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For the village in South Africa, see Wupperthal.
View of Wuppertal
View of Wuppertal
Coat of arms of Wuppertal
Coat of arms
Wuppertal   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°16′0″N 07°11′0″E / 51.26667°N 7.18333°E / 51.26667; 7.18333Coordinates: 51°16′0″N 07°11′0″E / 51.26667°N 7.18333°E / 51.26667; 7.18333
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Düsseldorf
District Urban district
 • Lord Mayor Peter Jung (CDU)
 • Governing parties CDU / SPD
 • Total 168.41 km2 (65.02 sq mi)
Elevation 100-350 m (−1,050 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 343,488
 • Density 2,000/km2 (5,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 42001-42399
Dialling codes 0202
Vehicle registration W
Website wuppertal.de
The Schwebebahn floating tram in Wuppertal-Barmen
Sankt Laurentius church in Wuppertal
The Schwebebahn in Wuppertal-Elberfeld
Concert hall (Stadthalle) Wuppertal
Engels house (Historisches Zentrum)
Wuppertal University

Wuppertal (German pronunciation: [ˈvʊpɐtaːl] ( )) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the river Wupper valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land. Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes, its woods and parks, and its suspension railway, the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. Two-thirds of the total municipal area of Wuppertal is green space. From any part of the city, it is only a ten-minute walk to one of the public parks or woodland paths.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Wupper valley was one of the biggest industrial regions of continental Europe. The rising demand for coal from the textile mills and blacksmith shops laid the roots for the expansion of the nearby Ruhrgebiet. Today, Wuppertal still is a major industrial centre, being home to industries such as textiles, metallurgy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, automobiles, rubber, vehicles and printing equipment.

Aspirin originates from Wuppertal, patented in 1897 by Bayer, as is the Vorwerk- Kobold vacuum cleaner.[2][3]

The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the European Institute for International Economic Relations are located in the city.[4]


Wuppertal in its present borders was formed in 1929 by merging the early industrial cities of Barmen and Elberfeld with Vohwinkel, Ronsdorf, Cronenberg, Langerfeld, and Beyenburg. The initial name Barmen-Elberfeld was changed in a 1930 referendum to Wuppertal (“Wupper Valley”). The new city was administered within the Prussian Rhine Province.

Uniquely for Germany, it is a linear city, owing to the steep hillsides along the River Wupper. Its highest hill is the Lichtscheid, which is 351 metres above sea level. The dominant urban centres Elberfeld (historic commercial centre) and Barmen (more industrial) have formed a unified built-up area since 1850. In the following decades, “Wupper-Town” became the dominant industrial agglomeration of northwestern Germany. In the 20th century, this conurbation had been surpassed by Cologne, Düsseldorf and the Ruhr area, all with a more favourable topography.

During World War II, about 40% of buildings in the city were destroyed by Allied bombing, as were many other German cities and industrial centres. However, a large number of historic sites have been preserved, such as:

  • Ölberg, literally “Oil mountain”, Germany’s largest original working class district, is protected as a historic monument. The name came about in the 1920s as the district continued using oil lamps while the surrounding bourgeois residential quarters were electrified. In traditional use, the name "Ölberg" refers to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
  • Brill is one of Germany’s largest districts of Gründerzeit villas, i.e. middle class mansions built by industrial entrepreneurs in the second half of the 19th century.

The US 78th Infantry Division captured Wuppertal against scant resistance on 16 April 1945.[5] After the last World War, the US held the intellectual ownership rights to Bayer and other German companies and organisations. Wuppertal became a part of the British Zone of Occupation, and subsequently part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia in West Germany.

Main sights[edit]

In total, Wuppertal possesses over 4,500 buildings classified as national monuments, most dating from styles as Neoclassicism, Eclecticism, Historicism, Art Nouveau/Jugendstil and Bauhaus.

Main sights include:

One of the city’s greatest attractions is the globally unique suspended monorail Wuppertaler Schwebebahn, which was established in 1901. The tracks are 8 m (26.25 ft) above the streets and 12 m (39.37 ft) above the Wupper River.

Wuppertal in the arts[edit]

  • The play Die Wupper by Else Lasker-Schüler takes places in Elberfeld.
  • The 2001 movie No Regrets (Nichts Bereuen), by Benjamin Quabeck, was filmed in Wuppertal.
  • The 2000 movie The Princess and the Warrior, by Tom Tykwer, was filmed in Wuppertal.
  • In the 1974 Wim Wenders film Alice in the Cities, the main characters visit Wuppertal.
  • A Lufthansa A340-600 D-AIHM (delivered 2006) is named after the city of Wuppertal. It primarily operates long-haul flights from Munich Airport.
  • In the 2011 film Pina, several of the dance sequences take place in and around Wuppertal. In several sequences, the elevated tram is used as a setting, as well as a backdrop.

Notable people from Wuppertal[edit]



In football, Wuppertal's most popular club is Wuppertaler SV, who currently play in the Oberliga Niederrhein, the fifth tier of the German football league system. Playing their home games at the Stadion am Zoo, the club, which was relegated from the 3rd Liga in 2009, looks back on a rich and eventful history, since it was established in a merger between the two leading Wuppertal clubs SSV Elberfeld 04 and TSG Vohwinkel 80 in 1954. The club spent a total of seven years in the first division of German football, three of which in the Bundesliga, which they were promoted to in 1972. In their first season in the nationwide first division, the club reached a remarkable fourth place and qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first and only time in its history. After a first-round defeat by the Polish side Ruch Chorzow and another two widely unsuccessful Bundesliga campaigns, the club disappeared from the top flight again and has yet to return.

Team handball[edit]

In handball, Wuppertal's currently most successful club is Bergischer HC playing in the 1st Bundesliga. BHC originates from a 2006 merge between the management and main sponsors of LTV Wuppertal and rival SG Solingen from the nearby city of the same name. The club plays their home games at both Wuppertal's Uni-Halle (4,100 seats) and Solingen's Klingenhalle (2,600 seats).

Wuppertal's past most successful and still quite popular club are the aforementioned LTV Wuppertal. LTV spent most of their seasons in the 2nd and 3rd tier, before they merged with Wuppertaler SV's handball section in 1996, to form HSG LTV/WSV Wuppertal. The new handball combination promoted to the Handball-Bundesliga where they finished 8th, before dissolving again in 1998. However, the departure of Wuppertaler SV still allowed LTV Wuppertal, whose professional team were renamed HC Wuppertal, to play another three seasons in the Bundesliga, before returning to the 2nd division and revitalizing its old name. After the BHC foundation in 2006, LTV lost its financial base and was relegated for several times before establishing in the local Verbandsliga, which is the fifth tier of German team handball.


In volleyball, A!B!C Titans Berg. Land was the new name of Wuppertal's Volleyball-Bundesliga club, formerly the volleyball section of Bayer Wuppertal and briefly known as Wuppertal Titans. The club itself originated in Leverkusen and promoted to the Bundesliga in 1978. Reacting to low attendances, the eponymous Bayer AG decided to relocate the volleyball team to Wuppertal in 1992 where there also is a Bayer-funded club. Since the move, the club won various titles including the German championship in 1994 and 1997 and the German cup in 1995. Also, they finished as runner-up in the 1995-96 European Cup Winners' Cup, losing only to Greek side Olympiacos S.C. in the final. After the wide-reaching retreat of the Bayer AG from less popular professional sports in 2008, the club acquired its last name. There, however, still exists a cooperation between the former partners, especially in the amateur and youth sections. In 2012 the club suffered financial trouble and retracted from professional leagues.


Perhaps one of the most successful Wuppertal sports clubs was the women's basketball team of Barmer TV (known as BTV Wuppertal between 1994 and 2000 and BTV Gold-Zack Wuppertal between 2000 and 2002). The 11-time German champion and 12-time German cup winner won a remarkable nine back-to-back doubles between 1994 and 2002. In 1996, they also won the EuroLeague Women as the first and so far only German team, beating Italy's SFT Como in the final, and therefore even achieved a treble in that season. In 1997, they closely missed out on a back-to-back treble by losing to French side CJM Bourges in the EuroLeague final. In 2002, the club withdrew from the Bundesliga due to financial problems. One year later, the club's main sponsor Gold-Zack Werke filed for insolvency.

Wuppertal co-hosted the 1998 FIBA World Championship for Women as one of seven host cities.

Roller hockey[edit]

In roller hockey, (also known as rink hockey) Wuppertal club RSC Cronenberg are current holders of the German championship and the German cup in both men's and women's competitions. In total, the men won eleven German championships and nine cups, the women nine championships and eight cups. The club plays its home games at the Alfred-Henckels-Halle.

Wuppertal hosted the 1997 Rink Hockey World Championship, the 2004 Ladies Rink Hockey World Championship, as well as the 1992 and 2010 Rink Hockey European Championship. In 2011, local club RSC Cronenberg are set to host the Ladies Rink Hockey European Championship.


Four institutions of higher education are in Wuppertal.

The privately financed Junior Uni is an in Germany uniquely initiative to educate youth from the age of 4 to 18 years in science outside the school program.[6]



Wuppertal is well connected to the rail network. The town lies on the Cologne–Hagen and the Düsseldorf–Hagen railway lines, and is a stop for long-distance traffic. The central station is located in the district of Elberfeld. Regionalbahn trains and some Regional-Express trains also stop at Oberbarmen, Barmen, Ronsdorf and Vohwinkel. There are also S-Bahn stations in Langerfeld, Unterbarmen, Steinbeck, Zoologischer Garten and Sonnborn.

The rail services that operate on the mainline through the valley are the RE 4 (Wupper-Express), RE 7 (Rhein-Münsterland-Express), RE 13 (Maas-Wupper-Express), RB 48 (Rhein-Wupper Bahn) and four Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn services: the S 7, S 8, S 9 and S 68 (peak hours only). Every 30 minutes, it is served by a long-distance (Intercity-Express, InterCity, EuroCity or City Night Line) service in each direction.

With the exception of the line from Wuppertal to Solingen (operated as the S 7) and the Prince William Railway to Essen (now S-Bahn line S 9), all of the branch lines connecting to main line in the city of Wuppertal are now closed. This includes, among others, the Düsseldorf-Derendorf–Dortmund Süd railway (the Wuppertaler Nordbahn), the Burgholz Railway, the Wuppertal-Wichlinghausen–Hattingen railway, the Wupper Valley Railway and the Corkscrew Railway. Thus, there were once 31 stations in the Wuppertal area, including nine stations on the mainline. Nowadays only ten are serviced any more.

There is also the Wuppertal Suspension Railway

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Wuppertal is twinned with:

Photo gallery[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen". Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW (in German). 4 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Marvin Brendel. "110 Jahre Aspirin" (in German). GeschichtsPuls. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  3. ^ "Official website Vorwerk - Kobold vacuum cleaners". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  4. ^ "Official website European Institute for International Economic Relations". Retrieved 2013-03-02. 
  5. ^ Stanton, Shelby, World War II Order of Battle: An Encyclopedic Reference to U.S. Army Ground Forces from Battalion through Division, 1939-1946, Stackpole Books (Revised Edition 2006), p. 147
  6. ^ "Official website Junior Uni Wuppertal - Bergisches Land" (in german). Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  7. ^ "Twin cities of the City of Kosice". Magistrát mesta Košice, Tr. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 

External links[edit]