Landscape Park Duisburg Nord - Germany

Landscape Park Duisburg Nord - Germany
Area characterisation: 

Biogeographic region: Atlantic

Surface area: 180 ha

Country: Germany

Region/Province: Ruhr Area/ North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

The Landscape Park Duisburg-North is part of the larger Emscher Landscape Park (472 km²) - that was started during the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA) between 1989 – 1999 - which links the urban landscape and several parks through green corridors, cycle paths and the Emscher river.

Today, the Landscape Park is part of a permanent regional park system in the centre of the Ruhr metropolitan area with 7 regional green corridors (A-G/ North-South bound) and the New Emschertal (East-West green corridor) (See Figure 1 in 4 Location Maps).

The Landscape Park Duisburg-North is located in the formerly very industrial Ruhr region of Germany and is centred around an old iron works. The Iron works buildings have been maintained and repurposed for sports, cultural events, historical significance, and tourism (with 700 000 people visiting per year). Some of the material bunkers have been cultivated and planted with various plants, others have been left wild and have grown over.

Surrounding the central built area are large fields, forests, swamp and farms, which have been largely left to nature.


The landscape park aims to fulfil a variety of functions:

The provision of recreation and educational facilities for local residents and visitors, and the encouragement of tourism to the area. Socio-cultural and economic benefits focus on education, culture, sports and history while keeping a sense of place through preserving historic elements of the area.

Another focus lies on water protection (Freshwater storage, management and distribution)

The Landscape Park further aims to regulate micro and regional climate, especially as part of the Emscher Landscape Park, and to enhance ecological preservation (over 700 different species of plant, 45 species of birds, 100 species beetles recorded).


PRINCIPLE UF-NbS (Urban Forests as Nature-Based Solutions) ACTION(S)

  • Western Ruhr Region Biological Station (for the ‘Industrial Nature’)
    • Covers all of the Western Ruhr Area and has several bases throughout the Ruhr region, including one in the Landscape Park; The station develops concepts for the preservation and development of the park, and other inner-city green spaces, focusing on research and conservation;
    • Looking after conservation areas;
    • Nature conservation, practical measures for species and habitat protection;
    • Land reclamation;
    • Technical advice;
    • Plan future interventions with the park authorities;
    • Data collection (record plant and animal species);
    • Scientific research;
    • Providing information and education on environment and nature conservation to public;
    • Industrial Nature (nature on former steel and mining industrial land) is a key focus.
    • Two separate farms: Ingenhammshof (farm) & Emstermannshof (more like a green area for walking)
      • Farm school from the workers organisation (AWO), teaching people, especially youth and School courses, from cities the principals of farming and animals
      • Animals (horses, donkey, chicken, goat)
      • Orchard, vegetables, herbs, flowers
    • Enclosed “Bunker” Gardens
      • The bunkers are areas surrounded by high concrete walls, where the materials (e.g. coal, iron ore) were stored and remains left over
      • Different materials left in the bunkers were left to experiments with different soil types in different sections (e.g. Fine soil, or large chunks of concrete from buildings). This develops individual microclimates
      • Some planted, some naturally/wild seeded local plants
      • Some non-native – that come from the steel workers gardens, or were transported with the iron works raw materials
    • Forested areas/plantations
    • Densely vegetated areas
      • Nature left to itself
      • Visitors not allowed to enter these areas, to avoid disturbing the environment, and some parts can be dangerous
    • Swamp areas
    • Water works part of the new Emscher valley project
      • River divided into 5 parts;
      • Filled solely from rainwater – collected from all flat areas (e.g. Building rooves, terraced areas);
      • Some water carried along raised pipes (powered by old wind turbine), used to water plants in enclosed gardens, and collected in a water storage basin. Falls from height back into main canal, this oxygenates the water;
    • The canal is now clean enough and there are several fish species.


