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Aachen, Germany

Aachen, also known as Bad Aachen is a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, at the foot of the Eifel and Ardennes Plateaus. Sometimes in English , the city is referred to as Aix-la-Chapelle. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and later the place of coronation of the German kings, which is where it gained the reference as the "watering-place of kings." Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, west-southwest of Cologne. It is located within a former coal-mining region, and this fact was important in its economic history. RWTH Aachen University, one of Germany's Universities of Excellence, is located in the city. Aachen's predominant economic focus is on science, engineering, information technology and related sectors. In 2009, Aachen was ranked 8th among cities in Germany for innovation.NameThe name Aachen is of uncertain derivation. The location has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic era, approximately 5000 years ago, attracted to its warm mineral springs. The root Aa, or variants such as Ae, E, Ee, Ie, or IJ, are found in the names of rivers or other water sources throughout Germanic-speaking areas of northern Europe, particularly the Netherlands and northwest Germany.