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  • Baldeneysee Baldeneysee Cologne, Germany
    Baldeneysee is the biggest of six dams that cross the Ruhr River, and is found on the south end of Essen, Germany. Those that are responsible for the management and maintenance of the dams belong to an organization called Ruhrverband; this group was first formed in 1913, in response to the Ruhr Pollution Control Act, that overseed the quality of the water that came from the Ruhr River. The seat of the organization is in Essen, and the major job of the association is the management of the entire river basin that supplies fresh drinking water to over 5 million people along the river, in the cities and towns that live alongside it. This group is responsible for taking care of eight dams on the reservoir Ahausen, and 7 dams along the Ruhr. The first real planning began in 1927, by CEO Karl Imhoff, and the first dam was built in 1931 to 1933. The Baldeneysee dam was constructed so that a settling tank for suspended solids could be used to filter the water, as well as manipulating the flow of water. Presently, the dam is used as the first stage of filtration, and then goes into more sophisticated water treatment plants in the area. The name comes from the nearby castle that is named Baldeney, since the height of the dam would be the same as the highest point on the castle that sits close by. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough electricity produced to continue the operation, so it was moved further downstream. After seven months of construction, the dam went bankrupt, although they were able to get 2000 workers from the Reich Labor Service in early 1932. The workers only had primitive tools to use, and made very little money; with one hot meal a day; but despite all the problems and delays, the dam was finally finished in February of 1933. This meant that the Ruhr River was dammed all the way across, and in the next May was producing hydroelectric power. The Nazi party had taken over the country in January of 1933, and in 1934, Karl Imhoff was replaced. In May also, the White Fleet Baldeney was formed to ferry people across the lake that was formed by the dam, as well as three boats to take visitors sightseeing. During the first year, over half a million people came to enjoy the views and the beauty that permeated the area. A new lock was installed to assist the three ferries and boats, and the old lock Neukirchen which had been used by the Ruhr Cruise line was then transferred to carrying coal.

  • Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen
    The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex is a former industrial site in Essen, Germany that has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, since 2001, and belongs to the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The first mine on the property started in 1847, and went until 1986. For many years, the coal mine and the coking plant, which closed in 1993, were believed to be the biggest of their kind in Europe. Shaft number 12 opened in 1932, and was constructed in the Bauhaus type and is the most beautiful coal mine in the world, speaking technically and architecturally. The mine was started by Duisburg born Franz Haniel, who needed the coke for his steel business and the test drillings showed that a rich layer of coal and was named after the German customs union, Zollverein, in 1834. The coal, iron and steel businesses of the Ruhr area were going full swing in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century, with the mines being continually enlarged. By the end of the 19th century though, there had been many mine accidents due to firedamps that were created by the ventilation problems, and this problem was solved by adding parallel shafts just for ventilation only. Over the years, a lot of renovation took place, and in 1920, the Haniel family had the Phonix AG mining company take over management of the Zollverein. In 1926, Phonix merged with Gelsenkirchener Berwerks-AG, and this company started closing many of the old coking plants. Two years later, the company wanted to construct a new shaft, number 12, which would become the main mine, and when it opened in 1932, it was pulling up 12,000 tons of coal each day, bringing out more coal than the other four shafts put together.  In 1986, when the mine finally closed down, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia purchased the land so that it could make the site a memorial.

  • Design Zentrum Nordhein Westfalen Centre
    This design center in Essen, Germany is one of the oldest and well known design institutions in Europe, since it is the most active. It is headquartered in the boiler house of the Zeche Zollverien, a pilgrimage site for design and architecture lovers the world over. The center opened in 1954, to create an industrial design forum, that would give the public a meaningful understanding of the world of design that would be used for society, politics and business. It contains the red dot design museum, in the former mine building that was converted by Lord Norman Foster, showcasing the unique architecture of the present and future.

