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The title of this article contains the character ü. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Duesseldorf.

Coordinates: 51°14′N 6°47′E

Coat of arms of Düsseldorf Location of Düsseldorf in Germany

Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Administrative region Düsseldorf
District urban district
Population 577,416 source (31/12/2005)
Area 217.0 km²
Population density 2,675 / km²
Elevation 38 m
Coordinates 51°14′ N 6°47′ E
Postal code 40000-40629
Area code 0211
Licence plate code D
Mayor Joachim Erwin ( CDU)
Website duesseldorf.de

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and (together with Cologne and the Ruhr Area) the economic centre of Western Germany. Düsseldorf is located on the River Rhine and it is one of the main centers of the densely populated Rhine-Ruhr area.


When the Roman Empire was strengthening its position throughout Europe, a few Germanic tribes clung on to their 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 Düssel flows into the Rhine. It was from such settlements that the city of Düsseldorf grew.

The first written mention of the town of Düsseldorf dates back to 1135 (then called Düsseldorp). It was told that under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa the small town of Kaiserswerth, lying to the North of Düsseldorf, became a well fortified outpost, where soldiers kept their watchful eyes over every movement on the Rhine. Kaiserswerth eventually became a suburb of Düsseldorf in 1929.

In 1186 Düsseldorf came under the rule of Berg. The counts of Berg moved their seat to the town in 1280. 14 August 1288 is one of the most important dates in the history of Düsseldorf as it was on this day that the sovereign Count Adolf V of Berg granted the village on the banks of the Düssel city rights.

Portion of monument portraying the brutality of the battle of Worringen
Portion of monument portraying the brutality of the battle of Worringen

Prior to that announcement, 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 Cologne's forces were wiped out, paving the way for Düsseldorf's elevation to city status, which is remembered today with a monument on the Burgplatz. It is often said that from this day to the present, there has been a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Düsseldorf. This is, however, historically wrong because Düsseldorf's citizens fought side by side with those of Cologne. The rivalry between the two cities started towards the end of the 19th century when Düsseldorf started to grow very quickly as a result of its industrialisation. 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 in all four directions. In 1380, Düsseldorf 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 Jülich-Berg- Cleves died out, and after a virulent struggle over succession, Jülich and Berg fell to the Counts of Palatinate-Neuburg, who made Düsseldorf their main domicile, even after they inherited the Palatinate, in 1685, becoming now Prince-electors as Electors Palatine.

Düsseldorf's growth was even more impressive under the leadership of Johann Wilhelm II (r. 1690-1716) in the 18th century, also known to his people as Jan Wellem. Greatly influenced by his wife Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the art lover designed a vast art gallery with a huge selection of paintings and sculptures that were housed in the Stadtschloss (city castle).

After the death of childless Jan Wellem, the flourishing royal capital fell back to hard times, especially after Elector Karl Theodor 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 Düsseldorf after the Napoleonic Wars.

By the mid-19th century, Düsseldorf enjoyed a revival thanks to the Industrial Revolution as the city boasted 100,000 inhabitants by 1882; the figure doubled in 1892. However, the First and Second World Wars soon plunged Düsseldorf into depression. During World War II, the city was virtually reduced to a pile of rubble as round-the-clock air attacks took their toll.

In 1946 Düsseldorf was made capital of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city's construction proceeded at a frenetic pace and the economic transformation saw Düsseldorf growing into the wealthy city of trade, administration and service industries as it is known today.


Physical geography

Düsseldorf lies in the middle of the lower Rhine basin on the delta of the Düssel River where it flows into the Rhine. The city is on the east side of the Rhine, except for District 4 ( Oberkassel, Niederkassel, Heerdt and Lörick). Across the Rhine Neuss was built on the delta of the Erft river. Düsseldorf lies southwest of the Ruhr mining district, and in the middle of the Rhine-Ruhr urbanized region.

