15 Best Things to Do in Velbert (Germany)

Written by Veronique Raes
Updated on
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On the high hills of the Bergisches Land, Velbert is a town that has always echoed with the clink of metal forges. And while nearby metalworking cities like Solingen specialised in blades, Velbert became the gold standard for lock-making.

Even now, a lot of Velbert’s residents are employed manufacturing locks and metal fittings, and the city has the national museum for this craft. In Velbert you’ll be rewarded by venturing out into the uplands, conquering hills and visiting cute town centres at Langenberg and Neviges, both with streets of half-timbered houses.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Velbert:

1. Deutsches Schloss- und Beschlägemuseum (German Museum for Locks and Metal Fittings)

Deutsches Schloss- Und BeschlägemuseumSource: commons.wikimedia
Deutsches Schloss- Und Beschlägemuseum

The world’s only museum on locks and security technology, the Schloss- und Beschlägemuseum is found in the modern Forum Niederberg centre.

The exhibition moved here in 1982, having started out as a city museum back in 1928. In the galleries you’ll get in touch with 4,000 years of security technology, and study the first sophisticated locking systems invented during Roman times.

And being in Velbert, you’ll see how industrialisation changed the lock-making business, inspecting examples of the innovative lock mechanisms and keys from this period for homes, safes, furniture and cash registers.

The museum also handles state of the art technology like biometric access control and electronic transponder locks, showing where security systems may go next.

2. Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom

Nevigeser WallfahrtsdomSource: seier+seier / flickr
Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom

In the Velbert-Neviges district is a pilgrimage site that has been venerated for more than 340 years.

It began with a Marian apparition in 1676 and a Franciscan monastery soon went up here.

But what makes the Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom unmissable is its 20th-century history.

In 1966 the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Gottfried Böhm designed a new concrete church in a Brutalist style.

You don’t need to be an architecture student to be awed by the size and jagged, abstract lines of the building, which looks like it could be in an Expressionist painting.

Using concrete, Böhm could create an open hall of staggering dimensions, able to seat 6,000 worshippers.

And even in the concrete there’s a religious symbolism, as the rose, the sign of Mary is a recurring motif in the design.

3. Langenberg

LangenbergSource: Daniel Brockpähler / wikipedia

For a bit of low-key sightseeing, the old centre of Langenberg is very pretty.

This town was a hive of trades in the Early Modern Age, and the two streams that flow through the city, the Hardenberger Bach and the Deilbach powered copper hammers and mills for making paper, oil and flour.

Langenberg has been left with a lovable cluster of half-timbered houses from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Some of these are clad with slate in the Bergisches style.

There’s also a charming church blending Gothic and Bergisch Baroque architecture, while in the newer outskirts of the town is a ring of 19th-century villas for Langenberg’s factory owners.

Come on Wednesday and Saturday mornings for the weekly market.

4. Langenberg Transmission Tower

Langenberg Transmission TowerSource: TImberwind / wikipedia
Langenberg Transmission Tower

To get out into the high countryside your best option would be Hordtberg, a 244-metre hill in Langenberg.

This is the highest point for several kilometres and so has long been chosen for transmitters.

There are two towers on the hill today: In the lower reaches is a 170-metre medium wave mast, while on the hill top is an immense 300-metre mast for TV, FM and also medium wave signals.

These are received across North Rhine-Westphalia, and as far as the Netherlands and Belgium.

Anyone who has a taste for megastructures will be itching to go in for a closer look.

Hordtberg meanwhile is cloaked in 120 hectares of lush forest and so has been a honey-pot for walkers since the 1800s.

5. Bismarckturm

BismarckturmSource: Erbsensuppe / commons.wikimedia

There are a couple of other reasons people flock to the Hordtberg.

And one is for the view from this memorial tower honouring Otto von Bismarck.

After Bismarck died at the end of the 19th century 184 towers like this one went up around Germany.

