Düsseldorf is celebrating a significant 'birthday' this year: 725 years ago, on 14 August 1288, the settlement on the Rhine and Düssel rivers was granted town privileges by Count Adolf von Berg. In a turbulent history spanning many centuries, Düsseldorf rose from a small trading town with a collegiate church to become the seat of the Counts von Berg, the residence of Palatinate Dukes and Electors, the capital of a Napoleonic Grand Duchy and finally, after a remarkable boom as an industrial centre, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia.

This anniversary year is an opportunity to revisit the past, showcase the presence and attempt to glance into the future. Throughout the year there will be numerous celebrations and events around the city, offering plenty of good reasons to pay us a visit. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy exhibitions, concerts and a wealth of activities for all ages, with lectures and guided tours giving an insight into Düsseldorf's history and development.

The highlight among the anniversary festivities is a huge two-day party on 7 and 8 September, which will also appeal to tourists.

The theme of this massive party is based on the same ideas as the anniversary year itself, and it is designed to attract both locals and visitors. It features a historical market in front of the town hall, a reminder of the time of Anna Louisa de Medici, between 1691 and 1716, when the baroque city of Düsseldorf flourished and began to establish its reputation as a centre of the arts. The French invasion at the end of the 18th century left its mark on the city. Following the destruction it caused, Napoleon ordered Düsseldorf to be rebuilt in even greater splendour. A costume competition adds to the colourful spectacle played out against the historical backdrop of the market square and surrounding buildings.

Burgplatz square represents the city's modern-day experience. Here, the focus is particularly on community service as an important pillar of civic society. Clubs and associations, organisations, churches and institutions present their community work at stalls, involve visitors interactively and contribute to the on-stage entertainment. The future takes centre stage on the Rhine promenade, which showcases visions of what the future might hold. Companies, local authorities and organisations will be presenting their ideas for thriving urban development.

Program details are available at www.duesseldorf.de/725/index.shtml

Anniversary hotel package

If Düsseldorf's many attractions have you running out of time, you can take advantage of the 'anniversary hotel package – 725 years of Düsseldorf' which allows you to extend your visit from just €49 per person per night in a double room. Stay in an attractive hotel and create your own individual itinerary with the benefit of more than 50 discounts offered by the Düsseldorf WelcomeCard.

Get to know your way around with our 90-minute guided walk (included) around Düsseldorf's old quarter and explore its quaint lanes and alleyways at your leisure with an expert guide. You can look forward to some real insights and surprising discoveries.

The hotel package consists of overnight accommodation including buffet breakfast, a guided walk around the old quarter (90 mins.), a Düsseldorf WelcomeCard (valid for the extent of your stay), a MERIAN travel guide and a Düsseldorf information pack.

For details see www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de

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