Düsseldorf: Vibrant city break destination and music capital of Europe
Düsseldorf on the Rhine is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. The city ranks among the nation’s best in terms of quality of life (ranking first in Germany, sixth worldwide, according to a study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting in 2010) and tourist friendliness (second place in the 2010 study on "Most tourist-friendly City in Germany"). As a result, Düsseldorf has seen a rise in popularity not only as a place to live (585,000 inhabitants and growing as one of the few cities in Germany), but also among tourists. With over three million booked accommodations (for the fourth consecutive year) and umpteen million day visitors, Düsseldorf has become a favourite all-year city break destination in Germany.
Düsseldorf is known all over the world for its unique shopping experience on the luxury boulevard – the Königsallee, in the historic Altstadt (Old Town), and in its hip and happening districts, Flingern and Unterbilk. The city becomes a shopping destination par excellence particularly during advent, when the atmospheric Christmas Market transforms the city into a veritable winter wonderland. Even at night, the metropolis on the Rhine never sleeps: for decades, its Altstadt has been dubbed the “The World’s Longest Bar” counting some 260 restaurants, bars and pubs; it is also home of Düsseldorf’s speciality beer – the Altbier. The elegant Medienhafen (Media Harbour) with its warped and crooked Gehry buildings and other architectural highlights designed by international star architects has established itself as yet another nightlife district. Düsseldorf’s castle, Schloss Benrath, evidently is just as much an attraction. Today, the Late Baroque ensemble of castle and park is one of the many museums found in Düsseldorf. There are plenty more sights to discover on one of the convenient "hop-on / hop-off” tours offered on bright red open- top buses. Düsseldorf’s multi-award-winning public parks brighten the city in a different, yet just as radiant, colour offering visitors and Düsseldorf’s citizens a green haven of high recreational value. The annual Carnival is a time for millions of people in fancy dress to join in the fun and merriment of singing, dancing, linking arms and swinging with the music. The streets are filled with crowds cheering on the Carnival Procession as its stately floats wind their way through the city “showering” the carnival revellers with sweets. In May, the Carnival bastion will morph into the musical capital of Europe: Düsseldorf will be the venue for one of the most notable events in its history, as it hosts the world’s biggest TV entertainment show – the Eurovision Song Contest. The Japan Week will transform Düsseldorf into a Far Eastern metropolis. At Pentecost, hundreds of thousands of people will be swinging along at Germany’s largest jazz festival, the Jazz Rally. The shooting festival (Schützenfest) in summer will see marksmen in horse-drawn carriages parade through the city in a now deeply traditional procession. Gargantuan state-of-the-art rides including a looping roller coaster, Ferris wheel and high-speed log flumes are again set to attract countless visitors to the Biggest Funfair on the Rhine.
Düsseldorf is one of the most important business hubs in Europe. The city’s attractiveness is reflected in the figures for Düsseldorf‘s International Airport. Some 19 million passengers a year underline the significance of the Rhine metropolis for both visitors and citizens. Messe Düsseldorf organises some 50 international trade fairs and exhibitions, including a number of sector leaders. As the biggest location provider in North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf Congress attracts just as much attention. With its Esprit- Arena, ISS-Dome, Burg-Wächter Castello and Philipshalle, the Rhine metropolis boasts one of the most modern venue infrastructures in Germany.