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Country  Germany
Population  592,393 (2012)
Area  217 km2
State  North Rhine-Westphalia
District  Urban district
Mayor  Thomas Geisel (SPD)
Points of interest  Rheinturm, Konigsallee, Schloss Benrath, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Museum Kunstpalast
Colleges and Universities  University of Dusseldorf, University of Applied Sciences Dusseldorf, Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, Robert Schumann Hochschule, University of Dusseldorf Medical School

Dusseldorf ( , Low German: ) is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and center of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with a population of 11 million people.


Map of Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf is an international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located within the Blue Banana, the city is headquarters to five Fortune Global 500 and several DAX companies. Messe Dusseldorf claims to organise nearly one fifth of all world‘s premier trade shows.

Culturally, Dusseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts (Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, e.g. Joseph Beuys, Emanuel Leutze, August Macke, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Andreas Gursky), its pioneering influence on electronic/experimental music (Kraftwerk) and its relatively large Japanese community. As a city by the river Rhine, Dusseldorf is a stronghold for Rhenish Carnival celebrations. Every year in July more than 4.5 million people visit the citys Largest Fair on the Rhine funfair.

As the seventh most populous city in Germany by population within city limits and a Larger Urban Zone population of 1.5 million, Mercers 2012 Quality of Living survey ranked Dusseldorf sixth city in the world.


When the Roman Empire was strengthening its position throughout Europe, a few Germanic tribes clung in marshy territory off the eastern banks of the Rhine River.

In the 7th and 8th centuries, the odd farming or fishing settlement could be found at the point where the small river Dussel flows into the Rhine. It was from such settlements that the city of Dusseldorf grew.

The first written mention of Dusseldorf (then called Dusseldorp in the local Low Rhenish dialect) dates back to 1135. Under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa the small town of Kaiserswerth to the north of Dusseldorf became a well-fortified outpost, where soldiers kept a watchful eye on every movement on the Rhine. Kaiserswerth eventually became a suburb of Dusseldorf in 1929.

In 1186, Dusseldorf came under the rule of the Counts of Berg. 14 August 1288 is one of the most important dates in the history of Dusseldorf. On this day the sovereign Count Adolf VIII of Berg granted the village on the banks of the Dussel town privileges. Before this, a bloody struggle for power had taken place between the Archbishop of Cologne and the count of Berg, culminating in the Battle of Worringen.

The Archbishop of Colognes forces were wiped out by the forces of the count of Berg who were supported by citizens and farmers of Cologne and Dusseldorf, paving the way for Dusseldorfs elevation to city status, which is commemorated today by a monument on the Burgplatz. The custom of turning cartwheels is credited to the children of Dusseldorf. There are variations of the origin of the cartwheeling children. Today the symbol (Der Radschlager) represents the story and every year the Dusseldorfers celebrate by having a cartwheeling contest. After this battle the relationship between the four cities deteriorated, because they were commercial rivals. It is often said that there is a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Dusseldorf. Today, it finds its expression mainly in a humorous form (especially during the Rhineland Karneval) and in sports.

A market square sprang up on the banks of the Rhine and the square was protected by city walls on all four sides. In 1380, the dukes of Berg moved their seat to the town and Dusseldorf was made regional capital of the Duchy of Berg. During the following centuries several famous landmarks were built, including the Collegiate Church of St Lambertus. In 1609, the ducal line of the United Duchies of Julich-Cleves-Berg died out, and after a virulent struggle over succession, Julich and Berg fell to the Wittelsbach Counts of Palatinate-Neuburg, who made Dusseldorf their main domicile, even after they inherited the Electorate of the Palatinate, in 1685, becoming now Prince-electors as Electors Palatine.

Under the art loving Johann Wilhelm II (r. 1690–1716), a vast art gallery with a huge selection of paintings and sculptures, were housed in the Stadtschloss (city castle). After his death, the city fell on hard times again, especially after Elector Charles Theodore inherited Bavaria and moved the electoral court to Munich. With him he took the art collection, which became part of what is now the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Destruction and poverty struck Dusseldorf after the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon made Berg a Grand Duchy and Dusseldorf its capital. Johann Devaranne, a leader of Solingens resistance to Napoleons conscription decrees, was executed here in 1813. After Napoleons defeat, the whole Rhineland including Berg was given to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815. The Rhine Provinces parliament was established in Dusseldorf. By the mid-19th century, Dusseldorf enjoyed a revival thanks to the Industrial Revolution as the city boasted 100,000 inhabitants by 1882; the figure doubled in 1892. In 1920, Dusseldorf became the centre of the General Strike. On 15 April 1920, 45 delegates of the German Miners Union were murdered by the Freikorps.

The city was a target of strategic bombing during World War II, particularly during the RAF bombing campaign against the Ruhr industry in 1943 when over 700 bombers were used in a single night. Raids continued late into the war. As part of the campaign against German oil facilities, the RAF raid of 20–21 February on the Rhenania Ossag refinery in the Reisholz district of the city halted oil production there. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Dusseldorf in mid-April 1945. The United States 97th Infantry Division easily captured the city on 18 April 1945.

