The Ruhrgebiet exists in an intriging field of tension between nature and culture – this particular charm is what makes Gelsenkirchen especially attractive to its visitors. This contrast has contributed to the attractiveness of the Bundesgartenschau in 1997 on the grounds of the former coalmine Nordstern. We can also see the landmarks that are man made and created with bare hands along with what nature gives us at many other places in our city.
Hermann Prigrann, one of the most distinguished nature artists today, has created ten different sculptures in the Industriewald (industryforest) Rheinelbe. Often he used materials or objects that had been part of old industrial facilities. To mention one of them in particular, we can say that the Himmelstreppe (stairs to heaven) is one of his outstanding projects, built with concrete relicts originated from Dortmunds former coalmines, it literally grows into the sky.
This contrast of nature and industry formulate a unique culture. The emalgamation of features in the same place is exceedingly appealing and it seems that this opinion is common amongst the people residing in this area. This remarkable contrast is our big opportunity to present the originality of the Ruhrgebiet and Gelsenkirchen in the framework of the cultural capital 2010.
We already have numerous cultural sights and event locations in former industrial facilities in these modern times, in particular The Consol theatre, the Kaue and the collection of Thiel. We have been able to provide recent innovations that can be found in richly historic suroundings where the old can be preserved with the new.
Our goal for 2010 is to continue this successful strategy. We want to demonstrate in what way a new identity, new perspetives and a new dynamic are able to grow and progress without losing our industrial roots. Our programme is supposed to be authentic, unique and able to represent the way of life in our city. All these attributes will provide Gelsenkirchen with a special attraction that will be able to draw people from all over the world, and to whom we already want to say a warm welcome.