  • Culture
    • Festivals & concerts
    • Lights (evenings)
  • Leisure
    • Climbing walls and high ropes among old buildings
    • Indoor diving tank – filled from canal, in the gasometer
    • Bike rent; cycle path – extended connects surroundings encourage cycling
    • Footpaths
    • Skate and BMX park
    • Playgrounds
    • Pets corner
    • Playgrounds
    • Geocaching
    • Viewing platform
  • History
    • Tours through iron works (Different target groups; themed topics e.g. steel furnaces (Hüttenführungen), Torch Tours (Fackelführung)
    • Viewing platform at top of old blast furnace buildings (Hochhofen 5, only one that can be accessed)
  • Hospitality
    • Food and restaurants
  • Youth hostel
NbS benefits 
  • Reduce load to sewer system
  • Reducing temperature at meso or micro scale
  • Greater ecological connectivity across urban regenerated sites
  • Improve connectivity and functionality of green and blue infrastructures
  • Increase quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
  • Increased cultural richness and biodiversity
  • Creation of green jobs relating to construction & maintenance of NBS
  • Increase accessibility to green open spaces
  • Increase amount of green open spaces for residents
  • Increase awareness of NBS solution & their effectiveness and co benefits
  • Increase social interaction
  • Increase well-being
  • Social learning about location & importance of NBS
Transferability of the result: 

The Landscape Park received international recognition and was the lighthouse project of the IBA Emscher Park between 1990 to 1999 and the regional Emscher Landscape Park. The Landscape Park can be seen as a successful example of structural change, from heavy industry to a large open space for the population which improves quality of life in the city in the long-term.

Different elements of urban forests as nature-based solutions in combination with the historic elements of the location (Riverbanks, trainline, blast furnaces, “bunkers”) are a way of keeping the sense of place and at the same time as contributing to the preservation of flora and fauna, providing space for recreation and events, and offers a sports and leisure opportunities. Financially this was a huge effort by all the actors involved, especially the Federal state of NRW, the City of Duisburg, the Ruhr Region and the effects of European funding.


Community fundraising:

The Biological Station is partly funded through donations.

Project delivered services and monies raised by project:

About 41 percent of the maintenance of the park comes from the park’s own income.

Earnings derive from:

  • Permanent rental and leasing
  • Temporary rental (events)
  • Services (events)
  • Own venues and events
  • Film and photography, merchandising

Average cost of maintenance per year: 6 Mio. Euros.


  • Repair, services, caring, construction measures and qualifications (about 65 percent)
  • Staff (about 18 percent)
  • Others (Operating, insurance, marketing) (17 percent)

City, regional general funds:

The construction of the Landsape Park Duisburg North was financed as part of the regional Emscher Landscape Park since the early 1990s and was supported by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (IBA).

It was financed by Duisburg City, Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Landesentwicklungsgesellschaft NRW GmbH (NRW-Urban) and the European Union.

The financial participation for maintenance of the park comes from:

  • NRW state (30 percent)
  • Regionalverband Ruhr (18 percent)
  • City of Duisburg (11 percent)
  • Operation of Landscape Park (41 percent)

Private sector investment:


International funds:

Many projects in the Emscher Landscape Park were funded with the help of the “Ecology Program-Emscher-Lippe” (ÖPEL) by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, which in turn used EU funding for this (Objective 2 program / ERDF / ESF). The Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park was also funded with ÖPEL funds.

International Funds: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), also via Ruhr Tourismus GmbH


Sponsoring for a specific purpose e.g. events (Schauinslandreisen, König Pilsener, Sinalco)

NbS classification 
  • Urban forest
  • Brown field
  • Extensive green roofs
  • Hedge
  • Urban trees
  • Urban grassland
  • Green playgrounds
  • Water retention basin

Lena Sieler

Public Relations Office


Duisburg Kontor Hallenmanagement GmbH

Park Management Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord, Emscherstraße 71, 47137 Duisburg

Tel: +49-203-712 808 03


Further information

The compilation of this case study description has been funded by the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 821242.

Sustainable Development Goals 
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 15. Life On Land
Key Performance Indicators: