Dusseldorf, is nowhere near like its rival Cologne. The city is spruced up with glistening architecture, modern buildings and suave looking locals. Designer shops line the streets, fine dining is offered in most establishments and even the bars are neat and orderly. In fact, Dusseldorf could even be where the stereotypical perception of Germans being “efficient” came from, because Dusseldorf is… well, efficient. Cologne offers historical splendours that are soaked in heritage, whilst Dusseldorf, offers a dynamic metropolis filled with a stable economy and financial districts. Although we can’t blame Dusseldorf for being so… straight. Due to the city largely being destroyed in World War II, most of the city has been rebuilt, regenerated to function for business.
We took a short trip from Cologne to see Dusseldorf and honestly, I am really glad we did. Although I am painting a rather narrow minded picture of Dusseldorf, it does have a little bit of spice under its surface.
Walking along the Promenade on the bank of Rhine highlights the cities wealth and skyline superbly. Wander along the river or sit at a bench and watch the world wander by, whilst marvelling at the varied architecture of Dusseldorf. The Media Harbour is a prime example of the interesting architecture that Dusseldorf has on offer. It combines the past and present with the protected depot buildings and quarry walls with new and hip architecture which adds a bold quirky edge to the setting. The area is filled with lovely bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs, making many visitors spend more time than expected here. Another hip and stylish area is Carlstadt, where artists life and ethos reflects onto the chic boutiques, antique stores and coffee bars that create your drink into a masterpiece. Come here to the a daily market to buy an assortment of sweet treats.
Dusseldorf is also well known for its art scene (expect no urban gritty art hidden on street wall corners- but varied art work hung in airy exhibition galleries). Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- Westfalen is a large art museum and K21 Stande Hause and K20 Grabbeplatz are also fantastic art venues. For a little variation head to Kunsthalle for a contemporary art show and Hetjens Musuem for its 800 years of ceramic art from all over the world- quite extraordinary. The City Monument is artwork from Bert Gerresheim but tells the story of the city’s local history starting with the battle of Worringen, which offers a fascinating insight into Dusseldorf’s past.
But what most visitors come to Dusseldorf for is to see if the claim is true. Yes, Dusseldorf have claimed to have “the longest bar in the world” in Altstadt, the historical quarter. Within one square kilometre, there are 260 bars all nestled together heaving with joyful customers who are letting their hair down after a stressful day at the office. Don’t judge the drinkers by their Armani suits, they will be happy to chat to you about anything really. Just be careful not to order Kolsch (Cologne’s beer) you will have no friends -but enemies then.
We headed to Brauerei Im Fuchschen to dine in a traditional beer hall (expect it to be noisy and messy) although I have also heard Carlsplatz and Munstermann Kontor are also delicious venues. There are not many great clubs here, the focus is largely on bars and beer gardens but the art venue Kunsthalle does turn into an even more compelling venue after dark.
Dusseldorf is a wonderful city to wander around in and see more of Germany, although I do feel coming on a day trip is the perfect time frame to visit.