Dus­sel­dorf - a blend of tra­di­tion and moder­nity

Dus­sel­dorf of­fers art, fash­ion, cul­ture and also the best Alt­beer!

The Luxury Collection - - Contents - -By Aruna Rathod

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


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.


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.


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.


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!”

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