Modern Languages (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Horst Kurz


In December 2014, General Motors closed its flagship Opel plant in Bochum after 52 years of operation amidst years of economic struggles in the industrial Ruhr-valley region of northwestern Germany, marking the first closure of a major German automobile plant since 1945. This study examines the primary underlying causes of the landmark closure, such as the insolvency of GM-Opel and tense employer-employee relations compounded by unsatisfactory trade union negotiations between GM-Opel and IG Metall. Subsequent social and economic reactions to the closure are also examined, including the yearlong “This is not Detroit” campaign launched by local Bochum artists to inspire alternative uses for the site of the plant after the closure.