Written by fizzytom on 30 May, 2011
Its name may translate as the 'village on the Dussel' but these days it's hard to imagine Düsseldorf as anything other than a sprawling modern metropolis; it blends almost imperceptibly with nearby Duisberg and Dortmund and is just a stone's throw from magnificent Cologne to…Read More
Its name may translate as the 'village on the Dussel' but these days it's hard to imagine Düsseldorf as anything other than a sprawling modern metropolis; it blends almost imperceptibly with nearby Duisberg and Dortmund and is just a stone's throw from magnificent Cologne to the south. Düsseldorf has almost 600,000 inhabitants but merits just three pages or so in my massive Rough Guide to Germany. So is Düsseldorf worth a visit, or is it merely a soulless hub for commerce in northern Germany? Admittedly the Altstadt, or Old Town, is quite small, especially in comparison with the rest of the city; however there are a few interesting older buildings, some of which have been rebuilt exactly as they had been before the war, or before fire damaged them. From the commentary on a river cruise we enjoyed on the Rhine, we learned that until the mid-1990s a four lane highway separated the city from the river but a tunnel now carries the traffic and a lovely wide boulevard occupies the ground above the tunnel. There are a few bars and restaurants clustered in a group on the promenade but many people prefer to just to sit on a bench, or even on the steps in front of the old castle tower, now a museum covering the history of navigation on the Rhine, to enjoy a beer they've brought with them. Düsseldorf is, for the main part, a very walkable city; you can walk from the Altstadt to the Medien-Hafen (Media Harbour) in fifteen to twenty minutes, or from the Altstadt to glitzy Königsallee with its luxury stores in less than ten, with the main museum quarter and the excellent Karlsplatz market situated midway between the two. Messe, the centre where international trade fairs are held, is a short journey outside of the city centre but is still easy to reach on public transport. Our hotel was situated ten minutes from the Altstadt by tram and we found the system easy to use with frequent services. Anyone who has ever been to Düsseldorf will tell you about the bar scene/nightlife. The Altstadt is often referred to as the 'longest bar in the world' because there are so many pubs and bars: the majority are on Bolkerstrasse but there are lots on the streets that run parallel and on the little lanes that connect them. In Düsseldorf you drink on the street at high wooden tables; the waiters come outside with the drinks but there's no need to order - there's only one beer drunk round here - Altbier. Translated simply as 'old beer', Altbier is made according to brewing rules regarding purity which date back to the 16th century.Bearing in mind that there are so many bars and that the whole Altbier experience is so compelling, you should reckon on halving the amount of time you think you have at your disposal for sightseeing. Düsseldorf's main airport (another one at Weeze is used mainly by budget airlines but is a considerable drive from the city) is only a few minutes from the city centre and is the third largest in Germany. The tourism people in Düsseldorf make a big thing of the proximity of the airport and, in particular, how it's a viable option to get into the city centre even if you only have a couple of hours when changing planes there. There are open top hop on/hop off tour buses which could give you a quick overview of the city, alternatively you could do what we did on Sunday morning when very little else is open, and take an hour long cruise on the Rhine; this took us from the old town down to the Medien-Hafen, back past the Altstadt and as far as Düsseldorf Messe. There was a minmal amount of commentary but what there was I found interesting, and at Euro7.50 it was not excessively priced. Düsseldorf is the capital of the Nord Rhine Westphalia state of Germany and has all the culture and entertainment you'd expect of it. Had the weather not been so good we might well have stopped at a couple of the museums (the Film Museum and the Hetjens Museum which is the only museum in the whole of Germany devoted to ceramics appealed in particular nd there are many, many galleries and art spaces) but it was a perfect day for walking so we set off on foot to the Medien-Hafen by way of the Rheinturm, the 204.5 metre high television tower which overlooks the Rhine and the magnificent Zollhof Arts and Media complex blocks designed by Frank O. Gehry. Back with our feet planted firmly on the ground we toured the Medien-Hafen by foot. The area was regenerated back in the 1990s and some of the world's greatest modern architects have contributed to this impressive collection of buildings. The "Mustard Museum" may be described as a museum but it's really just a small exhibition at the rear of the Löwensenf Mustard shop on Berger Strasse; the exhibition consists of a few examples of the machinery used in the production of mustard by the company over the decades, numerous old photographs of staff working in the family run business and a wonderful collection of old ceramic mustard pots including some made for export to the United States in the early twentieth century. The wide tree-lined Königsallee (also known informally as the 'Kö') Düsseldorf's most upmarket shopping area but is a nice place to enjoy a stroll because between its two lanes of traffic, there's a peaceful park with a canal running through it. Look out on Königsallee for the 'Radschläger' or cartwheelers; this Düsseldorf tradition dates back to the thirteenth century when children are said to have turned wheels of joy on the Burgplatz when Düsseldorf was granted