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going urbanana!

The banana-shaped urban jungle that extends from the Ruhr Area and Düsseldorf to Cologne is so inimitable and at the same time multifaceted that you should urgently consider paying a visit to this western region of Germany

The project ”NRW as destination for urban lifestyle und scenes“, run by Tourismus NRW e.V. and its partners Düsseldorf Tourismus GmbH, KölnTourismus GmbH and Ruhr Tourismus GmbH, proclaimed a polycentric urban jungle, reaching from the Rhineland to the Ruhr area, as a creative metropolitan region. From 2016 to 2019 the focus shifted from ordinary/classic sights to different districts; hospitality as well as creative experience instead of passive consumption in the “urban banana” stretching from the Ruhr area far into the Rhineland. A fruitful idea that has been awarded the European Cultural Brands Award as cultural tourism region of the year 2017.

The project enhanced the development of new topics, such as music and urban-art tourism: Specific events, such as the Music Tourism Convention provided new impetus for the creation of new touristic offers like the urban art-walks or an excursion into pop-history, with the help of the web-app ”Sound of urbanana”.

{:gb}Partly paved space in front of some houses. The facades look a bit weathered.{:}{:de}Teilweise asphaltierter Platz vor einigen Wohnhäusern. Die Fassaden wirken etwas verwittert.{:}

Together with its partners from the creative industry, the project was able to develop a whole network of English information resources such as city magazines, blogs, an online architectural magazine and creative city/region maps.

EyeEm Customshoot Kiln c Joris Felix A1 6 scaled

Creative urban spaces are tempting: Especially the local creative scenes can be regarded as major location factors. Their importance can notably be made out when attracting digital companies and in any individual habitat decision of the potential employees. Thus, a primary, favourable travel experience in North Rhine-Westphalia can function as a catalyst for future settlement or business attraction. The common separation of work, leisure time and education or location and destination marketing, is suspended. Simply one state in FLOW with its cities.

{:gb}Facade of a red brick building with a capital U on the roof.{:}{:de}Fassade eines roten Klinkerbaus mit einem großen U auf dem Dach.{:}

how do we work?

The project has an overall volume of 3.75 million euro. It is scheduled to run three years, having started in September 2019. Three different thematic threads are addressed parallelly:

  1. Urban (pop) culture
  2. Start-up milieu and expat community
  3. Design, craftsmanship and contemporary arts

FLOW.NRW will work as enabler and networker for companies, showing them value added potential in cooperation with the digital, creative and touristic industries in North Rhine-Westphalia. A network of different digital content will therefore be developed depicting the contemporary and international west in German and English. The planned actions are assigned to seven modules:

Module 1

Brand & content development

The module includes any actions regarding the development of the brand urbanana, as an open-minded and accessible network, for a cosmopolitan view of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Module 2

Think glocal! – Enhancing local projects

The module includes any actions regarding the support and international visualisation of stakeholders from the creative and digital industries in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Module 3

urbanana Homebrew

The module includes any self-made events in North Rhine-Westphalia that promote cross-cluster-cooperation.

Module 4

Expat and student marketing

The module includes any actions in North Rhine-Westphalia aimed at these new project target groups.

Module 5


The module includes any actions of international PR work and acquisition of internationally oriented external events.

Module 6

urbanana as partner of the digital and creative industries

The module includes any collaboration with conferences, fairs or festivals.

Module 7

Services, consultancy, networking and evaluation

The module includes any services across all modules.

{:gb}Map of NRW on which some cities are marked. A stylized banana is drawn between Dortmund and Bonn.{:}{:de}Karte von NRW auf der einige Städte markiert sind. Zwischen Dortmund und Bonn ist eine stylisierte Banane eingezeichnet.{:}
In one of the most beautiful cities on the Rhine, there is much more to see than the cathedral. The metropolis impresses with its friendly and openminded character, a multicultural and artsy flair and numerous unique districts (Veedel), which invite you to stroll and stay.
The city of art and fashion is characterized by a wild mix of traditional and modern. Birthplace of innovative ideas, home to great arts and architectural showpieces – NRW’s state capital offers all this and much more.
Hardly any other region in Germany is as multifaceted as the Ruhr region. But the industrial stronghold has long since ceased to be just a coal-mining region, and is now above all a creative engine, home to digital pioneers and, above all, a matter of the heart.

advisory board

An advisory board compiled of eading key-figuers from the tourism, creative and start-up industries assists and supports the project:

Alain Bieber
Artistic Director NRW Forum
Ralph Christoph
Managing Director c/o pop Convention
Bernd Fesel
Managing Director of The European Creative Business Network (ECBN) and ce_creative economy
Patricia Graf
Project Manager, product designer; Aachen
Thorsten Hellweg
Spokesman DEHOGA Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.
Claudia Jericho
Managing Director CREATIVE.NRW
Meike Levin-Keitel
TU Dortmund
Peter Petersen
Managing Director 3D-Druckzentrum Ruhr
Christof Rose
Architektenkammer NRW
Sabine Rottmann
Project Manager ruhr:HUB
Lars Terlinden
Director Competence Centre of cultural and creative industries, Wirtschaftsförderung Düsseldorf
Jan Thiel
Managing Director A4VR
Iren Tonoian
Board member artrmx e.V.
Bojan Vuletić
Director asphalt festival
{:gb}Inside view of DigiChurchAachen. You can see a long table at which several people are sitting. In the background there are desks with a PC.{:}{:de}Innenansicht der DigiChurchAachen. Man sieht einen langen Tisch an dem mehrere Menschen sitzen. Im Hintergrudn stehen Schreibtische mit PC.{:}

our network

A strong network is everything. This is why FLOW.NRW works hand in hand with its partners from the creative and digital industries.

CREATIVE.NRW is the network of creative professionals in North Rhine-Westphalia serving employees, companies, freelancers, institutions, and municipalities. As a center of expertise, it provides contacts, knowledge and a wide range of information. CREATIVE.NRW builds bridges in between the creative industries and with other sectors by initiating projects and cooperations – sometimes together with FLOW.NRW.