How to get to the Folkwang University (Campus Essen-Werden) from anywhere – and back!
– text and pictures by Ivan Strelkin
Tutorial in 6 chapters
If you have never been to Werden, especially in case you`re not from Germany, you might face some difficulties with finding the way to our village. It could also happen that the German public
transport system is not alike the one in your country. Here you can find some information about it, as well as a few travel advices.
On the picture on the left, you can see how Essen-Werden looks from the space. Obviously, it is pretty small. Essen-Werden is situated in the region (Bundesland) Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the closest big cities are Essen, Düsseldorf, and Köln (Cologne). Werden is connected with the world through bus and S-Bahn lines. I marked the locations of the bus and train stops with crosses.
How to go to Essen-Werden from Köln (=Cologne) or from Düsseldorf
The best solution for both tasks is to take a train. In Germany there are several types of trains. To reach Essen-Werden, you need to take an “S-Bahn”. The “S-Bahn” is basically a net of routes that connects cities which are situated relatively close to each other, more or less inside one region (Bundesland). The S-Bahn connects also parts inside of big cities. S-Bahn means something like „Stadtschnellbahn“ which roughly translates to „Fast City Train“.
There is only one train that stops in Werden: the S 6. „S“ before the number means „S-Bahn“, 6 is the number of the route. The S 6 connects Essen, Düsseldorf, and Cologne. 13 minutes from Essen Hbf (Hbf means Hauptbahnhof = Main Railway Station), 30 minutes from Düsseldorf Hbf, 90 minutes from Cologne Hbf. This is how the Werden S-Bahn station looks:
Werden is on this line between Essen and Düsseldorf, but much closer to Essen. So, if you are in Düsseldorf or in Cologne, go to the Hbf, check the schedule, find the platform (Gleis) and travel directly to Werden by S6!
Left: This is what you see, when you arrive. You need now to go through the labyrinth of traffic lights, cross the bridge – and you are in the centre of Werden. The church with a green top which you see in the picture, is situated chick to chick with the main building of Folkwang, so just go there!
How to go to Essen-Werden from Essen Hbf
Here you can choose between train and bus. Train, as described above, is the S6 from Essen Hbf. Taking the bus is a bit trickier, but can sometimes be a good solution, too.
There are two buses that can drive you from Essen Hbf directly to Werden. To catch the SB19, you have to leave the building of the Hbf through the exit “Freiheit”. Directly there, in 10 steps, near the traffic lights you will see the board H7 with its schedule. Wait there.
From midnight on you can catch the NE8. It`s stop is situated near the Hbf under the railway bridge. If you leave the Hbf on the side of city centre (not the “Freiheit” side) turn left, cross the road (you will see Kebab on the other side) and turn again left under the bridge. There you will find the stop of the NE8.
During the day, you can use the following variant. You follow the sign “U” and “Tram” and go to the underground station at the Hbf. There you find the plattform 2+4, the keyword is “Bredeney”.
Then you travel by 107 or 108 till Bredeney, you leave the tram there (normally it is the final destination of both routes). You don`t go anywhere, but wait at the same stop (just another side of it) for the bus 169. It drives you very fast to Werden and stops at Werden S-Bahn station, but then, which is probably better, crosses the bridge and stops at Werdener Markt (the first stop after crossing the bridge), which is the heart of our village and is situated 1 minute by foot from the Folkwang University.
This is how the bus stop in Bredeney looks:
To go the opposite direction you take a bus 169 on the other side of the square, or at the bridge (Werdener Brücke), or again at the S-Bahnstation (look up the map in the introduction to
How to go to Essen-Werden from the local airports
The closest airports are Düsseldorf International, Düsseldorf Weeze (yes, there are two airports with the word “Düsseldorf”, and when you are not sure, it is 90% Düsseldorf International since this one is much bigger than Weeze), Cologne-Bonn (here we see the opposite case – two cities, but one single airport) and Dortmund Airport.
Fortunately, it is very easy to escape this airport, since it is connected with the world by S- Bahn. There are two possibilities to reach/ leave the airport by S-Bahn. One station is directly at the airport, under the Terminal C. The station is called Düsseldorf Airport Terminal. There you can catch the train S11 in direction Bergisch Gladbach and go till the station Düsseldorf-Derendorf (it takes approximately 10 minutes). From Düsseldorf-Derendorf you can catch the S6, which drives you directly to Werden in less than 30 minutes. The other station is connected to the airport through the skytrain. It is called simply Düsseldorf Airport. The skytrain gets you there in 6 minutes. There are a lot of routes crossing on this station and a lot of variants how to travel. The shortest, I think, is to take the RE 10115 to Essen Hbf, and then either the S6 or the bus 169 to Bredeney.
