With the festive season approaching, where better to start than at Dusseldorf’s Christmas Market? Wooden huts selling traditional toys, gifts, gluhwein (mulled wine) and bratwurst line the streets. Other major festivals include Grosste Kirmes am Rhein (above), a mammoth fair that sees more than four million visitors each July, and the city’s carnival, which reaches its peak on Rose Monday in February.
Dusseldorf is mad about sports. Winter visitors can hit the slopes at one of Europe’s highest indoor winter-sports facilities, Allrounder Mountain Resort (below), outside the city, or cheer on the local football team Fortuna Dusseldorf at the modern Merkur-Spiel Arena (then: Esprit Arena). In summer, enjoy the city’s many outdoor swimming pools and water-sports facilities or spend a day at the local horse racetrack. In July, you can also take in the Grand Depart of the Tour de France from the city centre.
Hop to it
Dusseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town) crams more than 250 bars into less than a single square kilometre, and the district is renowned for altbier, its unique local brew. Served in quarter-litre glasses, the copper-coloured beer is made in eight different bars, from the wood-panelled Uerige to the beam-roofed Fuchschen (below). If you have time to visit just one, make it Zum Schlussel. This tiny venue’s original Schlussel altbier is the best of the bunch.
When it comes to artistic eye candy, Dusseldorf is a veritable sweet shop. Lovers of architecture will relish mediaeval masterpieces like the striking Schlossturm, Renaissance monuments including the Neanderkirche, and contemporary icons such as Frank Gehry’s Neuer Zollhof. Meanwhile, fans of modern art shouldn’t miss the K20 gallery, with its extraordinary Picasso, Pollock and Kandinsky exhibits, and Kunst im Tunnel (below), a modernist exhibition in a tunnel.
Dressed for success
Dusseldorf rivals Berlin as Germany’s spiritual home of designer fashion. You’ll find all the big international brands here – mainly in the Flingern district – but sartorially savvy visitors should also get to know local talents. Seek out Peter O. Mahler’s flagship store (above) for minimalist style that is premium yet affordable, or head to Fashion Clinic to check out German designers such as Mykita.
– TEXT BY JOSEPH REANEY
PHOTOS MESSE DUESSELDORF / IVO FABER (KUNST IM TUNNEL)
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.