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  • GrugaparkGrugapark Cologne, Germany
    The Grugapark is a municipal botanical garden in Essen, Germany, and was started in 1927, for research, recreation and teaching. Some of the area was destroyed in the second World War, but the grounds were eventually restored, and redesigned for the Essen Bundesgartenschau of 1965. The most prominent areas are; the Alpinum, where mountain plants from the Caucasus, Apennines, and Carpathians mountains have been brought, that include alpine violets, gentians, asters and pine trees like the Taiwania; the Asian section with dove tree, walnut trees, maples, Japanese elm and Asian hydrangea; conifers that were planted in 1927 and is one of the biggest collections in Europe, include; thuja, native conifers, dawn redwood, ginkos, araucaria and the most ancient cryptomeria group in the North Rhine-Wesphalia state. Also located there is an herb garden with medicinal herbs planted in the medieval style; climbing plants that are the biggest collection of climbing plants in the country that include; wild vines, wolfberry, clematis, climbing hydrangea, and honeysuckle; forest valley with an American sweet gum, bald cypresses, pin oaks and a wonderful meadow that grows wild herbs. The Mediterranean orangery was built in 1987, and contains orange trees, date palms, acacias, lemon trees, fig trees and bay laurels; wetlands area has willows, bamboos, bald cypress and reeds; rhododendron valley with 500 cultivars and rhododendron varieties; Westphalian cottage garden built in 1925 with culinary and medicinal herbs and vegetables that were grown by the local farmers in that period; rose garden that was planted in 1927, with rose cultivars and a magnificent lily pond; sensory garden with roses and herbs; shrubbery planted in 1964, with numerous thousands of shrubs from Asia, Europe and the Americas, plus cowslip, giant rhubarb, Carpathian harebell, lupin, primrose, delphinium, heuchera, and red hot pokers. The garden contains three greenhouses that were built in 1985, succulents, a tropical rainforest collection and primeval plants from southeast Asia and Australia. A bonsai garden is here, a scenic pond and Ronald McDonald House designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

  • Essen Cathedral
    The Essen Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Essen, and was started in 1958. It is dedicated to the Saints Cosmas and Damian, as well as the Virgin Mary, that stands on the Burgplatz in the middle of the city. It was originally the collegiate church of the Essen Abbey that was started in 845 A.D. by Alfrid, the Bishop of Hildesheim, about the time the city began to grow. After the bombing destruction of WWII, the reconstruction was a Gothic hall architectural style and built with light sandstone. The octagonal west work and crypt are from the Ottonian pre-Romanesque building that was here, and a cloister sits just north of the church, which is no longer in use. It is well known for its treasury, that holds the Golden Madonna, which is the oldest sculptural figure of Mary north of the fabulous Alps, and was made in 980 A.D. The first bishop, Cardinal Hengsbach was buried here in 1991. Rumors have it that the church is home to the biggest treasury in the Christian world.

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Local Restaurants in Essen
  • Ruhrhohenterrassen
    The menu includes; filet points arranged by beef, pork or pute in rahmsauce with forest mushrooms and spatzle; fjord salmon filet with spinach, and rosti taler; rumpsteak with prinzessbohnchen and potato triplets; grillhaxe of pork with sauerkraut and ramming potatoes; meerrettich schaumsuppchen; pork roast filled with bacon and bulbs, with pineapple herb and roasting potatoes; pana cotta with waldfruchtsauce; Bavarian bread soup, roll roast of deer, filled with forest mushrooms and waldpilzsauce, served with red Kohl and spatzle gratin; duo of cappuccino and kirchreme; roasted goose club or chest with orangensauce, apple red Kohl and kartoffelklosse.

Grillhaxe Pork Ruhrhohenterrassen Essen, Germany

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  • Essen Abbey  Essen Abbey Essen, Germany
    The Essen Abbey is a collegiate foundation that was started for the upper noble women that lived in Essen, Germany in 845, when it was begun by the Saxon Altfrid, who then became its bishop. The initial abbess was a kinswoman of Altfrid, Gerswit. The Liudolfings, one of the families of the Ottonian Emperors, helped the abbey became a "reichsummittelbar", or royal abbey between the periods of 874 and 947. Then, starting in 973, with the advent of Abbess Mathilde II, the granddaughter of Otto I, the abbey progressed greatly, under her tutelage until 1011. During her tenure, the most prominent art treasures came into the treasury. The two abbesses that followed her were also from the Liudolfing family, and continued the growth of the foundation with more power and wealth. The abbesses became princesses for the first time in 1228, and in 1300, they were moved into the Schloss Borbeck, where they were to spend most their time. The abbey's authority was between the Ruhr and Emscher, where Essen was located, and although Essen wanted to be an Imperial city, the abbey denied this in 1399 and again in 1670. To the north of it, the monastery of Stoppenberg, begun in 1073, and the collegiate foundation of Rellinghausen was started in the south. During this period, over 3000 farms paid dues to the abbey. In 1802, the abbey was part of the area that became Prussia's and troops occupied most of it, with the dissolution of the abbey happening in 1803. The final abbey was Maria Kunigunde von Sachsen, who passed on in April of 1826, in Dresden. In 1958, it became the cathedral of Essen, when the Bishopric of Essen began, with all the treasures and the Golden Madonna being sent to that cathedral.

