Company towns in the Ruhr Valley
Company towns in the Ruhr Valley

The home of miners and their families

The company towns in the Ruhr Valley are the unmistakeable face of the industrial heyday and captivate interest in their role as witnesses to another era. They tell the individual stories of the lives of the miners’ families and their descendants, some of whom are still living in the popular neighbourhoods to this day. The workers' towns were built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries by the coal mines and industrial companies as “colonies” for their workers and other staff.

Highlights of the company towns

The showpieces include the Margarethenhöhe in Essen and Siedlung Eisenheim workers' town in Oberhausen. The architects built them all from one mould, in the style of the English garden city. Here you can visit the model homes and learn interesting facts about the living conditions then and now. There are also smaller and less well-known company towns awaiting you in the Ruhr Valley, inviting you to take a stroll through their streets.

An eye for detail

The façades of the houses in the company towns are often designed in the same way, yet each building stands out from the other with its playful details. Other workers' towns make an impression through their diversity; there are 21 different types of houses in the company town of Teutoburgia in Herne, for example. Carefully and lovingly restored, many company towns, which often have listed status, have managed to preserve their distinctive identity. They are as lively as ever. Whether young or old, those who live there are proud of their towns and are happy to tell tales from days gone by.

The nicest workers' towns

Das Bild zeigt Häuser der Arbeitersiedlung Margarethenhöhe in Essen

Margarethenhöhe Garden City

The Siedlung Margarethenhöhe in Essen is a jewel among the workers' towns. It was funded by Margarethe Krupp, who commissioned the creation of the company town to celebrate her daughter’s wedding. Margarethenhöhe was built in the style of a garden city and was the first of its kind in Germany. It has retained its green and idyllic charm to this day. You will also find a model home there, which gives you an insight into the housing design of the period.

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[Translate to English:] Das Bild zeigt eine Frau, die eine Hand die Klinke einer Tür legt.

Siedlung Eisenheim

The Siedlung Eisenheim in Oberhausen is already more than 150 years old and is therefore the oldest company town in the Ruhr Valley. Its name gives a clue as to why it was established - it was built for the workers of the Gutehoffnungshütte mining company and their families. Thanks to the spirited intervention of its residents, parts of it were saved from being demolished. 39 houses are still standing to this day. A museum shows you life in the company town.

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[Translate to English:] Das Bild zeigt eine Straße mit Fachwerkhäusern in der Siedlung Dahlhauser Heide in Bochum

Dahlhauser Heath workers' town

This workers' town, also known as the “cabbage colony”, was established by the Krupp AG in the north of Bochum. It was built in the “domestic revival” style and has a particularly village-like feel. Timber framing, winding streets and lots of greenery - the workers' town offered and continues to offer its inhabitants an idyllic atmosphere.

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Das Bild zeigt Häuser der Alten Kolonie Eving in Dortmund

Old housing colony Eving

In this company town in the north of Dortmund, you will find numerous differently designed houses, surrounded by gardens and located on tree-lined streets. Eight characteristically different and, in some cases, unusual house types were chosen for the original town. The neighbourhood was very popular among miners and their families. Relatively cheap rent and well-furnished houses made them coveted rental properties.

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Das Bild zeigt die Zechensiedlung Teutoburgia in Herne

Teutoburgia Mining Town

21 different types of houses can be found in this mining town in Herne. Nevertheless, you will still get a harmonious and particularly green overall picture. Next to the garden-city style workers' town, you will find a "KunstWald" (art forest) with various sculptures.

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Even more workers' towns worth visiting