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Düsseldorf is a city on the River Rhine in western Germany and is the capital city of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is one of the economic centres of the country, and a major city within the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, with a population of almost 600,000.
While Frankfurt is the German hub for financial services and many other German cities excel in various branches of industry, Düsseldorf has the highest concentration of professional services, creative industries and media, and is regarded as the German capital of fashion. Düsseldorf also hosts a large number of German or European head offices of Japanese companies, and has a considerable Japanese population, forming over 1% of the city's population.
The city is famous for its nightlife, carnival, events, shopping and for fashion and trade fairs like the Boot Messe (trade fair for boats and watersports) and Igedo (fashion fair). Every year, more than 4 million people visit the Kirmes fun fair which runs for 10 days in the summer.
|POPULATION :||• City 604,527
• Urban 1,220,000
• Metro 11,300,000 (Rhine-Ruhr)
|TIME ZONE :||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|AREA :||217 km2 (84 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||51°14′N 6°47′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49..08%
• Female: 50.92%
|AREA CODE :||211|
|POSTAL CODE :||40210-40629|
|DIALING CODE :||+49 211|
Music and nightlife
Since the 1950s the "Kom(m)ödchen" has been one of the most prominent political cabarets of Germany. The city's most famous contribution to the culture of modern popular music is beyond doubt the avant-garde electronic music band Kraftwerk. Formed by a few Düsseldorf-born musicians, Kraftwerk are internationally known as the most significant band in the history of post-warGerman music and as pioneers in electronic music.
Internationally known power metal band Warlock was formed in Düsseldorf in 1982. Their frontwoman, Doro Pesch, has had a successful solo career in Europe and Asia since Warlock ended. The punk band Die Toten Hosen, which is famous around the world, also the most popular singers in Germany Westernhagen and Heino come from Düsseldorf. The electronic act D.A.F. was formed in the city in 1978, as well as the electronic/industrial pioneers Die Krupps in 1980. The experimental post-punk group La Düsseldorf was named after the city, for which it paid with a legal case in the early 1980s.
One of the biggest cultural events in Düsseldorf is the Karneval (also referred to as the "fifth season") which starts every year on 11 November at 11:11 a.m., and reaches its climax on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), featuring a huge parade through the streets of Düsseldorf. Karneval ends on Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday).
Cartwheeler of Düsseldorf
The Düsseldorfer Radschläger (Boy who does Cartwheels) is said to be the city's oldest tradition. The symbol of the cartwheeler can be found on many souvenirs and various things in Düsseldorf have the cartwheelers to thank for their names. This tradition was honoured in 1954 by the erection of a fountain, called Cartwheeler's Fountain, on the Burgplatz in Düsseldorf.
There are two main tourist information offices in Düsseldorf:
- Tourist Information Office Hauptbahnhof, Immermannstraße 65b(opposite of the northwestern exit from the train station), , fax: . 9:30-19:00 Mo-Fr, 9:30-17:00 Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
- Tourist Information Office Altstadt, Marktstraße/Rheinstraße (in the old town), . 10:00-18:00 Mo-Su.
They offer a lot of brochures: a monthly calendar of events, a city guide and free maps with walking routes designed around a specific theme (e.g., "Art Route", "Düsseldorf in 1 Hour") and, last but not least, a guide for gays. You can also book their guided tours, and note that there are also tours for disabled and deaf people.
When the Roman Empire was strengthening its position throughout Europe, a few Germanic tribes clung in marshy territory off the eastern banks of the Rhine River.
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the odd farming or fishing settlement could be found at the point where the small river Düssel flows into the Rhine. It was from such settlements that the city of Düsseldorf grew.
The first written mention of Düsseldorf (then called Dusseldorp in the local Low Rhenish dialect) dates back to 1135. Under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa the small town of Kaiserswerth to the north of Düsseldorf became a well-fortified outpost, where soldiers kept a watchful eye on every movement on the Rhine. Kaiserswerth eventually became a suburb of Düsseldorf in 1929.
In 1186, Düsseldorf came under the rule of the Counts of Berg. 14 August 1288 is one of the most important dates in the history of Düsseldorf. On this day the sovereign Count Adolf VIII of Berg granted the village on the banks of the Düssel town privileges. Before this, a bloody struggle for power had taken place between the Archbishop of Cologne and the count of Berg, culminating in the Battle of Worringen.
The Archbishop of Cologne's forces were wiped out by the forces of the count of Berg who were supported by citizens and farmers of Cologne and Düsseldorf, paving the way for Düsseldorf's elevation to city status, which is commemorated today by a monument on the Burgplatz. The custom of turning cartwheels is credited to the children of Düsseldorf. There are variations of the origin of the cartwheeling children. Today the symbol (Der Radschläger) represents the story and every year the Düsseldorfers celebrate by having a cartwheeling contest. After this battle the relationship between the four cities deteriorated, because they were commercial rivals. It is often said that there is a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Today, it finds its expression mainly in a humorous form (especially during the Rhineland Karneval) and in sports.
A market square sprang up on the banks of the Rhine and the square was protected by city walls on all four sides. In 1380, the dukes of Berg moved their seat to the town and Düsseldorf was made regional capital of the Duchy of Berg. During the following centuries several famous landmarks were built, including the Collegiate Church of St Lambertus. In 1609, the ducal line of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Bergdied out, and after a virulent struggle over succession, Jülich and Berg fell to the Wittelsbach Counts of Palatinate-Neuburg, who made Düsseldorf their main domicile, even after they inherited the Electorate of the Palatinate, in 1685, becoming now Prince-electors as Electors Palatine.
Under the art loving Johann Wilhelm II (r. 1690–1716), a vast art gallery with a huge selection of paintings and sculptures, were housed in the Stadtschloss (city castle). After his death, the city fell on hard times again, especially after Elector Charles Theodore inherited Bavaria and moved the electoral court to Munich. With him he took the art collection, which became part of what is now the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Destruction and poverty struck Düsseldorf after the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon made Berg a Grand Duchy and Düsseldorf its capital. Johann Devaranne, a leader ofSolingen's resistance to Napoleon's conscription decrees, was executed here in 1813. After Napoleon's defeat, the whole Rhineland including Berg was given to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. The Rhine Province's parliament was established in Düsseldorf. By the mid-19th century, Düsseldorf enjoyed a revival thanks to the Industrial Revolution as the city boasted 100,000 inhabitants by 1882; the figure doubled in 1892. In 1920, Düsseldorf became the centre of the General Strike. On 15 April 1920, 45 delegates of the German Miners Union were murdered by the Freikorps.
