For other uses, see Bochum (disambiguation).

Bochum in mid-August 2010


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 51°28′55″N 07°12′57″E / 51.48194°N 7.21583°E / 51.48194; 7.21583Coordinates: 51°28′55″N 07°12′57″E / 51.48194°N 7.21583°E / 51.48194; 7.21583
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Arnsberg
District Urban districts of Germany
  Mayor Thomas Eiskirch (SPD)
  Total 145.4 km2 (56.1 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 364,742
  Density 2,500/km2 (6,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 44701-44894
Dialling codes 0234, 02327
Vehicle registration BO, WAT

Bochum (German pronunciation: [ˈboːxʊm]; Westphalian: Baukem) is a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and part of the Arnsberg region. It is located in the Ruhr area and is surrounded by the cities (in clockwise direction) of Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten, Hattingen, Essen and Gelsenkirchen. With a population of nearly 365,000, it is the 16th most populous city in Germany.


Geographical position

The city lies on the low rolling hills of Bochum land ridge (Bochumer Landrücken), part of the Ruhrhöhen (highest elevations) between the Ruhr and Emscher rivers at the border of the southern and northern Ruhr coal region. The highest point of the city is at Kemnader Straße (Kemnader Street) in Stiepel at 196 metres above sea level; the lowest point is 43 metres at the Blumenkamp in Hordel.

The terrain of Bochum is characterised by rolling hills that rarely have more than three per cent graduation. Steeper graduation can be found at the Harpener Hellweg near the Berghofer Holz nature reserve (3.4%), at Westenfelder Straße (Westenfelder Street) in the borough of Wattenscheid (3.47%), or at Kemnader Straße, which begins at the banks of the Ruhr in Stiepel (71 metres a.s.l.), and rises to its highest point in the centre of Stiepel (196 metres a.s.l., a 5.1% increase).

The city extends north to south 13 km and 17.1 km east to west. The circumference of the city limits is 67.2 km.


There is sedimentary rock of carbon and chalk. The geological strata can be visited in the former quarry of the Zeche Klosterbusch (Klosterbusch mine) and at the Geologischer Garten Bochum (Bochum Geological Gardens).


The urban area is divided into the river Ruhr catchment in the south and the Emscher catchment in the north. The Ruhr tributaries are the Oelbach (where as well a waste water treatment plant is established[2]), Gerther Mühlenbach, Harpener Bach, Langendreer Bach, Lottenbach, Hörsterholzer Bach and the Knöselbach. The Ruhr in combination with upstream reservoirs is also used for drinking water abstraction. The Emscher tributaries are Hüller Bach with Dorneburger Mühlenbach, Hofsteder Bach, Marbach, Ahbach, Kabeisemannsbach and Goldhammer Bach. The industrial developments in the region since the 19th century were leading to a kind of division of labour between the 2 river catchments, pumping drinking water from the Ruhr into the municipal supply system and discharging waste water mainly into the Emscher system. Today approximately 10% of the waste water in the Emscher catchment is discharged via the Hüller Bach.[3] and treated in the centralized waste water treatment plant of the Emschergenossenschaft in Bottrop. The ecological restoration of the Emscher tributaries initiated by the Emschergenossenschaft started with the Internationale Bauausstellung Emscher Park in 1989.


The city's south has woods, the best known of which are the Weitmarer Holz. These are generally mixed forests of oak and beech. The occurrence of holly gives evidence of Bochum's temperate climate.


Sections and Districts in Bochum

Bochum is divided into six administrative districts with a total of 362,213 inhabitants living in an urban area of 145.4 km2.


View of Bochum in 1840.
Stamp cancelled at BOCHUM 1 in 1889. Bochum post-office was in the Westphalia province of Prussia before 1868
Largest groups of foreign residents[4]
Nationality Population (2014)
 Turkey 9,147
 Poland 3,409
 Italy 1,763
 Greece 1,246
 Romania 1,198
 Syria 1,101
 Russia 962
 China 921
 Ukraine 887
 Bosnia & Herzegovina 802

Bochum dates from the 9th century, when Charlemagne set up a royal court at the junction of two important trade routes. It was first officially mentioned in 1041 as Cofbuokheim in a document of the archbishops of Cologne. In 1321, Count Engelbert II von der Marck granted Bochum a town charter, but the town remained insignificant until the 19th century, when the coal mining and steel industries emerged in the Ruhr area, leading to the growth of the entire region. The population of Bochum increased from about 4,500 in 1850 to 100,000 in 1904. Bochum acquired city status, incorporating neighbouring towns and villages. Additional population gains came from immigration, primarily from Poland.

After the war, the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia was established, consisting of the Rhineland and Westphalia. Bochum is located in that state.

In the postwar period, Bochum began developing as a cultural centre of the Ruhr area. In 1965, the Ruhr University was opened, the first modern university in the Ruhr area and the first to be founded in Germany since World War II. Since the seventies, Bochum's industry has moved from heavy industry to the service sector. Between 1960 and 1980, the coal mines all closed. Other industries, such as automotive, compensated for the loss of jobs. The Opel Astra is assembled at the Opel Bochum plant; however, by 2009, the factory was in serious financial difficulties[5] and in December 2012, Opel announced that Opel will stop vehicle production Bochum plant in 2016.[6]

In the course of a comprehensive community reform in 1975, Wattenscheid, a formerly independent city, was integrated into the city of Bochum. A local referendum against the integration failed. In 2007, the new synagogue of the Jewish community of Bochum, Herne und Hattingen was opened. In 2008, Nokia closed down its production plant, causing the loss of thousands of jobs, both at the plant and at local suppliers. 20,000 people showed up to protest against the closing.[7][8] Within months, the Canadian high-tech company, Research in Motion, announced plans to open a research facility, its first outside Canada, adding several hundred jobs.[9][10][11]

The Nazi era and World War II

Bombed out St. Marien Church, 1943

On 9 November 1938, Kristallnacht, the Jewish citizens of Bochum were attacked. The synagogue was set on fire and there was rioting against Jewish citizens. The first Jews from Bochum were deported to Nazi concentration camps and many Jewish institutions and homes were destroyed. Some 500 Jewish citizens are known by name to have been killed in the Holocaust, including 19 who were younger than 16 years old. Joseph Klirsfeld was Bochum's rabbi at this time. He and his wife fled to Palestine. In December 1938, the Jewish elementary school teacher Else Hirsch began organising groups of children and adolescents to be sent to the Netherlands and England, sending ten groups in all. Many Jewish children and those from other persecuted groups were taken in by Dutch families and thereby saved from abduction or deportation and death.[12]

Because the Ruhr region was an area of high residential density and a centre for the manufacture of weapons, it was a major target in the war. Women with young children, school children and the homeless fled or were evacuated to safer areas, leaving cities largely deserted to the arms industry, coal mines and steel plants and those unable to leave.

Bochum was first bombed heavily in May and June 1943.[13] On 13 May 1943, the city hall was hit, destroying the top floor, and leaving the next two floors in flames. On 4 November 1944, in an attack involving 700 British bombers, the steel plant, Bochumer Verein, was hit. One of the largest steel plants in Germany,[14] more than 10,000 high-explosive and 130,000 incendiary bombs were stored there, setting off a conflagration that destroyed the surrounding neighbourhoods.[15][16] An aerial photo shows the devastation.[17]

The town centre of Bochum was a strategic target during the Oil Campaign. In 150 air raids on Bochum, over 1,300 bombs were dropped on Bochum and Gelsenkirchen. By the end of the war, 38% of Bochum had been destroyed. 70,000 citizens were homeless and at least 4,095 dead.[16][18] Of Bochum's more than 90,000 homes, only 25,000 remained for the 170,000 citizens who survived the war, many by fleeing to other areas. Most of the remaining buildings were damaged, many with only one usable room. Only 1,000 houses in Bochum remained undamaged after the war. Only two of 122 schools remained unscathed; others were totally destroyed. Hunger was rampant. A resident of neighbouring Essen was quoted on 23 April 1945 as saying, "Today, I used up my last potato... it will be a difficult time till the new [autumn] potatoes are ready to be picked – if they're not stolen."[19][20]

The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Bochum in April 1945. Encountering desultory resistance, the US 79th Infantry Division captured the city on 10 April 1945.[21]

After the war, Bochum was occupied by the British, who established two camps to house people displaced by the war. The majority of them were former Polish Zwangsarbeiter, forced labourers, many of them from the Bochumer Verein.[22]

More than sixty years after the war, bombs continue to be found in the region, usually by construction workers. One found in October 2008 in Bochum town centre led to the evacuation of 400 and involved hundreds of emergency workers.[23] A month earlier, a buried bomb exploded in neighbouring Hattingen, injuring 17 people.[24]

Places of interest


City Hall
Altes Brauhaus

Religious architecture

Church founded by Charlemagne
Stamp from 2008 commemorating 1000th anniversary of Stiepel village church

Parks and Gardens

Chinese garden at the Ruhr University Botanical Gardens

Bochum has a municipal zoo, a large municipal park and a number of other gardens and parks. The Ruhr University Botanical Gardens has thousands of plants from all over the world.[36] Among others there is a tropical garden, a cactus garden, and a Chinese garden designed in the southern Chinese style, the only one of its kind in Germany.

