Europe’s Coolest Urban Park Even Locals Don’t Know About

Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord is a 15-hectare industrial playground featuring an artificial diving site, alpine climbing facilities, a 70-meter high viewing platform and frequent cultural happenings.

The reason so many Germans remain oblivious to the existence of this incredibly cool attraction is understandable. To the uninformed, the “park” looks a lot more like an abandoned industrial plant than a breezy recreation spot – and that’s because it essentially is one.

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Photo credit: Jurjen Veerman/Shutterstock.com

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Photo credit: Jurjen Veerman/Shutterstock.com

A few decades ago, demand for steel and coal in the region declined, making dozens of the factory’s workers redundant and causing it to shut down. The Landschaftspark could have remained an enormous metal carcass rotting away in the suburb of Duisburg, but in the early 90s a team of talented designers joined efforts to turn the place into what might just be one of Europe’s most unconventional attractions.

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Photo credit: katjen/Shutterstock.com

Today, the re-modeled complex plays host to cultural events and festivals ranging from film premiers to high-level conventions, and is a round-the-clock amusement park, minus the rides. Some of its facilities include a high ropes course (occupying the space of casting houses 2 & 3), alpine climbing walls, and even an actual diving site (Europe’s largest of the kind!) set up inside a former gas storage basin with sunken aircraft, a “shipwreck”, two cars and an artificial reef at the bottom.

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Photo credit: CK Ma/Shutterstock.com

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Photo credit: Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com

The park’s biggest draw is the viewing platform from Blast Furnace 5, with a metal stairway leading 70 meters up to the very top of the complex. It is from here that the true meaning of “landscape” in the park’s name becomes apparent – the mesmerizing views from up above sweep over Duisburg, the Lower Rhine valley, and much of Germany’s Ruhr region. Insider tip: arrive at sundown.

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Photo credit: Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com

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Photo credit: Daniel Valenzuela

In the summer, an open-air cinema operates in casting house No.1. At night, the entire structure gets beautifully illuminated by colored lights, and a full-on light show is performed on Fridays and weekends. And if you’re still undecided as to whether or not to make the trip, here is one last bit of info: entry to the park is completely free of charge.

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Photo credit: Raimond Spekking CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)