  • Golden Madonna
    The Golden Madonna of Essen, Germany, is a sculpture made of wood, then covered over by sheets of ultra thin gold lead, of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. It is now located in the Essen Cathedral, known as the Essen Abbey before that. Created in 980 A.D., it is the oldest sculpture of the Madonna, and the oldest free standing sculpture that is found north of the Alps; as well as being the rarest remains of the Ottonian period. Still today, it is considered one of the most venerable objects of the church, and is a marvelous symbol of the Ruhr area and the people that live there. The statue is the sole surviving full-length sculpture that was common during that period, for the wealthiest churches and abbeys. The sculptor of the magnificent statue is not known, but it is believed to have come from Cologne, Germany, during the reign of Mathilda II, the granddaughter of Emperor Otto I. Under Mathilda, and her successors, Sophia of Gandersheim, and Theophanu, the abbey was able to collect the most precious artworks of the treasury. In the sculpture, Mary is sitting on a stool of some sort, with the baby Jesus, created somewhat bigger than normal for children depicted in these sculptures, sitting on her lap. Mary is wearing a tight, long-sleeved tunic, with a cloak or palla over her shoulders, and on her head, a veil. Her right hand contains a globe, held by thumb and two fingers, and the child in her left; with Jesus holding a book next to His bosom and a pontifical gown covering Him. The sculpture is 29 inches tall, the pedestal is 27 inches wide, and the core was carved from a single piece of wood. The wood is made of either plum, poplar, lime or pear; and the surface covered with gold that measures only a hundredth of an inch, with gold bolts to hold that in position.  The sculpture had to be repaired in 1905, since the core had been infected with woodworms and the tunnels were so significant that it was on the verge of collapsing. The individuals that were restoring the piece, put the core into a plaster cast, insuffliated the cavities so that all traces of dust could be taken away, then put insecticides into them and filled them using chalk, water and glue; all the while turning it so that every cavity could be filled. The holes that were surface only, were filled with oak bolts, and it cost 3200 goldmarks, that was paid by the Prussians. WWII was a terrible time for all antiquities, and this piece lost some of its gold sheathings and wood boring insects again found their way into it and began their gruesome damage. A goldsmith from Essen, named Classen, then started another reparation, and used gas to kill the infestation, and filled the holes and cavities with a plastic wood filler that was commonly used during that time. The latest restoration took place in 2004, and the workshop was brought to the church to do the work.

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  • Folkwang MuseumFolkwang Museum Essen, Germany
    The Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany contains a prominent collection of the 19th and 20th centuries that was started in 1922 with the merge of the Essener Kunstmuseum, that started in 1906, and the private Folkwang Museum that was started in 1901, by the collector and patron of the arts, Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen. The word Folkwang comes from the Edda, or Old Norse language, with Folkvangar meaning "hall of people" or hall of goddess Freyja". The museum has incorporated the Deutsche Plakat Museum, poster museum, that contains 340,000 posters that represent politics, culture and the economy; which is probably the biggest and most extensive collection of its kind in the world. A number of the works include; Caspar David Friedrich's Frau vor untergehender, Paula Modersohn-Becker's Die Malerin mit Kamelienzweig, Paul Gaugin's Junges Madchen mit Facher, Edouard Monet's Faure als Hamlet, August Macke's Hutladen, Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Lise mit Schirm, Franz Marc's Pferd in der Landschaft and Vincent Van Gogh's Portrat des Armand Roulin.

