Bochum (bōˈkhŏm) [key], city (1994 pop. 401,060), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany. Mentioned in the 9th cent. and chartered in 1321, it remained a small farming community until the development of nearby coal mines in the mid-19th cent. By the late 19th cent. it was a leading center of the Ruhr iron and steel industry; since the early 1960s its importance in coal and steel production has declined. Bochum today is an industrial and commercial center, a rail and road junction, and a growing vacation spot. Its manufactures include automobiles, metal products, chemicals, textiles, beer, and tobacco products. It is the seat of Ruhr Univ. (opened 1965) and museums of mining and geology.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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