To describe the history of the region, it is necessary to limit the area geographically. Since the Lower Rhine itself has no clear geographical definition, the Lower Rhine is the area in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) that stretches from Dormagen down the Rhine to the Dutch border at Emmerich. The Lower Rhine includes the districts of Kleve, Viersen, Wesel & Neuss and the cities of Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Duisburg & Möchengladbach.
The economic, political and religious development of the Lower Rhine had a great impact beyond its own borders. Conversely, different external events had influences on the development of the Lower Rhine at all times.
It was around 50 BC that the Romans brought some serious changes to the cultural life on the Lower Rhine that had prevailed until then. Some of the local Germanic tribes were expelled, other tribes took the opportunity and settled on the Rhine. The Romans finally built some castles, from which the cities of Xanten, Dormagen or Neuss later emerged. They also built roads and water pipes, and left their mark everywhere, which can still be found on the Lower Rhine today. A visit to the Xanten Archaeological Park is recommended.
Economic life also developed with the Romans, which increased prosperity in the Lower Rhine at that time. But people in the Lower Rhine region have experienced economic setbacks in the long past, including famines and devastating wars. Numerous inheritance disputes between the nobles who ruled in the past, as well as armed conflicts, differences of belief, and economic crises repeatedly interrupted the economic upturn on the Lower Rhine.
The Second World War also had extremely devastating consequences, in which cities like Wesel and Emmerich were completely destroyed. However, despite the major crises and wars, there are still numerous historical and significant buildings and monuments on the Lower Rhine that testify to the prosperity of the nobles and, in later times, the industrialists on the Lower Rhine.
In the region of the Lower Rhine you will find diverse historic buildings as castles, palaces, churches and more.
In the beginning it were the Romans who built pompous buildings on the Rhine. Counts and nobles built numerous magnificent palaces and castles in the Middle Ages, as well as wonderful parks and gardens. If palaces and parks were mainly used for presentations, castles should above all offer protection from the numerous armed conflicts. Not to be forgotten is the building activity of the churches. Churches have still today much influence on politicians and power holders and thus also on the development of the region. At the time of industrialization, it were large industrialists who built huge villas and parks.
In short, various influences have shaped the character of the region on the Lower Rhine and its inhabitants. When the Romans brought art and culture to the Rhine, it were the French people who introduced code civil, a modern administrative and legal system, on the Lower Rhine.
In the past, however, it was also individuals who shaped life on the Lower Rhine. Jan Wellem, for example, helped the city of Düsseldorf to numerous magnificent buildings and made the city an art metropolis. Church leaders should not be forgotten, because faith plays a major role in the area of Lower Rhine.
Some areas are still strictly Catholic to this day, others have always been very tolerant. At the time of the Reformation, true oases of escape were formed, into which persecuted other believers fled. At first glance, this seems negative, but the refugees brought knowledge and manual skills to the Rhine, which later, for example, developed the textile industry on the Rhine and created numerous jobs.
As you can see, various influences have shaped life on the Lower Rhine. A very special mentality developed, whivh is not immediately understandable to every outsider. But what is typically now?
One can say that the people of Lower Rhine like to celebrate what is shown during traditional rifle festivals and especially in the carnival.
The people from Lower Rhine also like to drink beer, which has developed a true beer culture over time.
The people on the Lower Rhine are also open-hearted, so that travelers from all over the world like to come to the Rhine again and again to go on vacation, to do business, or to experience the cultural highlights and sights.