  • Alte Synagogue
    The Old Synagogue is written Alte Synagoge in German, and is the cultural meeting place and memorial for the city of Essen, Germany and found in the city's center. It was started in 1980, and can be found in the pre-war Jewish community's synagogue. The synagogue and attached house that belongs to the rabbi, hold the city's archives, that was completed after a two year building period in 1913 and initially consecrated as the Neue Synagogue, or New Synagogue. The structure is the biggest, most well preserved and architecturally impressive synagogue in the Jewish culture in Germany. The synagogue was originally the social and cultural hub of the Jews living in Essen, and in 1933, had 5000 members. The synagogue was used this way until the Reichspogromnacht or also called the Kristallnacht, which occurred in November of 1938, where the inside was recklessly plundered; although the outside was kept in good shape. The city itself was severely bombed in WWII, but the synagogue somehow managed to survive. During the post war years from 1945 until 1959, it remained empty, considered ruined at the edge of the city center, and then, in 1959, the surviving Jews, which had been using it as a center, built a new smaller one, and the city got the old synagogue and refurbished it during 1960 and 1961; making it a museum for industrial design, the Haus Industrieform. All the facets of the church that remained and reminded anyone that it was a synagogue were taken away or painted over. The ark for the torah was demolished, and the beautiful mosaics and other ornaments were simply and crudely painted over. With the spirit of the times, the inside was gutted and restructured so that only the outside could tell of its original usage. The main prayer hall was split in two with a new floor and the ceiling was covered over. In 1979, a short circuited wire caused a fire which damaged the Design expo badly, and this coupled with the changing attitude towards historical buildings helped the city council to start the new old synagogue once more. During the two year period from 1986 until 1988, the complete structure was reconstructed and restored to its prior condition and it once more looks and feels like a synagogue should.

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  • Ruhrland Museum Ruhrland Museum Essen, Germany
    The Ruhr Museum was called the Ruhrland Museum, that covered a number of holdings, divisions and manufacturers that became part of the cultural and historical museum of the Ruhr River in Essen, Germany and is now part of the Foundation of Zollverein Foundation. The Ruhrland closed in 2007, becoming part of the Folkwang Museum, and the former coal washing plant of the Heritage Site Zullverein, was revamped into the Ruhr Museum by Rem Koolhaas in 2008. In January of 2010, just a couple of weeks, and the new refurbished museum will open its doors to the public. The ceremony will be part of the Culture RUHR 2010 and presided over by President Horst Kohler. The new museum will be a showcase of the memories and antiquities of the Ruhr region, with a permanent exhibition that will include the history, culture and nature of the Ruhr area and the creation of the biggest conurbation in Europe. The permanent displays were designed by the Stuttgart office HG Merz and will contain the departments of photography, archeology, history and geology of the area. The new director will be historian Ulrich Borsdof and he will take charge of the oldest museum in the Ruhr region that covers over one hundred years. The Krupp Education Association, the Historical Society for City and penfood were the main donors and founders of the Essenes Museum Association in 1901, and it opened the Museum of the City of Essen, that held the displays of ethnology, local history, art and natural history. Once the municipal artworks were taken to create the Folkwang Museum, in 1911, the Museum of the City of Essen for Home and Ethnology was created in the middle of Essen in the Castle Square. In 1927, the new departments of botany, geology, zoology and mineralogy were added, and during WWII, the technology and ethnology departments were also added. In 1934, the Nazis opened the Waldthausen Villa for all the collections to be housed, but it was a bad decision since the bombing that occurred destroyed a lot of the antiquities. It was reopened in 1954, in another villa in the city, and in 1984, where the geology department was added to the social history of the industrialization of the Ruhr area. That collection was moved to another new building in 1984, by the Folkwang Museum, and held some 7000 square feet of space. The new permanent exhibitions of the museum show the connection between the earth's history and geology in the Ruhr region, and the fact that without the natural resources in the region, that happened over millions of years, the industrialization and growth of the Ruhr area would have been impossible. The historical display shows the working and everyday life of the area during 1900, when industrialization was at its height. There are numerous displays of wonderful archaeological relics that date to prehistory and the earliest history of the region, as well as near eastern and Egyptian cultures.

