|• Lord mayor (2020–25)||Thomas Eiskirch (SPD)|
|• Total||145.4 km2 (56.1 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,500/km2 (6,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Dialling codes||0234, 02327|
|Vehicle registration||BO, WAT|
Bochum (// BOHKH-uum, also US: /-/ -əm, German: [ˈboːxʊm] (listen); Westphalian: Baukem) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia. With a population of 364,920 (2016), is the sixth largest city (after Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen and Duisburg) of the most populous German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the 16th largest city of Germany. On the Ruhr Heights (Ruhrhöhen) hill chain, between the rivers Ruhr to the south and Emscher to the north (tributaries of the Rhine), it is the second largest city of Westphalia after Dortmund, and the fourth largest city of the Ruhr after Dortmund, Essen and Duisburg. It lies at the centre of the Ruhr, Germany's largest urban area, in the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, and belongs to the region of Arnsberg. Bochum is the sixth largest and one of the southernmost cities in the Low German dialect area. There are nine institutions of higher education in the city, most notably the Ruhr University Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), one of the ten largest universities in Germany, and the Bochum University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Bochum).
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 (643 ft) above sea level; the lowest point is 43 metres (141 ft) 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 in the borough of Wattenscheid (3.47%), or at Kemnader Straße, which begins at the banks of the Ruhr in Stiepel (71 m, 233 ft), and rises to its highest point in the centre of Stiepel (196 m, 643 ft, a 5.1% increase).
The city extends north to south 13.0 km (8.1 mi) and 17.1 km (10.6 mi) east to west. The perimeter of the city limits is 67.2 km (41.8 mi).
It is surrounded by the cities of (in clockwise direction) Herne, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund, Witten, Hattingen, Essen and Gelsenkirchen.
There is sedimentary rock of carbon and chalk. The geological strata can be visited in the former quarry of Klosterbusch and at the Geological Gardens.
The urban area is divided into the river Ruhr catchment in the south and the Emscher catchment in the north. The Ruhr's tributaries are the Oelbach (where as well a waste water treatment plant is established), 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's 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 two 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. 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 south of the city 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. 844 species of plants can be found within the city limts
Bochum features an Oceanic climate (Köppen-Geiger classification Cfb) characterized by cool winters and short warm summers. Extreme temperatures are uncommon. However, temperatures rising above 30 °C (86 °F) are to be expected on multiple days in summer and the climate station closest to the City did record a peak temperature of 40 °C (104 °F) on July 25, 2019.
On the other extreme, freezing temperatures are common between mid-November and late March. In some years, however, frosts may occur as late as early May. Temperatures below −10 °C are, especially in recent years, only seen on rare occasions. The city lies within the warmer extent of the 8a USDA plant hardiness zone (−12.2 to −9.4 °C or 10 to 15 °F). Some winters may pass without a frost below −5 °C (data from the nearest active climate station). These comparably mild conditions in Winter permit the planting of plants that would either not be reliably hardy or not able to bloom throughout Germany like Trachycarpus palms, Summer lilac, Paulownia tomentosa and Rosemary.
However, winters can be unpredictable with strong fluctuations in temperatures: In mid-February 2021, the city was affected by a severe cold spell bringing temperatures down to –15 degrees Celsius (5 °F) accompanied by heavy snowfall which hindered traffic for multiple days. A week later, a temperature of 17 °C (63 °F) was recorded, an increase of 32°K.
The total precipitation of 815mm is distributed relatively even throughout most the year but has a peak in winter and two minima in late spring and July, respectively. June shows a second peak in precipitation due to the return of the westerlies which leads to more thunderstorms being generated along frontal boundaries of atlantic low-pressure systems. In recent years, the city was affected by summer and spring droughts. Thunderstorms are not uncommon in the warm season and can generate intense downpours and sporadically hail.
The city experiences little sunshine in winter with a minimum of 1,3h per day in December and a lot more in early summer and late spring with May featuring 7,5h per day. The total amount of sunshine per year is 1689h.
Due to the cities northern latitude of 51°N, seasonal daylength variation is significant. The longest day of the year, June 21, features 16 h 38 min. of daylight while the shortest day of the year which is December 21 is only 7 h and 50 min. long.
|Climate data for Essen (Bredeney), elevation: 161 m, 2016-2021 normals (source 1), all-time records (source 1+2)|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.5
|Average high °C (°F)||5.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.1
|Average low °C (°F)||0.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−17.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||91.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||21.0||16.0||17.0||13.0||11.0||14.0||12.0||16.0||13.0||18.0||17.0||21.0||189|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||42||86||132||195||234||217||221||185||177||91||67||42||1,689|
|Source 1: |
|Source 2: NOAA|
Bochum is divided into six administrative districts with a total of 362,213 inhabitants living in an urban area of 145.4 km2 (56.1 sq mi).
