Aachen is a historically important city, spa and university centre in North Rhine-Westphalia, situated at the "three lands corner" where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. Known as Aix-la-Chapelle in French and Aken in Dutch, the city has played a prominent role in early Medieval Europe, when it became the favoured residence of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor who created the Carolingian Empire in the late 8th and early 9th century and built the city's impressive cathedral, where he is now buried along with a succession of later German rulers, many of whom were also crowned in the city.
Apart from its medieval significance and a wealth of preserved artifacts, Aachen is also known for its springs, which have been attracting visitors since the Ancient Roman times and continue to do so today, with a number of historic baths and hotels sprinkled around the city. Contributing to the city's wealth and prominence is also the technical university, which made Aachen a hub for modern technologies and provides a sizeable student population (over 40,000 of the total 250,000 inhabitants). With all this, Aachen is now a multi-cultural, popular tourist destination.