Düsseldorf is built entirely on alluvium, muds, sands, clays and occasionally gravels. The highest point in Düsseldorf is the top of Sandberg in the far eastern part of the city ( Hubbelrath borough) at 165 m. The lowest point is at the far northern end in Wittlaer borough where the Schwarzbach (Black Creek) enters the Rhine, with an average elevation of 28 m. Like the rest of the lower Rhinelands Düsseldorf has mild winters and moderately warm summers, with an average yearly temperature of 10.5°C and 77 cm. of rainfall. The predominate wind direction is out of the south or southeast with velocities in the range of 3 to 4 m/s, with gusts of 3.5 - 4.8 m/s. The wind is calm (under 2 m/s) about 35% of the time, more frequently at night and in the winter.


Düsseldorf is currently (2006) divided into ten administrative districts. Each district (Bezirk) has its own elected district council (Bezirksvertretung) and its own district mayor (Bezirksvorsteher). The district councils are advisory only. Each district is further subdivided into boroughs. There are 49 boroughs in Düsseldorf.

Adjacent cities and districts

The following districts and cities border Düsseldorf (clockwise starting from the north): the City of Duisburg, the District of Mettmann ( Ratingen, Mettmann, Erkrath, Hilden), Langenfeld, and Monheim), and the District of Neuss ( Dormagen, Neuss, and Meerbusch).


Düsseldorf is not only widely known as a stronghold of the German advertising and fashion industry. In the last few years the city on the Rhine has become a top telecommunications centre in Germany. There are 18 internet providers located in the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia. With two of the four big German providers of mobile frequencies, D2 Vodafone and E-Plus, Düsseldorf leads the German mobile phone market. This pioneer position is evidenced by the presence of many foreign trading centers in Düsseldorf such as NTT, Ericsson, Nokia or GTS.

Along with the abundant advertising industry, these companies serve as an important motor for the new economy. There are 400 advertising agencies in Düsseldorf, among them three of the largest in Germany: BBDO Group, Publicis Group and Grey Group. A number of affiliates of foreign agencies deserve mention as well, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Dentsu, Hakuhodu, Digital District and DDB. Against this background, many internet agencies in Düsseldorf have their roots in the classical world of advertising.

The city of Düsseldorf plays an important role in the financial world: some 170 national and international financial institutions and about 130 insurance agencies are based here. Furthermore, one of the biggest German stock exchanges is located here. The print media, represented in Düsseldorf by around 200 publishing houses, have adjusted to the requirements of various fields of the economy - online and offline. Important newspapers and journals such as Handelsblatt, Wirtschaftswoche, Deutsches Wirtschaftsblatt or VDI-Nachrichten are published in the city on the Rhine. Almost all of these papers are available online on the Internet. Renowned filmmaking companies (such as Germany's biggest cinema enterprise the Riech-Group) and TV-channels such as CNN, NBC Giga and QVC have made Düsseldorf a city of moving images.

Some other major German companies have their headquarters located in the city: Henkel (Branded Consumer Goods and Industrial technologies); E.on (energy); ThyssenKrupp (metallurgy); Metro (wholesale, retail); Ergo (insurance); LTU (air transport).

Since the 1960s, there is a strong relationship between the city and Japan. Many Japanese banks and corporations have their European headquarters in Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese community of any European city.

The "Kö", which stands for Königsallee (King's Avenue) is the street to go shopping in Düsseldorf. Some of the most reputed jewellery shops, designer labels and galleries have their stores here, such as Cartier, Aigner, Lacoste, Eickhoff, Jil Sander, Benetton, Gucci, Esprit, Laurel, Armani, Chanel, Escada, Hugo Boss, Joop, Kookaï, Prada and many more.

Gehry-buildings in Media harbour, looking from Monkey Island.
Gehry-buildings in Media harbour, looking from Monkey Island.
Düsseldorf at night.
Düsseldorf at night.


Düsseldorf International Airport, also referred to as Rhein-Ruhr Airport, is located eight kilometres from the city centre and can easily be reached by train or urban railway S-Bahn. There exists a long-distance station served by regional and national services and linked to the airport by the SkyTrain, an automatic peoplemover based on the Dortmund H-Bahn. The (old) local station situated under the terminal building carries the S-Bahn line to Solingen as well as a few selected night services. After Frankfurt and Munich, Düsseldorf International Airport is Germany's third largest commercial airport, with about 16 million passengers annually. The airport offers 180 destinations on 4 continents, and is served by 70 airlines.

