Germany′s 16 states: North Rhine-Westphalia | DW Travel | DW | 06.01.2021
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Federal States of Germany

Germany's 16 states: North Rhine-Westphalia

A cosmopolitan approach to life in Cologne, industrial heritage in the Ruhr region, open countryside in Westphalia: North Rhine-Westphalia is a state of contrasts.

Cologne skyline

DW has the best travel tips for all of Germany's 16 states

North Rhine-Westphalia, in the far west of Germany, is the state with the highest population and the greatest contribution (21%) to the domestic economy, even though the coal and steel industries are now history. An especially impressive testament from the heyday of industry in this region is the Zollverein Industrial Mine Complex in Essen, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Watch video 01:31

Travel tips for North Rhine-Westphalia

Rhine metropolis Cologne

Most of the residents do not live in the state capital of Dusseldorf but in Cologne. Its inhabitants are considered cheerful, cosmopolitan and tolerant. The presenter of the DW travel magazineCheck-in, Lukas Stege, explores the Cologne people's way of life. The shoot took place before the coronavirus crisis. 

Watch video 09:32

Cologne: A City that Lifts the Spirits

State capital Düsseldorf

What does Dusseldorf have that Cologne doesn't? Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Check-in presenter Nicole Frölich traveled to the state capital, to find out what makes the difference. An extensive shopping tour, a visit to the Japanese community and of course an Altbier beer at the world's longest bar in the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia were on the agenda.

Watch video 11:01

Düsseldorf: City on the Rhine

The cycling city of Münster

The greenery of Westphalia is in stark contrast to the Rhineland with its large cities. This is where Germany's bicycling capital, Münster, lies. Cycling is an integral part of life in this university town, and not just for students. From the mayor to the bishop, everyone rides a bike. So does Check-in host Lukas Stege, of course. This recording took place before the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch video 09:16

Münster: Cycling capital

UNESCO World Heritage in Essen

Just as Cologne would be unthinkable without its cathedral, the Zeche Zollverein colliery is an integral part of Essen. Its striking, winding tower is the landmark and symbol for the era of coal in the entire region. Instead of three million tons of coal per year being mined today, art, cultural events and concerts are being produced in the middle of the industrial backdrop.

Watch video 02:29

Essen's Zollverein Coal Mine Complex


There are certainly bigger metropolises on the Rhine than Bonn. However, not many cities can claim decades of being the German capital. And the birth of a musical genius: Beethoven lived in Bonn for 22 years.

Ludwig van Beethoven, considered one of the greatest and most influential composers of classical music, was born in Bonn. Beethoven's birthplace has been a place of remembrance of the famous son of the city since 1889. Check-in presenter Lukas Stege toured the city on the trail of the musical genius. The filming took place before the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch video 10:21

Beethoven City Bonn

Unesco World Heritage Sites in Brühl

The rococo castles Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl are among the most important palace buildings of the 18th century. Let us show you the UNESCO World Heritage Site from a drone’s perspective.

Watch video 01:00

Augustusburg and Falkenlust castles in Brühl

Aachen Cathedral 

In the far west, on the border to the Netherlands and Belgium, lies the old royal city of Aachen. This is where Germany's first UNESCO World Heritage site, Aachen Cathedral, stands. It's part of the imperial palace built for Charlemagne in the late 8th century and was for many centuries where German kings were crowned.

Watch video 02:19

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Aachen Cathedral

A Highlight in our 360-degree video

One of Germany's most popular theme parks is also in North Rhine-Westphalia: Phantasialand in Brühl, near Cologne. Visitors can enjoy the whole day here, and ride on the roller coaster or Germany's steepest log flume.   

Use the mouse on your computer or your finger on your smartphone to choose what you want to see. Click on the video and drag the image sections wherever you want. If you are using a PC, use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as a browser. And if you have VR glasses, you can watch the video in virtual reality.

Your trip to Germany

Are you looking for recommendations for your visit to Germany? We've got them: Tips for Germany — state by state.


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