its city rights. Another good place to shop is the Karlsplatz market which sells mainly fresh produce: many of the stall holders will let you taste cheeses or cured meats. There are also a couple of excellent hot food stalls: one sells delicious (and very spicy) falafels which make a filling and cheap lunch. The streets running between the market and Königsallee teem with one off boutiques, jewellery stores and designer homewares shops. The city's eating places reflect the wealth of the city and the diversity of its inhabitants. Within just a few streets in the Altsadt there are several Spanish restaurants, a couple of Lebanese restaurants, plenty of Italian places, a Greek restaurant and loads of places serving traditionally German food. Almost every restaurant has some outdoor seating. One thing I really liked about Düsseldorf is that in terms of nightlife there's no great segregation between old and young (of course the night clubs will be different); as far as the bars go, Bolkerstrasse included, the age range of drinkers is wide and the behaviour is on the whole pretty good. There are groups of stags and hens, or young birthday groups, but there's virtually none of the nuisance behaviour you'd get if everyone in a British town was out drinking on the streets. Teenagers tend to gather on the steps on the river front but even there the behaviour is restrained, in spite of many bottles of beer being enjoyed each night; we saw groups jumping off the tram with crates of beer to take down to the river and nobody bats an eye. I flew with Lufthansa from Newcastle which I guess may be one reason you don't get hordes of daft Geordies on stag weekends in this city; it's simply not a cheap option. Although there are a few cheaper hotels there's only one hostel anywhere near the centre and most hotels are geared towards business travellers. I was pleasantly surprised by Düsseldorf: I found plenty to do and could easily have stayed longer. It's a very attractive and easy-going city and although its old town may be small, its scenic Rhine promenade makes up for the lack of "olde worlde" charm that other German cities enjoy. Would I go back? Probably not, there are so many other places to see and it's not that cheap. But I certainly recommend that you go. Close
Written by koshkha on 24 Feb, 2009
When I first I graduated I joined an international company and worked in sales and marketing. My first overseas 'territory' was Germany where I worked with a local agent who was based near Koln. As a result I bobbed back and forth to Germany using…Read More
When I first I graduated I joined an international company and worked in sales and marketing. My first overseas 'territory' was Germany where I worked with a local agent who was based near Koln. As a result I bobbed back and forth to Germany using Dusseldorf as my main airport. I wasn't the only one – in fact most of my colleagues were also back and forth and Dusseldorf airport usually had one or two of us passing through most weeks. Then in April 1996 fire broke out in the airport whilst two of my colleagues were sitting on a plane about to take off. 17 people died that day and many more were hospitalised. The whole of Germany shook their heads and asked how such a thing could happen in their efficient and wholesome country. My colleagues had a very lucky escape; half an hour later and they would have been caught in the blaze. As a result, each time I pass through Dusseldorf I stop and think of the dead of April 11th 1996.For a while after the fire, flights were diverted to nearby Dortmund airport – a rather small airport that struggled to cope. Then we flew for a few months out of marquees – not so much fun when it was cold but with a strangely ebullient party atmosphere. Eventually the airport - patched up and prettified - opened its doors again and displayed to the world a new face. With its head held high, I could almost ignore that the designers had somehow tracked down carpeting of the most monumental ugliness – someone somewhere had sold them a carpet with a pattern that looked like it was covered in squished chewing gum.On my most recent visit to Dusseldorf I had a lot of time to stop and think about the airport. I'd spent a whole day in the conference centre and then on the morning I was due to head home, my flight to Birmingham was delayed. I can't blame Lufthansa for this unless I can find a way to imagine they went over and dropped a bunch of snow on Birmingham and closed the airport. However, unlike a UK airport where the tempers would have caught and voices would have been raised (not quite how the world likes to imagine us cold emotionless Brits but we do seem to get very rude in airports) we all calmly sat down and just waited for news. And as I sat there and looked around, I realised that I actually really rather like Dusseldorf airport and in its own quiet way it's always been there for me.I've suffered the trauma of arriving at Dusseldorf and discovering my plane was somewhere completely different and being cosseted by Lufthansa who sorted me out with an alternative route home via somewhere in the wrong direction but upgraded me on both flights to say 'sorry' for a problem that they hadn't really caused. During my recent delay, the duty managers were faultlessly polite and supportive – up to the point of offering alternative destinations but not to the point of offering to get me back to where I was supposed to be. I took a stroll admiring the departures area with its high bright ceiling, its spacious waiting areas and multitudinous desks. I didn't see a major queue on either day that I was there. I particularly enjoyed the giant stuffed giraffes (I hope I can find a photo) who advertise Sixt car rentals. I assume they must be advertising that