The city was a target of strategic bombing during World War II, particularly during the RAF bombing campaign in 1943 when over 700 bombers were used in a single night. Raids continued late into the war. As part of the campaign against German oil facilities, the RAF raid of 20–21 February on the Rhenania Ossag refinery in the Reisholz district of the city halted oil production there. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Düsseldorf in mid-April 1945. The United States 97th Infantry Division easily captured the city on 18 April 1945., after the local German Resistance group launched Aktion Rheinland.
In 1946, Düsseldorf was made capital of the new federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city's reconstruction proceeded at a frantic pace and the economic transformation guided Düsseldorf's economic growth.
Like the rest of the lower Rhineland, Düsseldorf experiences moderate winters with little snowfall and mild to warm summers. The average annual temperature is 10.6 °C (51 °F) with an average yearly precipitation of 797 millimetres (31 in). The dominant wind direction is from the west with velocities in the range of 3 to 4 m/s (7–9 mph), with gusts of 3.5 −4.8 m/s (8–10.7 mph). The wind is calm (defined as being under 2 m/s or 4.5 mph) about 35% of the time, more frequently at night and in the winter.
Climate data for Düsseldorf
|Average high °C (°F)||5.5
|Average low °C (°F)||1.2
Düsseldorf lies at the centre of the Lower Rhine basin, where the delta of the River Düssel flows into the Rhine. The city lies on the east side of the Rhine, except District 4 (Oberkassel, Niederkassel,Heerdt and Lörick). Across the Rhine, the city of Neuss stands on the delta of theErft river. Düsseldorf lies southwest of theRuhr urban area, and in the middle of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.
Düsseldorf is built entirely on alluvium, mud, sand, clay and occasionally gravel. The highest point in Düsseldorf is the top of Sandberg in the far eastern part of the city (Hubbelrath borough) at 165 metres (541 ft). The lowest point is at the far northern end in Wittlaer borough where the Schwarzbach enters the Rhine, with an average elevation of 28 metres (92 ft).
Düsseldorf has become one of the top telecommunications centres in Germany. With two of the four big German providers of mobile frequencies, D2 Vodafone andE-Plus, Düsseldorf leads the German mobile phone market. There are many foreign information and communication technology companies in Düsseldorf such as Huawei, NTT, Ericsson, Nokia, and GTS . There are 18 internet service providers located in the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia. Eurowings and formerly independent LTU International, are two airlines, with headquarters in the city.
Many of the internet companies in Düsseldorf have their roots in the world of advertising: there are 400 advertising agencies in Düsseldorf, among them three of the largest in Germany: BBDO Group and Publicis. A number of affiliates of foreign agencies deserve mention as well, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Dentsu, Hakuhodo, and DDB. There are also about 200 publishing houses in Düsseldorf. There are around 170 national andinternational financial institutions, and about 130 insurance agencies, and one of Germany's eight stock exchanges. Several other major companies have their headquarters in the city: Peek & Cloppenburg (fashion), L'Oréal Germany (Cosmetics and Beauty); Henkel AG & Co. KGaA (Branded Consumer Goods and Industrial technologies); E.ON (energy); ThyssenKrupp (metallurgy); Metro(wholesale, retail); Ergo (insurance); LTU (air transport), Esprit Holdings (fashion, headquarters in Ratingen near Düsseldorf), Cognis (chemicals, headquarter in Monheim near Düsseldorf, but production mainly in Düsseldorf).
Daimler AG builds the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter light commercial vehicles in Düsseldorf. Since the 1960s, there has been a strong relationship between the city and Japan. Many Japanese banks and corporations have their European headquarters in Düsseldorf – so many that Düsseldorf has the third largest Japanese community in Europe, after London and Paris.
The "Kö", which stands for Königsallee ("King's Avenue"), is a popular shopping destination. Some of the most reputed jewellery shops, designer labels, and galleries have their stores here. The Kö has among the highest rents for retail and office space in Germany.
Important newspapers and journals such as Handelsblatt, Rheinische Post,Wirtschaftswoche, Deutsches Wirtschaftsblatt and VDI-Nachrichten are published in Düsseldorf. Almost all of these papers are available online on the Internet. Renowned filmmaking companies, such as Germany's biggest cinema enterprise, the Riech-Group, and TV channels such as WDR and QVC are located in Düsseldorf. The foundation Film- und Medienstiftung NRW is supporting the production of film and new media.
Since 1975, Düsseldorf is divided into ten administrative districts. Each district (Bezirk) has its own elected district council (Bezirksvertretung) and its own district mayor (Bezirksvorsteher). The district councils are advisory only. Each district is further subdivided into boroughs. There are 50 boroughs in Düsseldorf.
District 1 (Stadtbezirk 1)
Altstadt, Carlstadt,Derendorf, Golzheim, Pempelfort, Stadtmitte
District 2 (Stadtbezirk 2)
District 3 (Stadtbezirk 3)
Bilk, Flehe,Friedrichstadt, Hafen,Hamm, Oberbilk,Unterbilk, Volmerswerth
District 4 (Stadtbezirk 4)
District 5 (Stadtbezirk 5)
Angermund,Kaiserswerth, Kalkum,Lohausen, Stockum,Wittlaer
District 6 (Stadtbezirk 6)
District 7 (Stadtbezirk 7)
District 8 (Stadtbezirk 8)
District 9 (Stadtbezirk 9)
District 10 (Stadtbezirk 10)
Prices in Dusseldorf
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.90|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€35.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€48.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€3.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€8.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€18.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.13|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€6.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.05|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€76.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€40.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€88.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€2.60|
70 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
217 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Düsseldorf International Airport, the third largest airport in Germany by passenger traffic, is within the city limits. As the distance is rather small and transportation links are good, the Cologne/Bonn Airport can be used as an entry point to Düsseldorf just as well. The low-cost airport in Weeze, in the west of NRW, has been branded as Düsseldorf Weeze, even though it is about 75 kilometres away from the city. In some cases flying into Frankfurt Airport and taking the train from there might be a good idea
Düsseldorf International Airport
Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS) offers connections to 175 destinations worldwide. The airport is one of the main hubs for AirBerlin, Germany's second-largest airline and oneworld member. AirBerlin and its parent airline Etihad offer a number of services to Asia (via Etihad hub in Abu Dhabi) and North America. Their intercontinental competitors include Lufthansa (to Chicago), Delta (to Atlanta) and AirChina (to Beijing), as well as Etihad's archrival Emirates. Lufthansa connects to their intercontinental hubs Frankfurt and Munich via frequent flights.
