City (pop., 2002 est.: city, 591,889; metro. area, 5,823,685), North Rhine–Westphalia state, western Germany. Located on the Ruhr River, it is the site of an extensive ironworks and steelworks. It was originally the seat of a convent (founded 852), whose 15th-century cathedral still stands. Essen became a city in the 10th century and was locally sovereign until 1802, when it passed to Prussia. The development of ironworks, steelworks, and coal mines stimulated growth in the 19th century. The city was largely destroyed in World War II, when it was targeted by the Allies as a centre of the German war industry. It has since been rebuilt with large, modern buildings, including concert halls, an economic research institute, and an art institute.
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The town is near the border with the Netherlands. It has a train station; going north it is the last one in Belgium. The station before Essen is Wildert, another station in Essen. The next station is Roosendaal, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.