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Merode Castle, Laufenburg Castle and the Leopold Hoesch Museum are three good reasons to take a campervan holiday in Düren. But the town in North Rhine-Westphalia has even more to offer. The Bubenheimer Spieleland, the great mini-golf course with a huge sculpture and the Obermaubach dam offer lots of fun and variety.
The town on the Ruhr was first mentioned in a document in 747. At that time Charlemagne came to visit the settlement on the northern edge of the Eifel. From the 16th century onwards, the town became a well-known place of pilgrimage because of a relic of Saint Anne.
The annual Annafest is still a tradition today. Anne's Day is celebrated on 26 July. Today Düren, with 90,000 inhabitants, is one of the larger cities in the Ruhr area and is the administrative seat of the Euregio Mass-Rhine.
The gateway to the Eifel, as Düren is also fondly called, consists almost exclusively of buildings constructed after 1945. The Allies destroyed 99 percent of the houses in the city. This makes Düren the most severely destroyed city of the Second World War.
In the meantime, Düren has recovered from this destruction. Impressive buildings such as the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, the Papiermuseum Düren and the Arena Kreis Düren now characterise the modern townscape. Events held in the centre include numerous markets, the funfair and the Rhenish carnival.
The weather in the city is influenced by both the Atlantic and the continental climate. Winters tend to be mild and the summer months are pleasantly warm. The best time for a holiday with a campervan in Düren are the months from May to August.
With a temperature of 17.3 degrees, July is the warmest month of the year. Of course, this is only an average value. The thermometer can also rise well above 20 degrees Celsius in summer.
Nevertheless, one waits in vain for long periods of heat in Düren. The coldest month is January with 2 degrees Celsius. In general, the winter months are too cool to spend the night in a mobile home.
It rains less in Düren than in most German cities. The driest month is February with 39.4 mm of precipitation. June and July have the most rain, with 63.3 mm of precipitation.
For this reason, it is important to make sure you pack a rain jacket. A waterproof awning for the campervan is also a good idea.
The Anna Church, as you see it today, was built in 1954. It contains an important relic of Saint Anne. As early as 1510, the church was a very popular place of pilgrimage. At that time, 20,000 pilgrims a year came to the town, a huge number by the standards of the time.
This art museum was built by the city on behalf of the Hoesch family in 1899. The architect Georg Frentzen created a baroque building with an elaborate façade. The spacious outdoor area is adorned with two large bronze sculptures.
They were created by the sculptor Karl Krauß. The museum's exhibition space totals 3000 square metres, after an extension was added from 2007 to 2010. The very plain extension forms a contrast to the baroque main building.
The two parts of the building are connected by a bridge. It symbolises the connection between the historical and modern architecture. The stone sculpture "Ursprung" by Ulrich Rückiem in front of the main building was added in 2011.
The collection itself comprises historical finds and modern art. Among other things, the coin and antiquities collection of Damian Rumpel and the collection of the explorer Carl Georg Schilling can be seen. Schilling brought back numerous objects from his journey to Africa.
In addition, the museum also shows works by Emil Nolde, Ernst Barlach and Käthe Kollwitz.
This castle dates back to the 12th century and is located in the municipality of Langerwehe. It was built in the Renaissance style and is considered one of the most beautiful moated castles in Germany.
Since 1174, this castle has been owned by the princely family of Merode. A Christmas market is held in the courtyard of the castle every year. Admission to the castle is free for locals only.
Stephan Thiemolds called for a fundraising campaign to rebuild the onion tower. He embarked on a bicycle world tour and collected one euro for every kilometre. The surroundings of Düren are also great to explore by bike.
Tip: Rent a bike: You can rent all kinds of bikes cheaply at the Düren e-bike rental.
The service is very good and the staff give detailed explanations on how to use the bikes.
Unfortunately, there is no campsite in Düren itself. However, this is not a problem as there are three good sites within a few kilometres.
Kreuzau is only 7 km from Düren. The small town is very tranquil and has some good shopping facilities. The campsite itself is also very quiet, so you can spend a few relaxing nights here with your camper van.
The ambience is more natural than chic. The sanitary facilities are not really new, but clean. There are numerous hiking trails near the campsite. The bike rental Outdoorbike Kreuzau is a good place to rent bikes.
This campsite offers a great view of Nideggen Castle and is located directly on the Ruhr. The pitches are large enough for a campervan. The reception is very friendly and guests are quickly assigned their pitch.
Fresh bread rolls are delivered in the morning and there is an in-house restaurant. The sanitary facilities are very well maintained. The wooded area is ideal for excursions into the countryside.
At this site, you can park your campervan on a beautiful meadow with a rocky view or on fenced-in areas. However, most of the spaces are permanently rented. The site manager is very friendly and helpful.
The sanitary facilities are a little outdated, but clean. There is an additional site trailer with toilets on the lawn. There is also a pool and a large playground for children.
By car/camper van: It is no problem to reach the town by car or camper van. The A4 motorway runs right past it.
By plane: Cologne/Bonn international airport is only 60 km away. The journey time by campervan is about 40 minutes.
The Anna Church, the Leopold Hoesch Museum and Merode Castle make Düren a worthwhile destination by campervan. The beautiful surroundings invite you to go cycling and hiking. Around the city there are some beautiful and well-maintained campsites where you can park a campervan perfectly for a few days.