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Ruhr valley

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Title: Ruhr valley  
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Ruhr valley

Not to be confused with the river Rur in western North Rhine-Westphalia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Origin Sauerland

51°27′3″N 6°43′22″E / 51.45083°N 6.72278°E / 51.45083; 6.72278Coordinates: 51°27′3″N 6°43′22″E / 51.45083°N 6.72278°E / 51.45083; 6.72278

Basin countries Germany
Length 217 km
Source elevation 674 m
Avg. discharge 79 m³/s
Basin area 4,485 km²

The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), a right tributary (east-side) of the Rhine.


The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet (670 m). It flows into the lower Rhine river at an elevation of only 56 feet (17 m) in the municipal area of Duisburg. Its total length is 218 km (135 mi), its average discharge is 79 m³/s (cubic metres per second) at Mülheim near its mouth. Thus, its discharge is, for example, comparable to that of the Ems river in Northern Germany or the Thames river in the United Kingdom.


The Ruhr first passes the towns of Meschede, Arnsberg, Wickede, Fröndenberg, Holzwickede, Iserlohn and Schwerte.

Then the river marks the southern limit of the Ruhr area, passing Hagen, Dortmund, Herdecke, Wetter, Witten, Bochum, Hattingen, Essen, Mülheim and Duisburg.

The Ruhr Area was Germany's main industrial zone during the early 1900s. Most factories were located there. Occupation of the Ruhr in the 1920s by French forces caused passive resistance, which saw production in the factories grind to a halt. As a result, the hyperinflation crisis grew even worse.


There are five Ruhr reservoirs on the river, often used for leisure activities.

  • Hengsteysee between Dortmund and Hagen, surface area: 1.36 km² height of the weir 4.5m
  • Harkortsee between Hagen Herdecke and Wetter; surface area: 1.37 km², height of the weir 7.8m
  • Kemnader See between Witten and Bochum; surface area: 1.25 km², height of the weir 2m
  • Baldeneysee in Essen-Werden; surface area: 2.64 km², height of the weir 8.5m
  • Kettwiger See in Essen-Kettwig; surface area: 0.55 km², height of the weir 6m

The adjacent industrial region adopted its name from this river..

The Ruhr is used for the preparation of drinking water and is of good quality, a fact that contains a certain linguistic irony, since the word "Ruhr" means dysentery in the German language. Its riversides are largely characterized by open spaces and parkland, which are used as recreation areas.This is mainly used for water transport and generation of hydroelectricity

See also

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