Counting nearly 600,000 inhabitants, the city alongside the ancient German trading route (the "Hellweg") is one of the biggest cities of the Federal Republic of Germany and the economic and cultural centre of Westphalia. Dortmund was founded as "Throtmani" around the year 880. Called "Dorpmunde" throughout the Middle ages, it was one of the richest and most important cities of the Hanseatic League for a long time. Coal, steel and beer guaranteed economic prosperity beyond the middle of the past century. In the course of structural change, however, new branches like IT, micro systems technology, logistics, communications- and media technology have re-shaped Dortmund's corporate landscape.
Like almost no other German city, Dortmund has seen enormous change in recent years. The former "steel city" developed into a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis, acquiring renown all across Europe as an innovative location for technological development.
If you're interested in industrial culture, hard work has always distinguished the Dortmunders and their city. Steel, beer, and coal made Dortmund famous around the world. But today no miner can be found underground any more and the blast furnaces have closed down. Nevertheless, you can still feel the presence of times past, since the famous production sites from former times have new roles: they are simultaneously monuments, museums, and stages.
A local delicacy in Dortmund is a "Salzkuchen mit Mett" or a "Mettente". The "Salzkuchen" is a bagel-like, caraway spiced roll with seasoned mincemeat and onions. The "Mettente", a smoked sausage, normally comes with spicy mustard. Both are commonplace in the pubs or Bierhäuser around the city.
- The U-Tower. or Dortmunder U is a former brewery building in the city of Dortmund. Since 2010 it serves as a center for the arts and creativity, housing among other facilities the Museum Ostwall. It was the first skyscraper of Dortmund, built in 1926-1927. The high-rise Union Brewery used this building for the fermentation and storage of their products. In 1994 the brewery and all its surrounding buildings were closed and demolished, only the Dortmund U-Tower was spared due to having landmark status. In January 2008 the Dortmund U-Tower was decided to be redeveloped as a flagship project for the "Ruhr 2010 - Cultural Capital of Europe". Today it counts to one of Dortmund's central places, in which creative catering and event facilities are offered.
- Reinoldikirche. The Protestant St. Reinoldi-church is, according to its foundation date, the oldest extant church in Dortmund. It is dedicated to Saint Reinoldus, the patron of the city. The church was built as a palatinate church in the Ottonian era. The present building is a late Romanesque church with a late gothic quire. The St.-Reinoldi-church was built from 1250 to 1270, and is located in the centre of the city, directly at the crossing of the Hellweg (a historic trade route) and the historic road from Cologne to Bremen. Efforts to complete the tower of the St.-Reinoldi-church were renewed in 1443. After its completion in 1454, it was 112 m tall and was referred to as the "Miracle of Westphalia". The polygonal spire was renovated the first time in 1519. On 24 June 1520, the copper roofing was completed, and on 27 July the spire was added. The apex of the church was now about seven metres higher. In 1661, the tower collapsed after being damaged during an earthquake. The foundation for the new tower was laid 1662, and the building was completed 1701, with a baroque ornament on the top.
- Haus Dellwig. In 1988 a local museum was founded in Haus Dellwig. This historic moated castle, which was first mentioned as early as the 12th century, has been owned by the City of Dortmund since 1978. The exhibits include a complete kitchen, a sitting room and various workshops (bakery, hairdressers, butchers, laundry, saddler, shoemaker's workshop and carpenters).
- Dortmund Opera House. opened in 1966 and formally operated by the Theater Dortmund. The first opera house of Dortmund of 1904 had been destroyed in World War II. The new opera house was designed by architects Heinrich Rosskotten and Edgar Tritthart. The design separates the functions stage and technical rooms in the Bühnenhaus (stage house), dominated by straight lines, from the hall for the audience under a thin-shell structure roof.
- The Florianturm. (Florian Tower, Florian for short) is a telecommunications tower and landmark of the city. It is named after St. Florian, the patron saint of gardeners. The Florianturm is the TV tower of Dortmund and was built in 1959 as an attraction for a federal horticultural show with a height of 219.6 metres. At the time it was briefly the highest freestanding structure in Germany. The tower was constructed similarly to a high concrete chimney. It consists of a reinforced concrete tube, which tapers off as it rises, reaching a height of 129.75 metres. At 130.6 metres there is a building part with two floors. On the lower floor there are operation rooms and on the upper floor at 137.54 metres there is a revolving restaurant. At 141.88 metres and 144.7 metres there are two observation decks.