This is pretty easy, the station is situated directly at the airport just like in Düsseldorf International, so you take RE 10615 directly to Essen Hbf, or any train to Köln Hbf or Düsseldorf Hbf (there are several ones, check the schedule). Also you can take any train to Köln Messe-Deutz, there you can also change to the S6 to Werden. Messe-Deutz is the next station from Köln Hbf in direction Düsseldorf/Essen.
This will be complicated. It is situated far away and isolated. You will need a transfer from the airport to anywhere. It could be directly to Essen Hbf, reservation in advance required, and the tickets costs around 20 Euro Airport Weeze . It takes 1 hour 20 minutes. How to get to Werden from Essen Hbf see Chapter 2.
For 2.70 Euro you can reach Weeze, for 5.90 – Kevelaer with a bus from the airport. These are the closest railway stations. On the station or in the internet you can check the schedule and find out about the routs. Basically you will have to take a train to Krefeld and then to Essen Hbf, or to Düsseldorf and then take the S 6. This trip will cost at least 15 Euro and include the cross stations, where you should wait for the next train. The trip takes all together around 2 hours.
This is also a bit tricky, this airport isn`t that popular among students, however, there are Ryanair flights to Eastern Europe from there, so for some people it could be useful. There you can also take a transfer — to Königswall/Freistuhl or to Holzwickede. From both of the stations, you can take a train to Dortmund, and from there change to Essen Hbf. The transfer to Holzwickede is cheaper and the trip only takes 5 minutes. A transfer to Königswall/Freistuhl costs more and the trip takes around 20 minutes. Check the schedule and the price before using these variants. Furtheremore, you can take the bus 490 to Aplerbeck, Dortmund, then the U 47 to Dortmund Hbf, then again a train to Essen Hbf.
How to go to Essen-Werden by train or bus from far away
If you are coming from the neighbor countries or other regions of Germany, you can also travel by bus or train. There are a lot of trains from everywhere to Essen, direct trains from a lot of cities in Europe, good connection with Netherlands, France and so on. All the trains you can find on the website db.de. This is the same page in English: Website Deutsche Bahn There are also several bus companies you might want to use.
How to buy a ticket for public transport in Germany and how much it costs
You can buy train, bus or tram ticket at the same place. It is actually the same ticket. If you need to change transport during your journey, for instance, take a train to Essen and then a bus to Essen-Werden, you don`t need two different tickets. You need only one, which will be valid for the area you are traveling through.
There are three main ways to buy a ticket. 1st one – the webpage db.de. Find the link to the english version of the site above in the chapter 4. There you can find your route and pay for the ticket in advance. However, I wouldn`t recommend the internet as the universal and the best way to purchase tickets. Some of the routs are announced there, and sometimes the internet tickets turn out to be more expensive than the ones you buy at the station. Normally there are no problems with buying tickets using the ticket machine.
So, we proceed to the second part of this chapter: how to buy the tickets using the ticket machine at the station. It operates in different languages. I found a nice 5 minute tutorial on youtube, where a guy explains in detail, what to do.
As you can see, it is not too difficult. A few comments on the procedure: If you choose the option “all kinds of transport” instead of “only local transport”, as this guy did, you will see the list with a wide variety of opportunities, so sometimes it is probably better to do this. Otherwise, you will be able to use your ticket only in the local trains (which is also written on the ticket of the guy in the video) – which is not bad, if you have a simple route and know exactly where you`re going. Anyway, the machine will show you the list of variants, where you can see the trains you should catch, the time of its departure and arrival and, of course, the price. To choose the best one, see the previous chapters.
The important thing is, there will be no route description on your ticket, as well as no time of departure. This means, your ticket just allows you to travel in a certain area, independent of particular time of departure. You buy a ticket for a zone, and the bigger the zone is, the more expensive is the ticket. For instance, Essen to Essen-Werden: this trip would happen inside a small zone. So the ticket will be cheap(er). Essen to Kettwig (next station after Essen-Werden) is a bit bigger distance, but it would be the same ticket and the same price, since it is still the same zone. Essen to Cologne is another category, so this will be much more expensive. Also if you take the ICE trains (they normally connect different regions of Germany and Germany with other countries), it will be also more expensive, anyway. Again, the best routs are described above. It may sound complicated, but just plan to spend 10 minutes near the ticket machine, and it will be ok.
I find traveling in Germany expensive, but fast. Inside NRW (region we are talking about, Nord Rhein-Westfalen) the longest travel would be around 3 hours. It is for example from Essen to Aachen, which is situated on the border to Belgium.
