What You Need To Know
Essen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Its population of approximately 589,000 (as of 31 March 2016) makes it the ninth-largest city in Germany. It is the central city of the northern (Ruhr) part of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area and seat to several of the region’s authorities. Founded around 845, Essen remained a small town within the sphere of influence of an important ecclesiastical principality (Essen Abbey) until the onset of industrialization. The city then — especially through the Krupp family iron works — became one of Germany’s most important coal and steel centers. Essen, until the 1970s, attracted workers from all over the country; it was the 5th-largest city in Germany between 1929 and 1988, peaking at over 730,000 inhabitants in 1962. Following the region-wide decline of heavy industries in the last decades of the 20th century, the city has seen the development of a strong tertiary sector of the economy. Essen today is seat to 13 of the 100 largest German corporations, including two (by 2016, three) DAX corporations, placing the city second only to Munich and on-par with Frankfurt am Main in number of corporate headquarters. Although it is the (in total) most indebted city in Germany, Essen continues to pursue its redevelopment plans. Notable accomplishments in recent years include the title of European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr area in 2010 and the selection as the European Green Capital for 2017. In 1958, Essen was chosen to serve as the seat to a Roman Catholic diocese (often referred to as Ruhrbistum or diocese of the Ruhr). In early 2003, the universities of Essen and the nearby city of Duisburg (both established in 1972) were merged into the University of Duisburg-Essen with campuses in both cities and a university hospital in Essen.
Area: 210.3 km²
The Euro is the official currency of Germany and Essen.
Coat of arms
The coat of arms of the city of Essen is a heraldic peculiarity. Granted in 1886, it is a so-called Allianzwappen (arms of alliance) and consists of two separate shields under a single crown. Most other coats of arms of cities show a wall instead of a crown. The crown, however, does not refer to the city of Essen itself, but instead to the secularized ecclesiastical principality of Essen under the reign of the princess-abbesses. The dexter (heraldically right) escutcheon shows the double-headed Imperial Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, granted to the city in 1623. The sinister (heraldically left) escutcheon is one of the oldest emblems of Essen and shows a sword that people believed was used to behead the city’s patronSaints Cosmas and Damian. People tend to connect the sword in the left shield with one found in the Cathedral Treasury. This sword, however, is much more recent. A slightly modified and more heraldically correct version of the coat of arms can be found on the roof of the Handelshof hotel near the
Essen offers a highly diversified health care system with more than 1,350 resident doctors and almost 6,000 beds in 13 hospitals, including a university hospital. The university hospital dates back to 1909, when the city council established a municipal hospital; although it was largely destroyed during World War II, it was later rebuilt, and finally gained the title of a university hospital in 1963. It focuses on diseases of the circulatory system (West German Heart Centre Essen), oncology and transplantation medicine, with the department of bone marrow transplantation being the second-largest of its kind in the world.
Industry and infrastructure
Major companies based in Essen
The Westdeutscher Rundfunk has a studio in Essen, which is responsible for the central Ruhr area. Each day, it produces a 30-minute regional evening news magazine (called Lokalzeit Ruhr), a 5-minute afternoon news programme, and several radio news programmes. A local broadcasting station went on air in the late 1990s. The WAZ Media Group is one of the most important (print) media companies in Europe and publishes the Ruhr area’s two most important daily newspapers, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ; 580,000 copies) and Neue Ruhr/Rhein Zeitung (NRZ; 180,000 copies). In Essen, the WAZ Group also publishes the local Borbecker Nachrichten (at times Germany’s largest local newspaper) and Werdener Nachrichten, both of which had been independent weekly newspapers for parts of Essen. Additionally, Axel Springer run a printing facility for their boulevard-style daily paper Bild in Essen.
The administration of Essen had for a long time been in the hands of the princess-abbesses as heads of the Imperial Abbey of Essen. However, from the 14th century onwards, the city council increasingly grew in importance. In 1335, it started choosing two burgomasters, one of whom was placed in charge of the treasury. In 1377, Essen was granted imperial immediacy but had to abandon this privilege later on. Between the early 15th and 20th centuries, the political system of Essen underwent several changes, most importantly the introduction of the Protestant Reformation in 1563, the annexation of 1802 by Prussia, and the subsequent secularization of the principality in 1803. The territory was made part of the Prussian Province of Jülich-Cleves-Berg from 1815 to 1822, after which it became part of the Prussian Rhine Province until its dissolution in 1946. During the German Revolution of 1918–19, Essen was the home of the Essen Tendency (Essener Richtung) within the Communist Workers’ Party of Germany. In 1922 they founded the Communist Workers’ International. Essen became one of the centres of resistance to Social Democracy and the Freikorps alike. During the Nazi era (1933–1945), mayors were installed by the Nazi Party. After World War II, the military government of the British occupation zone installed a new mayor and a municipal constitution modeled on that of British cities. Later, the city council was again elected by the population. The mayor was elected by the council as its head and as the city’s main representative. The administration was led by a full-time Oberstadtdirektor. In 1999, the position of Oberstadtdirektor was abolished in North Rhine-Westphalia and the mayor became both main representative and administrative head. In addition, the population now elects the mayor directly.
The road network of Essen consists of over 3,200 streets, which in total have a length of roughly 1,600 km (994 mi). As with most communes in the Ruhr area, local transport is carried out by a local, publicly owned company for transport within the city, the DB Regio subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn for regional transport and Deutsche Bahn itself for long-distance journeys. The local carrier, Essener Verkehrs-AG (EVAG), is a member of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) association of public transport companies in the Ruhr area, which provides a uniform fare structure in the whole region. Within the VRR region, tickets are valid on lines of all members as well as DB’s railway lines (except the high-speed InterCity and Intercity-Express networks) and can be bought at ticket machines and service centres of EVAG, all other members of VRR, and DB.
Essen has a temperate–Oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. Its average annual temperature is 10 °C (50 °F): 13.3 °C (56 °F) during the day and 6.7 °C (44 °F) at night. The average annual precipitation is 934 mm (37 in). The coldest month of the year is January, when the average temperature is 2.4 °C (36 °F). The warmest months are July and August, with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). The record high is 36.6 °C (98 °F) and the record low is −24 °C (−11 °F).