chapter  5
Pages 20

As the capital of the most populated federal state within Germany, North Rhine Westphalia (17 million inhabitants), the city of Düsseldorf enjoys special status (Figure 5.1). Geographically Düsseldorf occupies a total land area of 217 sq km with a population of circa 600 000 inhabitants, and in addition is encircled by highly populated agglomerations. To the south and the west there is the so-called ‘Rheinschiene’ (Rhine Agglomeration) including the Cologne/Bonn area and the city of Leverkusen, and also to the west the cities of the Lower Rhine, Mönchengladbach and Krefeld. In the north there is the agglomeration of Ruhrgebiet containing the cities of Duisburg, Mühlheim, Essen, Bochum and Dortmund, and to the east are the large hill towns of Wuppertal, Solingen and Remscheid. This economic/geographical position also gives Düsseldorf a special status in a European context. The Ruhrgebiet and the Rheinschiene agglomeration is one of the biggest in Europe with about 10 million people living in a radius of circa 50 to 60 km.