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Mülheim an der Ruhr
View of Mülheim's centre
View of Mülheim's centre
Flag of Mülheim an der Ruhr
Coat of arms of Mülheim an der Ruhr
Coat of arms
Mülheim an der Ruhr  is located in Germany
Mülheim an der Ruhr
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Düsseldorf
District Urban districts of Germany
 • Lord Mayor Ulrich Scholten (SPD)
 • Total 91.26 km2 (35.24 sq mi)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 166,640
 • Density 1,800/km2 (4,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 45468–45481
Dialling codes 0208
Vehicle registration MH

Mülheim an der Ruhr (German pronunciation: ), also described as "City on the River", is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. It is located in the Ruhr Area between Duisburg, Essen, Oberhausen and Ratingen. It is home to many companies, especially in the food industry, such as the Aldi Süd Company, the Harke Group and the Tengelmann Group.

Mülheim received its town charter in 1808, and 100 years later the population exceeded 100,000, making Mülheim officially a city. At the time of the city's 200th anniversary with approximately 170,000 residents, it was counted among the smaller cities of Germany.

Mülheim was the first city in the Ruhr Area to become completely free of coal mines, when its last coal mine "Rosenblumendelle" was closed. The former leather and coal city had successfully made a complete transformation to a diversified economic centre. With more than 50% covered by greenery and forest, the city is regarded as an attractive place to live between Düsseldorf and the rest of the Ruhr. It is the home of two Max Planck Institutes and, since 2009, the technical college Ruhr West. It has a station on the important railway between Dortmund and Duisburg and is served by Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn lines S1 and S3.


  • Geography 1
    • Geographical location 1.1
    • Geology 1.2
  • Gallery 2
  • History 3
    • Middle Ages 3.1
    • Early Modern Times 3.2
    • The Beginning of Industrialization 3.3
    • High Points of Industrialization 3.4
    • On the Way to a City 3.5
    • National Socialism 3.6
    • After the War 3.7
  • Boroughs 4
  • International relations 5
  • Notable bands 6
  • Notable clubs 7
  • Notable companies 8
  • Notable institutes 9
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Geographical location

Mülheim an der Ruhr lies at the junction of the hill country of the Lower Bergisches Land, the western Hellweg and the plane of the middle Lower Rhine region.

The bridge Mintarder Ruhrtalbrücke in Mülheim, which runs over the Ruhr and acts as a connector between Düsseldorf and Essen

The central city lies on both banks of the Ruhr river, about 12 kilometres (7 miles) east of where the Ruhr's mouth opens onto the Rhine. It is considered a comfortable location between urban life in Düsseldorf and life in other parts of the Ruhr. The Ruhr traverses the whole city for a length of 14 km (9 miles) from south-east to north-west. With the district of Broich on its left bank and the Kirchenhügel (Church Hill) on its right bank – the gate of Mülheim – the Ruhr leaves the foothills of the Rhenish Massif and enters the Lower Rhine Plain. [2] Mülheim is the only city in the Ruhr region whose centre lies along the Ruhr.


When looking at its geological structure, the city lies on the border region, known as the Marl border, of three regions – the Mittelgebirge of the Bergisches Land, the Lower Rhine Plain and the Westphalian Lowland. The areas lying northeast of the Ruhr, with their rich loess-containing soils, belong to the natural region known as West Hellweg. Whereas it's difficult to tell from the surface formations where the Westphalian Lowlands begin, the landscapes of the Bergisches Land and the Lower Rhine Plain are easily recognisable.

The northern foothills of the Rhenish Massif are characterised by the distinctive rock formation of the bare mountain slopes through which run coal-bearing layers which formed during the carboniferous period. Here the Ruhr cuts more than 50 meters deep into this Mittelgebirge. This natural erosion partly uncovered these mineable black coal deposits, which enabled their exploration and extraction using adits. However, the coal-rich layers became ever deeper as one progressed northward, which required setting up mines to extract the black coal. In contrast, the broad bayou (dead arm of a river) of Styrum borough is characteristic of the features of the Lower Rhine Plain.[3]


Panorama of Mülheim – view towards the south


The town Mülheim was first mentioned in a document of the Werden Abbey in 1093. Later it belonged to the Duchy of Berg and became a free city in 1808. After the Congress of Vienna Mülheim was Prussian and from 1822 was a part of the Prussian Rhine Province. Mülheim became the centre of the Ruhr Uprising in 1920.