The current Mayor of Bochum is Thomas Eiskirch of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020.
The most recent mayoral election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:
|Thomas Eiskirch||Social Democratic Party||85,397||61.8|
|Christian Haardt||Christian Democratic Union||28,125||20.3|
|Amid Rabieh||The Left||8,335||6.0|
|Jens Lücking||UWG: Free Citizens||3,937||2.8|
|Felix Haltt||Free Democratic Party||3,441||2.5|
|Nils-Frederick Brandt||Die PARTEI||3,357||2.4|
|Ariane Meise||National Democratic Party||2,546||1.8|
|Volker Steude||The Citymakers||2,351||1.7|
|Günter Gleising||Social List Bochum||790||0.6|
|Source: State Returning Officer|
The Bochum city council governs the city alongside the Mayor. The most recent city council election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||46,626||33.7||4.9||29||3|
|Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne)||30,658||22.2||9.3||19||8|
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||28,799||20.8||4.9||18||4|
|The Left (Die Linke)||8,434||6.1||0.1||5||±0|
|Alternative for Germany (AfD)||7,774||5.6||2.1||5||2|
|UWG: Free Citizens (UWG)||4,673||3.4||0.9||3||1|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||4,517||3.3||0.4||3||1|
|Die PARTEI (PARTEI)||3,223||2.3||New||2||New|
|The Citymakers (Die Stadtgestalter)||2,387||1.7||0.6||2||1|
|Social List Bochum (SLB)||814||0.6||0.2||0||1|
|National Democratic Party (NPD)||429||0.3||0.6||0||1|
|Source: State Returning Officer|
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. In the early 19th century it was part of the Grand Duchy of Berg, a client state of France, then it passed to Prussia following the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, and in 1871 it became part of the German Empire. 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. Bochum was the main center of the Polish community of the Ruhr, being the seat of various Polish organizations and enterprises. The Poles were subjected to anti-Polish policies aimed at Germanisation, and the Central Office for Monitoring the Polish Movement in the Rhine-Westphalian Industrial District (Zentralstelle fur Uberwachung der Polenbewegung im Rheinisch-Westfalischen Industriebezirke) was established by the German authorities in Bochum in 1909.
On 28 October 1938, 250 Polish or stateless Jews were expelled from Bochum to Poland. On 9 November 1938, Kristallnacht, the Bochum 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.
On 15 July 1939, the Gestapo entered the headquarters of the Union of Poles in Germany in Bochum, searched it and interrogated its chief Michał Wesołowski, however, it did not obtain the desired lists of Polish activists, which had been previously hidden by Poles. Increased Nazi terror and persecutions of Poles followed, and in response, many Poles from the region came to Bochum for organizational and information meetings. During the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II in September 1939, the Nazis carried out mass arrests of local Polish activists, who were then sent to concentration camps. Local Polish premises and seats of organizations were looted and expropriated by Nazi Germany.
During the war, Germany operated a prison in the city with three forced labour subcamps within present-day city limits, an additional detention center, a camp for Romani people in the present-day Wattenscheid district, and three subcamps of the Buchenwald concentration camp. A report from July 1943 listed 100 forced labour camps in Bochum.
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.
During the Holocaust, in 1942–1943, local Jews were deported to German-occupied Czechoslovakia, Latvia and Poland.
Bochum was first bombed heavily in May and June 1943. 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, more than 10,000 high-explosive and 130,000 incendiary bombs were stored there, setting off a conflagration that destroyed the surrounding neighbourhoods. An aerial photo shows the devastation.
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. 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."
The US army ground advance into Germany reached Bochum in April 1945. Encountering desultory resistance, the US 79th Infantry Division captured the city on 10 April 1945.
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.
Allied bombing destroyed 83% of the built up area of Bochum during World War II. 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. A month earlier, a buried bomb exploded in neighbouring Hattingen, injuring 17 people.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
After the war, Bochum was part of West Germany and the newly established state of North Rhine-Westphalia, consisting of the Rhineland and Westphalia.
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 was assembled at the Opel Bochum plant; however, by 2009, the factory was in serious financial difficulties and in December 2012, Opel announced that it would stop vehicle production at the Bochum plant in 2016.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Other scenic areas include the West Park, Lake Kemnade, Lake Ümmingen and the municipal forest, Weitmarer Holz.
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.
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 is the Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr, opened in 2016.
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.
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. Aside from cruise ships, it is no longer used for commercial navigation.
The closest airports are Essen/Mülheim Airport (27 km), Dortmund Airport (31 km) and Düsseldorf 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.
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:
Bochum is twinned with:
There is a major road in Bochum named Sheffield-Ring after its sister city Sheffield, England. There is also a long section of dual carriageway on the south-western edge of Sheffield, between the suburbs of Meadowhead and Gleadless, named Bochum Parkway.