you can get extra head room. There feet are in arrivals and there heads are in departures. You can also watch the monorail sliding back and forth from the airport terminal to the nearby railway station and car parks.More than 60 airlines use Dusseldorf airport. All have check-in in a centralised curved zone which branches into three legs – called imaginatively A, B and C. Lufthansa and the Star Alliance use A; the Air Berlin group is the biggest player in the B zone whilst the SkyTeam alliance uses B&C.For me Dusseldorf really comes into its own is as a transfer hub. Let me explain. On one hand the benefit of my local airports all being small or mid-sized, is that I can show up an hour before and not two. But the down side is that there aren't many places I can fly to directly. When I used to visit Hamburg a lot, I had options of connecting through Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels or a bunch of different German airports. Now if you're familiar with European airlines you'd probably eat your own liver before you'd voluntarily fly Air France. Going via Amsterdam or Brussels involves such a long walk between arrival and departure zones that you'll wonder if they expect you to walk to your final destination rather than fly. Going via Frankfurt or Munich is a serious case of over-shooting your destination so if I had the chance, Dusseldorf and Lufthansa was always my first choice. When you arrive at Dusseldorf airport from the UK, you transfer in the A-zone of the airport. This is very neatly arranged. The bus (unfortunately it does usually seem to be a bus transfer) will drop you right near the passport control, plenty of people will be manning the desks and your onward departure gate will generally be no more than about 50 feet from the passport control. They line things up so nicely that you really can make a 45 minute connection, maybe even less if you have only hand luggage. And in the opposite direction it's again just as simple. All the Lufthansa flights use the same zone and it's really very stress-less. In 2008 there were a lot of repairs being made in the A-zone and the airport was noisy, dusty and not very pleasant. The work is now all completed and things are back to normal. By European standards the range of shops is fairly good, the duty free selection (if you are eligible) is pretty comprehensive and there are several snack bars and bars to choose from.I would characterise Dusseldorf as a mid-sized airport. It's not enormous like Frankfurt where you can walk for hours to reach your departure gate and not so small (like Koln/Bonn) that you have very limited choices. Unfortunately though it doesn't have connections to Bremen which is now the main place that I visit. Never mind – it still makes me smile when I have the chance to use it. Close
Written by koshkha on 21 Feb, 2009
I work for a company with operations all over Europe and when we need to get together, it's a challenge to try to get everyone in the same place. For a recent meeting we decided not to bother dragging everyone to one of our factories…Read More
I work for a company with operations all over Europe and when we need to get together, it's a challenge to try to get everyone in the same place. For a recent meeting we decided not to bother dragging everyone to one of our factories and instead wanted to find a place that everyone could get to easily. In order to ensure having as much time with everyone as possible, it made sense to consider using an airport venue and we picked Dusseldorf because it fitted in with another visit we planned to make.We've had some traumas in the last six months trying to find good venues and getting charged silly money for sub-standard venues. So when a colleague said that the conference facilities at Dusseldorf airport were of good quality and reasonably priced, we trusted him enough to make a booking. Dusseldorf is a good hub for something like this because our German colleagues can reach it by train or plane and the colleagues from the UK and Spain all had access to direct flights. Our Belgian colleague just needed to drive for a couple of hours. So the time wasted in getting there wasn't too bad and because we were at the airport, we wouldn't have to pay a fortune for taxis and lose a lot of time transferring everyone back for their flights.The 'Wollhaf Konferez- und Bankettcenter' (i.e. conference and banquetting centre) is inside the airport building. Simply enter through the main doors, head upstairs to the departures level and look for the twin escalators. At the top of the escalators, just close to the departure zone you'll find the conference venue. It really was very easy to find.We checked in at the reception desk and a liveried assistant led us along a corridor to our room. The room was of an exceptional standard with large windows, lots of natural light and plenty of space and we could easily have fitted twice as many people into the room. We had originally booked a smaller room but the trainer had turned up the day before to lay out the room and they'd offered him a larger room for the same price. We had been warned that we couldn't stick anything on the walls which almost made us cancel the room booking since we were having a brainstorming day and there was no way we could get through the day without sticking things all over the place. However, when the trainer discussed it with the staff, they happily arranged to rent us 6 large pin boards (at a not so generous rate of €30 per board) and told us we could feel free to stick things on the windows.All too often if you book a meeting room in a hotel, you'll find they've put you in a nasty dark room in the basement with walls that let through every sound from the room next door. The Wollhaf centre was a refreshing