Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Duisburg is a German city in the western part of the Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet) in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is an independant metropolitan borough within Regierungsbezirk Düsseldorf. The harbour of Duisburg is the largest inland port in Europe. There is a university in the city which merged with the University of Essen in 2003.
Today's city is, as is the case with all big cities in Germany, a result of numerous incorporations of surrounding towns and cities. At the beginning of the 20th century the city surpassed the 100,000 limit. Today it is the 12th city in Germany with currently 506,496 residents (as of 31 December 2003). The city is renowned for its steel industry. There is still one coal mine in operation, but Duisburg has never been a coal mining location to the same extent as the other places in the Ruhr Area. All existant blast furnaces in the Ruhr Area are now located in Duisburg. 49% of all hot metal and 34.4% of all crude steel in Germany are produced here (status 2000).
The following cities border Duisburg (clockwise starting in the north-east):
Latest archaeological studies show that today's market-place was already in use in the 1st century AD. It has been the major central trading place of the city since the 5th century. The city itself was located at the "Hellweg ", an important medieval trade route, and at a ford across the River Rhine. The Romans already guarded the ford.
- 420 The Franks usurp the roman settlement and re-colonisation of the old part of the town.
- 883 Normans conquer Duisburg and stay for the winter. First historic document mentioning Duisburg.
Due to the towns's favourable geographic position a palatinate was built and the town soon was granted the royal charter of a free city. Duisburg became a member of the Hanseatic League, too. Around 1000 the river Rhine moved westward from the city. This put an end to the city's development as a trading town and it soon grew into a quiet rural city. The productions of cartographer Gerardus Mercator and the foundation of a university in 1655 established the city's renown as "Educated Duisburg" ("Duisburgum Doctum").
- around 1000, the Rhine moves its river bed off Duisburg
- 1120 construction of the city wall
- 1279 "city charter" granted by King Lothar III
- 1445 attack by the Cologne Archbishop was thwarted
- 1566 Johannes Corputius completes his city map of Duisburg.
- 1666 Duisburg within the Duchy Kleve becomes a part of Brandenburg and Prussia
The rise of tobacco and textile industries in the 18th century made Duisburg an industrial center. Big industrial companies such as iron and steel producing firms(Thyssen and Krupp) influenced the development of the city. New large housing areas near production sites were being built as new workers and their families moved in.
- 1824 construction of the sulfuric acid factory Fr. W. Curtius. Beginning of the industry age in Duisburg.
- 1828 Franz Haniel builds a dockyard for steamships
- 1846 railroad line to Düsseldorf
- 1847 railroad line via Dortmund to Minden
- 1873 Duisburg becomes an independant city borough.
- 1904 Birth of the 100.000th resident (Ernst R. Straube)
- 1929 The city of Duisburg-Hamborn is renamed Duisburg.
- 1938 (November) The Nazis destroy the Jewish synagogue.
World War II
A major logistical center in the Ruhr Area and location of chemical, steel and iron industries Duisburg was a primary target of allied bombers. Not only the industrial areas but also residential areas were attacked with allied bombs. As an entry lane to the Ruhr Area there were daily warnings of bombing raids as of 1943.
- 1941 between 12/13 June British bombers drop a toal of 445 tonnes of bombs
- 1943 577 British bombers destroy the old city on 12/13 May with 1599 t of bombs, 96,000 people are made homeless.
- 1944 The city was badly damaged as a total of 2000 t of bombs drop on 22 May; on 14/October 15 this amount was even double when 1005 Halifax, Lancaster and Mosquito bombers appeared over Duisburg. Numerous similar attacks follow.
- 1945 The city has under artillery barrage since 3 April 1945. On 12 April 1945 military units of the 9th Army enter Duisburg.
Post war period
A total of 299 bombing raids had almost completely destroyed the historic cityscape. 80% of all residential buildings had been destroyed or partly damaged. Almost the whole of the city had to be rebuilt, most historic landmarks had been lost.
- 1983 1100 year anniversary
- 1999 The new Jewish community center with a synagogue is opened.
- 2004 On 19 July Duisburg was hit by a tornado. The municipal theatre and parts of the city center were damaged.
Economy and infrastructure
So-called "duisport"  is the largest inland [port]] in Europe. It is also officially looked at as a "seaport" because sea-going river vessels go to ports in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Numerous docks are mostly located at the mouth of River Ruhr.
Each year more than 40 million tonnes of various goods are handled with more than 20,000 ships to call at the harbor. The public harbor facilities stretch across an area of 7.4 km². There are 21 docks covering an area of 1.8 km² and 40 km of bankline. The area of the Logport Logistic Center Duisburg stretches across an area of 2.65 km². A number of companies run their own private docks so all together 70 million tonnes of goods are being handled in Duisburg on a yearly average .
Streets and railway
Duisburg is connected to the German motorway system (known as the Autobahn), 5 such roads extend through the city area or pass it. In addition there is a so-called inter-urban 'S-Bahn' (railway) line connecting Duisburg with other cities of the Ruhr and Rhine area An underground railway ('U-Bahn') and a bus system make for a good city transportation.
There are several newspapers reporting on local events and politics, including the "Westdeutsche Allgemeine" (WAZ), the "Neue Ruhr Zeitung" (NRZ) and the "Rheinische Post" (RP).
There is a local TV station ("STUDIO 47"), which was first local station to broadcast in North Rhine-Westphalia
Duisburg locates a comprehensive range of cultural facilities and events. A highlight is the annual "Duisburger Akzente" , a festival focussing on modern social, political and cultural topics.
Thanks to its history as a harbor city and a trade and industrial center Duisburg offers a variety of architectural places of interest. The spectrum goes from old churches like the "St. Johann Baptist" in Duisburg-Hamborn which was built in 900 to modern age buildings like Micro-Electronic-Centrum in Duisburg-Neudorf build in 1995.
Another subject of interest is the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord  an abandoned industrial complex opened to the public.
Duisburg is home to MSV Duisburg soccer team. The team currently plays in the 2nd Bundesliga. The MSV was one of the constitutional members of the Bundesliga in 1963/64. One of the best known players to have played for the club is Helmut Rahn.
Duisburg is also known for its rowing- and canoeing regattas and the world championships are run here regularly.
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