welcome to wuppertal, germany


madrid, paris, … wuppertal?

Yes! Wuppertal is located in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state! 12 million inhabitants within the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, three times the size of Berlin. Including famous international cities like Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund. These large cities can be reached by train from Wuppertal within 20 to 60 minutes, and provide perfect international access with their three international airports. The public transport and road networks provide dense coverage and offer optimal transport and access options for both the teams and for visitors. In addition, Wuppertal is very easy to reach from the Benelux countries.

The nearby Rhine River and particularly the Duisburg port provide important shipping options and offer ideal infrastructure for delivering the construction components. Long-distance trains leave there at least every hour for Berlin, Frankfurt and other German cities. Numerous new hotels within walking distance of the sde21 site provide excellent accommodation options for the wide range of participants and visitors . The relatively favourable price level makes the city affordable for student teams.


Wuppertal took a long journey from being a heartland of the German textile industry in the 19th and early 20th century. Through hard economic structural changes, it has become an aspiring city with a vivid scenery of art, culture and transition.

young city with a long history

The city exists in its present size since 1929 and had developed in one of the first German industrial regions in the early 19th century. Its location near the river Wupper and the proximity to coal, wood, iron and ore deposits created an ideal condition for the development of the textile industry.

Thus, Wuppertal was fairly called “German Manchester”. It is not surprising that one of the best-known sons of the city is Friedrich Engels. He was part of one of the textile dynasties which had its roots in the pietistic work ethics of its time. But despite, or maybe just because, of his family’s remorseless strive for wealth, Engels and his fellow communist Karl Marx studied the hard struggle of the working class and published the “Communist Manifesto”. From that time on, Wuppertal has been the origin of various technical and social innovations and great ideas. The so-called “Schwebebahn” was once a symbol of technological innovation and progressiveness; many international economic companies endeavoured to settle in this vivid valley (e.g. Bayer AG). However, the city is also a place suffering from economic and structural changes, especially since the 1970s.

bottom-up transformation

Globalisation led to a move of the textile industry to Asia. As a result, the city slipped into a vicious cycle of population and business drain, municipal debt and loss of attractiveness. A shifting of costs between Germany and its communes, as well as the global financial crisis, were not good for Wuppertal either.

Therefore, social and cultural institutions were closed, such as the Schauspielhaus, where the world-famous Pina Bausch Dance Theatre originated. For several years now however, the city of Wuppertal is experiencing a turnaround. The spirit of bottom-up transformation flows through the city and the actions of its citizens. Particularly in the “District Mirke” you find this spirit. This is the neighbourhood where the SDE21 will take place.

district mirke

Mirke, the neighbourhood in which the SDE21 site and the presented urban situations are situated, can look back on 150 years of history with ups and downs, which today has turned the urban neighbourhood into a diverse, creative, innovative, dynamic, vibrant and edgy place. In short, it is perfect for the SDE21! 

The development of Mirke is a reflection of the development of the entire city. Buildings such as the former Gold-Zack factory building and the many preserved buildings from the founding period are contemporary witnesses of the industrial past. read more

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