  • Villa HugelVilla Hugel Essen, Germany
    The Villa Hugel, or Hills, was constructed in 1873, by the Krupp family, and is the main house of the Krupp industrial family, containing 269 rooms, in 8100 square feet of living space set on 28 acres, just above the Ruhr Valley and the Baldeneysee. In 1862, Alfred Krupp, lawyer, was introduced to the company and he became involved in all its legal and strategic decisions for the company. As was the custom in those days, the important personages that were connected to a company, lived on the company grounds, in this case, a huge villa that was built. Since there were numerous mines in the area they planned on building, the mines had to be made secure so that they wouldn't be involved in any collapses, and in 1869, the construction started. An architect has been sought, without any responses, so that there appeared to be a growing rift between the builders and those that would be involved in any architectural designs. The construction began without formal plans, and eventually ended that way with Krupp himself doing most of the planning. Krupp was very afraid of fires, and wanted the materials to be fireproof, like glass, stone and steel; but his constant interference with the hiring of any architects hindered the process and affected the relationships that were needed between the architect and builder. Meetings with various possible architects, builders and Krupp continued through the building of the villa, with changes being suggested by possible candidates and Krupp, making the entire ordeal harder than usual.

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  • Werden Basilika St. LudgerusLudger's Basilica Essen-Werden, Germany
    The Frisian missionary and founder of the monastery is Ludger, or Luidgervita Altfrid, who was born in Utrecht in 742 A.D., the son of Christian parents, Thiadgrim and Liaftubrg, that were prestigious Frisian nobles. Ludger had decided on a religious career very early in his life, and he became a student of the Utrecht Cathedral School in 756, until 767. Upon leaving that school, he started work at the missionary of Gregory of Utrecht, and learned the basics of theological disciplines in liberal arts, that included the seven liberal arts. In 767, he traveled to study under Alcuin at the York Cathedral School and ordained as a deacon. With a short stay in Utrecht, in 768 and 769, he then went to England until a conflict arose between the fishermen and the Friesen which made him return to Utrecht in the middle of 772. When his mentor, Gregory died in 775, Ludger wrote an autobiography, and then started his missionary work. With numerous works accredited to him, he continued to start monasteries throughout the region, and began building the Liudger, a religious community with a monastery, and went to Rome to acquire religious relics like the Virgin Mary and the Apostles. Ludger died in 809 in Billerbeck and his bones interned in the new crypt at the abbey church. While many preached using fire and brimestone, he preached the gospel with persuasion and patience not using coercion in any sense. A miracle is attributed to him in 864, at the Vita Liudgeri, with a young girl getting her sight back.

  • Rott-Weiss Essen
    The Rot-Weiss Essen is a football club in Essen, Germany, in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, that was started in 1907, when two former smaller clubs joined together. After changing its name a number of times, it finally settled on Rot-Weiss in 1923. The team began playing in the top division in 1938, which was one of the 16 premier divisions that were created after the re-organization of 1933 by the Third Reich. In 1941, the team lost the championship by one point, and in 1943, they played in a wartime league but could only play one game because of the second World War. They returned to their former league in 1948, and they won the divisional championships in 1952, and they won the German Cup in 1953, by beating Alemannia Aachen with one point, 2-1. In 1954, they became the only team to qualify for the European Cup. After this, the team seemed to go downhill, and in 1961, they were placed in the second division, playing through the 1960s in this division until 1966 and 1967 seasons when they were able to win a place in the Bundesliga. In 1969 and 1970, they stayed in the top league, and again during the 1973 and 1974 season. The rest of the time has been spent as a second or third tier team, with one season being played in the Oberliga Nordhein, 1998 - 1999. There has been times when the club couldn't pay for the license, 1984, 1991 and 1994, so they couldn't play, but there have been occasions when they shone like a star, during 1992, when they won the German Amateur Championship, and they made it to the German Cup finals in 1994, which they lost, 3-1 against Werder Bremen. They were put in the Reginalliga Nord (III) in 1999, and because of their bad playing, were further demoted to the Oberliga (IV) in the next year. By 2004, they were able to make it back to the 2 Bundesliga, but after finishing a terrible 17th place, put back in the Nord III. They played again in the second division, after winning the Regionlliga finals, and were almost the champions but lost the finals to Duisburg in 2006-07, 3-0. 3 Liga was formed in the year 2008, and they were placed in the fourth division.

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- Alfredistrasse

May 12, 2011