From Academic Kids

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Düsseldorf in Germany
The Düsseldorf Coat of Arms
The Düsseldorf Coat of Arms

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Vital statistics

North Rhine-Westphalia with its state capital Düsseldorf is the biggest state in Germany by population (Bavaria is the largest state by area). If one defines a "Rhine-Ruhr urban area" consisting of half of North Rhine-Westphalia, this would be the biggest agglomeration in Germany, ahead of the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main region, Berlin and Stuttgart. In fact there is no official definition of such an area.

A "Rhine-Ruhr urban area" in such a definition covers a similar area as the international metropolitan cities of Chicago, Paris and London; the population of 11.1 million reflects these dimensions. In comparison to that, the other metropolitan areas have populations of 8.0 million in Chicago, 12.3 million in London and 12.3 million in Paris.

Figures for one definition of "Rhine-Ruhr":

  • Home to a population in excess of 11.1 million
  • The base for over 300,000 companies
  • Offers employment to more than 3.7 million people
  • Provides 45 universities and technical colleges with more than 300,000 students


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 Kaiser 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 became an official district 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.

August 14, 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.

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.

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 Palatine-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 are currently housed in the Stadtschloss.

After the death of childless Jan Wellem, the flourishing royal capital fell back to hard times, especially Elector Karl Theodor inherited Bavaria and moved the electoral court to Munich. And 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 before 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.

The Jewish community was decimated through deportation and murder as only 249 survived out of the pre-War population of 5,100. The Mahn-und Gedenkstätte für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (Memorial to the Victims of National Socialism) provides a horrific account of the darkest chapter in Düsseldorf's history.

Somewhere in Düsseldorf was the location of the subcamp of the concentration camp in Buchenwald, where Polish prisoners were imprisoned.

The British occupation of the Rhineland and Westphalia turned out well for Düsseldorf as in 1946 it was made the capital of the Nordrhein-Westphalia region.

The city's construction proceeded at a frightening pace and the economic transformation saw Düsseldorf growing into the city of trade, administration and service industries that we know today.


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 the top tele-communications center in Germany. Today, 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 is leading the German mobile phone market. This pioneer position is being demonstrated by the presence of the 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 big ones in Germany: BBDO Group, Publicis Group and Grey Group. A number of affiliates of foreign agencies have to be mentioned as well, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Dentsu, Hakuhodu, Digital District and DDB. Against this background so 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, VDI nachrichten or DM are being published in the city on the Rhine. Almost all of these papers are available online on the Internet. Further, Genios, the daughter of publishing group Handelsblatt runs Germany's biggest online economic database from here. Renowned film making 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.

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Gehry-buildings in Media harbour, looking from "Monkey's Island".
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Düsseldorf International Airport is located eight kilometres from the city. The Rhein-Ruhr airport, one of Germany's three biggest commercial airports, is just 12 minutes from the city centre with the S-Bahn urban railway system.

After Frankfurt and Munich, Düsseldorf International is Germany's third biggest commercial airport, with about 16 million passengers annually. Three of four passengers in North Rhine-Westphalia use the flight connections to the 180 destinations in total which the airport offers.

The city is a major hub in the Deutsche Bahn 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 center.

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


Art-loving Elector Jan Wellem and his wife Anna Maria Luisa of Tuscany of the Medici dinasty, 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 Art and the names of Paul Klee, Joseph Beuys and Kenneth Keen are associated with the institution. 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, and the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, artistic home of Gustaf Gründgens, are major elements of Düsseldorf´s reputation as a center of the fine arts.

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 Dusseldorf 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.

Dusseldorf is also famous for its football team. TSV Fortuna Duesseldorf 1895 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, which they lost however. 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 right now.


Düsseldorf today consists of the following districts:

Altstadt(OldTown), Angermund, Benrath, Bilk, Derendorf, Düsseltal, Einbrungen, Eller, Flehe, Flingern, Friedrichstadt, Garath, Gerresheim, Golzheim, Grafenberg, Hafen, Hamm, Hassels, Heerdt, Hellerhof, Himmelgeist, Holthausen, Hubbelrath, Itter, Kaiserswerth, Kalkum, Karlstadt, Lichtenbroich, Lierenfeld, Lohausen, Loerick (Lörick), Ludenberg, Moersenbroich (Mörsenbroich), Niederkassel, Oberbilk, Oberkassel, Pempelfort, Rath, Reisholz, Stadtmitte, Stockum, Unterbach, Unterbilk, Unterrath, Urdenbach, Vennhausen, Volmerswerth, Wersten and Wittlaer.


Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf is located in the southern part of the city.

Other academic institutions include the Clara Schumann Musikschule, the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule (official website (, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Official Homepage (, which is famous for high-profile artists like Joseph Beuys, Paul Klee and the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf (official website (


External links


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