Middle Ages

In 1093, the city as “Mulinhem” was first mentioned in the written record. The document in which the name appeared had to do with a donation to the Werden Abbey. In later documents, the name was given as “Molenheim” and “Molnheim,” but the interpretation of the name Mülheim as “home of the mills” indicates that the special characteristic of mills in their settlement was important to the residents in the Middle Ages. Whether this was because of their variety or the particular significance of a single mill is no longer known.

The history of the city of Mülheim is closely connected with two historic centers of settlement, the Schloss Broich on the left side of the Ruhr River, and the church hill on its right side. The Schloss Broich, the seat of the Lords of Broich, and then their noble successors, was built in the last quarter of the 9th Century (probably in the winter of 883/884) as a fortification to defend against Viking raids at the historic Ruhr ford of the old Hellweg. The church hill was from the very first the core of the local economic and religious settlement.

By 1200, the Cistercian convent of Saarn was founded in the south of present-day Mülheim's urban area, but of the founders and the first women in the convent, very little is known. Some decades later, in a second start-up phase, Archbishop Engelbert I of Cologne in his political activities as archbishop, Count of Berg, and at the same time regent and tutor of the minor King Henry VII, became aware of the Saarn convent. Engelbert probably saw to the inclusion of the nuns of Saarn in the Cistercian Order, to the introduction of strict enclosure, and also to the extensive privileges of the convent granted by the Pope and the Empire. In the following years, the convent received numerous donations from Mülheim and the neighboring region, as well as from the Lords of Broich. King Henry was - probably at the instigation of Engelbert - honored by the nuns in their “Memorienbuch” as “fundator” (founder).

Upon the extinction of the Lords of Broich in 1372, Schloss Broich initially fell to the Counts of Isenberg-Limburg. In 1443, the Archbishop of Cologne, Dietrich II of Moers, and Duke Gerhard of Jülich-Berg, together, succeeded in the conquest and occupation of Broich. The castle was badly damaged. After the extinction of the Counts of Isenberg-Limburg-Broich in the male line in the early 1500s, Wirich V of Daun-Falkenstein and his successors ruled Broich.

Early Modern Times

During the 16th Century, the rulers of Broich, with the help of the Dukes of Berg, eluded claims of overlordship by Electoral Cologne. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, however, the Duchy of Berg succeeded in making its claim of sovereign rights over Broich the law.

During the Spanish-Dutch Eighty Years' War, which also impacted the Lower Rhine and Westphalia, Spanish troops besieged Schloss Broich in 1598, which finally surrendered and was occupied. A few days later, the Spaniards killed Count Wirich of Daun-Falkenstein, the main leader of the Protestants in the Lower Rhine area, at the stately Broich mill.

When the male line of the Counts of Daun-Falkenstein was extinguished in about 1682 with the death of Wilhelm Wirich, the fief passed to the Counts of Leiningen, who managed their Broich lordship through a bailiff.

The Beginning of Industrialization

The industrialization of Mülheim began in around 1780 with the expansion of the Ruhr River as a navigable waterway. While ship traffic had been possible since the 14th Century on the lower course of the river between Duisburg and Mülheim and in 1716 the first Rhine harbor had been built in Ruhrort, where the Ruhr River empties into the Rhine, the upper Ruhr River only became navigable in 1780 with the completion of the first lock above the center of Mülheim.

With this, the coal trade experienced a massive upturn. Barges could now be towed via towpaths from Hattingen to Duisburg harbor. With the Humboldt mine and the Sellerbeck colliery, there emerged around the same time the first coal mines with economical coal production in the vicinity of Mülheim.

The first factory in Mülheim was founded by Johann Caspar Troost in 1791, and was later upgraded by Troost'schen Textilfabrik's spinning mill in Luisental. In the heyday of the textile industry in the middle of the 19th century, this factory was the largest employer in Mülheim with more than 1200 employees.

