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Romans in North Rhine-Westphalia

A landscape in North Rhine-Westphalia in cloudy weather

"Who would have been […] to go to Germany with its forbidding landscapes and unpleasant climate - a country that is thankless to till and dismal to behold for anyone who was not born and bred there?"

(Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Germania, c. 100 A.D.)

According to the Roman historian Tacitus, the Germanic regions did not deserve the highest marks when it came to tourism and quality of living. Why did the Romans come so far north in the first place - and stay there for 500 years? Why did they find it worth their while to establish a Roman province in the far north - with roads, towns, administration and considerable logistics? How did it all work, and what of it can still be seen today? 

The Roman Empire

Initially a small city state, Rome became a world empire within just under 700 years. But how did the Romans manage to become so powerful?



Ein Foto der Säulen des rekonstruierten Hafentemples im LVR-Archäologischen Park Xanten
Mediterranean herbs in the garden of the Roman hostel in the LVR Archaeological Park Xanten
North Rhine-Westphalia in the Roman Empire

What do cherries, flush toilets, concrete and underfloor heating have in common? 

All these amenities were export success stories of an ancient advanced civilisation – ‘ancient Rome’. Roman legionaries, craftsmen, merchants, settlers and colonists brought many innovations to the northern borders of the empire. Did all the locals appreciate this?