Main Births etc
Dortmund skyline
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Arnsberg
District Urban district
Founded 882
First mentioned
 • Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau (SPD)
 • Total 280.4 km2 (108.3 sq mi)
Elevation 86 m (282 ft)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 • Total 580,444
 • Density 2,100/km2 (5,400/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 44001-44388
Dialling codes 0231, 02304
Vehicle registration DO

Dortmund ([ˈdɔɐ̯tmʊnt]  ( listen); Low German: Düörpm; Latin: Tremonia) is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia. Its population of 571,403 (2011) makes it the 8th largest city in Germany. Dortmund is the largest city by area and population in the Ruhr Area, an urban area with some 5.1 million (2011) inhabitants which is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany. Dortmund is also a part of the larger Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region of more than 12 million people.

The river Ruhr flows south of the city, and the small river Emscher flows through the municipal area. The Dortmund-Ems Canal also terminates in the Dortmund Port, which is the largest European canal port, and links Dortmund to the North Sea.

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 Rombergpark. This contrasts with nearly a hundred years of extensive coal mining and steel milling within the city limits.


Dortmund 1647

The first time Dortmund was mentioned in official documents was around 882[2] as Throtmanni.[3] After it was destroyed by a fire, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa) had the town rebuilt in 1152 and resided there (among other places) for two years. It became an Imperial Free City. Throughout the 13th to 14th centuries, it was the "chief city" of the Rhine, Westphalia, the Netherlands Circle of the Hanseatic League.

After 1320, the city appeared in writing as "Dorpmunde". The 1661 earthquake collapsed the Reinoldikirche. Within the Prussian Province of Westphalia, Dortmund was a district seat within Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg until 1875, after which it was an urban district within the region. During the industrialisation of Prussia, Dortmund became a major centre for coal and steel.

In 1920, Dortmund was one of the centres for resistance to the Kapp Putsch - a right military coup launched against the Social Democratic-led government. Radical workers formed a Red Army who fought the freikorps units involved in the coup.

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 Hadamar 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;[4] and bombing destroyed about 66% of the Dortmund homes[5] and about 98% of the inner city area. The code word Dortmund was radioed to initiate the 1941 Operation Barbarossa campaign against the Soviet Union.

The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Dortmund in April 1945. The US 95th Infantry Division, attacked the city on 12 April 1945 against a spirited German defense. The division, assisted by close air support, advanced through the ruins in urban combat and completed its capture on 13 April 1945.[6]

Post-war, buildings such as the Reinoldikirche and Marienkirche (churches) were restored/rebuilt, and extensive parks and gardens were laid out. The LWL-Industriemuseum began in 1969,[7] and the city subsequently became a centre for hi-tech industry.

On 3 November 2013, more than 20,000 people were evacuated after a 4,000-pound bomb left over from World War II was found. German authorities safely defused the huge bomb without incident. The bomb was found after analyzing old aerial photographs while searching for unexploded bombs dropped by Allied aircraft over Germany's industrial Ruhr region.[8]


Municipalities and neighbouring communities


Historically speaking, Dortmund is a part of Westphalia. Today it is a part of the European Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region, which is situated in the Bundesland North Rhine-Westphalia. Dortmund is an independent city within the boundaries of the district government of Arnsberg.

City districts[]

Dortmund comprises sixtytwo boroughs which in turn are grouped into twelve suburban districts (called Stadtbezirke) often named after the most important boroughs. Dortmund consists of twelve municipalities, three of which cover the area of the inner city (Innenstadt-West, Innenstadt-Nord, Innenstadt-Ost) and nine districts in the surrounding area (Eving, Scharnhorst, Brackel, Aplerbeck, Hörde, Hombruch, Lütgendortmund, Huckarde, Mengede). Each Stadtbezirk is assigned a Roman numeral and has a local body of nineteen members with limited authority. Most of the boroughs were originally independent municipalities but were gradually annexed from 1905 to 1975. This long-lasting process of annexation has led to a strong identification of the population with "their" boroughs or districts and to a rare peculiarity: The borough of Hörde, located in the south of Dortmund, and which was not annexed until 1928, has its own city coat of arms.


