Düsseldorf — an ancient city, founded in 1288, it is also a vibrant, modern place

View of Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf is the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. An ancient city, founded in 1288, Düsseldorf is famous for its beautiful old town and traditional ‘Altbier’ beer. However, it is also a vibrant, modern place, bursting with fantastic places to go and things to experience.


Things to see and do

Karneval

Carnival procession

The annual Karneval festival takes place every February, and turns the whole city upside-down for a few days. The action kicks off with ‘Altweiberdonnerstag’, or ‘Old Women’s Thursday’, when the women of the city, dressed up in colourful costumes, storm and occupy the city town hall, before cutting off the mayor’s tie! From this moment on, the city becomes one big party — huge parades make their way through town, and elaborate costumes, dancing and drinking are all pretty much obligatory.

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Japan Day

Düsseldorf’s Japan Day attracts more than a million visitors from all over the world, every year. Many of them even dress up as their favourite manga and anime characters.

There is also a riverside market selling Japanese food and clothes, and shows and stands promoting Japanese music and art, as well as a spectacular firework display. If you’ve ever wanted to try on a traditional kimono — this is the place to be!

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Modern art hub

Düsseldorf is a major hub for contemporary fine arts and has a vibrant fashion, design and media scene — Claudia Schiffer began her career here! Take your pick among a host of leading museums, private collections, exhibition venues, and a state-of-the-art Art Academy. The city also hosts hundreds of designers, theatres, as well as media agencies, newspapers and international trade fairs. One highlight is the Kunst Im Tunnel (KIT — Art in the Tunnel) project, an underground gallery space beside the river.

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Heinrich Heine’s birthplace

Heine’s birthplace

Famous German poet and writer Heinrich Heine was born in Düsseldorf in 1797. Today, the site of his birthplace at 53 Bolkerstraße has been turned into a cultural space. The Heine Haus hosts heaps of interesting talks from international writers and thinkers, and a wide range of events.

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The Rhine Tower

Düsseldorf is also home to the world’s +largest digital clock! The Rhine Tower (or Rheinturm) uses a series of lights to tell you the time — as well as functioning as a TV and radio transmitter, and housing an observation deck, a restaurant and a bar.

British-German Town Twinnings

Town twinnings between British and German cities play an important role in promoting cultural exchange. Düsseldorf has been twinned with Reading since 1975.