Dortmunder U – landmark, viewpoint and culture in Dortmund

Cologne has its cathedral, but the Ruhr has the Dortmunder U. Just like Cologne Cathedral, this imposing landmark is situated beside the main railway station and greets commuters as their trains pull into the city. But of course the U is not a place of worship: Instead it draws the crowds with creative, new ideas and is widely regarded as a showpiece for the success with which the region has mastered structural change

Until well into the nineties the U served as the Union Brewery’s fermenting cellar and warehouse. After the brewery relocated, however, the building stood empty and abandoned for several years. It wasn’t until 2007, when the U was bought by the City of Dortmund, that it was restored and reborn as a centre for art and creativity.

Dortmunder U

44137 Dortmund


Dortmunder U: Museum Ostwall and viewing platform

Its seven floors are home to numerous creative spaces including the Museum Ostwall and the Hartware MedienKunstVerein. A must-do for visitors: Take the lift up to the viewing platform on the rooftop for stunning 360° views across the city and as far as the stadium. Admission is free.

Although it’s a long time since the U housed a brewery, it now hosts an annual beer festival where you can try beers from Dortmund and all over the world. The U also holds temporary exhibitions, such as the recent Pink Floyd Exhibition. 

Adolf Winkelmann’s Picture Clock

The images on the Picture Clock’s gigantic LED screens can be seen from afar, serving as a landmark not just for commuters, tourists and night revellers – locals also try to get at least one glimpse of the U’s crown every day. The film installation created by director Adolf Winkelmann is hugely popular and gives the people of Dortmund a special sense of local identity. Everyone has their favourite film. Which will be yours?

Oh, and by the way: On weekdays a flock of pigeons flutters onto the screen every hour on the hour, but on Sundays and holidays the pigeons are replaced by doves.

Panoramaview over Dortmund with the illuminated Dortmunder U in the dusk.
© Hans Jürgen Landes
Dortmunder U im Sonnenuntergang
© DORTMUNDtourismus
A young woman is standing on the roof terrace of the Dortmunder U and enjoys the view.
© DORTMUNDtourismus
Dortmunder U in the dusk. The big U on top is illuminated and the sky is coloured violet.
© DORTMUNDtourismus
Light installation with pigeons on the tower of the Dortmunder U.
© Hans Jürgen Landes
Football Museum and the Dortmunder U during the day.
© Hans Jürgen Landes