Dusseldorf may not be as well known as Berlin or Munich, but this German city on the banks of the Rhine River packs a punch when it comes to art, fashion, culture and sports. Here are seven things worth making a trip to the city for.
A cultural affair
Visit the striking Schlossturm (palace tower), a medieval masterpiece; the Renaissance-style Protestant church, Neanderkirche; and contemporary icons such as Neuer Zollhof by starchitect Frank Gehry – all standing side by side.
The Kunstsammlung gallery complex exhibits 20th- and 21st-century artworks by such celebrated artists as Picasso, Pollock and Kandinsky. An underground tunnel located underneath the Rhine Promenade, Kunst im Tunnel, offers experimental art.
Raising the bar
Known as “the longest bar in the world”, Dusseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town) borough in the city centre crams more than 250 bars into 1 sq km. The unique local altbier, served in quarter-litre glasses, is brewed in eight different bars, from the wood-panelled Uerige to the beam-roofed Fuchschen. If you have time for just one, head to the tiny Zum Schlussel which, arguably, serves the best beer of the lot.
Dusseldorf rivals Berlin as Germany’s spiritual home of designer-fashion shopping. While international designers are aplenty, seek out inspiring local labels such as Peter O Mahler and Annette Gortz, both known for their minimalist style, and avant-garde brands Bernhard Willhelm and Mykita.
Head to the city’s Christmas Market, which starts in November, when wooden huts selling traditional toys, gifts, gluhwein (mulled wine) and bratwurst line the streets. Other big festivals include Carnival in February, when dozens of floats parade through the city, and Grosste Kirmes am Rhein, a mammoth summer fair that welcomes more than four million visitors each July.
Slopes and stadiums
The sports scene is big here. In winter, hit the ski slopes at Europe’s highest indoor winter sports facility just outside the city, or cheer the local football team Fortuna Dusseldorf on at the city’s super-modern Esprit Arena. Enjoy the city’s many outdoor swimming pools and water-sports facilities in summer. In July next year, the Tour de France will be flagged off from Dusseldorf’s city centre.
Take a break in Hofgarten, a beautiful park with meadows, water features and a bandstand, which was the inspiration for the famous English Garden in Munich. Stroll along the paths and themed gardens of Nordpark on the riverbank, or explore the baroque hunting park surrounding Benrath Palace.
Heels and wheels
The Erlebnisweg Rheinschiene (Rhine Experience Track) runs right through Dusseldorf’s centre – and then hundreds of kilometres in either direction – making it popular with bike enthusiasts. For those who prefer to walk, there are organised running groups that conduct guided jogs of the city along the same path.
– TEXT BY JOSEPH REANEY
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.