The Ruhrarea is threatened by extinction

A lot of residents have migrated as a result of several decades of industry fitting. The situation of the cities in the Ruhrarea and ambiance is going to be more and more dramatic. Recently, reports about the dramatic financial situation of the communes provoke panic, now the statistic prediction about the demographic development till 2020 indicates that there will be a considerable decline of human population.

The cities that had evolved around the Ruhrarea are worst concerned: Hagen are going to have 16.3% less population, Wuppertal 14.3%, Gelsenkirchen 13.2%, Krefeld 11.4%, Essen 10.8% and Duisburg 10.2%. In the whole area it will be 6% and countrywide 0.6% less population.

What is the reaction from policy? They discuss about immigration law, conversion of social system and a flexible working time politic. Always wander from the subject. The contemporary condition of the city in the Ruhrarea shows that a past industrial community is not viable and is in a die-back process. First the productive industry will be destroyed and then the infrastructure will be disappearing. The condition of the streets declined, because no money is provided, the local passenger traffic is going to reduce more and more and the German train company (Deutsche Bahn) ties routes down. The social infrastructure get more less- libraries, swimming halls, sport halls, youth centers and other important social facilities are closed. Many companies begin to retire. One demonstrative attribute is the closing of the post office, then the big banks began to cancel their agencies and finally the bus has no stop station there. It is a progressing process and can be observed since several years. In summary in the politician’s opinion why this happens, this is due to less reduction in the social area, too short working time, too high working wages and too long study period and bad image of the city. Everything is a mistake, but not the failed economic policy.


The first big wave of destruction productive workplaces and infrastructure with ensuing emigration took place during the mining and steel crisis in the 1960s and 1970s. A lot of young people were leaving the area that time to get a job somewhere else. Thereof the Ruhrarea never get recovered.

One look at the facts of employees in the district efficiency shows the coverage of deindustrialization and the real reason for the slowly city dying in 1980 till 2001. In 1980 3.05 million people are employed, in 1992 2.85 million and nine years later 2.18 million. The dying of the industry is getting faster dramatically. A lot of profitable companies drifted away in the east, because of lower working wages, which is one of the reasons why the Ruhrarea is dying.

There is a big need of politics to think about solutions. Maybe it can be a renaissance of the Ruhrarea and new technologies, but first the politicians must have to face the truth. You can hear a lot of highbrow speeches, but all of them avoid the extinction of the Ruhrarea. The sufferers are the domestic people, who can´t do anything to stop the process.

Written by Deirdre Schmidt, Kristin Reinhard, Florian Rützel, Marius Zentgraf



4 thoughts on “The Ruhrarea is threatened by extinction

  1. As the economy’s reliance shifts from industry to services, regions like the Ruhrarea slowly die out if they’re not transformed. Certainly a set of reforms is essential to change the conditions, the question is: which direction should it take? Should these areas be somehow incorporated into balanced agriculture or is it impossible with post-industrial pollution? Should they enter the sector of services or is there not enough population to generate demand? Politicians will surely have to take a closer look at these problems. There’s no way of avoiding them forever, especially when they concern such a big region.

  2. The Ruhrarea was characterized since the development of the coal revier mainly from industry, especially from the mining sector, which has been the most important sector in this area of Germany for many years. But as mentioned in the article there is a decrease of employed people in this sector, because there is a structural change in the Ruhrarea since several years. People are leaving and moving to other areas, population decreases.
    In 2018 the coal subsidy will be stopped. Consequently it is necessary to create new jobs for the people who will lose their jobs in the mining sector, which is a really big part in the Ruhrarea.
    But the Ruhrarea has a good chance to create new jobs in the service sector, because it is becoming the center of the German health care industry. There are already more than 300.000 employees working in the health industry in the Ruhrarea. This means that health industry is now the largest employer in the region and is already among the most dynamic industries in this part of Germany and it will be the most important industry in the future. This can be explained with the demographical change. The population in Germany becomes older and older.
    Health care industry is already an important industry for the Ruhrarea and will be even more important in the future. Lots of new jobs will be created which hopefully attracts people to stay in the Ruhrarea.

  3. Ruhr area has been one of the historically most important areas for Germany and for Europe as well, considering the quantity of goods produced precisely in this area. So it is quite peculiar to watch the government representatives of one of the world’s economically strongest countries continuosly neglecting this part of the country. They should issue a set of reforms to restrain the companies from moving their productions to eastern countries where labour costs are incomparably lower, if the country wants to remain economically strong and irrespective.

  4. As demand for coal decreased after 1958, the area went through phases of structural crisis and industrial diversification, first developing traditional heavy industry, then moving into service industries and high technology. But this sector is also declining at the moment. Other parts in Germany are more attractive.
    Another point was the air and water pollution of the area. It takes a long time to solve the problem and cost money.


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