In connection with the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine and the establishment of the Grand Duchy of Berg 1806, the lordships of Broich and Styrum were temporarily combined as the Amt Broich-Styrum, to which Mülheim also belonged. Only two years later, on 18 February 1808, Mülheim was declared by the French-inspired government of the Grand Duchy of Berg a municipality and became, according to the French model, the lowest governmental administrative unit. Administratively, the city was included in the newly created Rhine Department.

In 1811, the mechanic Johann Dinnendahl opened a mechanical workshop, and, in 1820, together with his brother, Franz Dinnendahl, he founded an iron smelter for the production of molded machine parts. Later, the Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte emerged from this.

Following the decisions of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Grand Duchy of Berg was incorporated into the Prussian state. Mülheim was, after 1816, included in the newly formed Kreis Essen, which in turn was in the Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf. On 27 September 1823, Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf was incorporated into Prussia's Rhine Province, and Kreis Essen was merged with Kreis Dinslaken to form the new Kreis Duisburg.

The economic upturn in 1837 enabled the commissioning of a horse-way from the port to the Sellerbeck mine in Dümpten, and 1839 saw the completion of a private equity road from Mülheim's port to Essen-Borbeck.

As a counterweight to the nobility, in 1842, the oldest Mülheim civil society, the casino company (i.e., Gesellschaft Casino e.V.) was founded, and still exists today. The society's building on the Delle included a ballroom, club rooms, and a wine cellar. Here, decision-makers in emerging industry and their families socialized.

Between 1842 and 1844, the first iron suspension bridge in Germany, the Kettenbrücke, was built at the Ruhr ford between Broich and Mülheim's city center. Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte was heavily involved in the construction of this bridge. The bridge had to be replaced by a concrete one in 1909, because increasing traffic was responsible for dangerous vibrations in the structure.

High Points of Industrialization

Between 1850 and 1890, Mülheim was transformed from a shipping hub to an industrial center. In 1849, Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte steel production with coking coal was recorded - the first time in the Ruhr area - and, in 1861, the first briquette-making facility in the Ruhr area was built at the Wiesche coal mine. Many of the small coal pits in the Mülheim region amalgamated in order to increase production through engineering improvements. In the early 1850s, there was support for five large pits, but soon coal production in Mülheim was no longer in need of expansion, and in the course of the northward migration of mining, neighboring cities began to overtake Mülheim with respect to company size and funding. The connection of the city to the Bergisch-Märkischen Railway Company's rail network in 1862 and the establishment of the Ruhr Valley Railway (1872-1876) led to a decline of Ruhr River shipping and, in 1890, drove the last of the Ruhr River cargo ships to be used as coal barges.

In this time of economic restructuring, August Thyssen acquired the Heckhoffshof in Mülheim-Styrum in 1871 and founded Thyssen & Co., which was to become the basis of one of the largest German coal and steel companies.

Triggered by the growth of industrialization in the Ruhr, administrative reforms occurred, some of which were necessarily performed in rapid succession. After the cities of Essen and Duisburg each became a Stadtkreis, in 1873, Mülheim was made the seat of a newly created Landkreis Mülheim an der Ruhr. This Landkreis was divided in 1887, the western part going to Landkreis Ruhrort. In 1904, only 17 years later, Mülheim was, in accordance with a new Rhenish provincial order, made into a Stadtkreis after its population exceeded 40,000 inhabitants.

Progress and steady growth were observed in the following years: 1897 - the first electric tram ran in Mülheim; 1899 - Infantry Regiment 159 began to use the new barracks on Kaiserstraße, helping Mülheim attain the status of a garrison town.

On the Way to a City

During the period from 1904 to 1928, Paul Lembke, as Mayor of Mülheim, formed the face of the city at that time according to his ideas. In the year he took office, the town grew sevenfold in terms of area with the incorporation of communities on the left bank of the Ruhr River, while the population jumped from 40,000 to over 93,000. Four years later - the 100-year anniversary of being made a town (Stadt) - Mülheim exceeded the 100,000-inhabitant mark and was classified as a big city (Großstadt). Lembke, at this time, did not pursue a strategy of population growth by incorporation at any price. So, he rejected the annexation of Alstaden and the northern part of Dümpten and of Styrum and left them to Oberhausen, because they were densely populated and dominated by mining. On the other hand, he called for the incorporation of Heißen, South Dümpten and especially of Menden and Raadt. This followed an objective that Lembke pursued, which now can be recognized - to create a "green Mülheim" - because these places were predominantly agricultural with dashes of old-established population.

