Essen 2010: from industrial to cultural capital

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The Independent Online

Essen and the Ruhr region were chosen by the European Union as European Capital of Culture for 2010, along with Istanbul (Turkey) and Pecs (Hungary). The program for the German region, kicking off on January 9, offers more than 300 projects and over 2,500 events -- ranging from new museum openings to the Love parade -- that will be taking place all over the region to show how Europe's coal and steel region can also be a unique type of cultural and tourism area.

(Relaxnews) -

Essen and the Ruhr region were chosen by the European Union as European Capital of Culture for 2010, along with Istanbul (Turkey) and Pecs (Hungary). The program for the German region, kicking off on January 9, offers more than 300 projects and over 2,500 events - ranging from new museum openings to the Love parade - that will be taking place all over the region to show how Europe's coal and steel region can also be a unique type of cultural and tourism area.

Essen and Ruhr 2010 present a series of cultural events taking place in Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg and Bochum throughout the year that should diversify the type of visitors in the region. With 600,000 residents, and 5.3 million inhabitants in the total region, the Ruhr mostly attracts business people. In 2008, 3.4 million visitors came to the region, "80% of these were business guests and not holidaymakers," according to the Ruhr tourism board, which expects a 15% increase in tourism for 2010 thanks to the various events coming up.

Heritage and art exhibitions

The New Ruhr Museum in Essen is set to open on the opening day of festivities. Located on World Cultural Heritage Site Zollverein, what was once the largest coal mine in the world, the museum will present the history of the Ruhr region with an interactive exhibition describing the mining work of the industrial pioneers, life in the industrial age, the wars and reconstruction periods, as well as the environmental challenges of the site. (http://www.ruhrmuseum.de/de/index.jsp)

Between March 28 and May 27, the region is organizing the world's first Biennale for International Light Art (http://www.biennale-lichtkunst.de/pages/en/home/index.welcome.htm) that will present 60 works of light displayed in private homes of the cities of Bergkamen, Bönen, Fröndenberg/Ruhr, Hamm, Lünen and Unna. The works include famous artists like Olafur Elliasson, Saburo Teshigawara and Jun Yang.

"Ruhr Views" by 11 famous German photographers, like Andreas Gursky and Hilla Becher, will be displayed in the futuristic building designed by the famous architects SANAA on the Zollverein site, showcasing the evolution of the area, with a special focus on contemporary Ruhr, on view between April 24 and October 24.

Music 

Throughout the year, to honor the famous living composer Hans Werner Henze,
The Henze Project, covering his complete work including opera, ballet, orchestral music and chamber concerts will be presented in different venues in the region. The German artist will also compose an opera with and for young people especially for RUHR.2010.

One of the most crowded events in recent years, the Loveparade this year should bring over a million people to the Ruhr Metropolis. Last year's techno music and dance celebration was canceled for lack of infrastructure in Bochum, revelers hope that Duisburg will be ready to party this summer. (www.loveparade.de)

In a more classical range, the premiere of Gustav Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand (8th symphony) will turn 100 on September 12. For that occasion, RUHR.2010 has decided to re-enact the original concert, with 2000 singers and musicians conducted by Steven Sloane in the building of the central power station at the Duisburg Landscape Park North.

www.ruhr2010.de

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