Dortmund is situated in the temperate climate zone. Winters are comparatively mild, summers rather cool. The average annual temperature lies at approximately 9 to 10 °C (48 to 50 °F), the total average annual amount of precipitation lies at approximately 800 mm (31 in). Precipitation evenly falls throughout the year; steady rain prevails in the wintertime, isolated showers dominate the summer season. Dortmund features characteristics of densely populated areas as for example the occurrence of urban heat islands is typical.

Climate data for Dortmund
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4
Average low °C (°F) −1
Rainfall mm (inches) 65
Avg. rainy days 19 17 14 16 14 14 17 16 15 17 19 19 197
Source: Wetter Kontor [9]


Population Development since 1400

Dortmund's population grew rapidly in times of 19th century industrialisation when coal mining and steel processing started. For the first time in 1904 more than 100,000 people lived in Dortmund. Not taking war years into account population figures had constantly risen to 657,804 in 1965. Subsequently, population figures have fallen to approximately 580,000 in 2011; projections forecast a further decline to 550,000 inhabitants by 2030.[10] Contrary to those projections population figures have been slightly rising in the previous years which is due to net migration gains. Younger people (18 to 25-year old) in particular come to settle in Dortmund mainly because of its universities or other education-related activities.[11]

Data of the EU-wide 2011 census revealed massive inaccuracies with regard to German population figures. Consequently, respective figures have been corrected, which resulted in a statistical "loss" of 9,000 inhabitants in Dortmund.[12] As of 2012, Dortmund had a population of 571,403 of whom about 177,000 (~30%) were of non-German origin.[11] Number of minorities (1st and 2nd generation) in Dortmund by country of origin per 31 December 2009[13]

Largest groups of foreign residents[14]
Nationality Population (2012)
 Turkey 23,816
 Poland 7,056
 Greece 3,526
 Italy 2,884
 Ukraine 2,824
 Morocco 2,510
 Russia 1,877


Dortmund Rathaus (English: city hall)

The politics of Dortmund are dominated by the social-democratic SPD. Since World War II, the SPD has been the biggest party on the town council (German: Stadtrat) - except from 1999 to 2004. Since the 2012 local election, there have been 8 parties and electors' groups on the town council (86 seats; 2009: 96 seats):

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 63,616 43.7% (+5.9%) 38 (+1) 44.2%
Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) 39,627 27.2% (-1.5%) 23 (-5) 26.7%
Alliance '90/The Greens (GRÜNE) 25,081 17.2% (+1.8%) 15 (=) 17.4%
The Left (DIE LINKE.) 5,071 3.5% (-2.0%) 3 (-2) 3.5%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 3,739 2.6% (-3.7%) 2 (-4) 2.3%
National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) 2,771 1.9% (+1.0%) 2 (+1) 2.3%
Citizens' List – Free Voters Dortmund (Bürgerliste) 2,760 1.9% (-0.1%) 2 (=) 2.3%
Free Citizens' Initiative (FBI) 1,684 1.2% (+0.1%) 1 (=) 1.2%
Left Alliance Dortmund - Partyfree Left, DKP and SDAJ (Linkes Bündnis Dortmund) 782 0.5% (-0.1%) - (=) -
Dortmund Independent Voters' Community 2009 (DUW 2009) 175 0.1% (=) - (=) -
Break-up basic income – Stopp Hartz IV (Aufbruch Grundeinkommen – Hartz IV muss weg) 166 0.1% (=) - (=) -
Independent candidate 22 0.0% (=) - (=) -
German People's Union (DVU) - - (-1.5%) - (-1) -
Total 145,595 100.0% 86 (-10) 100.0%

Actual composition of the local council:

SPD CDU GRÜNE FDP/Bürgerliste DIE LINKE. Non-inscrit Total
2012 38 23 15 4 3 3 86

Since May 2010, the lord mayor of Dortmund has been Ullrich Sierau (SPD). He works with changing majorities in the local council.


Wilo headquarters in Dortmund

Dortmund has historically been an industrial area.

