Facts about Düsseldorf, which is twin city with Reading (UK)
Population: 639,407 in 2017 (Düsseldorf Council)
Federal State: North Rhine-Westphalia
Location: on the Rhine River
Well-known and popular places:
Old town: Düsseldorf’s historical old town is famous for its narrow, cobbled streets, traditional breweries (serving the typical top-fermented dark beer called ‘Altbier’), many bars, cafés and restaurants. It’s close to the Rhine embankment, where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view across the Rhine.
Rhine Tower: This 240.5m telecommunications tower is located between Düsseldorf’s old town and the trendy Media harbour (Medienhafen), next to the North Rhine-Westphalia parliament building. It was built between 1979 and 1982 by the architect, H. Deilmann. Visitors can enjoy a fantastic view from the viewing platform (168m) in the snack bar area or from the Qomo restaurant and bar (172.5m). Tickets to go up to the viewing platform cost between 5 and 7€ per person (children under six are free)
Benrath Palace (Schloss Benrath): The palace is one of the architectural highlights located 12km south of Düsseldorf’s city centre. It was completed in 1775 by Nicolas de Pigage, on behalf of the elector palatine, Charles Theodore, who wanted it as a summer residence. The architect was influenced by French architecture. The listed palace garden is a unique and creative area for visitors to relax in, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Königsallee: This elegant shopping boulevard is also known as ‘Kö’ by locals. It runs parallel to the Kö canal between the Friedrichtstadt and Hofgarten districts. The beautiful boulevard is lined with mature chestnut trees and plenty of benches to sit and enjoy a short break. Many years ago, Königsallee was home to exclusive designer shops, but nowadays, shoppers can find a good mix of designer shops, small boutiques and the usual high street chains. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés to enjoy a spot of lunch or simply just watch the world go by.
The Rhine Embankment (Rheinuferpromade): The Rhine embankment, with its many bars and cafés, is one of my favourite places to go whenever I’m in Düsseldorf. The views across the banks of the Rhine are amazing. From the promenade, you can see the Rhine Tower, North Rhine-Westphalia’s parliament building and the Rheinkniebrücke bridge to the left, as well as the posh district of Oberkassel on the opposite side of the river. Many people also enjoy just chilling on the steps down leading down from Burgplatz square.
Media harbour (Medienhafen): Düsseldorf’s harbour underwent complex restoration in the nineties. The well-known architects, Frank O. Gehry, David Chipperfield, Joen Coenen, Steven Hall and Claude Vasconi, created a unique skyline for Düsseldorf, which has now become a landmark for this vibrant city. Media companies, advertising and consultancy agencies have started to settle in this area at the end of the nineties and the beginning of the 21st century. The area also attracts visitors who can enjoy the waterfront from one of the numerous restaurants, cafés and bars. The international Hyatt hotel, with its impressive ‘Pebble bar’ is also located there.
North Rhine-Westphalia art collection (Kunstsammlung NRW): Düsseldorf is proud of its art scene, with names like Joseph Beuys, Andreas Gursky, Gerhard Richter to name but a few. They all attended the well-known Düsseldorf Art Academy (Kunstakademie), which has been offering courses on drawing, sculpture, stage-design and architecture for more than 200 years. The K20 museum on Grabbeplatz (in the old town) and the K21 (in Ständehaus), are important art galleries that exhibit works of art from recent graduates of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, as well as from internationally-known artists.
Goethe museum: The historical Goethe museum is located in the Jägerhof Castle (Schloss Jägerhof). It is dedicated to the works of the famous German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). It’s funded by the Anton and Katharina Kippenberg Foundation and the city of Düsseldorf. The collection is based on, what was at the time, the largest private collection from Goethe’s publisher, Anton Kippenberg (1874-1950). It consists of more than 1,000 manuscripts, books, art, arts and crafts, and a research library.
Celebrities in Düsseldorf:
- Heinrich Heine (poet) was born and lived in Düsseldorf.
- Robert and Clara Schumann (composer and pianist) lived in Düsseldorf.
- Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (composer, organist, pianist and conductor) was appointed musical director between 1833 and 1835 in Düsseldorf.
- Konrad Henkel (founder of the well-known Henkel company) was born and lived in Düsseldorf.
- Joseph Beuys (sculptor, installation artist, graphic designer) lived in Düsseldorf.
- Wim Wenders (filmmaker, photographer, playwright and author) was born and lives in Düsseldorf.
- Campino (singer, songwriter and actor) also known as the lead singer of ‘Die Toten Hosen’ rock band was born and lives close to Düsseldorf.
- Heike Makatsch (actor, author, singer) was born in Düsseldorf and has a place there.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (poet and writer) lived in Düsseldorf for a short time in 1792
- Kraftwerk (electro music band) was formed in Düsseldorf during the seventies.
Learn about the Reading – Düsseldorf twin city connection