Stadtpark Bochum is a vivacious park in the tradition of an English landscape garden. Various areas of the park such as rose, dahlia, rhododendron, and shrub gardens as well as the old deciduous trees nestling in the varied landscape and the lake with its large fountains allow visitors to experience the variety of garden design in the park today.
The Bismarckturm at the highest point in the park is still a lookout tower with a sweeping view of the park. A water playground and the traditional Parkhaus which houses a restaurant complete this attractive setting. Art-lovers will also find modern sculptures by Vesely and Richard Serra in the park.
The atmosphere is especially idyllic in May and June, when the rhododendron and roses are in flower, and in October and November, with all the magnificent autumn colours.
The park and some of the buildings in the exclusive residential area, which dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are protected by law due to their historical and artistic significance.
The creation and design of gardens and parks is interwoven with the historical pattern of industrialisation and spatial development in the region.
1869, the city of Bochum was the first public authority to commission and finance a public Stadtpark in the Ruhr area, formerly known and administered as Ruhrkohlenbezirk. The park, featuring two small lakes, covered a 13-hectare area and was situated in a valley stretching from east to west. A restaurant and terraces were built into the slope, thus offering a view over the city. Monuments and a weather station were further features in the park. The park’s nursery, where the visitor could buy milk and mineral water, was located on its north-east side.
In keeping with the spirit of the age, the park was designed and built in a “mixed style”. Thus, picturesque landscaped garden spaces were complemented by geometrical elements of design in combination with the park building, entrance area, paths and elegant buildings. Nearly 700 different, in some cases exotic trees, bushes and shrubs were planted to enhance the park’s status. Their bizarre forms, striking foliage and flamboyant autumn colours created “landscape pictures of manifold attractions”, as reported by contemporary witnesses.
Although this design and the lush flower beds did not comply completely with the teachings of the established gardening theorists of the period, the magnificent exotic plants such as trees of heaven (ailanthus), tulip trees, American sweetgum and trumpet trees constitute a special attraction in the park today.
The last major expansion of the park during the years 1903 – 1905 completed the entire complex: even before Bochum became a major town in 1904 due to the incorporation of four neighbouring villages, the authorities of the neighbouring village of Grumme to the north had bought 11 hectares of land in order to enlarge the park. Ernst Finken was commissioned with the design. Finken had been the director of “Flora” in Cologne for several years before establishing himself as a freelance landscape artist in 1896.
Ernst Finken followed the same principles of planning spaces and structures as Anton Strauss in 1870, and by 1908 he had managed to create a unified area from the two areas of the park and the woodland between them.
In 1909, the foundation stone for the Bismarckturm was laid and in 1910 the tower was officially opened. Karl Elkart (Councillor in Bochum) designed the new Parkhaus (restaurant and convention centre), which was completed in 1913.
Bochum’s Stadtpark was and is a stimulus for the architectural development of the surrounding areas. In 1893, Bochum was the first German town to define an “open building area” around the Stadtpark. The development plan of 1910 for this area defines clear relationships between the extended Stadtpark and the urban context of open building areas, schools and hospitals.
In the years 1933 – 1939, a small zoo was added to the park. During the war and post-war years, the park was partially destroyed and it then became totally neglected. Over the years, the city authorities continually repaired the damage and simultaneously created new park areas.
Today, the 31-hectare park is located at the edge of the city centre and presents itself as a vivacious park in the tradition of an English landscape garden with a great garden history. Various areas of the park such as rose, dahlia, rhododendron, and shrub gardens as well as the old deciduous trees nestling in the varied terrain and the lake with its large fountains allow visitors to experience historical garden design in the park today.
The Bismarckturm is still a lookout tower today while the historical Parkhaus houses a restaurant. A water playground rounds off the historical ensemble. The dairy was reopened as an ice-cream parlour in 2001 and is popular with old and young alike. Art-lovers will also find modern sculptures by Ales Vesely and Richard Serra in the park.
The park and some of the buildings in the exclusive residential area which dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are protected by law due to their historical and artistic significance.
The atmosphere is especially idyllic in May and June, when the rhododendron and roses are in flower, and in October and November, when the trees change colour in autumn.
Stadtpark Bochum (NRW)
The park is open all year round
No admission fee for park. Admission charge for zoo.
Cultural Programme and Exhibitions: No
- Cafe/Restaurant: There are several restaurants and cafés in the park
- WC: At the playground and at the entrance to the zoo
- Parking: In den umliegenden Straßen
- General map and further information on the park: No
- Benches in the park: In large numbers
- Average Length of Stay: 1½ hours
- Access for People with Disabilities: The park is suitable for people with limited mobility. However, the terrain is rather hilly.
- Children’s Programme: Water playground, zoo
How to get there: