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The Emscherkunstweg (Emscher Art Trail) is a public art collection on the banks of the Emscher river.

The Emscherkunstweg includes currently 23 works of art in public space by artists or collectives such as atelier le balto, Julius von Bismarck with Marta Dyachenko, Rita McBride, Tadashi Kawamata, Tobias Rehberger or Silke Wagner.


Piet Oudolf | Gross.Max, Theater der Pflanzen, 2010


The Emscherkunstweg arose from the temporary exhibition format »Emscherkunst« that since 2010 has accompanied the conversion of the Emscher river system undertaken by the Emschergenossenschaft water board. The format was initiated to mark the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 and subsequently continued as a triennial event. Whereas in 2010 many of the artworks were kept in their locations as permanent sculptures, the works created for 2013 and 2016 were largely temporary exhibits conceived for an exhibition period of just three and a half months. Since 2019 the collaborative project Emscherkunstweg has become a permanent sculpture trail, thereby providing the region with a lasting exhibition format.

Silke Wagner, Glückauf. Bergarbeiterproteste im Ruhrgebiet, 2010


The already existing 21 artworks will be complemented by new works of art. The expansion of the public collection is being conceived by Britta Peters, artistic director of Urbane Künste Ruhr, together with curator Marijke Lukowicz. New productions are planned until the end of 2023, which will expand the spectrum of sculptural positions in public space. Markus Jeschaunig and Sofía Táboas are planned for site-specific new productions for the Emscherkunstweg.

Tadashi Kawamata, Walkway and Tower, 2010


The sculpture itinerary runs along the banks of the Emscher from its source in Holzwickede to its mouth in Dinslaken, covering over 100 kilometres of cycle paths. Over long distances it follows the Emscher-Weg cycle trail, which is well signposted. A number of the art sites are located slightly away from the Emscher-Weg.

Emscherkunstweg Route
→ GPX-Download.

raumlabor berlin, Zur kleinen Weile, 2016


The Emscher river flows through the centre of the Ruhr region, joining up various municipalities and rural districts. From the river’s source in Holzwickede to where it joins the Rhine in Dinslaken, the river tells of the agitated industrial history of the Ruhr region and of one of the largest renaturisation projects in Europe: to restore the Emscher from a drainage system into a natural river landscape. The hybrid cultural landscape that has resulted from this conversion offers opportunities for a broad range of artistic involvement. The sculptural works featured here reflect the structural transformation of the Ruhr region and the ensuing social and ecological developments.

Inges Idee, Zauberlehrling, 2013/2019

Der Emscherkunstweg ist eine Kooperation zwischen Urbane Künste Ruhr, Emschergenossenschaft und Regionalverband Ruhr unter der Schirmherrschaft von Ina Brandes, Ministerin für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Eine Kooperation von

Gefördert durch