Dortmund is the eight largest city in Germany, but with its densely populated area (5.1 million inhabitants), ensured Dortmund the spot of being Germany’s largest urban agglomeration. After the decline of the Hanseatic League, Dortmund bloomed throughout the industrialization period and became an important centre for coal and steel mining. Today, Dortmund is considered an important centre for technology development in Europe.

A Brief Historical Overview:

Very little is known of Dortmund’s origins. It is only briefly mentioned in a document dating 882AD, and is referred to as the city of Throtmanni. After being almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1152, it was rebuilt by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa). After being rebuilt, it almost immediately gained the status of being an imperial free city. Most likely thanks to its dealings with the Hanseatic League.

During the Middle Ages, and especially during the zenith of the Hanseatic League, Dortmund yielded exceptional political influence. This influence, mainly being attributed to well-placed and wealthy merchant families who even rubbed shoulders, and on occasion, borrowed money to English Kings. This political influence was unmissable and very important to the shaping of the Hanseatic League.

Dortmund in the Hanseatic League.

Situated on the Rhine river, Dortmund perhaps did not enjoy the supreme location of Cologne, but the mass wealth of the merchant families based in Dortmund, as well as the aforementioned political influence, made them an irreplaceable part of Hanseatic League history.

After the Anglo-Hanseatic war (1470-1474) Dortmund effectively replaced Cologne on the roster of Hanseatic cities, and became the chief Hanseatic city in the Rhine area. In addition to this, Dortmund has been instrumental in awakening the old proud ties and traditions of the Hanseatic League in modern ties. In 1980, took an active part in re-establishing the Hanseatic League in Zwolle, The Netherlands. The second Hanseatic meeting in the modern age, also took place in Dortmund in 1982.


Dortmund Today:

The era of industrialization radicalized Dortmund, and ensured its place in the scientific and technological history books. The industrialization period, which roughly started around 1850, established Dortmund as a coal and steel mining giant, which greatly enhanced its economy.

Taking industrialization into its stride, Dortmund has since become an important centre for technological advancement. Dortmund is considered a centre for technology, especially biomedical and micro systems technology.

The entire city is one of innovation and advancement. Although despite its heavy emphasis on technology, it is still referred to as a green metropolis. Due to more than half of the municipal area being dedicated to green spaces, like parks, gardens, forests, agricultural spaces, etc. Dortmund also houses several important art museums and often frequented music centrums and opera houses.


  • Dortmund is often referred to as a “green metropolis” due to its many parks, water features, forests, agricultural territory, and recreational areas. The city’s largest botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten Rombergpark, spans over 65 hectares.
  • Dortmund was even more heavily bombed than Cologne during WWII. Whereas 95% of Cologne’s city centre was destroyed during bombings, Dortmund suffered a loss of 98% of its inner city structures.
  • Dortmund has been awarded The Most Sustainable City in Germany.