You can find it everywhere. The trouble is, mostly you don´t really notice it. It´s used in schools, or at work to store and carry information, in shops to pack food, as posters for publicity, or at home in the form of cardboard plates, tea or coffee filters, for wiping things clean (not only baby´s bottom!) or simply as a piece of art. Paper is everywhere, and down through the years it has been one of the most important means of communicating culture. In Düren, a town with an important paper industry, there is a complete museum dedicated to the material.
The fact that paper, alongside textiles and metals, played such an important role in Düren for several hundred years can be principally attributed to favourable location factors. Above all the soft water of the Rur was indispensable for production: not only for the actual process of manufacture, but also to drive the machines. In 1812 the were 17 paper mills in the vicinity of Düren employing a total work of 4,000 men and women. In the second half of the 19th century there were even around 3,000 people employed in the local industry.
The Düren Paper Museum is housed in an unadorned building in the town centre behind the Leopold Hoesch Museum. Here visitors can learn more about the interesting history of paper and the many uses to which it can be put. If they make advance arrangements, they can get down to work and make their own paper at certain fixed dates. One of the main themes in the museum is devoted to "Paper Art". Items are not only displayed here in the museum. Every two years the adjacent Leopold Hoesch Museum presents the "Paper Art Biennale", a meeting place for world-class paper art and artists.