The Geological Garden was the first of its kind in Germany. The nearly 4-acre (16,000 m2) park is the site of an old coal mine, the Zeche Friederika, which operated from 1750 to 1907. In 1962, the property came under environmental protection and a decade later was turned into a geological garden.[37]

Other scenic areas include the West Park, Lake Kemnade, Lake Ümmingen and the municipal forest, Weitmarer Holz.[38]

Society and culture

Leisure and entertainment

Bochum is a cultural centre of the Ruhr region. There is a municipal theatre, the Schauspielhaus Bochum, and about 20 smaller theatres and stages. The musical Starlight Express, which opened in 1988, is the longest-running musical in Germany.[39]


The Bermudadreieck (Bermuda Triangle), in the city center of Bochum, functions as the town's nightlife hub. Around sixty different bars and restaurants are located there, serving multicultural cuisine such as Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Spanish and German gastronomic specialties. Close to the Bermudadreieck opened in 2016 the new venue for classical music the Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr.

Annual events

Rubissimo, Ruhr University's summer festival
Kemnade International
Extraschicht - Night of Industrial Heritage (many locations all over the Ruhr area)


Art galleries

Public art

"Terminal" by sculptor Richard Serra
Stolperstein for Else Hirsch on pavement in Bochum


Located companies

The German headquarters of the United Cinemas International Multiplex GmbH has its seat in Bochum
Logo of the Deutsche Annington
GEA main administration
GLS Bank, main administration



Bochum is connected to the Autobahn network by the A 40, A 43 and A 44 autobahns. In addition, Bochum has a ring road, built to expressway standards, consisting of four segments; the Donezk, Oviedo, Nordhausen and Sheffield-Ring roads. It serves as a three-quarter loop around central Bochum and begins and ends at Autobahn A40. Ruhr University Bochum is also served by an expressway running from the Nordhausen-Ring to Autobahn A43. Until 2012, a new interchange (Dreieck Bochum-West) between the Donezk-Ring and Autobahn A40 is being constructed within tight parameters due to the existence of a nearby factory.

Apart from the autobahns and expressways, there is also a small ring road around the centre of Bochum, where most roads radiating out of Bochum begin. Most main roads in Bochum are multi-lane roads with traffic lights. Bochum is also served by the Bundesstraße 51 and Bundesstraße 226. B51 runs to Herne and Hattingen, and B226 runs to Gelsenkirchen and Witten.


Bochum has a central station situated on the line from Duisburg to Dortmund, connecting the city to the long-distance network of Deutsche Bahn as well as to the Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn network.

Bus, Tram, Underground

Local service is supplied mainly by BOGESTRA, a joint venture handling transportation between the cities of Bochum and Gelsenkirchen. The Bochum Stadtbahn is a single underground line connecting the University of Bochum to Herne, and the Bochum/Gelsenkirchen tramway network is made up of several lines, partially underground, connecting to Gelsenkirchen, Hattingen and Witten. Public transport in the city is priced according to the fare system of the VRR transport association.


As one of the few Ruhr area cities, Bochum is not directly connected with the German waterway net; the closest link is in the more northern located Herne at the Rhine-Herne Canal. In the south the border of Bochum is marked by the Ruhr. Up to the first half of the 19th century it was one of the most-travelled rivers in Europe and was mainly used for coal departure. Despite of tour ships, the navigation time ended long ago.


The closest airports are Essen/Mülheim Airport (27 km), Dortmund Airport (31 km) and Düsseldorf International Airport (47 km). To reach the airport in Düsseldorf, there are ICE, InterCity, RE and S railway lines. Other reachable airports are the Cologne Bonn Airport, the Weeze Airport, the Münster Osnabrück International Airport and the Paderborn Lippstadt Airport.


Higher education

Elementary and secondary schools

There are 61 primary schools, 9 Hauptschulen ("general schools") and 14 special schools.

In addition, there are 11 preparatory (British: grammar) schools ("Gymnasien"), 5 comprehensive schools ("Gesamtschulen"), 8 Realschulen and 2 private Waldorf schools.

"Gymnasien" – preparatory schools (British: grammar school):

"Gesamtschulen" – comprehensive schools:

Realschulen – high schools:

Waldorf schools:

Twin towns (sister cities)

Bochum's twin towns are:

