The region is drained by the Ems, Weser, Ruhr, and Lippe rivers; it is hilly in the east and south and forms a low plain in the northwest. The land consists partly of fertile soil and partly of sandy tracts, moors, and heaths. The Ruhr valley, in the west, is part of the great Westphalian coal basin and of the Ruhr district, one of the world's most important industrial regions. The Ruhr district is connected with the Ems River by the Dortmund-Ems Canal and with the Elbe River by the Midland Canal.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.