Bochum is located in the centre of the Ruhr area. It has a population of nearly 400.000 inhabitants.
Bochum's last colliery closed down some 30 years ago, and steel production is no longer as important as it was. New industries took their place, and companies like Deutsche BP AG and Bosch Rexroth set up manufacturing facilities in the city. Already, insurance companies and public administration, educational and cultural institutions employ more people in the town than the manufacturing sector.
Increasingly, the universities and the technology centres which evolve around them, are putting their stamp on the location. And where once the working-men's clubs used to have a monopoly on communication, students, actors and all kinds of innovators now meet in rock-cafés, bistros and discos. Sweat is more or less "out" and brain power is "in".
Bochum today is an industrial and commercial center, a rail and road junction, and a growing vacation spot. Its manufactures include automobiles, metal products, chemicals, textiles, beer, and information technology. It is the seat of Ruhr University (opened 1965) and museums of mining and geology.