bottom row from left: Ständehaus of Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Königsallee and Stadttor
|City subdivisions||10 districts, 49 boroughs|
|Lord Mayor||Dirk Elbers (CDU)|
|Governing parties||CDU / FDP|
|Area||217 km2 (84 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (125 ft)|
|Population||582,222 (30 June 2008)|
|- Density||2,683 /km2 (6,949 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Düsseldorf (German pronunciation: [ˈdʏsəldɔɐf]) is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and center of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and also renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Even though only among the ten most populous cities in Germany by population within city limits, Düsseldorf ranks as one of the country's five global cities.
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 the town of Düsseldorf dates back to 1135 (then called Dusseldorp in the local Low Rhenish dialect). It was told that under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa the small town of Kaiserswerth, lying to the North of Düsseldorf, became a well fortified outpost, where soldiers kept their watchful eyes over every movement on the Rhine. Kaiserswerth eventually became a suburb of Düsseldorf in 1929.
In 1186 Düsseldorf came under the rule of Berg. The counts of Berg moved their seat to the town in 1280. 14 August 1288 is one of the most important dates in the history of Düsseldorf as it was on this day that the sovereign Count Adolf V of Berg granted the village on the banks of the Düssel the Town privileges.
Prior to that announcement, 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 remembered today with a monument on the Burgplatz. In fact, the custom of turning cartwheels is credited to the children of Düsseldorf, who, upon hearing that their city was victorious, did these "flips" in celebration.
After this battle the relationship of the two 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 in all four directions. In 1380, 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-Berg died 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 Palatinate, in 1685, becoming now Prince-electors as Electors Palatine.
Düsseldorf's growth was even more impressive under the leadership of Johann Wilhelm II (r. 1690-1716) in the 18th century, also known to his people as Jan Wellem. Greatly influenced by his wife Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the art lover designed a vast art gallery with a huge selection of paintings and sculptures that were housed in the Stadtschloss (city castle).
After the death of childless Jan Wellem, the flourishing royal capital fell back to hard times, especially after Elector Karl Theodor 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. J. C. C. Devaranne, a leader of Solingen's resistance to Napoleon's conscription decrees, was executed here in 1813. After the defeat of Napoleon, the whole Rhineland including Berg was given to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. The parliament of the Rhine Province was established in Düsseldorf later.
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. It was a target of strategic bombing during World War II, particularly during the RAF bombing campaign against the Ruhr industry in 1943 when over 700 bombers would be used in a single night. Raids continued late into the war. As part of the campaign against German oil facilities, the RAF raid of February 20/21 1945 on the Rhenania Ossag refinery in the Reisholz district of Düsseldorf halted oil production there. The bombings virtually reduced the city to a pile of rubble.
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 saw Düsseldorf growing into the wealthy city of trade, administration and service industries as it is known today.
Düsseldorf lies in the middle of the lower Rhine basin on the delta of the Düssel River where it flows into the Rhine. The city is on the east side of the Rhine, except for District 4 (Oberkassel, Niederkassel, Heerdt and Lörick). Across the Rhine Neuss was built on the delta of the Erft river. Düsseldorf lies southwest of the Ruhr mining district, and in the middle of the Rhine-Ruhr urbanized region. Düsseldorf is built entirely on alluvium, muds, sands, clays and occasionally gravels. 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 (Black Creek) enters the Rhine, with an average elevation of 28 metres (92 ft). Like the rest of the lower Rhinelands Düsseldorf has mild winters and moderately warm summers, with an average yearly temperature of 10.5 °C (51 °F) and 77 centimetres (30 in) of rainfall. The predominate wind direction is out of the south or southeast 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 (under 2 m/s or 4.5 mph) about 35% of the time, more frequently at night and in the winter.
Düsseldorf is currently (2007) 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 49 boroughs in Düsseldorf.