Düsseldorf is also a hub for Germanwings, Lufthansa's point-to-point subsidiary that offers a wide selection of connections between DUS. Same can be said of AirBerlin, who have a large short-haul base there. Both airlines' flights are mostly geared towards the Mediterranean and intra-Germany flights, but you will find find flights to and from most major European airports operated by either of them or other major or minor airlines.
The airport is located about 15 kilometers away from the main railway station. Rather confusingly, the airport has two train stations: One directly underneath the terminal (only served by the S11 commuter trains) and a larger one a bit further away (served by commuter, local and long-distance trains). The former is called Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal, and the latter is referenced as Düsseldorf Flughafen by Deutsche Bahn. To get to "Düsseldorf Flughafen", you need to take the SkyTrain monorail from the terminal and ride it to the end, past the stop for parking garages. The SkyTrain ride, with waiting time and stops takes about 10-15 mins.
Fares are the same for both stations, and while more trains call at the larger of the two, it also takes more time to get there. The fastest and easiest way to Düsseldorf tends to be the station underneath the terminal; look for signs with a white S on a green circle. Trains run every 20 minutes, take 12 minutes to reach the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) and cost €2.50. The ticket is valid for an onwards journey on public transport within Düsseldorf. A taxi to Düsseldorf costs around €22 and takes 20 minutes, the rate to the trade fair (Messe) is fixed at €13.
Köln Bonn Airport (CGN) is a 60-minute drive or train ride away from Düsseldorf city centre. Trains run every twenty minutes during the day. Take the S13 commuter train from the airport towards Horrem. Change at Köln Messe/Deutz (not the Central Station/Hauptbahnhof) and take the S6 towards Essen. Tickets cost around €11 and can be bought from the machines in the train station, make sure to select that you want to travel by local transport only.
Weeze Airport (NRN) is used by smaller, low-cost airlines flying into the area (currently only RyanAir). The airport is 80 km from Düsseldorf main railway station, a 90 min drive by car or bus (bus: 6-8 departures per day, €14 fare). The airport itself is not connected directly to the railway network, something that is rather unusual in Germany.
If you need to travel from Düsseldorf main airport (DUS) to Weeze Airport (NRN), Deutsche Bahn is the easiest and fastest option. Just follow the DB signs at the DUS Airport. The train (S11 then RE10) gets you to Weeze or Kevelaer; then, change to a special bus, which takes you directly to Weeze Airport. Local bus fare is included in Deutsche Bahn tickets. The bus from Weeze train station leaves hourly for the airport until 9:20PM The train goes every hour.
Sometimes, it is cheaper to buy a SchönerTagTicket/Nice Day Ticket NRW (€ 28.50 single, € 39.50 for up to 5 people), valid all day on all public transport in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This ticket can be bought online on DB's website, from stations, DB counters (where it costs €2 extra), bus drivers, or ticket machines.
If you want to travel from Düsseldorf city to Weeze Airport, you can also take a bus from the Busbahnhof, close to the Hauptbahnhof. The stop is only a 3 min walk from the Hauptbahnhof, behind the cinema at Worringer Straße. The bus takes you straight to Weeze Airport. Tickets can be purchased from the driver (ca 13 Euro). The same bus takes you from Weeze to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, the main train station in 1 h.
The Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof(main station) is a major stop for Deutsche Bahn (German state railway). There are different types of trains such as S-Bahn,Regionalbahn, and Regionalexpress.
All tickets will have to be validated before departure. For the trains like Regionalbahn or Regionalexpress there's an orange machine before you go up the stairs to the platform, where you have to stamp your ticket.
The Rheinbahn tickets for the local Stadtbahn (subway) and Straßenbahn(tram) service need to be validated on the actual trains although you will find stamp boxes at the entrance to the platform as well.
Failure to stamp the ticket in the appropriate machines ("entwerten") will result in either a 40 euro on- the-spot fine or being brought to a police station by the security where the police will request your I.D. such as your passport for later prosecution. Not being German, not understanding the language or complicated system, or the fact that you have purchased a ticket will not be accepted as excuses: if it is not stamped, it is not valid, and travelling with a non-stamped ticket is considered an offence.
Düsseldorf is connected to the following highways: A3, A44, A46, A52, A57 (via Neuss) and A59.
Transportation - Get Around
By Public Transport
The bus, tramway(Straßenbahn) and subway (U-Bahn/Stadtbahn) ( Map ) networks - impressive for a city its size - are operated by Rheinbahn AG. There is also a suburban railway network (S-Bahn). Most destinations in Düsseldorf can be reached by local transportation. Tickets must be purchased and postmarked before using the transportation service. Tickets are bought from vending machines on the tram or subway stops. There are many different ticket types and the vending machine's instructions in several languages including German, English, and French. To the average traveler, these three are the most relevant ticket types:
- Short trip ticket (Kurzstrecke): At 1.50 € and valid for 30 min, about 4 stops (on each vending machine there is a list telling where one can travel on a short trip ticket bought from that particular machine).
- A-class ticket (Preisstufe A): adequate to reach your destinations within Düsseldorf. A normal A-ticket costs 2.50 € and is valid for 90 min.
- Day ticket (Preisstufe A / Tagesticket): costs 5.90 € and is valid until 3AM of the following day.
- Day group ticket (Preisstufe A / Gruppenticket): costs 13 € – With the Group Ticket, families or groups containing up to 5 individuals can travel the whole day long by bus and rail.
The tickets for areas B, C and D are for the suburban areas. In general these tickets are needed only if you are visiting someone living or working there; the main sights and establishments are all located in the A-area. If you enter the details of your trip into the VRR website (linked below), then the required ticket area for that journey will be shown.
Taxis are widely available, the two largest taxi companies being Taxi-Düsseldorf and Rhein-Taxi. As in most of the rest of Germany, officially licensed taxis are always in ivory colour and on the back window you always find a black number on a yellow patch.
