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Home Page > Travelogues > Germany > Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine and Westphalia)

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Click on the colored areas of the map to access a travelogue.  The colors indicate different regions of Nordrhein-Westfalen -- scroll down for explanation and introduction for each location. (Original map comes from the CIA World Factbook, inset map comes from

IntroductionNordrhein-Westfalen is the heart of the German industrial base, Germany centered around the growing metropolis along the Ruhr Valley connecting a half-dozen major cities from Düsseldorf to Dortmund.  As the name might suggest, the state is the combination of former states (or kingdoms) of North Rhine and Westphalia. I've been to the North Rhein part a number of times but yet to get to Westphalia.  Also, my visits have been mostly to visit one location -- Cologne and its world reknowned massive Cathedral Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)and climbed the 560 or so steps to the very top.  Then, for a while, Cologne became one of my primary destinations to take visiting family and friends.  As of late July, I've climbed the Cathedral fo ur times, and my knees remind me of that fact for days afterwards.  Cologne would be the second travelogue I would post on this site when I launched it back in May of 2001 (after my original page on Heidelberg, in fact).

Th other two locations posted are all repeat-visit spots.  I've done Aachen twice and Bonn twice, although my first visit to Bonn in 1997 to correct a visa problem really doesn't count.  I also featured this region extensively in my feature series on Christmas Markets, where I had the chance to visit Düsseldorf (but not long enough to give it a proper story).

My "list" of desired places to visit in the province are many.  For a long time, I've wanted to get up to the Roman city of Xanten about an hour north of Cologne.  Like Trier in Rheinland-Pfalz, Xanten has a number of ancient ruins in an archaeological park.  I also want to get back to Düsseldorf and explore it more thoroughly.  In Westphalia, my number one target is Münster with its completely-renovated medieval downtown, but Paderborn and the Teutonic forest have been highly recommended to me.


GREEN:  The North Rhine.  There are a number of major tourist locations among the cities on the Rhein River.  Three travelogues are offered here.  First and foremost is Cologne (pictured here) with its world-famous blackened Dom looming massively over the Rhein River.  Cologne is also a city of huge market squares, multiple museums, and massive parks and botanical gardens.  It is sandwiched by two other major cities, the cosmopolitan city of Düsseldorf to the north, and the university city of Bonn to the south, that was once the Cold War of the former West Germany. RED:  AACHEN and the Huertgen Forest.  This famous city was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire since Charlesmagne's coronation in 800.  Modern-day Aachen celebrates this heritage through its famous Cathedral (model of which is pictured here) and the adjacent Schatzkammer (Treasury) containing the original jewels and riches.  Aachen was also the first major German city captured by the Allies in World War II, but the Allies would suffer many a setback in the nearby Huertgen Forest -- a beautiful region in western Germany that attracts tourists and history buffs alike (coming soon).

LinksThe below links connect you to external sites in a new window.  All links are official sites sanctioned by the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.  These links will open to the German-language home page, which will offer an icon or link to an English-language section (normally limited content).  Most of these pages use a British or US flag icon as the link to English content, while others will use the word "English".  Otherwise, look for "tourismus" which should link you to English-language content.  Links updated 15 January 2006.

Country Links:

bullet US Embassy to Germany
bullet US Consular Sheet for Germany 
bullet Germany Embassy to US 


State Links:


Nordrhein-Westfalen Tourism Page 


City and Town Links:


Aachen Tourism Page


Bonn Home Page 


Cologne Home Page


Düsseldorf Home Page

FOTW Flags Of The World website