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Duisburg is part of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region and is located directly at the mouth where the Ruhr flows into the Rhine. The city in the heart of the Ruhr region was thus European Capital of Culture in 2010 as part of the entire metropolitan area. Despite its nearly 500,000 inhabitants - which gives it a place among the 15 largest cities in Germany - it is only the fifth largest city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Nevertheless, Duisburg can shine in other ways. The city was first documented over 1,000 years ago and developed into an important trading center, albeit with difficulties along the way. In the 19th century, the city became an important industrial center thanks to its proximity to the coal deposits of the Ruhr region, known for the production of iron and steel. This period has also largely shaped the Duisburg cityscape. 

The port has since grown to become the largest inland port in the world. However, the economy is increasingly turning away from iron and steel production and working more on high-tech products. Nevertheless, the city is an important hub of the new Silk Road. More than 50 trains run weekly between Duisburg and China, making the city an important trading center in the European Economic Area.