[dawrt-muhnd; Ger. dawrt-moont]
Dortmund, city (1994 pop. 602,000), North Rhine-Westphalia, W Germany, a port on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. It is an industrial center in the Ruhr district. Its manufactures include steel, machinery, and beer, and it is a growing high-technology and research center. First mentioned c.885, Dortmund flourished from the 13th cent. as a member of the Hanseatic League but later (17th cent.) declined. From the mid-19th cent. the city grew as an industrial center. It was badly damaged during World War II but has been rebuilt; many historic sites have been restored. Outstanding buildings include the Reinold church (begun in the 13th cent.) and a large convention hall (Ger. Westfalenhalle), built from 1950 to 1952. The city has a university and a teachers college.
Dortmund (ˈdɔʁtmʊnt) is a city in Germany, located in the Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Ruhr area. Its population of 587,830 (20 June 2005) makes it the largest city in the region, 7th-largest in Germany, and 34th-largest in the European Union. The Ruhr river flows south of the city, and the small river Emscher flows through the municipal area. The Dortmund-Ems Canal also terminates in the Dortmund Port, which is the largest European canal port, and links Dortmund to the North Sea. Dortmund is known as Westphalia's "green metropolis". Nearly half the municipal territory consists of waterways, woodland, agriculture and green spaces with spacious parks such as Westfalenpark and the Rombergpark. This contrasts with nearly a hundred years of extensive coal mining and steel milling within the city limits.


The history of Dortmund goes back as far as 880 to 885, when the city was first mentioned in official documents as Throtmanni. It was a small village at that time. In 1152 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa came to the region and rebuilt the town, which had been destroyed in a fire shortly before. For two years Dortmund was the residence of Barbarossa — a short time, but afterwards it grew to become one of the most powerful towns of the empire. In the 13th century Dortmund joined the Hanseatic League. In 1220, it attained the status of an Imperial Free City, i.e. it was directly subordinated to the emperor. After 1320, the wealthy trading city started to appear in writing as "Dorpmunde". The etymology of the name is uncertain.

Dortmund was an Imperial Free City in the Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle until 1802, when it became an exclave of the Principality of Orange-Nassau. In 1806 it became part of the Grand Duchy of Berg. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars, Dortmund was included within the Prussian Province of Westphalia. The city was a district seat within Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg until 1875, after which it was an urban district within the region. During the industrialization of Prussia, Dortmund became a major centre for coal, steel, and beer.

During the rule of Nazi Germany, the Aplerbeck Hospital in Dortmund transferred mentally and/or physically disabled patients for euthanasia at the Hadamar mental hospital as part of the Action T4 (Aktion T4). In addition, 229 children were killed in the "Children's Specialist Department", which was transferred from Marburg in 1941.

Located in the heart of the Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet), Dortmund, along with neighbouring cities, was a target of allied bombing raids. During World War II about 80% of homes in Dortmund were destroyed.

Dortmund was the radioed code word to initiate Operation Barbarossa, the attempted Nazi conquest of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Today the city is a centre for hi-tech industry. It is also one of the greenest cities in Westphalia, with extensive parks and gardens laid out in the reconstruction period after the World War II. Additionally, the Dortmund chess tournament, one of the strongest in the world, is held there annually.

Main sights

Cultural history tones are set by the churches in the city centre whose towers characterise the skyline of Dortmund. The Reinoldikirche and the Marienkirche are gems of medieval architecture.

The city centre of Dortmund still retains the outline of the medieval city. A ring road marks the former city wall, and the Westen-/Ostenhellweg, part of a medieval salt trading route, is still the major street bisecting the city centre.