During this period, Mülheim shook off her small-town character and was transformed into a modern city by significant improvements in the infrastructure and the economy, as well as significant cultural changes. These included the expansion of the school system, the establishment of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Coal Research (1912), the opening of the town hall (1926), the construction of three Ruhr River bridges, and the expansion of the shipping channel with port facilities (1927). Last, but not least, was the creation of generous recreational areas as a lasting gift to the Mülheim urban area.

In 1925, an airfield was built in a rural area between the cities of Mülheim and Essen, which was expanded in 1935 to become the central landing area of the entire Rhineland-Westphalian industrial area. It was at this time one of the major German airports, long before the airport at Düsseldorf, which was managed from there. For administrative, flight, and maintenance personnel in the late 1920s, a so-called flier settlement (the Richthofen settlement) was built in close proximity to the airport.

National Socialism

In the last free parliamentary elections on 6 November 1932, the Nazi Party received 28.3% of the vote in Mülheim and thus was the strongest party. In comparison, National Socialism in Germany, overall, received 33.1% of the vote. As in other cities of the Ruhr, the NSDAP was indeed the strongest party, but the Communist Party had 24.27% and the SPD had 13.53%, which means that these two parties of the left, together, had 37.81%, a larger share of the vote. Nevertheless, a lot of citizens in Mülheim were enthusiastic over the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor, and celebrated this with a torchlight procession.

Beginning in mid-February 1933, the first houses were searched, especially in the Dümpten neighborhood, for suspected Communists. At the end of February, 200 SS, SA, and Stahlhelm members officially became auxiliary policemen of the city, and they arrested many political opponents. In the first local elections after seizing power, the Nazi Party took 45.1% of votes. In the first council decision, Hitler and Hindenburg were awarded honorary citizenship of the city.

On 30 September 1938, the expropriation of the Jewish community in Mülheim began. With a council decision, the synagogue at Viktoriaplatz was forcibly sold for only 56,000 Reichsmarks to the Stadtsparkasse. A few weeks later during Kristallnacht on 10 November, the Jewish house of worship burned down. The fire department acted only to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring structures.

In June 1941, an `Arbeitserziehungslager` (labor education camp) was established at the Essen-Mülheim airport. It was administered by the Cologne Gestapo. The guards were 26 policemen from the Essen police department, and the work of setting up the camp was carried out by the airport company. By March 1945, an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people were in the camp, and 130 of the prisoners died.

During the years 1943 and 1944, the city was repeatedly the target of British air attacks. The most severe attack took place in the night of 22 to 23 June 1943. In three closely successive waves, 242 Lancaster, 155 Halifax, 93 Stirling, 55 Wellington, and 12 Mosquito bombers targeted the city. The main objectives were the downtown area, the railway lines, the tube stations, the facilities of Schmitz-Scholl (a manufacturer of Wehrmacht supplies), the Reichsbahn repair shop, and the harbor. The attack caused 530 deaths among the urban population and 1,630 buildings (64% of the city's buildings) were damaged or destroyed. Approximately 40,000 residents had to be evacuated afterward.

Another aerial attack, which actually was on the city of Oberhausen, came on the night of 1 and 2 November 1944. Bombs fell on the Dümpten neighborhood. There and in surrounding neighborhoods 33 inhabitants were killed. On 24 December 1944, the last serious attack occurred as a result of Germany's Ardennes offensive, which received air support from the Essen-Mülheim Airport. That airport was attacked by 338 British bombers. A total of 74 inhabitants of the city lost their lives, of which 50 were killed by a direct hit on the bunker on Windmühlenstraße.

The end of the war came to the city on 11 April 1945. To defend against the advancing troops, there were 200 soldiers of the 183rd People's Grenadier Regiment in the Mülheim area who were theoretically supported by approximately 3,000 members of the Volkssturm. In the morning, the first soldiers of the 17th U.S. Airborne Division advanced from Essen to the neighborhood of Hot in the city center. In the urban area, only along Kämpchenstraße was there any fighting. A short fight there between some Volkssturm fighters and the Americans resulted in the deaths of two Volkssturm man and three GIs. Mayor Hasenjäger handed the city over to the Americans at 9:40 am. A few months later, the US was superseded by Britain as the occupying power.

