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Dortmund ( ) is a city in Germanymarker, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphaliamarker, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 587,830 (20 June 2005) makes it the 7th-largest city in Germany, and 34th-largest in the European Union.The Ruhr river flows south of the city, and the small river Emschermarker flows through the municipal area. The Dortmund-Ems Canalmarker also terminates in the Dortmund Portmarker, which is the largest European canal port, and links Dortmund to the North Seamarker.Dortmund is known as Westphalia's "green metropolis". Nearly half the municipal territory consists of waterways, woodland, agriculture and green spaces with spacious parks such as Westfalenpark and the Rombergparkmarker. This contrasts with nearly a hundred years of extensive coal mining and steel milling within the city limits.

Dortmund 1647.


A small village at the location of Dortmund was mentioned in official documents from 880 to 885 as Throtmanni. After being destroyed by a fire the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I , rebuilt the town in 1152 and resided there for two years. It became an Imperial Free City in 1220 and during that century, was the "chief city" of the Rhine, Westphalia, the Netherlands Circle of the Hanseatic League.

After 1320, the city appeared in writing as "Dorpmunde", and the 1661 earthquake collapsed the Reinoldikirchemarker. Within the Prussianmarker Province of Westphaliamarker, Dortmund was a district seat within Regierungsbezirk Arnsbergmarker until 1875, after which it was an urban district within the region. During the industrialization of Prussia, Dortmund became a major centre for coal and steel. The first annual Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting was held in 1928.

Under Nazi Germany, the synagogue was destroyed in 1938. Also, the Aplerbeck Hospital in Dortmund transferred mentally and/or physically disabled patients for euthanasia at the Hadamarmarker mental hospital as part of the Action T4 (an additional 229 children were killed in the "Children's Specialist Department", which was transferred from Marburg in 1941). Dortmund bombing targets of the Oil Campaign of World War II included Hoesch-Westfalenhütte AG, the "Hoesch-Benzin GmBH" synthetic oil plant, and the Zeche Hansa coking plant; and bombing destroyed about 80% of the Dortmund homes. The code word Dortmund was radioed to initiate the 1941 Operation Barbarossa campaign against the Soviet Union.

Post-war, buildings such as the Reinoldikirchemarker and Marienkirche (churches) were restored/rebuilt, and extensive parks and gardens were laid out. The LWL-Industriemuseum began in 1969, and the city subsequently became a centre for hi-tech industry.

Main sights

Cultural history tones are set by the churches in the city centre whose towers characterise the skyline of Dortmund. The Reinoldikirchemarker and the Marienkirche are gems of medieval architecture.

The city centre of Dortmund still retains the outline of the medieval city. A ring road marks the former city wall, and the Westen-/Ostenhellweg, part of a medieval salt trading route, is still the major (pedestrian) street bisecting the city centre.

The Old Town Hall
Church of St. Margaret in Eichlinghofen
View of Rombergpark
H-Bahn monorail in Dortmund
  • Reinoldikirche ( )

  • Petrikirche , a Protestant church, the building of which dates from the 14th century. It is famous for the huge carved altar (known as "Golden Miracle of Dortmund"), from 1521. It consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.

  • Marienkirche, a Protestant church originally built in 1170-1200 but rebuilt after World War II. The altar is from 1420.

  • Signal Iduna Parkmarker: Soccer ground of Borussia Dortmund, formerly known as the Westfalenstadion. Close to it is the Westfalenhallemarker, a large convention center, the site of several major conventions, trade fairs, ice-skating competitions, concerts and other major events since the 1950s.

  • Hansa Coking Plant

  • Haus Bodelschwingh (13th century), a moated castle

  • Haus Dellwig (13th century), a moated castle partly rebuilt in the 17th century. The façade and the steep tower, and two half-timbered buildings, are original.

  • Haus Rodenberg (13th century), a moated castle.

  • Altes Stadthaus was built in 1899 by Friedrich Kullrich

  • Wasserschloss Bodelschwingh.

  • Romberg Park Gatehouse (17th century), once a gatehouse to a moated castle. Now it houses an art gallery.

  • RWE Tower (120 meters skyscraper - the tallest in Dortmund)

  • Opera House, built in 1966 at the site of the old synagogue which had been destroyed by Nazis in 1938.


Dortmund is home of the sport club Borussia Dortmund which won the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 1997, as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup against Liverpool in 1966. This made it the first European Cup Winner in Germany. They play at Signal Iduna Parkmarker, formerly known as the Westfalenstadion. It was built for the 1974 FIFA Football World Cup and also hosted some matches of 2006 FIFA World Cup, including Italy's 2-0 defeat of Germany in the semi-finals. It is Germany's largest football stadium with a capacity of 82,932 spectators.

Borussia Dortmund also has a women's handball team playing in the first Bundesliga, while the table tennis team and the basketball team SVD 49 Dortmund play their respective second national divisions.

Dortmund is the Olympiastützpunkt for Westphalia.

The Sparkassen Chess-Meeting has been hosted in Dortmund since 1982.


Dortmund Airportmarker is a medium-sized, but quickly growing airport 13 km (8 miles) east of the city centre at the city limit to Holzwickedemarker.

The central train station (Dortmund Hauptbahnhofmarker) is the third largest long distance traffic junction in Germany.

Dortmund Harbour (Hafen) is the largest canal harbour in Europe; almost as large as the harbour on the Rhine Rivermarker at Duisburgmarker, the world's largest inland port.

Dortmund also serves as a major European and German crossroads for the Autobahnsystem. The Ruhrschnellweg follows old Hanseatic trade routes to connect the city with the other metropolises of the Ruhr Area. Connections to the more distant parts of Germany are maintained by the A1 and the A2 which pass closely to the north and east of the city and cross each other at the Kamener Kreuzmarker interchange northeast of Dortmund.

For public transportation, the city has an extensive Stadtbahn, streetcar and bus system. In April 2008, the newly constructed underground light rail line in the city centre was opened, replacing the last trams on the surface.

The H-Bahn at Dortmund Universitymarker is a hanging monorail built specifically to shuttle passengers across the university's two campuses, which are now also flanked by research laboratories and other high-tech corporations and startups. A nearly identical monorail system transfers passengers at Düsseldorf Airport.


The politics of Dortmund are dominated by the social-democratic SPD. Since World War II, the SPD is the biggest party in the town council (German: Stadtrat). Since the 2004 local election, there are 9 parties and electors' groups in the town council (88 seats; 1999: 82 seats):

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 92,509 41.3% (-0.3) 36 (+2) 40.9%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 73,282 32.7% (-9.0) 29 (-5) 33.0%
Alliance '90/The Greens (Grüne) 25,635 11.5% (+2.6) 10 (+2) 11.4%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 8,591 3.8% (+2.0) 3 (+2) 3.4%
German People's Union (DVU) 6,880 3.1% (+1.1) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Citizens' List (Bürgerliste) 6,874 3.1% (+0.5) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Party of Democratic Socialism-Open List (PDS-OL) 6,346 2.8% (+2.8) 2 (+2) 2.3%
Left Alliance Dortmund (Linkes Bündnis Dortmund) 1,751 0.8% (-0.2) 1 (=) 1.1%
Law and Order Offensive Party (Offensive D) 1,669 0.7% (+0.7) 1 (+1) 1.1%
Town-Greens (Stadtgrüne) 265 0.1% (+0.1) 0 (=) 0.0%
Totals 223,802 100.0% 88 (+6) 100.0%

The lord mayor of Dortmund is Ullrich Sierau (SPD). He leads a coalition made up of SPD and Grüne.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Dortmund is twinned with:


External links

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