In 1946, Dusseldorf was made capital of the new federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The citys reconstruction proceeded at a frantic pace and the economic transformation guided Dusseldorfs economic growth.


Dusseldorf lies at the centre of the Lower Rhine basin, where the delta of the River Dussel flows into the Rhine. The city lies on the east side of the Rhine, except District 4 (Oberkassel, Niederkassel, Heerdt and Lorick). Across the Rhine, the city of Neuss stands on the delta of the Erft river. Dusseldorf lies southwest of the Ruhr urban area, and in the middle of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.

Dusseldorf is built entirely on alluvium, mud, sand, clay and occasionally gravel. The highest point in Dusseldorf is the top of Sandberg in the far eastern part of the city (Hubbelrath borough) at 165 metres (541 ft). The lowest point is at the far northern end in Wittlaer borough where the Schwarzbach enters the Rhine, with an average elevation of 28 metres (92 ft).


Dusseldorf has become one of the top telecommunications centres in Germany. With two of the four big German providers of mobile frequencies, D2 Vodafone and E-Plus, Dusseldorf leads the German mobile phone market. There are many foreign trading centres in Dusseldorf such as NTT, Ericsson, Sandvik, Nokia, and GTS.. There are 18 internet service providers located in the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia. Eurowings and formerly independent LTU International, are two airlines, with headquarters in the city.

Culture and recreation

Elector Jan Wellem and his wife Anna Maria Luisa de Medici of Tuscany, were patrons of Dusseldorfs first significant cultural activities in the 17th and 18th centuries. Heinrich Heine, whose 200th birthday was celebrated in 1997 and who originally had a proposed memorial in the city dedicated to him; Clara and Robert Schumann; and as Felix Mendelssohn, are the most prominent artists related to the city, which is home to a distinguished Academy of Fine Arts.

The Dusseldorf cultural scene comprises traditional and avant-garde, classical and glamorous. The world famous state art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia, the highly acclaimed Deutsche Oper am Rhein (opera), and the Dusseldorfer Schauspielhaus (theatre), artistic home of Gustaf Grundgens, are major elements of Dusseldorfs reputation as a centre of the fine arts.


Traditional meals in the region are Rheinischer Sauerbraten (a beef roast and sometimes horse marinated for a few days in vinegar and spices served with gravy and raisins ) and Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Ad) (black pudding with stewed apples mixed with mashed potatoes). In winter the people like to eat Muscheln Rheinischer Art (Rhenish-style mussels) as well as Reibekuchen (fried potato pancake served with apple sauce). Also a special meal: Dusseldorfer Senfrostbraten (Steaks roasted with Dusseldorf mustard on top).

Dusseldorf is known for its strong Dijon-like mustard served in a traditional pot called "Mostertpottche", which was eternalised in a still life by Vincent van Gogh in 1884.

Museums, arts and history institutes, and other attractions

  • Akademie-Galerie (exhibition space of the Art Academy Dusseldorf)
  • Andreaskirche
  • Aquazoo-Lobbecke-Museum (aquarium and zoological museum)
  • TvTower
  • BRAUSE – Vereinsheim des Metzgerei Schnitzel Kunstvereins e.V.
  • Film museum
  • Filmstiftung NRW (NRW Film Foundation)
  • Forum NRW
  • Goethe-Museum
  • Heinrich-Heine-Institut
  • Heinrich Heine Birth-house
  • Hetjens Museum (German museum of ceramics)
  • Imai – inter media art institute
  • Institut Francais Dusseldorf
  • Institut fur Kunstdokumentation und Szenografie (Institute for Art Documentation and Scenography)
  • Julia Stoschek Collection (video art)
  • KAI 10|Raum fur Kunst
  • Kulturbahnhof Eller
  • Kunstarchiv Kaiserswerth (works of Bernd and Hilla Becher/Kahmen Collection)
  • Kunst im Tunnel (KIT)
  • Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Art Collection Northrhine-Westphalia) – K20 (Grabbeplatz) and K21 (Standehaus)
  • Kunsthalle Dusseldorf
  • Kunstverein fur die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts)
  • Museum Kunst Palast
  • Mahn- und Gedenkstatte fur die Opfer des Nationalsozialmus (Memorial museum for victims of Nationalsocialism)
  • Onomato
  • Polnisches Institut Dusseldorf
  • Puppentheater an der Helmholtzstrase
  • Rathaus
  • Reinraum e.V. – Verein zur Forderung von Kunst und Kultur
  • Rheinturm (Rhine Tower; highest building and landmark of Dusseldorf)
  • St. Lambertuskirche
  • Schiffahrt Museum
  • Schloss Jagerhof
  • Schlossturm
  • Schloss und Park Benrath (Palace and park of Benrath)
  • Stadtmuseum (City history museum)
  • Statue of Jan Wellem
  • Theatermuseum, Dusseldorf
  • Triton Museum
  • Zakk – cultural centre with concerts, readings, debates and party
  • Food haul dusseldorf

    German food


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