The district was created in 1972 by merging the former districts of Jülich and Düren. Both districts date back to 1816 when the new Prussian province Rhineland was created. Before the Napoleonic Wars all of the area belonged to the duchy of Jülich.
Geographically it covers both the lowlands of the Niederrheinische Bucht as well as the hills of the Eifel. The district has rich lignite (brown coal) deposits, which is used in open pit mining. Another big industry is paper production, which dates back to the second part of the 16th century. The main river in the district is the Rur.
The coat of arms shows the lion from the city of Jülich in the upper part. In the bottom it has a paper roll with the capital letter D for Düren, because the paper industry has long history. The coat of arms were granted in 1942.