Notable residents


Else Hirsch Stolperstein in Bochum


Andrei Ostermann 1740-1741

Overview of those who lived and worked in Bochum, but, were not born there

See also


  1. "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen". Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW (in German). 18 July 2016.
  2. "Ruhrverband: Bochum-Ölbachtal".
  3. emscher:dialog in Bochum, planning process document, published by Emschergenossenschaft, April 16th 2002
  4. "Ausländer und Staatenlose 2010 bis 2014 in Bochum". Stadt Bochum. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  5. Nelson D. Schwartz. "Europe Feels the Strain of Protecting Workers and Plants" New York Times 25 May 2009. Accessed 1 March 2010
  6. "Opel sees no alternative to closing Bochum". Reuters. 10 December 2012.
  7. "Nokia to close Bochum, Germany plant", 15 January 2008. Accessed 1 March 2010
  8. "Anger at Nokia swells in Germany; top politicians join fray over plant closure" Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. 21 January 2008. Accessed 1 March 2010
  9. Press release Germany Trade & Invest, 23 April 2008. Accessed 1 March 2010
  10. "Blackberry maker RIM to set up R&D site in Bochum, add 300 jobs - report" Forbes Magazine, 14 April 2008. Accessed 1 March 2010
  11. "Blackberry Bold 9700 launch" Government of Canada official website. 17 November 2009. Accessed 1 March 2010
  12. Karin Finkbohner, Betti Helbing, Carola Horn, Anita Krämer, Astrid Schmidt-Ritter, Kathy Vowe. Wider das Vergessen — Widerstand und Verfolgung Bochumer Frauen und Zwangsarbeiterinnen 1933–1945 pp. 62-63. Europäischer Universitätsverlag, ISBN 978-3-932329-62-3 (German)
  13. "The Final Operation – Bochum" 57 Squadron. Accessed 8 March 2010
  14. "Geschichte: Gottesfurcht Vaterland" Christuskirche Bochum. Retrieved 23 January 2011 (German)
  15. Chronology Official web site, Bochumer Verein. Accessed 7 March 2010
  16. 1 2 70 000 Obdachlose in Bochums Zentrum History of Bochum, World War II. "70,000 homeless in downtown Bochum" (4 November 1944) Accessed 7 March 2010 (German)
  17. Aerial photo of Bochum, showing bombed steel plant Australian War Memorial. Accessed 30 April 2015
  18. "Zahl der Kriegs- und NS-Opfer nicht mehr feststellbar" History of Bochum, World War II. (1 July 1945) "Number of war and Nazi victims no longer ascertainable" Accessed 8 March 2010 (German)
  19. "Menschen kehren zurück in zerstörte Städte" History of Bochum, World War II. "People return to destroyed cities" (May 5, 1945) Accessed 8 March 2010 (German)
  20. History of Bochum, World War II. "Main offensive on Bochum." Accessed 7 March 2010 (German)
  21. Stanton, Shelby, World War II Order of Battle: An Encyclopedic Reference to U.S. Army Ground Forces from Battalion through Division, 1939-1946 (Revised Edition, 2006), Stackpole Books, p. 148.
  22. Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel. Der Ort des Terrors: Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Band 3 (Site of Terror: The History of Nazi Concentration Camps, Volume 3) p. 395 (2006) ISBN 978-3-406-52963-4 (German)
  23. "10-Zentner Bombe gefunden" History of Bochum, World War II. "1000 pound bomb found." Accessed March 8, 2010 (German)
  24. "WWII bomb injures 17 at Hattingen construction site" The Local, German news in English. 19 September 2008. Accessed March 8, 2010
  25. City Hall "Historischer Rundgang Bochum - Rathaus". Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  26. Altes Brauhaus Rietkötter Official website. Accessed 4 March 2010
  27. Union Filmtheater Bochum Official website. Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  28. "Mutter Wittig" "Historischer Rundgang Bochum - Mutter Wittig". Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  29. Ruhr Tourism website "Jahrhunderthalle". Accessed 4 March 2010
  30. Jahrhunderthalle Bochum Official website. Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  31. Eugene C. McCreary. "Social Welfare and Business: The Krupp Welfare Program, 1860-1914". The Business History Review, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Spring, 1968), pp. 24-49
  32. Bergarbeitersiedlung Dahlhauser Heide Ruhr Guide to Dahlhauser Heide. Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  33. "Burg Blankenstein" - DAS Online-Magazin für das Ruhrgebiet. Accessed 2 March 2010. (German)
  34. Wasserburg Haus Kemnade Official website. Accessed 4 March 2010 (German)
  35. "Station 12: Christuskirche" Stadt Bochum (City of Bochum), official website. Retrieved 2 April 2011 (German)
  36. Ruhr University Botanical Gardens Alphabetical list of plants, with photos. Accessed 8 March 2010.
  37. Bochum Geological Garden City of Bochum website. Accessed 8 March 2010 (German)
  38. Schöne Plätze und erholsame Orte City of Bochum website. (Beautiful and relaxing spots.) Accessed 8 March 2010 (German)
  39. Article about number of visitors Starlight Express website. Accessed 8 March 2010 (German)
  41. Ruhr-Universität Bochum - Kunstsammlungen Antike Kunst. "KUNSTSAMMLUNGEN DER RUHR UNIVERSITÄT BOCHUM · ANTIKE KUNST".
  43. "Situation Kunst".
  44. List of stolperstein locations in Bochum, with photos German genealogy wiki website. Retrieved 1 May 2010 (German)

External links

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