The following districts and cities border Düsseldorf (clockwise starting from the north): the City of Duisburg, the District of Mettmann (Ratingen, Mettmann, Erkrath, Hilden, Langenfeld, and Monheim), and the District of Neuss (Dormagen, Neuss, and Meerbusch).
Düsseldorf is not only widely known as a centre of German advertising and fashion industries: in the last few years the city on the Rhine has become one of the top telecommunications centres in Germany. There are 18 internet service providers located in the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia. With two of the four big German providers of mobile frequencies, D2 Vodafone and E-Plus, Düsseldorf leads the German mobile phone market. There are also many foreign trading centres in Düsseldorf such as NTT, Ericsson, Sandvik, Nokia and GTS. Before its dissolution LTU International, an airline, was headquartered 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, Publicis Group and Grey Group. A number of affiliates of foreign agencies deserve mention as well, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Dentsu, Hakuhodu, Digital District and DDB.
In Düsseldorf there are about 170 national and international financial institutions, and about 130 insurance agencies, and one of the biggest German stock exchanges. There are also about 200 publishing houses in Düsseldorf.
Several other major companies have their headquarters in the city: 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), Cognis (chemicals, headquarter in Monheim near Düsseldorf, but production mainly 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 about the highest rents for shops and bureaus 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, ZDF, and QVC solidify Düsseldorf's position as a media centre.
Düsseldorf International Airport, also referred to as Rhein-Ruhr Airport, is located eight kilometres (5 mi) from the city centre and can easily be reached by train or the S-Bahn urban railway. There is a long-distance train station served by regional and national services, which is linked to the airport by the SkyTrain, an automatic peoplemover. The (old) local station situated under the terminal building carries the S-Bahn line (S11) to the city's central station and to Cologne as well as a few selected night services.
After Frankfurt and Munich, Düsseldorf International Airport is Germany's third largest commercial airport, with 18.6 million passengers annually. The airport offers 180 destinations on 4 continents, and is served by 70 airlines. The airport buildings were partly destroyed by a devastating fire caused by welding works in 1996, killing 17 people. It was completely rebuilt and the Skytrain installed.
The city is a major hub in the Deutsche Bahn (DB) railway network. More than 1,000 trains stop in Düsseldorf every day. The central railway station at Konrad-Adenauer-Platz is located in Düsseldorf's city centre. Several S-Bahn lines connect Düsseldorf to the other cities of Rhine-Ruhr. Local light rail Stadtbahn traffic as well as bus traffic is carried out by the city-owned Rheinbahn which operates within the VRR public transport system. The light rail system also serves neighbouring cities and is partially operated underground.
The Central Station and the Airport Station (Flughafen-Bahnhof) are connected to the national and European high speed (Intercity / Eurocity, IC / EC) and extreme high speed InterCityExpress.
Art-loving Elector Jan Wellem and his wife Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici of Tuscany, were the patrons of Düsseldorf's first significant cultural activities in the 17th and 18th centuries. Heinrich Heine, whose 200th birthday was celebrated in 1997, Clara and Robert Schumann as well as Felix Mendelssohn are the most prominent artists related to the city. Artistic impulses were often born in the Academy of Fine Arts and the names of Paul Klee, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter as well as Albert Bierstadt are associated with the institution (Düsseldorf School). The Düsseldorf cultural scene comprises traditional and avant-garde, classical and glamorous. The world famous state art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia, the highly acclaimed Deutsche Oper am Rhein (opera), and the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (theatre), artistic home of Gustaf Gründgens, are major elements of Düsseldorf's reputation as a centre of the fine arts.
Düsseldorf is well-known for its Altbier, a hoppy beer which translates as old [style] beer, a reference to the pre-lager brewing method of using a warm top-fermenting yeast like British pale ales. Over time the Alt yeast adjusted to lower temperatures, and the Alt brewers would store or lager the beer after fermentation, leading to a cleaner, crisper beer than is the norm for an ale.