When you managed to buy a ticket, normally you should validate it. See the picture on the right side: This is what a ticket validator looks like. You just put the ticket into the hole, and the machine prints the name of the station and the current time on it automatically. It means, your journey has started. The ticket is valid a limited time, so better to validate not too much in advance, but more or less before entering your train. Validated once, the ticket doesn`t need to be validated again. You just save it in your pocket or wallet until the end of journey.
When you enter the train or the station, nobody will control your ticket or check whether it is validated. Control occurs to you inside the train. It is not predictable, when the controlling people will appear, or if they will appear at all. It can happen that nobody checks your ticket at all. It is normal. Nevertheless, it is better to buy a ticket (and don`t forget to validate it, otherwise it is not valid! There are some exceptions, some tickets are too big for the validator and it is physically impossible to validate them, they normally have a date and time of departure already printed, and the journey is fixed; just read carefully all the instructions on the touchscreen). If you are caught without a ticket, you will have to pay at least 60 euro, as well as having the unpleasant feeling of being unlucky.
In buses and trams you can sometimes find the validators inside, so you can validate your ticket immediately after you entered train or bus. Also in a bus you can buy a ticket by the driver. Sometimes drivers want new passengers to enter through the front door of the bus and show the ticket in the beginning of journey, but in general you can enter any door and wait for controllers, that might not show up.
Every action in public transport is supported by a special button. It is made like this to save electricity, I guess. Normally buses don`t stop at a station, if no one wants to get in or out. You have to look at the screen (normally there is a screen inside the bus, where you can see the announcement of the next station), and press the button “stop”. After that you normally hear a sound signal, and on the screen there will appear red sign “Wagen hält” which means „this bus is going to stop“. It is a normal procedure. Also to open the door you normally have to press a button near the door. Most of the doors don`t open automatically.
And, in conclusion, if you happen to travel from a big station like any Hbf, you may use the service center (Reisezentrum).
That`s the best opportunity. Just mention without any shame that you need the cheapest ticket ever, or ask about one of the routes described above. In addition to your ticket, you will get a travel list. It is just an information paper, but there you can see directly the number of your train, platform and time of departure, including all the changes you should make during the journey. It is quite practical. People in the service centers speak mostly German, of course, but most of them also speak English.
On every station you can find a desk with the schedule of all the trains that pass through this station. Yellow ones show the departures, so we need them. White ones tell us about arrivals. Normally no one needs them.
On the big station you could see, that there are two sorts of yellow desks – with a big S like “Superman” on the background and without it. It means, there are a lot of trains passing by and there is a special separate schedule for S-Bahn. So, which means you might check both desks to find the route you need.
Also on the very big stations, like Cologne Hbf for instance, sometimes there are separate schedules for each platform. If you happen to be in a location the first time, better plan to spend 10 minutes or more there and look around very attentively. There is a lot of information, everything is actually written everywhere and most of the information is also provided in English. It just takes time to find it.
So, the plan how to get to Essen-Werden from anywhere may look like this:
1. You arrive somewhere.
2. You find the railway or bus station (look for the variants in chapters 1-4)
3. You are aware of the route you want to follow (look for the variants in chapters 1-4)
4. You find the schedule desk on the station and look for the departure time of the train you are interested in.
5. You find the ticket machine, type the destination and look for the cheapest variant. Check the route that the machine proposes. If it is not the route you chose before, it is normally not a problem. OR you can follow then the route proposed by the machine. OR you can go to the client center.
6. You find a validator and validate your ticket before entering the train.
7. You save your ticket until the end of the journey.
The superpower of the semester ticket
When you become a student of Folkwang, you have to pay an enrollment fee, and after you can get a Semesterticket. It consists of two things – a paper card (NRW ticket) and a print on your Student ID card, which is the VRR ticket. The NRW ticket allows you to use all the S-Bahn, U-Bahn and trains RE in the entire NRW area. It means, you will not have to buy any tickets anymore, but only to choose a route and take a train. You show your semester ticket to a controller and that`s it.
VRR ticket covers the smaller area, which includes Essen and Düsseldorf, but doesn`t include Cologne. VRR means Verband Rhein-Ruhr. Verband means Connection, Rhein and Ruhr are the names of rivers. Rhein is a very big one, Ruhr is pretty small. Essen-Werden is situated at the bank of Ruhr. So, the additional value of the VRR ticket is, that you may take a guest with you. After 19.00 from Monday till Friday and the whole day on the weekend you may take a person with you, and your ticket is valid for two people, so your guest also will not have to pay anything for the journey.
There is sometimes also an interesting option of theatre tickets. Some of them are combined with a train ticket, so you can travel to the next city and show your theatre ticket to the controller. Check this option while buying theatre tickets in the internet.
One last thing: Don`t be surprised if your train is announced to be delayed or even canceled. It happens a lot and it is always anounced, unfortunately, only in German. So keep being attentive!