The grand building of the town hall, or Rathaus is the pride of Bochum – one of the largest buildings of its kind in Germany. This is a monument of industrialism that allowed Bochum to become the leading industrial centre of the country. The first competition for the new town hall projects took place already in 1912-1913. World War I stood in the way of implementation of these plans. In 1925, application of a famous architect from Darmstadt, Karl Roth, won the new competition. Before that he had designed town halls for Dresden, Kassel and Barmen.
The architect who constructed Bochum town hall found his inspiration in the Spanish monastery of Escorial. Construction of the huge, luxuriously decorated building – it has 329 rooms – cost a huge amount, around 9.25 million Marks! However, rich Bochum could afford that. Opening ceremony was conducted in 1931. Unfortunately, the majority of the bronze statues decorating the original building were melted in the 1940s for military needs. But already by 1951 the town hall was fully restored.
The famous Bochum bell is placed in front of the town hall. It was made by the famous town master Jacob Mayer in the 19th century with the use of the then progressive method of steel mold casting. The bell is more than 3 metres in diameter and weighs around 15 tons. In 1867 the huge bell participated in the Paris exhibition and received one of the five large honour medals. Unfortunately, it was also damaged during the war and does not toll any longer. However its impressive size and the symbolism of the bell are still in place.