Düsseldorf Travel Guide

City Overview

Düsseldorf, the former village on the Düssel, a tiny tributary of the Rhine, has become the region’s economic engine and is now one of the richest cities in Germany.

The large number of banks and international headquarters located here make Düsseldorf a cosmopolitan city, home to around 100,000 foreigners – one sixth of the total population.

The Reichturm also had a very positive impact on the world of the arts and fashion, which is reflected in the trendy Königsallee and in the many galleries and art museums. Both the large number and the quality of the restaurants and hotels testify to how wealthy and cosmopolitan the city is.

Visitors spend most of their time in the old town, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets that crowd next to the Rhine. In addition to remnants from the past, there are also numerous well-visited bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

In Düsseldorf, the old town lies with its – thanks to an initiative and much to the delight of its residents – traffic-free promenade right on the river, which is unique for Germany.

Important facts

Area code: 49 (Germany); 211 (Dusseldorf).

Population: 619.294 (2018)

Latitude: 51.240847

Longitude: 6.797548

City History of Düsseldorf

In the 7th and 8th centuries there was a simple settlement with farmers and fishermen on the place where the small river Düssel flows into the great Rhine. Over the centuries, this settlement became today’s city of Düsseldorf.

Düsseldorf was first mentioned in 1135 and was placed under the rule of Count Adolf V. von Berg in 1186. This granted Düsseldorf city rights on August 14, 1288. The award was preceded by a bloody battle for power between the Archbishop of Cologne and the Count of Berg, known as the “Battle of Worringen”. The count’s forces, which included citizens and peasants from Düsseldorf and Cologne, knocked down the archbishop’s troops and won the battle. This paved the way for the elevation of Düsseldorf to the city, which is now commemorated by a monument on Burgplatz.

The relationship between the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne then deteriorated because they were commercial rivals. There is often talk of a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Today, it finds its expression above all in a humorous form – especially during the carnivals – and in sports.

Since the terrible destruction of World War II, after which 85 percent of the city was in ruins, Düsseldorf has become the “Office of the Ruhr” and has acted as the administrative and financial center of Germany’s famous industry. In this way, the city became rich and at the same time remained free from the disadvantages that industry brings.

Düsseldorf's harbor district