Significance of iron and steel industry in the Ruhr region

  • Improvement of the transport network. The need to transport raw materials and finished products related to the iron and steel industry has led to improved transport networks. Land and waterways Have been built in the region.
Significance of iron and steel industry in the Ruhr region
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  • Growth and expansion of towns. Many towns have sprung up in Ruhr as a result of the iron and steel industries. For example, Essen, Dortmund and Duisburg.
  • Job opportunities. Many people have been employed in iron and steel industry as loaders, drivers, clerks and operators.
  • Promotion of agriculture. The need to feed the huge population in the industrial towns has promoted agricultural activities.
  • Provision of social amenities. Health centres, schools, housing and recreational facilities have been set up to cater for workers in the industrial towns


Factors for growth of the Ruhr industrial region

  • Availability of coal/source of power: The Ruhr region is located on the largest coalfield in Europe. The coalfield extends from river Rhine to Hamm (east), river Lippe (north) and river Wupper (south). The ready supply of coal, which was a basic raw material, has led to the development of the iron and steel industry.
Factors for growth of the Ruhr industrial region
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  • Availability of Iron Ore: Iron ore was available from the onset of the industrialization of the region within the Ruhr valley and the Sieg (Sieger) field to the South. However, with the intensification of the production of iron and steel in the region, Iron ore is now imported from Sweden, U.S.A. and Alsace-Lorraine (France)
  • Availability of Limestone: Limestone is a necessity in the iron and steel industry. The Ruhr region is advantaged because limestone is also found within the locality.
  • Central Geographical position: The Ruhr region is centrally located in Europe. It has a direct connection with all parts of Europe by water, railway, air, and road. The Rhine River is navigable from its mouth in the North Sea up to Basle in Switzerland. Iron ore from Alsace-Lorraine is transported downstream to Duisburg for use in the Ruhr region. Products are transported easily downstream through the river to Rotterdam and afterward to the rest of the world. Canals connect the Ruhr region with Eastern Europe and the North Sea. Other canals like Mitteland Canal, which connects it at Berlin, are also used.
  • Availability of Capital: Capital accrued from other industries like coal is invested in the iron and steel industry. Old rich companies also provide ready capital for development in the region. Such old companies include the Ruhr Kohle A.C. and the Krupp group.
  • Availability of ready market: Products fro the iron and steel industries of the Ruhr region have a ready market within the locality as well as in other parts of the world. The Ruhr conurbation of large industrial towns like Duisburg, Bochum, Essen, Dortmund, etc. forms an immediate market. The products are also exported to other countries especially in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
  • Political stability. After the end of the Napoleonic wars and after the unification, the area made more cooperative efforts to achieve industrial development, under the guidance of the German ruler Otto Von Bismarck.

  • Technology. Technological developments also affected industrial patterns of the Ruhr area. The development of mining technology promoted the northward progression of the mining industry and brought light to the northern cities.
  • Tradition. Long-standing traditions survived and even determined the industry in some cities during the nineteenth century. Krefeld prospered with silk industry. Metal products of international renown in Remscheid and Solingen were also results of the long local tradition and craftsmanship.
  • Entrepreneurs. The pioneering work by a number of entrepreneurs led to improvements of the Ruhr area as a whole. Friedrich Krupp established Krupp cast steel factory in Essen in the early nineteenth century. Eberhard Hoesch founded Hoesch, one of the most powerful companies in Dortmund. Jacob Mayer’s Bochumer Verein was renowned for the cast steel goods. The Haniel family prevailed in the coal trade in Ruhrort


The main industrial towns in the Ruhr region

  • Barmen and Elberfeld (Modern Wuppertal). Main centres for textile industries (centers of cotton, wool, and silk manufacture, bleaching, and dyeing).
  • Bochum. Main producer of Coking coal thus mainly has steel industry.

The main industrial towns in the Ruhr region
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  • Dinslaken. A glue factory, a fuel ignition device factory, a rolling mill, and a liquor distillery, several steel-making and metal-using factories are located here.
  • Dortmund. The leading industrial city in the iron industry. The Dortmund-Ems canal completed at the end of the nineteenth century greatly facilitated the import of overseas ore soon after exhaustion.
  • Duisburg. The rise of sugar refineries, tobacco plants, and cotton manufacturing is attributed to the city’s geographic advantage. Iron smelting and machine construction now occupied a significant part of the Duisburg industry.
  • Düsseldorf. One of the most important steel-making and steel-finishing works centers. It had cotton spinning, weaving, calico printing, yarn-spinning, dyeing, and other various industries.
  • Essen. Had large iron and coal fields. Krupp’s company was also vital to the city’s development.
  • Gelsenkirchen. Coal production was the largest concern in Gelsenkirchen.

  • Hagen. Possesses huge iron and steel works, large cotton print works, and woolen and cotton factories manufacturers of leather, paper, tobacco, breweries, and distilleries.
  • Krefeld. Concerned with silk and dyeing. Chemical factory. A liquor distillery and steel production.


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