When riding a taxi, the starting fee is 4,50€. Price per km is 2,20€, waiting time 35€ per hour, which is calculated in steps increasing by 0,10€ each 10,29 seconds. Additional surcharge for a journey with more than 4 passengers is 7,00€ and an obligatory flat rate between the fairgrounds to the airport DUS and, vice versa is 20€, each direction. Credit card service fee is 2,00€. According to the Düsseldorf taxi-regulation you find an identity card of the driver and information about the tariff. Taxi drivers are not allowed to refuse a short ride or indeed to anywhere in the city or to the direct neighbour cities.
Be aware that neighbour cities have individual tariffs wich may differ from the these of Düsseldorf. So it is normal that a jouney from for example,Mönchengladbach to Düsseldorf is less expensive as the exact same way from Düsseldorf to Mönchengladbach.
Those who want to drive in the city center should be aware that it is an "environment zone" similar to that found in many other large German cities. Cars are required to have a sticker declaring the car's pollution category.
There are several bike hire vendors in Düsseldorf, which offer daily or longer term bookings, for ~9 euro/day, or less for longer rental times.
You can hire bikes (Fahrradverleih) from the "Hauptbahnhof" (main station) at the RadStation (in German), which is owned by the City of Düsseldorf and can optionally be booked a day in advance online. You can also park your bikes under cover here for 0.70 euros/day.
A commercial service is run by Nextbike (in German), but requires free registration to receive the combination lock codes to access the bikes. A working mobile phone is also required. You can pick up a SIM card fairly cheaply from a local mobile phone store.
The city centre is not that large and most attractions are in a walkable distance from another.
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Königsallee, called the Kö by the locals, is the city's main boulevard with high-end stores and boutiques, as well as gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels.
- Breuninger, Königsallee 2. Mo-Sa 10:00-20:00. The Stuttgart-based upscale department store chain has opened their North-Rhein outpost in 2014 in the new Kö-Bogen complex at the north end of the Königsallee. The store is filled with a collection of luxury goods, mainly apparel and accessories, from Germany, Europe and the world. Inside you can also find a premium restaurant operated in a co-branding agreement with the famous Sansibar from Sylt.
- Kaufhof an der Kö. Germany's largest department store chain has taken over the former Kaufhaus Tietz and turned it into a premium flagship for their chain
- KÖ Galerie, Königsallee 60, . Gallery open daily 7AM-11PM, hours vary across shops. The extensive shopping gallery fills up most the block between Steinstraße and Grünstraße, with multi-level indoor passages featuring exquisite boutiques, as well as a REWE supermarket and a selection of bars, cafes and restaurants.
- Mayersche Droste, Königsallee 18. 10AM-8PM, closed on Sundays. At the corner of Königsallee and Schadowstraße, the six-level store of the Meyersche Buchhandlung (bookstore) chain will most likely be on your way at some point, filled with books, magazines, DVDs and other media. Worth visiting even for the views from the upper-level windows in all directions.
The Schadowstraße is another major shopping street, much more affordable, with department stores and apparel shops from local and international chains.
- Karstadt. The quintessential German department store selling anything from apparel to foodstuffs
- Galeria Kaufhof. Karstadt's main competitor, Galeria Kaufhof, has a huge department store right across the street.
- Schadow-Arkaden, Schadowstraße 11 (right next to Corneliusplatz / Königsallee), . The three-floor shopping centre at the western end of Schadowstraße features a mix of different retailers and an occasional antique marketplace within its premises.
Another famous department store in Düsseldorf is the Carsch-Haus at Heinrich-Heine-Platz. Opened in 1915 by Paul Carsch, it was rebuilt after the Second World War and continued in operation until 1979, when its façade had to be moved 23 metres back to make room for the U-Bahn station. After this meticulously performed operation, it remains continually open since 1984 under its historic name, despite changing hands and becoming a part of the Hertie chain and ending up as part of Kaufhof AG. Kaufhof positions the store as slightly more upmarket than its own-brand Galerias.
- Carsch-Haus, Heinrich-Heine-Platz 1 (U-Bahn station Heinrich-Heine-Allee), . Monday through Saturday 9:30-20:00.
Other high-end fashion retailers to be found in Düsseldorf include:
- Apropos, Benrather Straße 15.
Those who like trendy fashion should visit the quarter of Flingern, especiallyAckerstraße. Recently the quarter has turned from a residential to a creative district, offering stores like the trendy ones you will find in Berlin. Also the district of Pempelfort (Tußmannstraße) and Unterbilk (Lorettostraße) demonstrate that there is a fashion scene beside international fashion houses.
- Killepitsch is a local liquor flavored with herbs (so called "Kräuterlikör"). The liquor has a blood red colour and is made from a combination of 90 fruits, berries, herbs, and spices. Available at Et Kabüffke, Flingerstraße 1, 40213 Düsseldorf, .
- Löwensenf (Mustard), Berger Straße 29, 40213 Düsseldorf, . One of the most famous producers of German Mustard is situated in Düsseldorf. Moveover, a special mustard store, with a mustard tasting area, is based in the Düsseldorf-Altstadt (some fancy mustards are available at this place: for example "Altbier Mustard", "Chilli Mustard", "Strawberry Mustard", etc.)
- Bottles of Altbier - One nice souvenir or gift is a bottle of local Altbier. Breweries usually sell these bottels directly in their gastronomies.
Characteristic Rhenish dishes like Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten (mustard roast pork), Rheinischer Sauerbraten (marinated beef with raisins), Halve Hahn (rye bread, slice of cheese, mustard and gherkin) or Ähzezupp (pea soup) are offered everywhere within the old town.
- Zum Kochlöffel, Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 41, . German cuisine, bistro tables.
- Alberobello, Dorotheenstr. 104, . Italian cuisine, budget prices and superb quality. Reservation recommended.
- Curry Hammer Str. 2 (Media Harbour), or Moltkestr. 115 (Pempelfort). German cuisine, including the famous sausage with ketchup (on request with golden leaf!).
- Ess-Klasse Erftstraße 12 (Media Harbour). Lunch and take-away food at affordable prices.