The name "altbier" first appeared in the 1800s to differentiate the beers of Düsseldorf from the new pale lager that was gaining a hold on Germany. Brewers in Düsseldorf used the pale malts that were used for the modern pale lagers, but retained the old ("alt") method of using warm fermenting yeasts.
The first brewery to use the name Alt was Schumacher which opened in 1838. The founder, Mathias Schumacher, allowed the pale ale to mature in cool conditions in wooden casks for longer than normal, and laid the foundation for the modern alt beer - an amber coloured, lagered ale. The result is a pale ale that has some of the lean, dryness of a lager, with the fruity notes of an ale.
At present, there are four brewpubs in Düsseldorf which brew Altbier on premises:
Three of the four are located in the Old Town (Altstadt); the other (Schumacher) is located between the Altstadt and the main rail station (Hauptbahnhof), and also maintains an establishment in the Altstadt, Goldener Kessel, directly across the street from Schlüssel.
Each produces a special, secret, seasonal "Sticke" version in small quantities, though the names vary: Schlüssel spells it "Stike", without the "c", while Schumacher calls its special beer "Latzenbier", meaning "slat beer", possibly because the kegs from which it was poured had been stored on raised shelves. Füchschen's seasonal is its Weihnachtsbier (Christmas beer), available in bottles starting mid-November, and served in the brewpub on Christmas Eve.
Since the 1950s the "Kom(m)ödchen" has been one of the most prominent political cabarets of Germany. Düsseldorf'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 have often been regarded as the most significant band in the history of post-war German 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 payed with a legal case in the early 1980s. In the Oldtown (Altstadt) German and international tourists go out on the main street Bolkerstraße, while the local scene (students and creative people) prefers the bars on Ratinger Straße and Kurze Straße.
Düsseldorf's football team Fortuna Düsseldorf, the German Champions of 1933, competes in the second German league (2. Bundesliga). Their new stadium, the Esprit arena, opened in January 2005 and has a capacity of 51,500. Düsseldorf is one of nine 1974 FIFA World Cup cities and the Rochusclub Düsseldorf has hosted the tennis world team cup since 1978.
Other sports in Düsseldorf are ice hockey (the DEG Metro Stars, former DEG - Düsseldorfer Eislauf Gemeinschaft, which play in the new ISS-Dome) and American football. The Düsseldorf Panther are the most successful team in Germany with six national champion trophies and the Eurobowl 1995. In addition the Junior-Programm is the most successful youth-football program in Germany with thirteen national championship titles. Rhine Fire Düsseldorf was an established team of the NFL Europe and won the World Bowl two times in 1998 and 2000. Table tennis is also played (Borussia Düsseldorf - the most successful team in Germany with Timo Boll), as are handball (HSG Düsseldorf), basketball (Düsseldorf Giants), baseball (Düsseldorf Senators) and dancing (Rot-Weiß Düsseldorf).
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). The Düsseldorf carnival is part of the traditional carnival festivities in the Rhineland.
Traditional meals in the region are Rheinischer Sauerbraten (a beef roast marinated for a few days in vinegar and spices) and Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Äd) (black pudding with stewed apples mixed with mashed potatoes). In winter the people like to eat Muscheln Rheinischer Art (Rhenish-style mussels). Also a special meal: Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten (Steaks roasted with mustard).
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf is located in the southern part of the city. It has about 20,000 students and a wide range of subjects in natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, philosophy, social sciences, arts, languages, medicine, pharmacy, economy and the law.
Other academic institutions include
Düsseldorf is one of the economic centers of Western Germany and is located along the Rhine River, in the densely populated Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, with a population of over 10 million.
The city is famous for its nightlife, carnival, events, shopping, also for fashion and trade fairs, like the Boot Messe (one of the world's best in boats and watersports) and Igedo (world leader in fashion). Every year more than 4 Million people visit the Kirmes fair, which runs for 9 days in summer.
The Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (main station) is a major stop for Deutsche Bahn  (German state railway). The Rhinebahn tickets for the local Ubahn service, need to be validated on the actual trains, failure to validate i.e. stamp the ticket , will result in either a 40 euro fine or removal to a police station by the security where the Police will request your I.D. such as Passport for later prosecution.Being a non German and not understanding the complicated German for validation, will not be accepted nor will the fact that you have purchased a ticket.Germans consider non stamping of tickets by tourists as being a criminal issue for the Police.
Düsseldorf is connected to the highways A3, A44, A46, A52, A57 (via Neuss) and A59.
More specifically, for timetables of buses, trams, etc. use:
Most destinations in Düsseldorf can be reached by local transportation. Tickets must be purchased and postmarked before using the transportation service. After postmarking you usually have 90 Minutes to reach your final destination. Ticket Class "A" is adequate to reach your destinations within Düsseldorf.
The tourist information office (across the street from the train station) has free maps with walking routes designed around a specific theme (e.g., "Art Route", "Düsseldorf in 1 Hour").
Best place to buy: "Et Kabüffke", Flinger Str. 1, 40213 Düsseldorf, Phone: 0211 133269.
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. In the Altstadt you can enjoy Schlüssel, Uerige, Schumacher, and Füchschen beers, at traditional brewery restaurants. The waiters at these traditional restaurants are called "Koebes."
Holy mass in catholic churches in downtown Düsseldorf:
Index of churches of all Christian denominations in Düsseldorf: .
Due to Düsseldorf's close proximity to the German/Belgian/Dutch border weekend trips to foreign destinations are easy to arrange.
Dusseldorf 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 nation-wide. 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.
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DUSSELDORF, a town of Germany, in the Prussian Rhine province, on the right bank of the Rhine, 24 m. by rail N. by W. from Cologne. Pop. (1885) 115,190; (1895) 1 75,9 8 5; (1905) 252,630. Dusseldorf is one of the handsomest cities of western Germany. Its situation on the great mid-European waterway and as the junction of several main lines of railway has largely favoured its rapid growth and industrial development. It is the principal banking centre of the Westphalian coal and iron trade, and the favourite residence of the leading merchants of the lower Rhine.
The city consists of five mainportions - theAltstadt, the original town with narrow, irregular streets; the Karlstadt, dating from 1787 and so called after the electoral prince Charles Theodore; the Neustadt, laid out between 1690 and 1716; and the Friedrichstadt and the Kunigstadt, of recent formation. In addition, the former villages of Pempelfort, Oberbilk, Unterbilk, Flingern and Derendorf have been incorporated and form the outer suburbs of the town proper. On the south side the town has been completely metamorphosed by the removal of the Köln-Mindner and Bergisch-Maerkisch stations to a central station lying to the east. The site thus gained was converted into new boulevards, while the railway to Neuss and Aix-la-Chapelle was diverted through the suburb of Bilk and thence across the Rhine by an iron bridge. A road bridge (completed 1898, 2087 ft. long), replacing the old bridge of boats, carries the electric tram-line to Crefeld. The town, with the exception of the Altstadt, is regularly built, but within its area are numerous open grounds and public squares, which prevent the regularity of its plan degenerating into monotony: the market-place, with the colossal bronze statue of the elector John William, the parade, the Allee Strasse, the Konigs Allee, and the Kunigs Platz may be specially mentioned. Of the thirty-seven churches, of which twenty-six are Roman Catholic, the most noticeable are: - St Andrew's, formerly the Jesuit and court church, with frescoes by J. Hubner (1806-1882), E. Deger (1809-1885), and H. Macke (1806-1891), and the embalmedbodiesof several Rhenish electors; St Lambert's, with a tower 180 ft. high and containing a monument to Duke William (d. 1592); Maximilians, with frescoes by J. A. N. Settegast (1813-1890); the Romanesque St Martin's, and the new Gothic church of St Mary. Besides the old ducal palace, laid in ruins by the French in 1794, but restored