Celle, at that time in the Kingdom of Hannover, which explains the later name. Regular working only got going from 1870.

    Two years later, Alfred Krupp acquired the installation and built it up to a "Model Mine". In 1877, the mine director Friedrich Koepe developed a new technique of extraction at the Hannover which helped to save energy: with a "Koepe-Extraction machine", the hoisting cable was not wound onto a large drum but circulated as an endless cable with the help of the force of friction. The mine remained as a pioneer in the introduction of technical innovations and, for example, replaced the pit ponies in 1892 with a system of mechanical haulage using cableways.

    Hannover 1/2/5 was finally closed in 1973. During demolition of the pithead buildings, the Malakoffturm above Shaft 1 complete with its neighboring machine house as well a modest ventilation building were deliberately left alone.

    The Malakoffturm and machine house stem from 1857/58. In its architectural style with its ring of crenellations, the tower resembles the keep of a mediaeval castle. However, this is less to do with the original tradition of the German middle ages and more to do with the pseudo-mediaeval castle building of the Romantic period of the 19th century (Stolzenfels, Rheinstein, Neuschwanstein). At Hannover 1/2/5 another identical Malakoffturm originally stood on the other side of the machine house. In the middle, a very tall furnace towered over this complete ensemble. Further technical developments resulted in the furnace being torn down in 1938 and Tower 2 was replaced with a modern building of twice the height. Admittedly, a steam engine of 1893 was retained in the machine house until the very end - originally driving a drum extraction machine, which had been converted in 1913/14 to a Koepe machine. This is the oldest steam engine in a Ruhr colliery to still be standing at its original location.

    The LWL Industry Museum at the Zeche Hannover 1/2/5, will focus predominantly on the theme of migration, something that lies near to the heart for the "Schmelztiegel Ruhrgebiet" (Ruhrgebiet melting pot). Coming under consideration are not just the "Ruhr Poles" from the beginning of the 20th century, but e.g. also the refugees and expulsees after 1945, the Italian and Turkish gastarbeiters of the Wirtschaftwunder years, the asylum seekers and the immigrants from East Europe of the present time.


    The protestant church community on the Amtsstraße in Hamme still celebrates its services today in a modest dignified Notkirche of the post-war years. For the Notkirche project the building parts were pre-fabricated en masse and only put together at the required location, in modular fashion, within only a few weeks. With respect to the Bochum example the walls consist, between the angled wood binders, of the rubble of the old parish hall. The pulpit and altar were also constructed from rubble bricks.


    The Nachtigall mine is now administered by the LWL Industry Museum.