After the War

When the war ended, only 88,000 people lived in Mülheim, but by the end of 1945, the number had risen to 125,441, swelled by returning soldiers and refugees. Reconstruction began at first under the expectation of reparations related to the iron and steel industry, in particular. In 1950, the Mannesmann tube works were Western Europe's largest pipe producer again. The number of employees at the plant increased from 6,000 (1950) to over 10,500 (1961), and there was a similar increase for the total number of the employed, which grew from 49,000 to 82,000.

In 1964, the city's long and difficult structural change started. Due to a steel and coal crisis, the last the blast furnaces of the Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte ceased operation in that year. Mülheim thus became the first city in the Ruhr area with no steel production. Two years later (1966) coal production at the Rosenblumendelle stopped. This meant that Mülheim was the first mining-free Ruhr city. The restructuring process led in 1973 to the opening of the RheinRuhrZentrum on the site of the former Humboldt colliery. Since then, what was at one time Germany's largest indoor shopping center has been a symbol of Mülheim's return to its past tradition as a trading center. In 1974, the City-Center (now called the FORUM City Mülheim) was completed as an inner-city shopping center and Schloßstraße was remodeled as a pedestrian way.

A project to create a continuous rail link between the cities of the Western Ruhr took its first step in 1979 with the opening of the U-Stadtbahnstrecke railway line from Mülheim's main station to Essen.

The 1992 North Rhineland-Westphalia State Garden Show MüGa, held in Mülheim, resulted in significant transformations in Mülheim's portion of the Ruhr valley. Especially from the core area of the exhibition to the city center, unsightly brownfield sites were transformed into green spaces.

Mülheim's history as a garrison town ended in 1994, when the British Army of the Rhine left the Wrexham Barracks after having been there for 48 years. This second Mülheim barracks had been built in the late 1930s for the Wehrmacht, while the old barracks on Kaiserstraße were no longer used after 1945.

The year 1998 saw the opening of the Ruhr tunnel route for a rail link from Mülheim's main railway station in the direction of Broich and Duisburg.

Structural changes have repeatedly given impetus for improvement and new approaches in Mülheim in recent years. For instance, a 245,000 square meter industrial wasteland on Mellinghofer Straße has been the site of Siemens Technopark since 2000, and a start-up center at the Haus der Wirtschaft, which was opened in 2005, makes a central office an option for potential entrepreneurs.

Significant minority groups
Nationality Population (2014)
 Turkey 4,801
 Poland 1,286
 Italy 1,056
 Serbia 1,026
 China 772
 Croatia 615
 Bosnia & Herzegovina 585
 Iraq 506
 Russia 485
 Netherlands 453


Map of Mülheim's boroughs and districts
# Borough District Area [km²] Population Density [km²]
1 Altstadt I Rechtsruhr-Süd 3,20 19.741 6.169
2 Altstadt II Rechtsruhr-Süd 5,79 24.718 4.269
3 Styrum Rechtsruhr-Nord 4,44 15.605 3.515
4 Dümpten Rechtsruhr-Nord 5,51 19.031 3.454
5 Heißen Rechtsruhr-Süd 8,88 21.537 2.425
6 Menden-Holthausen Rechtsruhr-Süd 17,30 13.778 796
7 Saarn Linksruhr 26,92 23.878 887
8 Broich Linksruhr 8,78 13.941 1.588
9 Speldorf Linksruhr 10,46 18.183 1.738

International relations

Mülheim is twinned with:

Notable bands

Notable clubs

Notable companies

Notable institutes

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen".  
  2. ^ "Mülheim an der Ruhr official website – The new Mülheim".  
  3. ^ "Mülheim an der Ruhr official website – Eine kurze Geschichte zur Geologie und zur Geographie des Stadtgebietes".  
  4. ^ "Miasta Partnerskie Opola" (in Polish). Urzad Miasta Opola. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Theo Albrecht, Jr. & family". Forbes. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 

External links

  • Official website (English) (German) (French)

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