The one on Hordtberg stands at just shy of 30 metres and was inaugurated in 1906. There’s also a restaurant at the tower’s base, which was undergoing renovation when this post was written in 2017. The Bismarckturm is a destination for walks, and around the base there’s a mini golf course and barbecue area.

6. Schloss Hardenberg

Schloss HardenbergSource: Erbsensuppe / wikipedia
Schloss Hardenberg

One of the oldest sights in the municipality is this moated castle, first mentioned in 1354. The property was highly coveted by noble families for hundreds of years and changed hands many times.

The castle’s standout feature is its 17th-century casemates, galleries with shooting positions that were built into the ramparts to respond to artillery attacks.

There are also four stocky artillery towers at each corner, with conical slate roofs.

In 2017 the castle and its casemate were being renovated, but you could still come for the bistro, which has outdoor seating in the castle courtyard.

The grounds beside the moat are gorgeous, and there’s a mini golf course if you’re visiting with kids.

7. Herminghauspark

HerminghausparkSource: herminghauspark-velbert

Velbert’s main park has the kind of facilities you’d expect to find at a paid attraction.

First off, there’s an animal park with tame domestic animals like chickens, donkeys, Shetland ponies, sheep and goats, many of which children can touch and feed.

The space allocated for kids’ playgrounds adds up to more than 6,000 square metres, all imaginatively designed and well maintained.

The park also has a 1.2-kilometre “Kükelhaus trail”. This is named after the pedagogue Hugo Kükelhaus and has 11 ingenious stations with games that adhere to his principles of sensorial development.

For example, kids can use a hand crank to create a whirlpool, or play with echoes, light refraction and optical illusions.

8. Christuskirche Velbert

Christuskirche VelbertSource: Frank Vincentz / commons.wikimedia
Christuskirche Velbert

The Art Nouveau architect Carl Krieger and artist Franz Brantzky collaborated on Velbert’s main church, which was inaugurated in 1910 after two years of construction.

Outside you can see how Krieger took inspiration from traditional Bergisch architecture in the exaggerated Baroque-style dome and the triangular gable of the nave.

Much like Böhm’s Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom above, reinforced concrete allowed the architect to build a big self-supporting hall unobstructed by columns.

Look up at the understated carving on the pews and galleries, the fabulous mosaic patterns on the dome and vaults, and the ensemble of the pulpit and organ in the chancel.

9. Neviges Altstadt

Neviges AltstadtSource: jueweiss / flickr
Neviges Altstadt

In Neviges after checking out the Wallfahrtsdom you could amble up to the highest and oldest part of the town.

Although small, the historical core of Neviges is exceptionally pretty.

Here there’s a ring of half-timbered and slate-clad houses radiating from the Stadtkirche.

That monument at the centre was consecrated in 1317, and its Gothic choir is still intact.

The Baroque nave came later, in 1740, and a lot of the decoration dates to that century, like the Rococo pulpit and the organ case.

Bring your camera for some beautiful shots of the quaint old houses around the churchyard and down the steps to the rest of the town.

10. Bürgerhaus Langenberg

Bürgerhaus LangenbergSource: Angorafrosch / wikipedia
Bürgerhaus Langenberg

The enduring symbol for Langenberg came about thanks to the philanthropy of the industrial era.

Bürgerhaus Langenberg is a community centre gifted to the town in the 1910s by the weaving magnates Adalbert and Sophie Colsman.

According to their wishes the cavernous Art Nouveau building was to be used freely by the residents for concerts, festivals, meetings, clubs and associations.

A century later the Bürgerhaus remains the soul of the community, and has a gym, kitchen, beer cellar and large and small halls.

The centre is better than ever, having recently come through a decade-long renovation.

And if there’s a public gathering, concert, theatre production or art exhibition happening in Langenberg you can bet that it will happen at this elegant venue.

11. Forum Niederberg

Forum NiederbergSource: Ticketautomat / commons.wikimedia
Forum Niederberg

In the very heart of Velbert, the Forum Niederberg is a mixed-use centre and cultural heartbeat for the city.