Companies that are headquartered in Dortmund include Signal Iduna, Thyssenkrupp Uhde Gmbh and Wilo. Dortmund is now home to a number of medium-sized information technology companies,[15] many linked to the local university TechnologieZentrumDortmund program.[16] The city works closely with research institutes, private universities, and companies to collaborate on the commercialisation of science initiatives.[17]

In 2009, Dortmund was classified as a Node city in the Innovation Cities Index published by 2thinknow.[18]


Transportation infrastructure in Dortmund

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 more distant parts of Germany are maintained by Autobahn routes A1 and A2, which traverse the north and east city limits and meet at the Kamener Kreuz interchange northeast of Dortmund. In combination with the Autobahn A45 to the west these form the Dortmund Beltway (Dortmunder Autobahnring).

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

Dortmund Airport is a medium-sized, but fast growing airport 13 km (8.1 mi) east of the city centre at the city limit to Holzwickede.[19] The closest intercontinental airport is Düsseldorf International Airport.

Dortmund Harbour (Hafen) is the largest canal harbour in Europe and the 11th fluvial harbour in Germany.

For public transportation, the city has an extensive Stadtbahn and bus system. In April 2008, the newly constructed east-west underground light rail line was opened, completing the underground service in the city centre and replacing the last trams on the surface.[20]

The H-Bahn at Dortmund University of Technology is a hanging monorail built specifically to shuttle passengers between the university's two campuses,[21] 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.[22]

Main sights[]

Dortmund with RWE-Tower and churches of Reinoldi, Petri and Marien on the right

Dortmund is a city of contrasts cultural history tones are set by the churches in the city centre whose towers characterise the skyline of Dortmund. The Reinoldikirche 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.

Altes Stadthaus


  • Reinoldikirche, a Protestant church (built in 1233-1450)
  • Petrikirche, a Protestant church (start of construction 1322). 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.
  • St. Peter, Syburg, the oldest church building in the city limits


  • 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, 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.

Industrial buildings[]

  • U-Tower, former Dortmunder Union brewery, now a museum
  • Zollern II/IV Colliery, now part of the Westphalian Industrial Museum and an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH)
  • Hansa Coking Plant

Cultural buildings[]

Konzerthaus Dortmund

  • Konzerthaus Dortmund
  • Opernhaus Dortmund, opera house built in 1966 on the site of the old synagogue which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.
  • The major art museums include the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte and the more recent Museum Ostwall.
  • DASA, Germany Occupational Health and Safety Exhibition (German: Deutsche Arbeitsschutzausstellung)
  • Brewery Museum Dortmund
  • Museum of Art and Cultural History
  • German Football Museum

Other important buildings[]

  • Florianturm, (television tower Florian)
  • Westfalenstadion: Football ground of Borussia Dortmund, licensed until 2016 under the name Signal Iduna Park
  • Close to Westfalenstadion are the Westfalenhallen, a large convention centre, the site of several major conventions, trade fairs, ice-skating competitions, concerts and other major events since the 1950s.
  • RWE Tower (100 metre-high skyscraper)


Technical University Dortmund - North Campus

The city is the site of several universities, colleges and academies, which attract about 45,000 students.[13] Among them there are:

  • Technische Universität Dortmund: Technical university founded in 1968. Departments for natural sciences, engineering, economics and humanities.
  • Fachhochschule Dortmund: University of Applied Sciences founded in 1971.
  • FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management, Standort Dortmund: Academy for management, founded in 1993.
  • Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung Nordrhein-Westfalen: Academy for public administration.
  • International School of Management: Private academy focussing on management and economics, founded in 1990.
  • IT-Center Dortmund: Private college founded in 2000.


Dortmund U-Tower (Dortmund U-Tower)

The city has a long tradition of music and theatre. The orchestra was founded in 1887 and is now called Dortmunder Philharmoniker. The first opera house was built in 1904, destroyed in World War II and opened again in 1966 as Opernhaus Dortmund. It is operated by Theater Dortmund together with other locations, including (since 2002) the Konzerthaus Dortmund. The Dortmund U-Tower, which was once a brewery, is now centre of creative industries and the Museum am Ostwall. The city is namesake for the Dortmunder style beer and is home to the Dortmunder Actien Brauerei.