- Dinea, Berliner Allee 52, Königsallee 1-9, Am Wehrhahn 1. 9:30-20. Lunch restaurants and cafés in the 'Galeria Kaufhof' department stores. These are good places for a quick and cheap meal.
- Robert's Bistro, Wupperstr. 2, in the Media harbour, . One of Düsseldorf's best restaurants. Specializing in French-ish food, the fish and sweets are fantastic. Expect to pay 20-30 euros per person (for food and wine). They don't take reservations so expect to wait and sit next to strangers, but the experience is well worth it.
- Mongos, Zollhof 10, Media Harbour, . All-you-can-eat Mongolian cuisine, with an enormous choice of unusual foods (i.e. zebra, crocodiles, emu, barracuda, etc.).
- Bug, Zollhof 13, . Fish restaurant in the media harbor, known for its stylish location.
- Zum Schiffchen, Hafenstraße 5, , e-mail:[email protected]. Rustic bourgeois brewery restaurant, delicious beer and attentive service. Excellent cream of Pfifferlinge (chanterelle) soup in season. Established in 1628, this restaurant was patronized by local poet Heinrich Heine and has served a bevy of celebrities, including Napoleon.
- Michele, Duisburger Str. 6, . A small Italian restaurant in Düsseldorf-Pempelfort. Famous for the singing Italian chef on Friday evenings. For Friday nights, reservations should be made 3 weeks prior to your stay.
- Brauerei im Füchschen, Ratingerstrasse 28, , e-mail:[email protected]. A traditional brewery restaurant in the old town serving their own beer. Here you can try the local specialty Sauerbraten; vinegar marinated beef with red cabbage.
- El Amigo Primo Lopez, Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse 9, . An Argentinian beef restaurant situated in the old town.
- Im Schiffchen, Kaiserwerther Markt 9, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. T-Sa 19:00-21:30. (U79: Klemensplatz). International, nouveau cuisine, that blends classics with French specialties.
- Nagaya, Bilker Straße 3, , e-mail: [email protected].Mo-Sa from 7PM-11PM. Japanese, nouveau cuisine.
- Sila Thai, Bahnstr. 76, . Excellent original thai cuisine in the city center. Reservations essential.
- Meerbar, Neuer Zollhof 1, im Medienhafen, . Fish restaurant in the Gehry-buildings of the Media harbour; very stylish, very good cuisine.
- Monkey's West, Graf-Adolf-Platz 15, . Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in Germany. New cuisine touched by local traditions.
Sights & Landmarks
The city was largely destroyed in World War II, and there were very few old buildings left. People interested in modern architecture, however, will have much to see in Düsseldorf. Also, there are many modern artworks in the public, and on Stresemannplatz Square and the Rhine Bank, there are palms, not really the first thing you'd expect to see on a cold day in October.
Stadtmitte is the first part of Düsseldorf most travellers see, as it extends northwest from the Hauptbahnhof. It is a very no-nonsense district mostly filled with offices and retail, with few historic buildings, but not without its charm. The Königsallee at the western end of Stadtmitte, close to the Altstadt, is an internationally famous boulevard and luxury shopping street running along both banks of the "Kögraben" canal. On balance, the area around the Hauptbahnhof may seem relatively seedy for a city lauded for its living conditions - the general rule is that the farther from the train station and closer to the "Kö", the nicer the neighbourhood. You may also want to stroll along another shopping street, the Schadowstraße
The quarter between Berliner Allee, Klosterstraße, Charlottenstraße and Graf-Adolf-Straße is known as the Japanese quarter (Japanisches Viertel), as the many Japanese companies tend to place their head offices there. This in turn results in the proliferation of typically Japanese service providers, including many restaurants and specialist stores. Moreover, the Japanese companies often provide company apartments to their employees within the quarter. The Asian feel of the district has recently been augmented by the addition of many Chinese and South Korean establishments.
To the west of the Königsallee, encoraching on the territories of Altstadt and Carlstadt, is the Bankenviertel, where traditionally the big international, national and local banks have had their headquarters or local offices. This afforded the area between the parallel Kasernenstraße, Breite Straße and Königsallee with many impressive office buildings, many dating back to the 19th century, and continues to affect the local rents, highest in the city. Apart from banks, media (especially those concentrating on business and economics) and professional services firms also occupy much of the office space available.
By order of elector Carl Theodor the architect Nicolas de Pigage planned and implemented the first public park in Germany, named Hofgarten. It became the prototype of the English Garden of Munich. In the oldest part of Hofgarten you find the Jröne Jong (local dialect, meaning green boy). From there the “Riding Alley” leads strait forward to palace Jägerhof, which today houses the Goethe-Museum. People like the self-luminous park benches on Riding Alley. And last not least Hofgarten houses some sculptures of famous artists.
- Theatermuseum, Hofgärtnerhaus, Jägerhofstrasse 1. Tues-Sun 13-20:30.
The Old Town of Düsseldorf, almost completely destroyed during World War II, was rebuilt according to historic plans on its foundation walls, which makes it look like a real historic town. Today the Altstadt is a popular shopping mall and at night and weekends turns into the “longest bar of the world”. Within one square kilometer, you will find about 260 bars, coffee shops and snug brewing houses. The old town is the home of “Altbier”, a top-fermented, dark beer. They say it tastes best at the historical brewing houses. There, the “Köbesse” (local dialect: waiters) may be somewhat harsh but they are warm hearted. If your beer glass is empty the next “Alt” comes without you even having to order it. Many times the first "Alt" comes without even having to order it!
The promenade on the bank of Rhine is one of the most beautiful ones in Germany, and it is situated on the correct side, the right bank, because the sun shines onto this side all day long (the citizens of Cologne used to say the left bank of Rhine is the correct one because the centre of Cologne is situated there), The promenade leads from Parliament via Mannesmannufer, Rathausufer, Burgplatz, and Tonhalle to Rhine-Park. It was created by constructing a tunnel in 1993 and moving motorized traffic underground, so that the riverside became a pedestrian area. Most gangways for boat trips on Rhine are situated near to Burgplatz. Many coffee shops offer seats outside where you can watch and be watched when the weather is fine. The pavement of the promenade is an artwork too; its sinuous design reflects the waves on the river.
Inside the old town, but everywhere in the city also, you will find lots of marvellous old gas lamps. Beside Berlin Düsseldorf is the city with the most gas lamps in Germany.
