Shaft XII, a reminder of the former Zollverein Coal Mine, dominates Essen's skyline
City leaders have been meeting to decide whether to put Derby forward as a potential UK Capital of Culture in 2017.
Earlier this year, Essen in Germany began its tenure as one of three European Capitals of Culture, the others being in Hungary and Turkey.
The city shares Derby's reputation as a centre of industry rather than culture.
But media spokesperson, Katharine Jarzumbek, says the people of Essen are already beginning to feel the benefits.
She told BBC Radio Derby's Shane O'Connor: "Essen was always known as a city in the middle of an industrial region and so people in other countries would always think of steel, coal and dark skies.
"This has been a great opportunity to present ourselves as a green city and the second largest urban conurbation in Europe.
"It's been getting a lot of international publicity so it presents us with a unique opportunity to show the world our cultural heritage and our future."
Whilst Derby would only be a UK capital, Katharine says such a title can bring real tangible benefits to a city.
"We've just opened a wonderful new museum of modern art, designed by British architect David Chipperfield", she explained.
"It only opened a few weeks ago but it's already a hot spot in the city."
Katharine says it wasn't easy to find the money for the project but feels it has been worth it.
She said: "The whole thing cost us 62.5 million Euros but we were able to raise over 10 million Euros through sponsorship alone.
"Companies from across the region and Germany as a whole have been very supportive - and of course they will benefit from us being a European Capital of Culture and have a good image transferred from their own contribution."
Whether the UK title could have a similar impact on Derby in 2017 remains to be seen.
A decision on whether to bid is expected once the UK Capital for 2013 has been announced.
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