It was designed by the architects Behrendt and von Chamier, and despite being almost four decades old still feels ahead of its time.

As well as containing the lock museum, this building also hosts Velbert’s library and its 704-seater theatre, which closed in 2015 and was being reconfigured as a cinema when this post was written.

12. Wald Abenteuer Velbert-Langenberg

Wald Abenteuer Velbert-LangenbergSource: wald-abenteuer
Wald Abenteuer Velbert-Langenberg

At the foot of the Bismarckturm, Hordtberg also has a high ropes centre.

At Wald Abenteur (Forest Adventure) obstacle courses are lifted above the forest floor.

There are 100 different challenges to take on, like zip-lines, swaying rope bridges, rope nets and Tarzan-styles wings.

Kids as young as four can put on a hard hat and harness and take part.

And children aged nine and up will be big enough to attempt the grown-up adventure trail, while 12 year olds will be ready for the Xtreme trail, which has the toughest challenges.

Two things you won’t find anywhere else are a suspended climbing maze and a “Todesschleuder”, death sling, which involves a free-fall from an 11-metre platform.

13. Zeittunnel Wülfrath

Zeittunnel WülfrathSource: Matthias Bojar / commons.wikimedia
Zeittunnel Wülfrath

You journey through 400 million years of the earth’s history at this former mining tunnel in Wülfrath.

The 160-metre passage was excavated for the Bochumer Bruch limestone quarry, which was mined until 1958. Recently the tunnel has been repurposed as a museum, with information panels interspersed by fossil-riddled limestone, proof that this whole region was underwater 400 million years ago.

Every few steps you’ll be in another geologic period, starting with the Devonian, and moving through Carboniferous, Permian, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Quaternary.

You’ll see the creatures and plants that flourished in each period, and a visit culminates with the view from a platform 70 metres up the quarry’s man-made cliffs.

14. Wuppertal

Wupper River ValleySource: Shutterstock
Wupper River Valley

Just minutes on the road from Velbert, the city of Wuppertal has always been one of Germany’s manufacturing powerhouses.

The Wupper River Valley became a hive of industry in the 1700s and 1800s and this gave the city some of big attractions.

The best of these is the Wuppertal Suspension Railway, which looks like no other mass transit system in the world.

You can’t come without one ride on the world’s oldest elevated electric railway, which feels both futuristic and from a bygone age thanks to its hulking steel frame and Art Nouveau stations.

The boom in manufacturing created huge wealth for the bourgeoisie, who settled in elegant neighbourhoods like the Luisenviertel with its graceful townhouses, and Brill, which has 250 listed 19th-century villas.

15. Golf

Velbert Gut-KuhlendahlSource: facebook
Velbert Gut-Kuhlendahl

Velbert’s forest, streams, meadows and stiff slopes are a walker’s dream and there’s a world of trails if you want a trek.

A more sedate way to take in the scenery is with a round of golf at one of a whole directory of golf courses.

There are six within a 15-minute radius, all open to visitors.

Closest is the 18-hole Velbert Gut-Kuhlendahl, offering rounds at €50.00 on weekdays and €75.00 on weekends.

Then there’s Essen Heidhausen, minutes to the north and in a beautiful protected landscape.

At this one you’ll have to negotiate the Bergisches Land’s challenging terrain, coping with a ravine on the 11th hole.

Golf Club Bergisch Land poses a similar challenge, with brooks, ponds and greens posted on vertiginous slopes.

15 Best Things to Do in Velbert (Germany):

  • Deutsches Schloss- und Beschlägemuseum (German Museum for Locks and Metal Fittings)
  • Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom
  • Langenberg
  • Langenberg Transmission Tower
  • Bismarckturm
  • Schloss Hardenberg
  • Herminghauspark
  • Christuskirche Velbert
  • Neviges Altstadt
  • Bürgerhaus Langenberg
  • Forum Niederberg
  • Wald Abenteuer Velbert-Langenberg
  • Zeittunnel Wülfrath
  • Wuppertal
  • Golf