Düsseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia and the 7th largest city in Germany. It lies on the confluence on the two rivers Rhine (Rhein) and Düssel. Large and tall bridges take traffic over Rhine; Rheinbrücke Flehe from 1979 (2nd tallest structure in the city, 145m tall), Oberkasseler Rheinbrücke from 1973 and Rheinkniebrücke from 1969. Düsseldorf is one of Europe’s wealthiest cities. The city is known for fashion and electronic music. It is situated only about 30 minutes North of Cologne, and just South of Duisburg and Essen, part of the huge Ruhr-Rhein metropolitan area. Düsseldorf has a lot of modern architecture, art museums and highrises but also historical buildings. The city has many banks, insurance companies and an active stock exchange. Before the 90s, the Autobahn went right through the city, next to river, but was replaced by a tunnel and the pleasant Rheinuferpromenade was created. Between the promenade and the highway is KIT, an underground modern art gallery.
Königsallee is a fashionable boulevard with a canal in the middle. It is known for its expensive stores, like Gucci, Cartier, Emporio Armani etc, and as a center for fashion. It starts at Corneliuplatz and ends at Graf-Adolf-Platz, where you find two tall glass skyscrapers; GAP15 from 2005 and Landesversicherungsanstalt from 1976. Along Königsallee you also find posh shopping gallerias as Sevens, KO-Galerie and Schadow-Arkaden. Galeria Kaufhof department store is also there in a beautiful art deco building, as long as the luxorious Steigenberger Parkhotel.
Even though Düsseldorf is a mainly modern city, the city has it’s Old Town, Altstadt, where you find the tall protestant church St. Lambertus with its twisted roof. Kirche St. Lambertus is possibly the city’s oldest building and a landmark, dated back to 1159. The style is gothic/romanesque. It is next to Burgplatz, a square that is facing the river, where you also find the white Schlossturm (Castle Tower). At Marktplatz you find Rathaus - the Town Hall. In the Old Town you find several pedestrian streets, especially Bolkerstrasse is filled with restaurants, pub and outdoor seatings along old buildngs, and the yellow baroque church Neanderkirche. Schneider Wibbel Gasse is a cozy alley with continental outdoor restaurants. Hotel de Medici and The Wellem by Hyatt are luxury hotels in historical buildings in the area. Wilhelm-Marx-Haus, known for it’s “Pensil” advertisement on top, is Germany’s oldest highrise (57m, built in 1922). North of Altstadt is the circular 109m tall skyscraper from 1998 called Victoria-Haus.
From Altstadt, the Rheinuferpromenade along the Rhine takes you to Rheinturm (Rhine Tower), the tallest structure in the city (241m) and a symbol of Düsseldorf. It was completed in 1981. Here you can take the elevator and visit the amazing indoor observation deck with sloping windows and 360 degree views over the city. It has a bar and café. On a clear day you can see Cologne! West of the TV tower, along Rhine, is the relatively new development called Medienhafen (Media harbor), known for Frank Gehry’s twisted residential buildings in stained steel, white and red. They are called Neuer Zollhof and were completed in 1998, a popular attraction for tourists. Around the port there are several highrises as the Hyatt Regency Düsseldorf and the colourful Colorium from 2001 by Alsop and Partners. Stadttor is a parallelogram shaped office building with a 15-storey atrium, built in 1998. Medienhafen has it’s own nice skyline, and is mainly commercial and industrial. Landtag Nordrhein-Westfalen is the state parliament building, made of circular stuctures next to the TV tower, facing Rhine.
Düsseldorf has Europe’s largest Japanese community. The area around Immermannstrasse is called Little Tokyo and has Japanese restaurants and stores. The Deutsch-Japanisches Center with the Nikko Hotel is the most important building in Little Tokyo. The area starts at Hauptbahnhof, Düsseldorf’s Central Station, a building in early modernist style that opened in 1891 and has a boxy clock tower and totally 24 platforms. The station is Germany’s 6th busiest railway station.
There is a very modern area that reminds a bit of Tokyo at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz; Here you find the sharp and tall Dreischeibenhaus highrise from 1960, a sharp path where you can walk upwards, the Kö-Bogen, brand new postmodern/deconstructivist buildings with offices and stores designed by Daniel Liebeskind, Kö-Bogen II that is a completely green angular building and the Schauspielhaus theater, At nearby Martin-Luther-Platz is the old protestant Johanneskirche (St John’s Church) in Romanesque revival style.
Hofgarten is a nice park in the city center with lakes, canals, trees, rare birds and sculptures. Ständehaus Park is a another one, with views towards tall buildings. Near Hofgarten is the Jägerhof Palace, that houses the Goethe Museum. The building itself is not that impressive though, a bit worn and not so large.
Schauspielhaus is a curved white theater building with an interesting architecture. It was completed in 1970, but it looks very modern. Tonhalle, the Concert Hall, is a red circular brick building with a coppar dome roof.
Deutsche Oper am Rhein is a opera building, with a quite ordinary façade. (It’s counterpart in Duisburg is more beautiful even though Düsseldorf is a more beautiful city.)
At Grabbeplatz, you find the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, a modernist art exhibition, and K2, a futuristic curved black glass building that houses part of North Rhine-Westphalia’s art exhibition.
In the East part of the city you find the city's tallest building, ARAG Tower. It was designed by Foster+Partners/Wawrowsky, is 124m tall, has 32 floors and was built in 2000. The skyscraper is curved and is the head office of the ARAG insurance company, that also has other buildings in the area. In the East part you also find Toulouser Allee, that has new highrise hotels.
It was really hot and sunny during my visit, around 37 degrees C! The grass along the Rhine was completely dry. On the West bank of Rhine was a temporary amusement park with ferris wheel, rides and so on. I visited for one day, I arrived by train from Köln the night before. It was part of the 9euro trip. In the evening I travelled further to Dortmund, where my next hotel was.
I stayed at the 3-star Hotel Monopol, at Oststrasse near the Central Station and Little Tokyo.
Nothing special but great breakfast and good value for money. It was really hot but the tiny room was cool and had a nice shower.
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