change as we were up in the eaves of the airport and during our breaks could look down on the airport halls below. Our day delegate rates included lots of soft drinks provided in the rooms as well as two coffee breaks and lunch. At each break we had small pastries or other snacks and the lunch was a full three course hot and cold buffet in a restaurant over-looking the planes and the runway. The quality of the lunch was excellent and nobody complained about anything. That's not something I can take for granted with most of my colleagues.A couple of times during the day we needed to contact the centre administrators – to check the heating and to borrow some stationery items – and they were always very helpful. As the end of the day when our meeting was finished everyone could be at their check-in gates in just a couple of minutes and so we got the maximum work done in the available time.The cost for all of this was very reasonable. We were charged €48 per person which included the use of the room, all the drinks and a large lunch. The pin boards were charged on top but that is standard for conference venues and was to be expected. The trainer was amazed at what great value this was as he gives seminars all over Europe and thought this was the best value venue he'd used in recent years. To put it into context, the last meeting we held at a hotel in Spain charged us more than that per person just for the food and drink and then slapped a fee of several hundred Euros on top for the meeting room. And the room was considerably smaller and was in a dark basement.Wollhaf have airport conference facilities at three German airports – Dusseldorf, Koln/Bonn and Stuttgart – and if the Dusseldorf centre is anything to go by, I'd expect the others to also be excellent. If you need a good venue at a fair price and want to get maximum work done in the available town, I really do recommend considering the Wollfaf conference centre at Dusseldorf airport. Close
Written by Sandra on 27 Oct, 2000
In the Old Town, you find many shops which sell all kinds of clothes, shoes and there is also a big CD-store called WOM World of Music on the second floor of the fancy clothes store called KULT.
In the area of Shadowstrasse, you find the…Read More
In the Old Town, you find many shops which sell all kinds of clothes, shoes and there is also a big CD-store called WOM World of Music on the second floor of the fancy clothes store called KULT.
In the area of Shadowstrasse, you find the huge department stores like Kaufhof and Karstadt where you can buy anything from food or clothes and stationary to watches. There is also Dusseldorf's largest photo equipment store called FOTO KOCH in case you run out of film. If you want to buy clothes you can also go to C&A or Peek&Cloppenburg or to one of the many fashion boutiques in this area.
In Königsalle the largest CD-store SATURN has just opened (2000) a new store which is definitely worth a visit. CD's are about 15 US$ in Germany which is among the cheapest prices in Europe.
Please note that shops in Germany are open only until 6.30 p.m. except for Thursdays when they are open until 8.00 p.m. On Saturdays, only the bigger shops are open until 4.00 p.m. and on Sundays all the shops are closed.
Written by Zhebiton on 02 Oct, 2010
A quiet village on the banks of the Rhine and the modern center with stunning architecture. On the streets are always crowded, but at the same time quietly. But nobody would call it a city of contrasts. Here, everything is harmonious.The first place will inevitably…Read More
A quiet village on the banks of the Rhine and the modern center with stunning architecture. On the streets are always crowded, but at the same time quietly. But nobody would call it a city of contrasts. Here, everything is harmonious.The first place will inevitably gets any tourist in Dusseldorf, it Königsallee (King's Alley), or Kö. First of all, it is known that there are mono-brand boutiques are the most famous brands.In the early Königsallee is a beautiful building Galeria Kaufhof (Königsallee, 1). It was built over 100 years ago, and this is perhaps the most interesting thing in it. Inside - a traditional department store with the democratic brands, cosmetics, and products, which many in Germany.When tired of shopping, stroll along the canal that separates the two sides Königsallee. Progressed from Graf-Adolf-Platz to the top of the mall, go to the park Hofgarten. Quick meal can be almost any mall - everywhere there are cafes for every taste and confectionery Leysieffer (Königsallee, 44) is considered one of the best in the city. Most of all she is known for delicious marzipan, but chocolate is handmade pralines and other sweets do not concede anything to them.Turning in early Königsallee left, you get to Schadowstraße. This is the second most important shopping street. Route logically begins with a picture Schadow Arkaden (Schadowstrasse, 11, www.schadow-arkaden.de).You can then proceed to inspect the Old Town (Altstadt - a pedestrian zone from the Heinrich-Heine-Allee to the Rhine). It is difficult to calculate routes - at every turn small streets you might find something unexpected: from second-hand with their cloaks, lace and tablets to the store with a meaningless, but its attractive souvenirs. Here you need to walk, go have a meal in restaurants with cuisine from all over the world and watch the locals and visitors, who are experts in the fun, do not disturb the public tranquility.The old docks now are restaurants, clubs, editorial offices, telecommunication companies, design offices, showrooms, and most importantly - two groups of buildings, built by American architect Frank O. Henry. Their walls are inclined at the most incredible angles, and they look like bent aluminum sheets. Close