Wuppertal – many-sided, innovatory, cosmopolitan

Wuppertal is not only renowned for being a “green” city with a population of around 350,000, the motive force behind early industrialisation, and for its idyllic location in the Bergisch Land. The city rose to economic fame on the back of its yarn bleaching activities which in turn gave rise to textile and clothing factories. Whole areas of the city contain villas and parks which bear witness to the wealth produced by 19th century entrepreneurialism. Nowadays the economic life of the city is based on iron and metal processing, chemicals, the electrical industry, motor vehicles and service industries. All these local enterprises can draw their inspiration and ideas from their partnership with the Bergisch University of Wuppertal, which opened in 1972. 

Wuppertal – The Overhead railway substructure

Leisure, Shopping, Parties

Leisure facilities in the city include indoor football, outdoor and indoor climbing sites, as well as 650 kilometres of hiking trails leading through and around the green Wupper valley. One of the highlights is the Zoo which opened in 1881. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful zoos in Germany because of its attractive landscape.

Wuppertal has ten suburbs, all of which offer fine opportunities for living, shopping and going out. Barmen and Elberfeld have traditional specialist shops, fashionable boutiques and modern shopping centres with a huge variety of businesses, alongside large and small weekly markets. The old centre of Elberfeld, the “Elberfelder Altstadt”, is a particularly inviting place to spend some time because of the Jugendstil facades on the buildings around Laurentiusplatz and Luisenstraße.

The world’s largest one-day open-air flea market in Vohwinkel has made it into the Guinness Book of Records. Thousands of people visit the “Ölbergfest” and the “Luisenfest” to party amidst art and culture, kitsch and clowning. Every five years the axis along Wuppertal’s main traffic artery is turned into a 14 kilometre “party mile” with lines of tables for the citizens of Wuppertal to enjoy the street shows. The autumn marathon, „Wuppertal 24 h live“ is now an established tradition.

Wuppertal – Luisenstraße  – Manfred Görgens
Wuppertal – The Engels House – Peter Freese

A vibrant arts scene

Furthermore Wuppertal can boast of a lively and out-of-the-ordinary artistic life. Pina Bausch set up her world-famous dance theatre in the city. Peter Kowald and Peter Brötzmann have revolutionised the international jazz scene with their music from Wuppertal. Old industrial buildings provide a framework of exhibitions of contemporary art- The “Von der Heydt-Museum“ displays paintings form the 16th century onwards and the British artist Tony Cragg has transformed the Villa Waldfrieden into a renowned skulpture park.

Cultural life in the city is extremely multifaceted. Take your choice from classical concerts in the “Historischen Stadthalle" and opera house, cabaret in the Barmer Station, or rock and pop in the “Uni-Halle”. In the past few years a lively salsa and  Tango scene has grown up. Wuppertal’s clubs are also well-known beyond the boundaries of the city.

Then again Wuppertal’s culture has a lot to do with films. Star directors like Tom Tykwer (“Perfume”) come from the city which is increasingly being used for film settings. The overhead railway was the scene for “Knockin’ on Heaven‘s Door”, and parts of “The Princess and the Warrior” were shot in the Bergisch University. Wim Wenders also used some breathtaking locations in Wuppertal for his film “Pina”.

Wuppertal – Historische Stadthalle, Elberfeld – Manfred Görgens

Transport as a symbol: the overhead railway

The overhead railway is not only the symbol of the city and its greatest tourist attraction but also, since its opening in 1901, Wuppertal’s indispensable form of transport. Every day 85,000 passengers take the train to swoop above the Bergisch city on the 13.3 kilometres line, comprising 20 stations – from the “Jugendstil” station “Werther Brücke” to the hypermodern glass construction “Kluse”.

A trip in the red “"Kaiser wagon", which once took Kaiser Wilhelm II. and his wife across the valley, promises pure nostalgic pleasures. Wagon no. 5, built in 1900 offers you rides where you can enjoy a cosy coffee and cake, a hearty morning drink, or an atmospheric evening out as you swoop above the city accompanied by guides in traditional dress.

Wuppertal – The Overhead railway station Döppersberg, Elberfeld – Manfred Görgens