Düsseldorf: Rhine promenade at sunset with the Rhine Tower in the background ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

Inspiring Germany

From art to the Königsallee

Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, ranks highly when it comes to modern architecture and art. Football, meanwhile, is a deep-rooted affair, defined by rambunctious music.

Football and punk are a great fit, at least in Düsseldorf. When Fortuna riles up its fans in the stands at home games, songs by the Toten Hosen, the well-known punk band from Düsseldorf, ring out. The band members are self-declared Fortuna fans. Even the stadium DJ Opa plays punk, ska and rock music. Although Fortuna had its last big success a while back, fans of this traditional club founded in 1895 still remain loyal.

The "longest bar in the world"

Düsseldorf locals love life in their districts. But they also like to take a stroll in the Altstadt, with its gorgeous town houses and noble palaces. During the day, visit the vibrant food market at the Carlsplatz. Evenings are best spent in one of the many cafes and restaurants. Traditional Altbier is the drink of choice at the "longest bar in the world" – the Altstadt is home to roughly 260 pubs and bars. For an authentic experience, visit one of the craft breweries, most of which were established in the 19th century.

Shopping in the Königsallee

Find all things classy on the "Kö": not only is the Königsallee beautiful, with a park and canal flowing through its middle, it's also one of the most popular and exclusive shopping strips in Germany. All the international brands and big fashion labels can be found here. After shopping, it's time to relax in the sprawling Hofgarten, bordered by the Deutsche Oper and the circular concert hall.

Modern art and architecture

Two different places make up the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, which features significant modern classical works. The architecture of the K20 at the Grabbeplatz is spectacular, with its curving black granite façade. Expressionist works reside in the Ehrenhof, along with the NRW-Forum and the Kunstpalast, two excellent museums.

Top architecture by the water

Lovers of modern architecture should make their way to MediaHafen south of the Altstadt. The Neuer Zollhof, a complex designed by top architect Frank Gehry, can leave spectators dizzy with its tall, thin shapes. Recover in one of the many cafes or fine-dining restaurants, which make the MedienHafen a hub for foodies.

Japan on the Rhine

Don't be surprised if you're near the main station and see that the sign for Immermannstrasse has Japanese characters beneath it. You've found yourself in the business centre of Little Tokyo, the only Japantown in Germany. More than 8,400 people of Japanese origin live here and bring a touch of the Far East to the Rhine with their events, shops and restaurants.

The story of humanity

A special kind of encounter takes place east of Düsseldorf at the Neanderthal Museum. Our ancestors from over 100,00 years ago may have looked like this. Significantly more recent, but still some 700 years old, is the medieval town of Zons on the Lower Rhine, which you can visit on a day trip by boat. Feast your eyes on the city fortifications from the former customs station, which have been well preserved.