Family: Experiencing the diversity of the Ruhr region with your family

Leaving your home country to found a company, start a job or study in another country is already a major step to take in life. Taking your own family with you, settling into an unknown environment with them and learning a new language represents an additional challenge - for the whole family. There is a great deal to organise, beyond starting a career in the Ruhr region - from looking for accommodation to enrolling the children in a school and settling in to the new area.

Finding the right environment in which to live in the Metropole Ruhr

In the Ruhr region you can enjoy an immense range of different housing options, leisure activities, cultural events and shopping opportunities. Although the Ruhr region consists of 53 individual cities, towns and municipalities, the borders between these are fluid. The individual towns blend so seamlessly into one another that the region is also known as the Metropole Ruhr. In fact, after Paris and London the Ruhr region is the third largest metropolitan region in Europe. Over five million people from the most varied of cultural backgrounds live in the Metropole Ruhr, half of them in the Ruhr region cities of Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Oberhausen, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Herne and Bochum.

Opportunities for your family: leisure, work, education and cultural experiences

Experiencing and enjoying this variety is just one option for your family in the Ruhr region, however. Perhaps your spouse would like to take a job in the region. This is no problem once the residence permit has been granted. In addition, you and your family also have a wide range of opportunities for education, to study at one of the numerous universities of the Metropole Ruhr or even to continue studies that you commenced in your home country.

Below you will find extensive information and links that will help make it easier for you and your family to settle into your new living environment in the Ruhr region.

  • Being active in the Ruhr region means more than just working. There are numerous opportunities for organising your leisure time, keeping fit, experiencing cultural events, shopping and socialising. Here you can find extensive information on everything that there is to do in the Ruhr region:

Leisure and entertainment

  • Whether you are travelling from one Ruhr region city to another for work, going to a cinema or theatre in the evening or making a weekend excursion to one of the highlights of industrial culture – in the Metropole Ruhr you can always reach your destination quickly and in an environmentally-friendly manner: by bus and train, with a hire bike or via car sharing. The towns and cities with their places of employment and leisure destinations are closely interlinked via various forms of transport. Only one ticket is required for all towns and cities. All important information regarding mobility in the Ruhr region can be found on the information portal:

Mobile in the Ruhr region

Organising childcare for your children is essential, particularly when both parents work. Whether it is in kindergarten, facilities offered by schools or childminders - the information portal of the German Federal Government contains all of the information that you require to find suitable care:


  • In the Ruhr region there are numerous childcare options and offers. 
  • To the age of three children are usually cared for by private establishments and childminders, after which they attend kindergarten.
  • Kindergartens may be run by the municipality, churches or private organisations. Kindergarten places are generally offered for 25, 35 or 45 hours per week (5, 7 or 9 hours per day, Mondays to Fridays) and incur a fee. Kindergarten places are allocated by the town or city in which you live. Your place of residence is therefore a prerequisite for your choice of childcare.
  • Overview of childcare facilities in the towns and cities of the Ruhr region:

Childcare in Bochum

Childcare in Bottrop

Childcare in Duisburg

 Childcare in Dortmund

Childcare in Essen

Childcare in Gelsenkirchen

Childcare in Hagen

Childcare in Hamm

Childcare in Herne

Childcare in Mülheim an der Ruhr

 Childcare in Oberhausen

Childcare in the district of Recklinghausen

  • Do you have children of school age? Then you need to find the right school for them. As part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the school system in the Ruhr region is divided into primary schools and secondary schools. Pupils have the opportunity to acquire various school qualifications, such as the Abitur at grammar schools and comprehensive schools. All information regarding the school system can be found on the info portal of the German Federal Government:

The school system in Germany

International School Ruhr

  • In the Ruhr region there are various options for studying. With 22 universities, the region has the densest higher education network in Europe. Whether it is full-time studies or part-time alongside your job, at a university on site or as distance learning - the choice is yours. Information and an overview of the various types of courses can be found on the portal of the University Conference:

Forms of study in Germany

  • Once you and your family have arrived in the Ruhr region, moved into your new home and begun work, then you may want to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings. To help you adjust smoothly and perhaps make the Ruhr region your new home, tips and information can be found here:

"Make it in Germany" guide
Information on all key aspects of everyday life in Germany

  • If you decide to remain in Germany permanently, then you may take German citizenship under certain circumstances. All information regarding this can be found here: