"The city of Düsseldorf is very beautiful, and when you think of it from afar and happen to have been born there, you feel strange. I was born there and I feel as if I have to go home right away." (Heinrich Heine)
The heart of the city beats in the Old Town for Düsseldorfers and their out-of-town guests. It is an entertainment centre where bustle and tranquillity, history and modernity mix in beautiful harmony. In the narrow streets with narrow-gabled town houses, old churches and Art Nouveau facades, more than 260 pubs, international restaurants, discos and nightclubs cater to an extremely interesting public. You can listen to jazz and other live music, drink the home-brewed top-fermented Altbier, and everyone strikes up a conversation with everyone else. In the alleyways of the old town, shoppers prefer smaller shops or special boutiques. The market square in the old town is also home to the historic town hall, the oldest part of which dates from 1570 to 1573. The Jan Wellem Monument, which forms the centre of the market square, was erected in 1711 and, as one of Düsseldorf's landmarks, is now one of the most important baroque monuments in Germany. Also very much worth seeing is the Basilica of St. Lambert, whose most characteristic feature is the slightly twisted spire, which gives the 72-metre-high church tower a crooked appearance.
Renowned architects such as Frank O. Gehry, David Chipperfield, Joe Coenen, Steven Holl, and Claude Vasconi have made the MedienHafen the top address for architecture connoisseurs from all over the world. Where just a few years ago the dreariness of unused warehouses prevailed, internationally renowned companies from the fields of advertising and art, communication and TV production have now taken up residence.
The Rhine Harbour Art and Media Centre by Frank O. Gehry (USA) is divided into three contrasting building sections and looks like a giant sculpture. The choice of different materials gives each building complex its own identity. As a connection between the three buildings, the material of the façade of the central building is chosen in such a way that the houses on the northern and southern sides can be reflected in it.
The castle tower, which stands free a few metres south of the church near the banks of the Rhine, is a remnant of the Düsseldorf castle destroyed by fire in 1872, the core of which dates back to the 13th century. The old gauge clock south of the castle tower is the starting point for romantic boat trips on the Rhine. Several outlying districts are older than the city centre and are well worth a visit. These include Gerresheim with the Quadenhof and the former collegiate church of Sankt Margareta. In the northern part of the city, Kaiserswerth has an eventful urban history that can be traced back to the 8th century. The small town, which still appears idyllic today, was a powerful base for German kings and emperors for centuries. Today, the imperial palace built by Emperor Barbarossa is a lovingly maintained ruin. The Stiftsplatz around the 11th-century collegiate church is one of the most beautiful and atmospheric squares on the Lower Rhine.
Düsseldorf's Königsallee underlines Düsseldorf's reputation as the most elegant shopping city in Germany. The "Kö" with its wide water moat lined with plane trees and chestnut trees can be compared to a catwalk. Numerous exclusive ladies' and men's fashion shops are just as much a part of the offer as jewellers, antique shops or bookshops. In their arcades you can find the finest things from all over the world. But many visitors come to the "Kö" not only to shop. They also enjoy strolling or relaxing in one of the café terraces.
Great Germans had their address in Düsseldorf. Numerous names are still remembered, for example, by the Goethe Museum (in Jägerhof Palace), the Heinrich Heine Institute and the Robert Schumann University. Eighteen museums, the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection, the Kunsthalle, the late Baroque Benrath Palace, over twenty theatres, the opera, many concert halls, over a hundred galleries and regular art exhibitions of international standing make Düsseldorf a city of art and culture. The central location of Düsseldorf's art axis parallel to the Rhine opens up a rich selection of parks and gardens to visitors. Spacious parks form a "green axis" right across Düsseldorf "from the Rhine to the Rhine". The offerings range from traditional horticultural art in the Hofgarten to a touch of the exotic in the Japanese Garden in the Nordpark to the near-natural biotopes in the Südpark.
In the stronghold of Rhenish carnival, more than 300 meetings, balls and costume parties are held between 11.11 and Ash Wednesday.
Düsseldorf Carnival Committee
Tel. (0211) 33 01 01/02
fax. (0211) 31 80 418
Düsseldorf is a modern city. And yet centuries-old customs are cultivated here. Inseparable from these traditions are the numerous festivals. After all, the people of Düsseldorf would not be true Rhinelanders if every occasion did not also provide good reason to celebrate. Together with Cologne and Mainz, Düsseldorf is one of the three strongholds of the Rhenish carnival. Between 11 November and Ash Wednesday, more than 300 carnival meetings and costume balls take place in Düsseldorf.