- Burgplatz (Castle Square). is situated at the old town limits next to Rhine. Here was the erstwhile castle of the Earls of Berg, the later duke of Jülich-Kleve-Berg. Later the castle was reconstructed to a baroque palace, which burned down in 1872. In 1888 the ruins were removed completely, and only a tower was left. Today the tower houses an inland navigation museum. The coffee-shop in the towers top offers a grand view onto the Rhine and the ships passing by. The square itself got an award as one of the nicest squares in Germany after WW2.
Radschläger wolle mer blieve, wie jeck et de Mensche och drieve (local dialect: "we will stay cartwheelers, however crazy the world might be") is the legend of the Cartwheelers' Fountain at Burgplatz. It is situated under some wonderful old plane trees. The cartwheeler is a popular symbol within Düsseldorf and cartwheeling an old tradition. According to legend, after winning the War of Worringen, the Earl of Berg said to the boys waiting for their fathers, “Show me that you're happy about your fathers' return”, and they began cartwheeling. Even today this tradition is continued by annual competitions.
- Schifffahrtmuseum Düsseldorf, Burgplatz 30. Tues-Sun 11-18. The shipping museum in the old castle tower. 3€.
- City Monument at Burgplatz. is an artwork of Bert Gerresheim, donated by the society “Düsseldorfer Jongens” on occasion of the 700th anniversary of town foundation. It is a kaleidoscope of local history, starting on left side with the cruel battle of Worringen, the signing of foundation documents by the earl of Berg in the middle and several scenes on right side including 4 popes. Among them we see Nikolaus IV raising St. Lambertus Church to a canon monastery. A market scene is shown, but also trade goods of Düsseldorf. The monument is full of symbols. You should go nearby and take account of details. You also should go some steps back. Mind the men following the apocalyptic horse riders on the left side. Their arms form the number 1288, the year of the battle of Worringen. During the battle, the Earl of Berg, Adolf V, fought against the Archbishop of Cologne, Sigfried of Westerburg. The citizens of Düsseldorf and the citizens of Cologne united in backing Adolf V (ironically in view of their future rivalry). The battle ended with the victory of the earl and the citizens.
- Pegeluhr. Situated at the Rhine bank this clock also shows the current water level in the river.
- St. Lambertus Basilika. built with bricks in the style of Lower Rhine Gothic, is a landmark of Düsseldorf. The church-hall was the last residence of St. Apollinaris, the city’s patron.
A particular characteristic is the winding tower. Although there are legends saying they used wet arbors for reconstructing after a fire in 1815, locals know better. They say that about 100 years ago, a bride dressed in a snow-white wedding dress came to the altar pretending to be a virgin. Being ashamed, the tower turned aside. They also say that it will straighten again if a real virgin appears at the altar. As you can clearly see, the tower is still twisted. But the fact is, the citizens love their twisted tower. After the war, it was reconstructed as twisted as it was before.
- Stiftsplatz. The square breathes a contemplative tranquility, only 100 meters beside the loud old town. Follow Lambertus-Street forwards. Near the intersection with “Liefergasse”, you see a marvellous house front on your left. There are many fine fronts in Düsseldorf, but this one is among the prettiest.
- Neanderkirche (Neander church).has its own history too. The population of the Rhinelands is mainly Catholic, and Protestants and members of the Reformed Church had to suffer many restrictions. Finally, the Contract of Rheinberg 1682 granted everybody the free practice of religion. This led to the construction of the Reformed church-house at Bolkerstrasse in 1683 in a style of the early baroque with a simplified façade. Although the Protestants and members of the reformed church had the right to their own churches, they were not well-liked. So the new church had to be built in a way that was not visible from the street, meaning in the yard of already existing buildings. But today you have an unlimited view onto the church from Bolkerstraße because the building that used to block the view was the only one not rebuilt after the war. In 1916, the church got the name Neander-Church.
- Nördliche Düssel (northern Düssel). On the right hand of the monument is a little river, named the northern Düssel. It gave the city its name (Düsseldorf means village at Düssel). The balustrade is an artwork of Bert Gerreshein too. It is also full of symbols.
- Birthplace of Heinrich Heine, Bolkerstraße 56. Heine (1797-1856) was a poet and author and perhaps the most famed Düsseldorfer in German history
- Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse (Tailor Wibbel Lane). A small lane inside the old town, connecting Bolkerstraße and Flingerstraße. It is packed with restaurants and bars, most of them offering Spanish-American and Latin American food (particularly Argentinian). Tailor Wibbel is the main character of a popular theatre play, written by Hans Müller-Schlösser in 1913. Tailor Wibbel had opposed Napoleon and, therefore, was sent to prison. But, instead of himself, his assistant went to jail under the name of Wibbel. Unfortunately, the assistant died in prison as a result of a former disease, so the actual Wibbel was able to witness his own burial incognito. After the end of the French occupation, Wibbel had the chance to disclose his identity and became a local hero. Across Bolkerstraße is the Wibble clock. Daily, at 11, 13, 15, 18 and 21 o’clock, it shows the Wibbel character. At the other end of Tailor Wibbel Lane, near Flingerstraße, is the Wibble sculpture. Walk near by and examine the sculpture. Did you see the mouse?
- Rathaus. The historic and striking city hall of Düsseldorf dates from the 16th century. Since then it has housed the city parliament. The building consists of three parts, and there are guided tours for free every Wednesday at 15:00 o’clock. They will show you the council hall, the Jan-Wellem hall and the reception hall of the Lord Mayor where they present the city’s silver coins and roof-paintings of the artists Domenico Zanetti and Johannes Spilberg.
- Jan Wellem. In front of the city hall is the monument of elector Johann Wilhelms II (1658-1716) on horseback. The citizens affectionately call him Jan Wellem. His monument is among the most important baroque equestrian sculptures north of the Alps. Because of his connections to European dynasties and by the powers invested in him he was a very important man. In co-operation with other electors he elected the German Emperor. He was a representative of a pompous baroque sovereign. In 1691 he married Anna Maria Luisa de‘ Medici (1667-1743). Jan Wellem died in 1716; his grave site is in St. Andreas-Church. Jan Wellem boosted the development of Düsseldorf, so the citizens still love him. The monument was realised by Gabriel Grupello in 1711.
