A city that has made history and has set trends, a city that’s still a major economic hub and a place that has reinvented culture, located at one of the largest lakes in the world and offering a wide range of leisure opportunities and yet, Detroit is far from being a favorite among tourists. On the contrary, Detroit for many is a symbol of the decline of the American industry and it was  faced with a number of social problems and high unemployment rates in the recent past. 


Southeastern Michigan, Canadian border



Metro population:



370 kmē


1985 / kmē


Motor City


Lansing 145 kilometers, Grand Rapids 255 kilometers, Fort Wayne 261 kilometers, Cleveland 274 kilometers, Chicago 455 kilometers


Mike Duggan, since 2014

MI Ambassador Bridge 2





MI Detroit Wayne State University

In fact, Detroit currently goes through what is probably the deepest crisis of its history. The Greater Detroit area once used to be home to about 240,000 businesses, but most of these depended on Motor City’s “big three” of the American auto industry, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. When two of these three filed for bankruptcy in 2009, thousands of residents lost their jobs and tax revenues took a deep crash. Subsequently, entire neighborhoods were neglected, thousands of buildings stood vacant and slowly fell into disrepair. In July 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy, a process it was allowed to leave again in December 2014. 

While the city of Detroit registered a steady decline in population numbers since the 1950s, the number of residents in the suburbs has grown as steadily. Once counting more than 1.8 million inhabitants, Detroit today only has some 680,000 residents a left in the city. Through a large rehabilitation and revitalization program, the administration hopes to make Detroit more attractive for residents and visitors alike again, an first positive results have already been registered. Indeed, with numerous attractions, popular museums, the famous annual motor show and other large-scale events, Detroit is still worth a visit and counts some 15 million visitors per year. 

Next to its economic significance, Detroit has also had great influence on the newer music history. After the blossoming years of Jazz and Blues in the 1940s and 1950s, the heyday of rock music followed, which in turn was replaced by techno music in the 1980s. In the current past, a significant HipHop and rap scene has developed in the city.

Detroit is directly connected to the world via its international airport in the suburb of Romulus. Thanks to its location straddling the Candian border, the city forms a common trade region together with its Canadian counterpart, Windsor City. The Ambassador Bridge, connecting both cities, carries about 25% of US-Canadian trade goods.



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