in 1846, the secular buildings comprise the government offices, the postoffice in Italian style, the town hall on the market square, the law courts, the municipal music hall, the municipal theatre, the assembly hall of the Rhenish provincial diet, an Italian Renaissance edifice erected in 1879, the academy of art (1881; in pure Renaissance), the industrial art museum (1896), the historical museum, and the industrial art school. The town also possesses a library of 50,000 volumes, several high-grade schools, and is the seat of a great number of commercial and intellectual associations; but to nothing is it more indebted for its celebrity than to the Academy of Painting. This famous institution, originally founded by the elector Charles Theodore in 1767, was reorganized by King Frederick William III. in 1822, and has since attained a high degree of prosperity as a centre of artistic culture. From 1822 till 1826 it was under the direction of Cornelius, a native of the town, from 1826 to 1859 under Schadow, and from 1859 to 1864 under E. Bendemann (1811-1889). From Bendemann's resignation it continued in the hands of a body of curators till 1873, when Hermann Wislicenus (1825-1899) of Weimar was chosen director. The noble collection of paintings which formerly adorned the Dusseldorf gallery was removed to Munich in 1805, and has not since been restored; but there is no lack of artistic treasures in the town. The academy possesses 14,000 original drawings and sketches by the great masters, 24,000 engravings, and 248 water-colour copies of Italian originals; the municipal gallery contains valuable specimens of the local school; and the same is the case with the Schulte collection. The principal names are Cornelius, Lessing, the brothers Andreas and Oswald Achenbach, A. Baur (b. 1835), A. Tidemand (1814-1876), and L. Knaus (b. 1829). An annual exhibition is held under the auspices of the Art Union; and the members of the Artists' Society, or Malkasten, as they are called, have annual festivals and masquerades.
The town is embellished with many handsome monuments - notably a bronze statue of Cornelius, by A. Donndorf (b. 1835), an equestrian statue of the emperor William I. (1896), and a large bronze group in front of the assembly hall of the diet, representing the river Rhine and its chief tributaries. In the suburb of Bilk there are the Floragarten and Volksgarten, the astronomical observatory and the harbour. Extensive quays afford accommodation for vessels of deep draught, and the trade with the Dutch cities and with London has been thereby greatly enhanced. Within recent years Dusseldorf has made remarkable progress as an industrial centre. The first place is occupied by the iron industries, embracing foundries, furnaces, engineering and machine shops, &c. Next come cotton spinning and weaving, calico printing, yarn-spinning, dyeing and similar textile branches, besides a variety of other industries.
A little to the north of the town lies the village of Diisselthal, with Count von der Recke-Volmerstein's establishment for homeless children in the former Trappist monastery, and in the suburb of Pempelfort is the J¢gerhof, the residence at one time of Prince Frederick of Prussia, and afterwards of the prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
Dusseldorf, as the form of the name--the village on the Diissel - clearly indicates, was long a place of small consideration. In 1288 it was raised to the rank of a town by Count Adolf of Berg; from his successors it obtained various privileges, and in 1385 was chosen as their residence. After it had suffered greatly in the Thirty Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession, it recovered its prosperity under the patronage of the electoral prince John William of the Palatinate, who dwelt in the castle for many years before his death in 1716. In 1795 the town, after a violent bombardment, was surrendered to the French; and after the peace of Luneville it was deprived of its fortifications. In 1805 it became the capital of the Napoleonic duchy of Berg; and in 1815 it passed with the duchy into Prussian possession. Among its celebrities are Johann Georg and Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Heinrich Heine, Varnhagen von Ense, Peter von Cornelius, Wilhelm Camphausen and Heinrich von Sybel.
See H. Ferber, Historische Wanderung durch die alt Stadt Dusseldorf (Dusseldorf, 1889-1890); Brandt, Studien zur Wirtschaftsand Verwaltungsgeschichte der Stadt Dusseldorf (Dusseldorf, 1902); and local Guide by Bone.