The city is a major hub in the Deutsche Bahn (DB) network. More than 1,000 trains stop in Düsseldorf every day. The central railway station at Konrad-Adenauer-Platz is located in Düsseldorf's city centre. Several S-Bahn lines connect Düsseldorf to the cities of Rhine-Ruhr. Local light rail Stadtbahn traffic as well as bus traffic is carried out by the city-owned Rheinbahn which operates within the VRR.

The Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and the Airport Station (Flughafen-Bahnhof) are conneted to the national and European high speed (Intercity / Eurocity, IC / EC) and extreme high speed ( InterCityExpress, Thalys) railway net.

North Rhine-Westphalia has a closely-woven autobahn network with many routes leading directly to Düsseldorf. Düsseldorf is connected to the A3, A44, A46, A52, A57, A59 and A524 motorways.


Düsseldorf like many large German cities has large population of minorities and foreigners.

  • 17% of Düsseldorf's population is comprised of foreigners, which is a total 98,686 people.
  • Düsseldorf has the third largest Jewish community in Germany of about 7,300 members, which is more than 1% of the city's population.
  • Düsseldorf and its environs has the largest Japanese community in Europe (about 11,000).


Tradition in arts

Art-loving Elector Jan Wellem and his wife Anna Maria Luisa of Tuscany of the Medici dynasty, were the patrons of Düsseldorf's first significant cultural activities in the 17th and 18th centuries. Heinrich Heine, whose 200th birthday was celebrated in 1997, Clara and Robert Schumann as well as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy are the most prominent artists related to the city. Artistic impulses were often born in the Academy of Fine Arts and the names of Paul Klee, Joseph Beuys and Albert Bierstadt are associated with the institution ( Düsseldorf School). The Düsseldorf 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 Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (theatre), artistic home of Gustaf Gründgens, are major elements of Düsseldorf's reputation as a centre of the fine arts.

Since the 1950s the " Kom(m)ödchen" has been one of the most prominent political cabarets of Germany. Düsseldorf's most famous contribution to the culture of modern popular music is beyond doubt the avant-garde electronic music band Kraftwerk. Formed by a few Düsseldorf-born musicians, Kraftwerk have often been regarded as the most significant band in the history of post-war German music and as pioneers in electronic music. Also one of Germany's most famous punk bands Die Toten Hosen, which are not only famous in Germany but also in South America and parts of Asia and even toured the U.S. and Australia, was formed in Düsseldorf.


Düsseldorf is also famous for its football team. Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 (Düsseldorfer Turn-und Sportverein 1895 e.V.) won the championship in 1933 and the DFB-Cup in 1979 and 1980. Fortuna also faced Barcelona FC in the Cup Winners Final in 1979, however they lost the game. Today Fortuna is an ambitious team in the German Regionalliga (3rd Division) and their new stadium, the LTU arena opened its doors in January 2005. It has a capacity of 51,500 and is one of the most modern arenas in Europe. Düsseldorf is the only one of nine 1974 World Cup cities not to be part of the twelve cities that hosted the 2006 World Cup.

Very successful sports in Düsseldorf are icehockey (the DEG Metro Stars, former DEG - Düsseldorfer Eislauf Gemeinschaft, which play in the new iss Dome) and American football ( Rhine Fire Düsseldorf).


One of the biggest cultural events in Düsseldorf is the Düsseldorfer Karneval (also referred to as the "fifth season") which starts every year on 11 November at 11:11 a.m., and reaches its climax on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday), featuring a huge parade through the streets of Düsseldorf. Karneval ends on Aschermittwoch ( Ash Wednesday). The Düsseldorf carnival is part of the traditional carnival festivities in the Rhineland. Other major places at which the Rhineland carnival is celebrated are neighbouring Cologne and Mainz (close to Frankfurt).


  • Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Opera; Ballet)
  • Düsseldorfer Marionetten-Theater (puppet theatre)
  • Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus; the theatre started with theatralic performances in 1585
  • FFT - Forum Freies Theatre (Juta and Kammerspiele)
  • Kom(m)ödchen (political cabaret)
  • Komödie Düsseldorf (Boulevardtheater)
  • Musiktheater Capitol (Musical)
  • NEMO - Pantomime
  • Savoy-Theatre
  • Palais Wittgenstein
  • Theateratelier Takelgarn
  • theatre Flin
  • Tonhalle Düsseldorf (classical music, jazz, pop, cabaret)
  • Puppentheater an der Helmholtzstraße
  • Theatre an der
  • Theatre an der Luegallee
  • Roncalli's Apollo Varieté
Image:800px-Tonhalle Düsseldorf.jpg
Tonhalle Düsseldorf

Museums and arts institutes

  • Aquazoo-Löbbecke-Museum (aquarium and zoological museum)
  • Filmmuseum (cinema museum)
  • Forum NRW
  • Goethe-Museum
  • Heinrich-Heine-Institut
  • Hetjens-Museum (Deutsches Keramik-Museum)
  • Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
  • Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen - K20 (Grabbeplatz) and K21 (Ständehaus)
  • Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen
  • museum kunst palast
  • Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Düsseldorf
  • Schifffahrt-Museum im Schlossturm (Museum of ships)
  • Senfmuseum
  • Stadtmuseum (City history museum)
  • Stiftung Schloss und Park Benrath - Museum für Europäische Gartenkunst
  • Theatermuseum

University and colleges

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf is located in the southern part of the city. It has about 20,000 students and a wide range of subjects in natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, philosophy, social sciences, arts, languages, medicine, economy and the law.

Other academic institutions include

  • the Clara Schumann Musikschule (Music School)
  • the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule ( official website) (Musics College)
  • the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf ( Official Homepage) (Academy of Fine Arts) which is famous for high-profile artists like Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee and
  • the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf ( official website) (University of Applied Sciences).
  • the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research ( Official homepage of the institute)
  • The Goethe Institute ( Official Homepage)


  • Rheinturm (1982: 234 m, since 2004: 240,50 m), the lights on which comprise the world's largest digital clock.
  • The Gehry buildings in the Düsseldorf media harbour (see picture above)
  • The Benrather Schloss (Benrath castle)
  • The Wilhem Marx House of 1922/24, with twelve stories Germany's first high-rise building
  • Gerresheim Basilica
  • St. Suitbertus Basilica

Sister Cities

Famous people connected with Düsseldorf

  • Doro Pesch, singer
  • Heinrich Heine, poet
  • Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, biographer
  • Johann Georg Jacobi, poet
  • Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, philosopher and writer
  • Peter von Cornelius, painter
  • Oswald Achenbach, drawer
  • Clara Schumann, classical componist and pianist
  • Robert Schumann, classical componist and pianist
  • Heino, folk music singer
  • Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, classical composer
  • yuor moms a, mathematician
  • Fritz Henkel, founder of the chemical factory Henkel
  • Konrad Henkel, founder of the Henkel Company
  • Emanuel Leutze, drawer
  • Gustav Gründgens, actor and director of the theatre
  • Joseph Beuys, performance artist
  • Jürgen Mittelstraß, philosopher
  • Jürgen Habermas, philosopher
  • Lore Lorentz, cabaret artist
  • James V. Fletcher, academic and philosopher
  • Klaus fisher, football player
  • Erik Hochstein, swimmer
  • Ulrich Roth, guitarist
  • Wim Wenders, movie director, producer
  • Die Toten Hosen, punk rock band
  • Elisabeth Röhm, actress
  • Claudia Schiffer, model
  • Kraftwerk, electronic music group
  • Emil Fahrenkamp, architect
  • Steffen Driesen, swimmer
  • Peter Behrens, architect and designer
  • Heike Makatsch, actress
  • Monika Johnson, translator
  • Augustus Gloop, a winner of Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket Contest (the place shown in the movie is not Düsseldorf, there are no mountains in Düsseldorf)

Famous Places

  • KÖ (Königsallee) an expensive shopping street
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