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Düsseldorf – The City of Heine

Düsseldorf was birthplace of one of Germany greatest poets, the Jewish Heinrich Heine. Today, you can hardly walk a block in the city without seeing something named for Heine, from streets to pubs to monuments to its university.

Born in Düsseldorf in 1797, Heine was greatly influenced by the Napoleonic occupation that emancipated the Jews overnight.

Heine’s Birthplace, in the heart of the old city is today, like many neighboring buildings, a pub: “Schnabelewopski.” Nearby, at Bilker Strasse, is the Heinrich Heine Institute, a literary museum and research center, housing the original manuscripts of “The Lorelei” and “The Rabbi of Bacharach,” personal mementoes, paintings and Heine’s death mask. Heine was not the only Jewish citizen to make a mark on Düsseldorf. In front of St. Maximillian’s Church (Citadellenstrasse), a monument honors seven prominent Düsseldorfer in history, of whom three are Jews: Heine, former mayor Willem Marx, and Arthur Schlossmann, a pediatrician who founded the medical school that ultimately grew into the Heinrich Heine University.

In the art collection of the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf are paintings of the Young Rhineland movement, many of whose members were Jews. Their works were banned by the Nazis, and many were included in Munich’s “Exhibit of Degenerate Art.” The museum also houses exhibits on the development of National Socialism and its impact on Düsseldorf. Another exhibit on Nazi persecutions is at the Düsseldorf Memorial Center at Muhlenstrasse.

Close to 10,000 Jews live in Düsseldorf today. The Düsseldorf JCC has an ambitious cultural program of concerts, lectures, youth and adult education. Its beautiful white-stone synagogue opened in 1958. Düsseldorf’s largest pre-war synagogue, on Kasernenstrasse, was destroyed on Kristallnacht: a stone Synagogue Memorial marks the site.

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Königsallee in Düsseldorf

Recordando el Carnaval de Düsseldorf

A falta de 4 meses para un nuevo Carnaval, me encuentro mirando fotos y recordando mi experiencia allí este año. Düsseldorf es una ciudad que se vuelca con esta fiesta pagana. A pesar de que los alemanes no tienen, precisamente, fama de grandes fiesteros, tengo que reconocer que este Carnaval de Düsseldorf me dejó completamente sorprendido. Toda la ciudad se entrega a la fiesta y las calles son un escaparate de disfraces y carrozas sin igual. La céntrica calle Königsallee concentra la mayor parte de los eventos y es el lugar donde se debe estar estos días. El resto del año es uno de los bulevares de compras más caros y exclusivos de toda Europa. Espero regresar el próximo año!

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Mediahafen; Walking under the shadow of giants

Frank Gehry's eye catching warped 'Neuer Zollhof' against the towering backdrop of the Rheinturm is one of the many architectural highlights of a sunset walk (area looks equally stunning at night) through the Mediahafen ( media harbour) district in Dusseldorf. Other eye catching highlights to check out include Claude Vasconi's 'Grand Bateau' which resembles an ocean liner and William Alsop's Colorium. When in the area, combine your walk with a visit to the local Kunst Sammlung Nordrhein Westfalen ( Free if you are under 18, 2.50 for students with ID ) which houses major works by Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso.

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The best cup of coffee in Dusseldorf!

This is THE PLACE for good coffee in Dusseldorf. The city has a great coffee culture and few brew a better cup of coffee than Tamas Fejer, chief barista and founder of Kaffeeschmeide. For the last 7 years he has been roasting his own coffee beans and supplying local caffeine fiends. A customer summed it up for me nicely- 'There are many places you can drink good coffee but few places where it is made for you to enjoy as an experience.'

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'Bilk', the student area of Dusseldorf is a great place and a hub of all things cool ( like any student area around the world I guess) One such cool shop to check out for affordable gifts in this neighbourhood is the quirky 'Romantiklabor.' Everything is handcrafted here-Simone decorates clothes, candles, baby rompers and many more fine materials with cool anecdotes and positive words of encouragement. Shop is beautifully laid out- little wonder the place was voted one of the most beautiful shops in Germany by 'Architecture & Living' magazine.

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