Culture in North Rhine-Westphalia

North Rhine-Westphalia has changed in recent decades like no other German region. And like no other region, the state is banking on culture to do its bit to lessen the impact. The results can be viewed across the country, and especially in the Ruhr. Today, the creative industries employ more people than the mining sector. Industrial heritage sites have been turned into workplaces for designers, artists and the advertising industry. Every year, the Ruhrtriennale festival attracts visitors from all over the world.

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North Rhine-Westphalia has an unparalleled concentration of museums, cultural centres, concert halls and theatres. Film festivals in Oberhausen, Duisburg, Cologne, Lünen, Münster, Bonn, Dortmund and other places in North Rhine-Westphalia provide quality of the highest standards. Buildings designed by top-notch architects have earned international renown. Artists and performers of the first rank include Pina Bausch, Max Ernst, Emil Schumacher, Joseph Beuys or Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Whilst, in terms of culture, North Rhine-Westphalia is right up there with London or Paris, there is a big difference: although we have a long tradition of culture and heritage – in fact, the cathedrals in Aachen and Cologne, the Zollverein colliery and Augustusburg Palace in Brühl are World Heritage Sites - North Rhine-Westphalia was never the land of castles, dynasties and landed gentry. North Rhine-Westphalia was, is and always will be a society dominated by the working and middle classes. We did not inherit our cultural wealth, we worked for it very hard. Culture in North Rhine-Westphalia is therefore the great facilitator of change.


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