- Gießerjunge. At the side of market square, in the shadow of Jan Wellem, stands the statue of the cast boy. They say that just before the cast of the Jan Wellem monument master Grupello realised that the amount oft metal was not sufficient. This prompted the cast boy ask the citizens for a donation of noble metal like silver forks or coins. He got so much that the cast could be finished very well. Out of thankfulness he got a statue too. The one you see today was designed by Willi Hoselmann and realised in 1932.
- Wilhelm-Marx-Haus. The Wilhelm-Marx-Haus was the first Hochhaus, or highrise building, in Germany and, apparently, in Europe. Finished in 1924, it is 57 meters high and has 13 floors above ground level. The architect was Wilhelm Kreis. It was previously home of the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange and currently includes a theatre. It is named after Wilhelm Marx, who was mayor of Düsseldorf in the early 20th century and started a programme for the modernisation of the city at that time.
- Filmmuseum Düsseldorf, Schulstraße 4. Tues-Sun 11-17, Wed 11-21. 3 €; Reduced, 1.50 €; Students under 18 free.
- K20 Kunstsammlung NRW, Grabbeplatz 5 (K20: Heinrich-Heine-Allee Ubf, K21: Graf-Adolf-Platz (bus/tram)), . Tue-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat-Sun and Holidays 11:00-18:00. Kunstsammlung NRW has two building, K20 at Altstadt and K21 in Carlstadt. K20 has a great collection of 20th century art, including Picasso, Klee, Richter, Kandinsky, and Warhol. € 6.50, € 10.00 K20+K21.
Carlstadt is Düsseldorf's smallest Bezirk by area, whose development started in late 18th century when the old fortifications of the city became obsolete and the need for more housing pressing. It is named after Prince-Elector Carl Theodor, whose domain encompassed the city at that time. Different in character from the business-oriented Stadtmitte and noisy Altstadt, the Carlstadt charms with its baroque façades, chess-board-like street plan and relative prevalence of greens.
Carlstadt is known for its many antique and art traders, upscale jewellery stores, as well as many museums, galleries and other cultural institutions. Among the artists who have over the years chosen to live in the area were Clara and Robert Schumann. The most commercially active are the Bilker Straße and Hohe Straße. A more historic part of the Bezirk is to be found between the Citadellstraße,Schulstraße and Anna-Maria-Luisa-Medici-Platz.
- Carlsplatz. The Carlsplatz is the centre of Carlstadt and houses the city's only permanent weekday market, featuring savory food, sweets, flowers as well as popular artworks
- Maxkirche (church of St.Maximillian). The late baroque church was built in mid-17th century for the Franciscan convent and, after its dissolution in 1804, was renamed St. Maximillian as a nod towards the then-Elector to protect it from destruction. The church is renowned for its organ music and choir.
- Alter Hafen. Neither a haven nor actually old, the Alter Hafen occupies the area that was once the haven of the fortress of Düsseldorf. Today it is not connected to the Rhine, nor is it actually deep enough (there is a parking garage and tunnel underneath) to serve as a haven, and is surrounded by buildings constructed after the Second World War, but it still a very nice area for a stroll.
- Palais Nesselrode (Hetjens Museum/Deutsches Keramikmuseum), Schulstraße 4. Tues-Sun 11-17, Wed 11-21.
- Palais Wittgenstein, Bilker Straße 7-9. The residences at Bilker Straße 7 and 9 have both rich history (including ownership by Prince von Sayn-Wittgenstein, which gave them the name), and are owned by the municipality. They were reconstructed in the 1970s with their historic façades preserved, but the interior was redeveloped to house cultural institutions. Today it is the home to the Marionetten-Theater, a chamber music hall and the Institut Francais
- Stadtmuseum (Palais Spee), Berger Allee 2. Tues-Sun 11-18.The municipal museum features collections of artifacts, art and photographs related to the history of the city. It is located in the reconstructed baroque Palais Spee (as well as a postmodern west wing added in the 1970s), which features and extensive garden park with a pond formed from theSüdliche Düssel. Even if you pass on the museum's collections, the park is worth a visit.
- K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, Ständehausstraße 1, 40217 Düsseldorf (Graf-Adolf-Platz (bus/tram)), . Tue-Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat-Sun and Holidays 11:00-18:00. Kunstsammlung NRW has two buildings, K20 at Altstadt and K21 in Carlstadt. K21 houses modern art collection after 1960s, mainly from local artists. €6.50, € 10 K20+K21, free entrance on the first Wednesday of every month.
Unterbilk and Hafen
- Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) (Tram stop: Platz des Landtags). The 240 m high Rhine Tower is right on the Rhine river, near the Media Harbor. It offers a 360-degree view from the restaurant, at 172 m. The restaurant is overpriced, but it is worth a trip for the amazing view. Adults: € 4.00.
- Medienhafen (Media Harbor) (Tram stop: Platz des Landtags). At the southern end of the Rhine promenade you will find the newest landmark of Düsseldorf, the so called Media Harbour. The former harbour was transformed into a quarter with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, discotheques and hotels. Its flair is based on the mixture of old and new. Protected buildings like depots, quay walls and industrial surroundings stand side by side with modern architecture. There are buildings constructed by Frank O. Gehry, Claude Vasconi or David Chipperfield. It is mainly the Gehry buildings that form the face of the quarter.
- Nordpark. on the right bank of Rhine in the northern city, is one of the major Parks in Düsseldorf. Its most interesting part is the Japanese garden inside, a gift of the Japanese community to the citizens. Within about 5,000 square meters, you will find an example of Japanese horticulture with traditional elements like stones, trees, bushes, ponds and bridges. Entrance is free.
- EKO-Haus, Brüggener Weg 6, 40547 Düsseldorf, .The house of Japanese culture in the quarter of Niederkassel on the left bank of the Rhein. It was Europe’s first Buddhist temple, and it is surrounded by several buildings like a kindergarten and a library. The garden is styled like a Japanese garden. There are guided tours, but if you respect the dignity of the location they will not prevent you from stepping in without a guide during daytime.
- Benrath Palace and Park (Tram stop: Schloss Benrath, S-Bahn stop: Benrath S). The Corps de Logis is the central building of the three-wing maison de plaisance, which was erected for the Palatine Elector Carl Theodor by his garden and building director Nicolas de Pigage. Construction was completed in 1770: it is a complete work of art that unites architecture and nature in one overlapping concept, and is rated as one of the most beautiful palaces of the rococo epoch. The park beside the Palace is enormous, nearly 62,000 square meters. Take the U74 tram towards Benrath, exit Schloss-Benrath. Can also take the S6 towards Cologne, exit Benrath, then walk about 200m east.