  • Reinoldikirche, built around 800 AD. The current edifice was built between 1250 and 1270. Restored since World War II, it has a 112 m Gothic tower once known as the "Wonder of Westphalia". The church was largely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1661.
  • Petrikirche , a Protestant church dating from the 14th century. It is famous for the huge carved altar (known as "Golden Miracle of Dortmund"), from 1521. It consists of 633 gilt carved oak figures depicting 30 scenes about Easter.
  • Marienkirche, a Protestant church originally built in 1170-1200 but rebuilt after World War II. The altar is from 1420.
  • Florianturm (TV Tower Dortmund): One of the first TV towers built in Germany has a revolving restaurant — one of the first in the world. It offered an opportunity to bungee jump from a height of nearly 140 m. This however was discontinued after a tragic accident which resulted in a fatality.
  • Signal Iduna Park: Soccer ground of Borussia Dortmund, formerly known as the Westfalenstadion. Close to it is the Westfalenhalle, a large convention center, the site of several major conventions, trade fairs, ice-skating competitions, concerts and other major events since the 1950s.
  • Westphalian Industrial Museum Zollern Colliery, an Anchor Point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage
  • Hansa Coking Plant
  • Haus Bodelschwingh (13th century), a moated castle
  • Haus Dellwig (13th century), a moated castle partly rebuilt in the 17th century. The façade and the steep tower, and two half-timbered buildings, are original.
  • Haus Rodenberg (13th century), a moated castle.
  • Altes Stadthaus was built in 1899 by Friedrich Kullrich
  • Wasserschloss Bodelschwingh.
  • Romberg Park Gatehouse (17th century), once a gatehouse to a moated castle. Now it houses an art gallery.
  • RWE Tower (120 meters skyscraper - the tallest in Dortmund)
  • Opera House, built in 1966 at the site of the old synagogue which had been destroyed by Nazis in 1938.


Dortmund is home of the sport club Borussia Dortmund which won the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup in 1997, as well as the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup against Liverpool in 1966. This made it the first European Cup Winner in Germany. They play at Signal Iduna Park, formerly known as the Westfalenstadion. It was built for the 1974 FIFA Football World Cup and also hosted some matches of 2006 FIFA World Cup, including Italy's 2-0 defeat of Germany in the semi-finals. It is Germany's largest football stadium with a capacity of 82,932 spectators. Borussia Dortmund also has a women's handball team playing in the first Bundesliga, while the table tennis team and the basketball team SVD 49 Dortmund play their respective second national divisions. Dortmund is the Olympiastützpunkt Northrhine-Westphalia. The Sparkassen Chess-Meeting has been hosted in Dortmund since 1982.


Dortmund Airport is a medium-sized, but quickly growing airport 13 km (8 miles) east of the city centre at the city limit to Holzwickede.

The central train station (Dortmund Hauptbahnhof) is the third largest long distance traffic junction in Germany. Dortmund Harbour (Hafen) is the largest canal harbour in Europe; almost as large as the harbour on the Rhine River at Duisburg, the world's largest inland port. Dortmund also serves as a major European and German crossroads for the Autobahnsystem. The Ruhrschnellweg follows old Hanseatic trade routes to connect the city with the other metropolises of the Ruhr Area. Connections to the more distant parts of Germany are maintained by the A 1 and the A 2 which pass closely to the north and east of the city and cross each other at the Kamener Kreuz interchange northeast of Dortmund. For public transportation, the city has an extensive Stadtbahn, streetcar and bus system. In April 2008, the new erected underground light rail line in the city centre was opened, replacing the last Trams on the surface.

The H-Bahn at Dortmund University is a hanging monorail built specifically to shuttle passengers across the university's two campuses, which are now also flanked by research laboratories and other high-tech corporations and startups. A nearly identical monorail system transfers passengers at Düsseldorf Airport.


The politics of Dortmund are dominated by the social-democratic SPD. Since World War II, the SPD is the biggest party in the town council (German: Stadtrat). Since the 2004 local election, there are 9 parties and electors' groups in the town council (88 seats; 1999: 82 seats):

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 92,509 41.3% (-0.3) 36 (+2) 40.9%
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 73,282 32.7% (-9.0) 29 (-5) 33.0%
Alliance '90/The Greens (Grüne) 25,635 11.5% (+2.6) 10 (+2) 11.4%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 8,591 3.8% (+2.0) 3 (+2) 3.4%
German People's Union (DVU) 6,880 3.1% (+1.1) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Citizens' List (Bürgerliste) 6,874 3.1% (+0.5) 3 (+1) 3.4%
Party of Democratic Socialism-Open List (PDS-OL) 6,346 2.8% (+2.8) 2 (+2) 2.3%
Left Alliance Dortmund (Linkes Bündnis Dortmund) 1,751 0.8% (-0.2) 1 (=) 1.1%
Law and Order Offensive Party (Offensive D) 1,669 0.7% (+0.7) 1 (+1) 1.1%
Town-Greens (Stadtgrüne) 265 0.1% (+0.1) 0 (=) 0.0%
Totals 223,802 100.0% 88 (+6) 100.0%

The lord mayor of Dortmund is Gerhard Langemeyer (SPD). He leads a coalition made up by SPD and Grüne.

Sister cities

Notable residents

See also


External links

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