Fun facts about North Rhine-Westphalia

Germany’s most populous federal state is diverse and pretty crazy. And so often, it’s misunderstood. But on the other hand, it’s so flexible that it moves with the times. Here are 32 Fun Facts about the Western megalopolis. 

  • NRW is the federal state with the most traffic jams. 
  • The Pader is the shortest river in Germany. It is only 4 kilometers long. 
  • Cologne Cathedral was the tallest building in the world from 1880 to 1884.
  • A beluga whale – and they are considered very clever – swam up the Rhine to Bonn in 1966. 
  • The largest indoor plunge pool in Europe is located in the North Landscape Park in Duisburg and holds 21 million liters of water. 
  • Düsseldorf has the third largest Japanese enclave in Europe. 
Dusseldorf, Japan Quarter
Riccardo Russomanno
  • There are 300 wild horses in Dülmen. 
  • More beer is brewed in Dortmund than in Munich. 
  • The largest cinema in Germany is not part of a multiplex. The Lichtburg in Essen has 1250 seats and dates back to 1928. 
  • Düsseldorf has the only pedestrian traffic lights in Germany that also show a yellow phase.  
  • The UN Secretariat for the Conservation of the European Bat Population is based in Bonn.
  • The Centro in Oberhausen is the largest shopping center in Germany. But there’s more to it than just shopping: there’s also a concert hall, aquarium, cinema, theatre, Legoland and leisure harbour. 
  • In Hamm-Uentrop sits the largest Hindu temple in all of continental Europe. 
  • Bielefeld-Senne has the largest prison in Germany with 1569 places. 
  • On July 21, 1950, Franz Althoff had the female elephant, Tuffi, ride the suspension railway to promote his circus. In the Wuppertal suspension railway, the otherwise well-balanced Tuffi got too busy in the overcrowded gondola. After less than two minutes of travel, she broke through the wall of the suspension railway carriage and fell ten meters deep into the Wupper. Luckily, the animal was almost completely unharmed because it landed in a muddy spot of the river. 
Fun Facts NRW: an elephant in the hanging train in Wuppertal
Riccardo Russomanno
  • A Krefeld is a matter of interpretation. The mixed beer drink “Krefelder” behaves as follows: in the region around Krefeld, Altbier is taken and mixed with malt beer, the same on the left bank of the Lower Rhine. In Dusseldorf, you know Krefelder Altbier with Cola. In some other regions, a Pilsner mixed with cola can also be referred to as a Krefelder. 
  • Gelsenkirchen has a cemetery for Schalke fans only. 
  • Bonn is the largest city in Germany that has never had a club in the Bundesliga. 
  • Pope John Paul II was an honorary member of Schalke 04. 
  • In the all-time Bundesliga table, five of the top 10 clubs are from North Rhine-Westphalia. Borussia Dortmund (2), Borussia Mönchengladbach (5), Schalke 04 (7), 1. FC Cologne (9) and Bayer 04 Leverkusen (10). 
  • Wild flamingos live in the Zwillbrocker Venn in Münsterland. 
Fun Fact NRW: Flamingos at Zwillbrocker Venn
Riccardo Russomanno
  • The world’s first youth hostel opened in Altena in 1914. This is in the Märkisches Kreis. 
  • The Lower Rhine is the largest resting area for arctic wild geese in Western Europe. 
  • Seen from space, Siegen is the greenest city in Germany. 
  • The lederhosen-wearing exchange student »Uter« on the Simpsons comes from Düsseldorf in the original US version. The creators not only thought that all of Germany wore lederhosen, but also that “Uter” was a common German boy’s name. 
  • Cologne/Bonn Airport has the only runway in Germany on which NASA space shuttles can make an emergency landing. They need these orbits because they would break apart if they landed in water. When the first shuttles took off into space in the 1980s, 60 emergency landing strips were built worldwide, which had to be at least 2.3 kilometers long and 40 meters wide. 
  • Around 80 percent of all clothing ties made in Germany come from Krefeld, the city of velvet and silk. 
silk from Krefeld, a fun fact from NRW
Riccardo Russomanno
  • Because of a transposed digit, the Rhine was thought to be longer than it is for half a century. The error was noticed in 2010. It is only 1230 kilometers long instead of the assumed 1320 kilometers. 
  • US detective Magnum’s favorite beer in the series of the same name was Alt from Düsseldorf. 
  • The country’s first parking meters were in Duisburg and were introduced in 1954. 
  • In 1949, when Germany did not yet have a national anthem, the Cologne carnival song »We are the natives from Trizonesia« was actually played on official occasions. Unbelievable, but true. This line is also found in the song: »We are not cannibals / but we kiss all the better.« 
  • NRW has the most inhabitants of Germany with 17.926 million people.
Fun Facts in NRW
Riccardo Russomanno