Throughout Düsseldorf you may encounter life-size figures of people standing on advertising columns, the so-called pillar saints. There are nine of them. It is a project of artist Christoph Pöggeler (born in 1958 in Münster/Westphalia). Humans, removed from their daily routine and put on a pedestal, become noticeable as individuals again and also refer to groups of society like children, business men, vagabonds and strangers. The position of the sculptures are:
- Business Man: Joseph-Beuys-Ufer, Düsseldorf 2001
- Marlis: Stromstraße, WDR, Düsseldorf 2001
- Couple I: Burgplatz, Düsseldorf 2002
- Tourist: Kaiserswerther Straße, Düsseldorf 2003
- Father and Son: Oststraße, Düsseldorf 2003
- Photographer: Hauptbahnhof, Düsseldorf 2004
- Couple II: Berger Allee, Düsseldorf 2004
- Stranger: Schlossufer, Düsseldorf 2005
- Bride: Schulstraße/ Ecke Citadellstraße, Düsseldorf 2006
Festivals and events
- Düsseldorf is a stronghold of Carneval. The 5th season starts on 11.11. at 11:11 o'clock with the handover of the keys of the city hall to the women. But the main carnival runs from Carnival Monday to Ash Wednesday. If you have the chance don’t miss the parade on Carnival Monday in February.
- Nacht der Museen. Once a year, like in many other German cities, a Night of Museums is organized by the City of Düsseldorf.
- Christmas market. The annual Christmas market, which centres around the Altstadt. Try a Glühwein (mulled wine) and Bratwurst (grilled sausage in bread roll).
- Kirmes. Between the 2nd and 3rd weekend of July there is fun fair on the banks of Rhine. You will find there roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, a flying jinny and at least a beer garden too. Also, watermelons are sold everywhere. It is the biggest fair on the Rhine and very enjoyable. Monday, called pink Monday, is the day of lesbians and gays. On Friday, there is a firework display.
- Every year in May there is Düsseldorf Marathon which is open for everyone. Registration is required for participants, but viewers are welcome any time.
- Free entrance to the K20 and K21 every first Wednesday in the Month.
Düsseldorf is known for its many bars in the downtown (Altstadt) area. In fact, many people refer to the Altstadt as the "longest bar in the world" ("Längste Theke der Welt"). The most common drink is "Altbier" or simply "Alt." This dark beer, served in small glasses, is available at practically any restaurant in the city. Altbier is only brewed in breweries around Düsseldorf. Some of the traditional breweries are the "Uerige","Füchschen", "Zum Schlüssel" and"Schumacher".
In the Altstadt you can enjoy Schlüssel, Uerige, Schumacher, and Füchschen beers, at traditional brewery restaurants. The waiters at these traditional restaurants are called "Köbes." These waiters will replace empty glasses with full ones when they see one. Typically new visitors to the city are surprised by a new fresh glass of Altbier in front of them when they did not order one. To signal that you are done and do not want any more Altbier, simply place your coaster ("Bierdeckel") on top of your glass, and the "Köbes" will not automatically refill you. Bolkerstraße (Zum Schlüssel, Schumacher), Flingerstraße (Uerige), Ratinger Straße (Füchschen) and Kurzestraße (Kürzer) are the main places where you find all kinds of pubs and breweries. A variation of the Altbier is called Krefelder. It's an Altbier with Coke.
During summer months the Altstadt will come alive after work. People standing outside the pubs and enjoying their beer and good company. This will be especially so onWednesday evenings on Ratingerstraße. The street will be packed full of people with a great chilled atmosphere. Be aware though of broken glass on the cobbled street. But if you have a chance to go, do not miss it.
Besides Altstadt, which some might consider to be slightly artificial, there are many others places around the city to enjoy beer or cocktails as well. In recent years, Medienhafen (Media Harbour) has become one of very popular quarters, especially during the summer. Other areas which are rather non-touristic include Pempelfort (Nordstraße), Unterbilk (Lorettostraße, Düsselstraße), Oberkassel (Luegallee), and Düsseltal (Rethelstraße).
Things to know
Düsseldorf is in a strong rivalry with its neighbor city Cologne, especially concerning comparisons between the local beers. Cologne is almost twice the size of Düsseldorf in terms of population, and the Cologne Cathedral is known nationwide. Düsseldorf is an economic powerhouse and capital city of the state of NRW. If you have been to Cologne, try to avoid any comparisons between the two cities.
In German, umlauts like ü can be transcribed as ue, so the correct spelling when no umlauts are available would be Duesseldorf. While normally, incorrectly replacing an umlaut with a single vowel will simply give a nonsense word, this is not the case for Düsseldorf. In fact, "Dussel" is a dated word meaning "fool", and "dorf" means "village", so "Dusseldorf" actually means "village of fools".
Düsseldorf lies on the River Rhine, or more precisely, mostly on its right (eastern) riverbank. The corresponding western riverbank is mostly occupied by the neighbouring cities of Neuss and Meerbusch except for a small bit of land on the left bank belonging to Düsseldorf, which forms the District 4.
Düsseldorf is divided into 10 districts (Stadtbezirke), which are referred to only using numbers. Those are further divided into "city parts" (Stadtteile), or neighbourhoods/quarters, which in turn have meaningful names.
Tourists are most likely to concentrate on District 1, with its quarters of Stadtmitte("city centre") spreading northwest from the train station, as well as Altstadt ("old town") and Carlstadt on the Rhine. Many will continue further south along the Rhine through Unterbilk in District 3 to the haven (Hafen), which has been largely converted to commercial and leisure use from its original industrial and transportation functions. This whole area is rather compact, compared to the entirety of Düsseldorf, and mostly walkable.
Of the other districts and city parts, of interest to tourists may be the Benrath in District 9, with its grand palace and park and Lohausen in District 5, which contains Düsseldorf's international airport.
Safety in Dusseldorf
Düsseldorf is generally as safe as other European cities of similar size. However the surroundings of the central railway station might be a bit intimidating, particularly at night, if there are junkies around.