Written by Tanja Kanthak and last edited by Garry on


At the end of the eighteenth century, industrialisation began where large coal deposits were found in the area alongside the Ruhr. Henceforth, the watercourse was primarily used for economic and industrial purposes, becoming one of the most frequently used waterways in Germany. Today, the Ruhr is used more for energy generation and the for the supply of water to countless private households, businesses and industrial plants. Approximately three hundred waterworks along the banks of the river purify and prepare its water while continuous and diligent analysis guarantees high water quality.

For those looking for recreation and quality of life, the Ruhr region is the place to be. From the banks of the Ruhr and at some lakes in the area, water sports such as sailing, swimming or fishing are possible and the biodiversity of the surroundings can be admired.

One of the largest lakes in the region is the Haltener Stausee, which is easily accessible by car and by train. Especially popular with visitors is the Seebad where sandy beaches invite relaxed sunbathers. The Xantener Südsee conveys the atmosphere of the South Seas with its large sandy beach, clear water, and adventure parks for the youngest of visitors. A place for the whole family.

River Emscher

Straightening of the riverbed and industrial sewage had ecologically disastrous effects on this relatively small tributary of the Rhine. Due to more recent and effective projects, the saddest situation of an open sewage channel is nowadays converting back to a natural river.

River Lippe

As with most rivers in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Lippe is a tributary of the Rhine. Originating in the famous Teutoburg Forest the Lippe measures one hundred and fifty-eight miles in length. The history of shipping on the Lippe dates back to Roman times. Nowadays, carriage of goods takes place on canals alongside the Lippe which were created specifically for that purpose.

River Rhine

With a total length of eight hundred and twenty miles, the Rhine is one of the longest rivers and one of the most important waterways in Europe. Originating in the Swiss Alps, the Rhine flows through five countries and empties its waters in the North Sea south of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

River Ruhr

The name-giving river Ruhr is also a tributary of the Rhine measuring one hundred and thirty-five miles in length. It originates in the Rothaargebirge, a low mountain range in Westphalia famous for its winter sports areas.