The Ruhr.Topcard – Exploring the Ruhrgebiet in Germany

I already introduced you to the Museumkaart in the Netherlands, which may be a very profitable (but a bit of difficult to get) purchase when you travel to the country very frequently. This posting introduces you to the Ruhr.Topcard, which is a similar concept (multiple attractions in one ticket) for the Ruhrgebiet region in Germany, North of my home town Cologne. I initially bought it in 2021, as I guessed that Covid-19 restrictions will lead to a more regional focus of my website. Now, the Ruhr.Topcard is available for 2024. Time to introduce you to it.


Ruhr.Topcard – What is it exactly?

In contrast to the Museumkaart I mentioned, the Ruhr.Topcard is not a season ticket. It is always valid for one calendar year. Regardless of the date of purchase (if you buy it for the same calendar year, at least), it is valid until 31st December of that year. The ticket is no subscription, it is not automatically renewing, but you actively have to order a new one. The card is issued by the Ruhr Tourismus GmbH, an agency promoting tourism in the Ruhrgebiet region.


Not a Season Ticket

Typically, the card grants you free access to the attraction. However, there are some partners, at which the card just gives you a discount (typically half price). A nice feature of it is also that there are far more attractions than museums. For example, my wife and I played half price Topgolf Oberhausen with the card in 2023. You can also do some ship cruises or try out some recreational pools and spa baths.

There might be some minor limitations, though. For example, some attractions only accept the ticket for their permanent exhibition or exclude certain dates. The pools typically limit your stay to a few hours – mostly with the option to pay for a day ticket upgrade though. You also typically don’t receive some perks you might have as a member or season ticket holder of certain attractions. Some zoos, for example offer free parking or discounts at the stores and restaurants for their regular visitors, while you are a “normal” visitor in that regard with the Ruhr.Topcard.



Ruhr.Topcard – Price and Purchase

Especially if you are a visitor from abroad, the easiest way to get the Ruhr.Topcard is by purchasing them at one of the attractions directly. Having said that, not all partners of the ticket are also selling it, the website does give information about the selling points, though (in German, English and Dutch, so that should be rather straight-forward). Alternatively, you may also order them online and the ticket is sent to you by mail. If you plan ahead this might be the smoother option. I did not check it out in practice, but the website at least does allow you to enter international shipment addresses.

The ordinary price for 2024 is 66 Euro for adults and 42 Euro for kids. The split is done by the year of birth. For 2024, you pay the reduced fare if you are born between 2010 and 2019. Elder visitors (i.e. 14 & over, roughly) pay the adult price. An adult can be accompanied by up to three minors born 2020 and later for free. There is no transport or similar included in the price, obviously. Options to get around (some places will in practice require a car, though) are regional tickets or the Deutschland Ticket.



Ruhr.Topcard – Attractions 2024

For the 2024 campaign, there are over 140 Ruhr.Topcard partners. Some 90 of them grant you one time free entry to their places. Regarding the free admission partners, I would roughly split them into a couple of groups (some of them don’t fit into one of the groups):

  • A very interesting part of the region is the Industrial Heritage. There are several historic industrial sites, including the industrial museums of the two regional development agencies, LVR and LWL. However, there are old coal mines, the German Mining Museum in Bochum or the Ruhr Museum in Essen.
  • There are also a couple of arts and cultural exhibitions. Most of them are rather typical arts exhibitions, but, for example, two former gas tanks, the Gasometer Oberhausen and the Gas Tank in Wuppertal (formerly: Visiodrom) hold altering exhibitions in a stunning atmosphere as well. In the past, I also visited the Red Dot Museum.
  • On top of that, there is a group of typical historical museums, stating with the Neandertal Museum near Dusseldorf or the Roman Times excavation sites in Xanten.
  • There are also a couple of specialty museums like the Aquarius Water Museum, a museum about energy of the club museum of Borussia Dortmund. You can also visit the DASA Arbeitswelt about work and working culture or the Railroad Museum in Bochum.
  • A nice way to spent family time are zoos and animal parks. For example, there are rather traditional zoos like the famous Zoo Duisburg, but also some really good animal parks like the Naturwildpark Granat I already introduced you to. A less vital, but interesting place is the Naturmuseum Dortmund.
  • There is a surprisingly large number of sightseeing cruises. One example I shared with you is the Weisse Flotte Harbor Cruise in Duisburg. But the Ruhr.Topcard is also contracted with several cruises in the picturesque Sauerland region East of the Ruhrgebiet.
  • Finally, there is a large block of sports and activity places. The card offers you a few hours of admission to several thermal baths and recreational ones – unfortunately, I haven’t visited too many of them yet. A new partner is Adventure Minigolf Duisburg, for example.

On top of that, there are some places which do not fit into these categories, e.g. touring the König Brewery.



Half Admission Partners

The Ruhr.Topcard also allows you to visit some regional attractions half price. I won’t go too much into detail here, but give you some highlights.

  • Stage plays like the one of the longest (non-interrupted, apart from Covid-19 restrictions) running musical production Starlight Express in Bochum.
  • Sports events like the Biathlon WTC in the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, home of Schalke 04 (you can also do the stadium tour half price)
  • The German Football / Soccer Museum in Dortmund
  • Some boulder climbing places
  • Some amusement parks in the region as well as in the Netherlands
  • LaserZone laser tag games in several places
  • Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Center in Oberhausen (the latter requires to visit with a child)
  • A couple of escape rooms
  • Topgolf Oberhausen, the only location of the franchise in Central Europe

Especially some of the half price places are in fact not located in the Ruhrgebiet. Some are in the Rheinland area around Cologne, while there are a couple of attractions in the Netherlands, most of them close to the German border. If you would add up all the discounts and free admissions, you would likely end up at a total benefit of several thousand Euros. However, you also need to have quite a lot of free time to explore all the places.


Ruhr.Topcard – Is it Worth It?

Finally, this is a very individual decision. Some of the attractions likely work like Groupon coupon – the Ruhr.Topcard shall finally attract you to come back again. You will also find some of the deals, especially the half price ones “for free” in the internet, e.g. Sea Life Oberhausen. Vice versa, even if you are just on a trip through the region, the ticket may pay back after a few days already. Checking out some of the recreational baths and playing a round of Topgolf might quickly turn the investment into a profit as well.

Especially if you are a local, the card might become less attractive over time. For 2024, there are twelve new partners, while nine have left after 2023. The partners are about the same. If you like them (like the pools, Topgolf or a museum you just love to be in every year), it is for sure a good deal. Otherwise, you tend to run out of attractions you love to visit. Some of the “new” partners have been Ruhr.Topcard attractions in the past already, so that they might not add too much value to you as well.

Design of the Ruhr-Topcard copyrighted by Ruhr Tourismus GmbH



Places which accepted the Ruhr.Topcard at my time of visit (and postings related to it):



Here are all places I visited in the Netherlands, which accept the Museumkaart:


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