ecce - european centre for creative economy

City of Bochum

With a population of around 370,000 Bochum is one of the biggest cities in the Ruhr Metropolis governed by Lord Mayor Thomas Eiskirch of the Social Democratic Party since September 2015. Thanks to its central position it enjoys an economically strategic advantage. In the 1960s the setting-up of Opel and the Ruhr University laid the foundation stone for structural change. Bochum has been an important location for science and the service sector ever since: six universities and countless other educational establishments are among the big institutions in Bochum employing about 6,000 people in science, research and administration. New industries (construction, manufacturing, trade, energy and water supply, service) and technology centres have moved to Bochum within the past decades. As a Festival Venue Ruhr during the European Capital of Culture 2010 programme, Bochum finally achieved the recognition it deserves as a cultural city with a unique profile. Famous theatre venues and a lively cultural scene shape the city‘s new image and strengthen its location.


Dortmund is the business and commercial centre of Westphalia and with 581,300 inhabitants the largest city in the Ruhr metropolis. Dortmund has undergone rapid development in the last years: the city has become an important technological centre for various future-orientated branches. They include the information technologies, micro and nanotechnology, logistics and increasingly also biomedicine and robotics. Mayor Ullrich Sierau (SPD) has governed the city since August 2009. In the Capital of Culture year Dortmund was home to one of the five visitor centres. As part of the Capital of Culture project, the Dortmunder U was transformed into the Centre for Art and Creativity and a touristic gateway to Dortmund and its environs.

City of Essen

Essen is the most advanced service, science and trade centre right at the heart of the Ruhr Metropolis. With a population of more than 580,000 and 50 districts Essen is the eighth largest city in Germany. The incumbent Lord Mayor is Thomas Kufen (Christian Democratic Union/CDU). Due to its university, a merger of the University of Duisburg and the University of Essen, it is also an attractive university centre. Thanks to the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Essen represented the Ruhr Metropolis during the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010, thus becoming one of the most important locations for art, culture and creativity. Some of the German companies with the highest turnovers have their administrative headquarters in Essen, including RWE AG, Evonik Industries (formerly RAG-Aktiengesellschaft), EON Ruhrgas AG, Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, Hochtief AG and Thyssen-Krupp AG. At international trade fairs and public shows and exhibitions, Essen Fair welcomes over 10,000 exhibitors and up to 2 million visitors each year. 


The Folkwang University of the Arts is the central place for artistic training in music, theatre, dance, design and academic studies. In line with the Folkwang idea of the cross-disciplinary interaction of the arts, a plurality of different art forms and disciplines have been united under one roof here since 1927. Folkwangers from the photography, communication design and industrial design programs have been re-included as of 2007. Today there are Folkwang locations in Essen, Duisburg, Bochum and Dortmund.

City of Gelsenkirchen

For decades, the work in coalmines and plants determined the life of the citizens of Gelsenkirchen. Since then, a lot has changed. Today, the city is more modern, liveable and attractive than ever, and with a population of approx. 270,000 it has a lot to offer to visitors. Worker’s housing estates and former coalmines and plants are contemporary witnesses telling the history of a great industrial era. Instead of plane facades, Gelsenkirchen presents itself as a colourful potpourri. The Science Park Gelsenkirchen, the infrastructure of which was especially designed for “brain workers”, is host to numerous IT businesses. They do not only represent a particularly fast-growing industry offering interesting and highly qualified jobs, but they also help other industries in the city to control their processes with the help of state-of-the-art information and communication technology.

Wirtschaftsförderung metropoleruhr GmbH

The Wirtschaftsförderung metropoleruhr (wmr) is the regional business development corporation for the Ruhr region. Its role is, among other things, to market the Ruhr metropolis as a business location nationally and internationally, to highlight the economic strengths of the region and to develop new future-orientated themes of interest. Apart from central themes such as energy, logistics and mobility, this naturally also includes the creative industries. In its work on project development, location marketing and investor services, the wmr collaborates closely with various partners in the local authorities, associations, institutions and businesses. The CEO of wmr is Thomas Westphal.


The Wirtschaftsförderung Oberhausen (Oberhausen economic promotion) is happy to assist and consult companies from all industries, covering everything from large business groups to one-man (or one-woman) businesses. Be it for companies from Oberhausen or from other cities, WFO is a customer-oriented company supporting entrepreneurs, freelancers or founders of new businesses. A strong cooperation between the City of Oberhausen and the industry helps to pool potentials and use synergies effectively. The strategic goal of WFO is to position Oberhausen as a future-oriented economic location and to offer additional jobs by helping businesses to grow, by promoting resettlement and by establishing new companies. The service portfolio includes consultation services for start-ups, the strengthening of the position of already existing businesses, the provision of location advice and the support and supervision of projects. Apart form financial questions they also assist in issues dealing with personnel placement, real estate and permit



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