Dusseldorf - a blend of tradition and modernity
Dusseldorf offers art, fashion, culture and also the best Altbeer!
When in Germany, one of the best indulgences is beer. In this country, beer is the equivalent of drinking wine in France or tea in Asia. Dusseldorf is most famous for its traditional Altbeer (old beer) and some amazing experiences. A beautiful city, with a scenic location on the Rhine River, Dusseldorf was once upon a time a sleepy fishing village but today boasts of being a centre of art and fashion.
Dusseldorf is a treasure for art lovers as it has dozens of museums and in excess of 100 art galleries encompassing everything from internationally renowned facilities such as the impressive Art Collection North Rhine-westphalia to the smaller installations found in the city’s trendy Königsallee area. Düsseldorf has 26 museums and some of the most famous ones are the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-westfalen (Art Collection North Rhine-westphalia) – artists represented at this key tourist draw of the city include Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys. The Museum Kunstpalast and the NRW Forum (North Rhine-westphalia Forum for Culture and Business) - presents exhibitions that challenge subjects within their cultural context. Exhibition themes include photography, media, fashion, communication, mobility and lifestyle.
Japanese architect Tadao Ando created an impressive architectural experience on the outskirts of Düsseldorf in the cultural Hombroich. One can experience a fascinating architectural interplay of art and nature, interiors and exteriors, light and shadow in this masterpiece of glass, concrete and steel, adding to the charm of the city.
To add to the culture scene of this vibrant city, opera, ballet and classical music concerts are held throughout the year in Dusseldorf which has over 70 venues for indoor and outdoor performances.
Culture, art and opera exist side by side with fashion in this lively city of Germany. The city centre boasts of theatre for all age groups - Düsseldorf’s theatre (Schauspielhaus) alone offers a choice of four stages, including the Junge Schauspielhaus (Young Theatre) and the Central at the main station, a platform for experimental pieces.
When in Dusseldorf, check out events at “Kom(m)ödchen” cabaret in the Haus der Kunsthalle, the “Komödie” boulevard theatre on Steinstrasse, the Theater an der Kö; Düsseldorf’s Marionette Theatre on Bilker Strasse. If time permits visit the Roncalli’s Apollo Varieté on the Rhine promenade
ART IN DÜSSELDORF: BETWEEN TRADITION AND AVANT-GARDE
From the art academy to the Museum Kunstpalast, from Heinrich Heine to the Asphalt Festiva, be it something modern of world standing, opera, theatre, literature or music, Düsseldorf is always good for new aspects of culture. The Tonhalle (concert hall) is one of the most impressive and modern venues in Germany.
FOR THE GLAMOUR QUOTIENT
A walk along the promenade of the media harbour is a must to witness what design is all about. What was once a port area is now a mix of architectural styles. The city’s avant-garde mile is the Medienhafen, the former industrial harbour area that is now full of glitz and glamour with most modern buildings dotting the Rhine, some of them offices and some hotels. Eateries that look out onto the harbour, serve international cuisine, and are popular with tourists and office-goers.
Where there were silos and storage halls, now stand buildings designed by Claude Vasconi, David Chipperfield and Frank O Gehry with his three ‘dancing towers’. A great mix of the old and the new, old quay walls, steps and tracks of former cargo quay, being preserved as a part of the old.
THE NIGHT IS YOUNG – A BEER SAFARI!
After a performance at the opera or the theatre, indulge in the famous Altbeer of Dusseldorf. Referred to as the longest bar in the world, it is a part of the city’s old town square that hosts 300 bars in a short stretch!
Napoleon, Goethe and the poet Heinrich Heine all have once visited this part of Dusseldorf.
Dusseldorf is famous for brewing beer since the pre-19th century. The Altbeer is distinct in colour, taste and flavour. As part of the culture tour, enrol for an Altbeer Safari wherein you can explore five microbreweries and their unique culture. Once you enter the bar, please do not order anything but BEER. It’s an offence if you do not have a beer. Breweries were the places to meet, interact and strike a conversation with anyone who stood next to you. Standing and having a beer is the most natural thing to do – for both men and women. The must visit breweries are Schlussel, Uerige, Fuchschen Alt, and Schumacher Alt – all located within few metres of each other.
CARRYING ON THE TRADITION OF GERMAN BREAD
Josef Hinkel is recognised as the best baker in Düsseldorf, Germany. Work begins at 5.30 am for Josef Hinkel, the baker. It’s not too early for a man who loves his work and whose work people love. Once the shutters open at Hinkel there is a steady stream of buyers, ranging from office goers, homemakers, teenagers and even tourists. Baking is a family tradition and the Hinkel bakery first opened its doors as far back as 1891. For Hinkel it’s a rule - every morning, he wishes all his employees personally, a total of 95 employees which include 33 bakers - a good morning!
With two outlets in Dusseldorf, many a time, Hinkel is seen on his bicycle going to and fro. I met Hinkel one bright morning at his bakery-cum-store. A cheerful, tall and handsome man he loves bread! His bakery is the “bakery of bread friends” and has a wide range of not only German breads, but also the French Baguette or at times even Greek bread – which shows his keenness to learn about bread from all over Europe. Josef Hinkel believes in combining tradition and progress, uses the best ingredients, has reasonable prices and is the most popular baker in Dusseldorf. Fine dine restaurants, even 100 kilometres away, are proud to serve his bread and mention on their menu: ‘Our bread comes from Hinkel’.
He proudly points out to the speciality of Dusseldorf which is rye bread. “It is a heavy bread which takes about three to four days to make and we also love bread with currants. Our speciality is dark bread which is a spicy bread not sweet. We love to eat it with cheese and sausages especially for dinner. Another speciality is the twin breads with a hard crust. We bake it in a very hot oven, hence the hard crust!”