Signal Iduna Park, the home stadium of Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, is the biggest stadium in Germany

Dortmund is home to the sports club Borussia Dortmund, one of the most successful clubs in German football history. Borussia Dortmund are former Bundesliga champions most recently in 2011/2012. Borussia Dortmund won the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 1997, as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1966. This made it the first European Cup Winner in Germany. 'Die Borussen' are eight-time German Champions and have won 3 German Cups. Borussia Dortmund play at Westfalenstadion, currently known as Signal Iduna Park. It was built for the 1974 FIFA Football World Cup and also hosted some matches of 2006 FIFA World Cup. It is Germany's largest football stadium with a maximum capacity of 80,720 spectators.[23]

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

Dortmund is the Olympic centre for Westphalia.

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

Twin towns—sister cities[]

Dortmund is twinned with:[24]


  1. ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. 31 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Wikimedia Commons: First documentary reference to Dortmund-Bövinghausen from 882, contribution-list of the Werden Abbey (near Essen), North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  3. ^ Rudolf Kötzschke (Hrsg.): Die Urbare der Abtei Werden a. d. Ruhr (= Publikationen der Gesellschaft für rheinische Geschichtskunde XX: Rheinische Urbare). Bd. 2: A. Die Urbare vom 9.-13. Jahrhundert. Hrsg. von Rudolf Kötzschke, Bonn 1908, Nachdruck Düsseldorf 1978, Bd. 3: B. Lagerbücher, Hebe- und Zinsregister vom 14. bis ins 17. Jahrhundert, Bonn 1908, Nachdruck Düsseldorf 1978, Bd. 4,I: Einleitung und Register. I. Namenregister. Hrsg. von Fritz Körholz, Düsseldorf 1978, Bd. 4,II: Einleitung, Kapitel IV: Die Wirtschaftsverfassung und Verwaltung der Großgrundherrschaft Werden. Sachregister. Hrsg. von Rudolf Kötzschke, Bonn 1958
  4. ^ "Historisches Centrum Hagen : Chronik 1945" (in German). Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  5. ^ A. Schildt, Die Sozialgeschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland bis 1989/90, Munich: Oldenbourg, 2007
  6. ^ Stanton, Shelby, World War II Order of Battle: An Encyclopedic Reference to U.S. Army Ground Forces from Battalion through Division, 1939–1946 (Revised Edition, 2006), Stackpole Books, p. 171.
  7. ^ "LWL Industrial Museum". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  8. ^ "4,000-pound, World War II bomb forces mass evacuation in Germany". CBS News. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Klima Deutschland, Dortmund - Klimadiagramm, Klimatabelle - WetterKontor". Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  10. ^ "Kommunale Daten: Demographischer Wandel. Bevölkerungsprognosen" (in de). 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  11. ^ a b "Dortmund 2012: Mehr Einwohner, mehr Studierende, mehr Übernachtungen - Nachrichtenportal - Leben in Dortmund - Stadtportal". 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  12. ^ Dortmund hat weniger Einwohner als angenommen |
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Statistisches Jahrbuch 2013". Stadt Dortmund. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  15. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change". Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency. 
  16. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change". Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  17. ^ "The new Dortmund - space for change". Stadt Dortmund - City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  18. ^ "2thinknow Innovation Cities Global 256 Index". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  19. ^ "Arriving by car - Dortmund Airport". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  20. ^ "Neuer U-Bahn-Tunnel: keine Straßenbahn mehr in Dortmunder City". Oliver Volmerich. 2008-04-25.,243917. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  21. ^ "H-Bahn - Route map". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  22. ^ "H-Bahn - Sky-Train Düsseldorf". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  23. ^ "Fakten & Kurioses". Signal Induna Park official website. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District". © 2009 Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  25. ^ "Leeds - Dortmund partnership". Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  26. ^ "Netanya - Twin Cities". Netanya Municipality. Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

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