Home of electro pioneers Kraftwerk and groundbreaking artists like Andreas Gursky, the town on the Rhine remains to be a melting pot for artwork, design and music
Harbouring creatives … Neuer Zollhof, designed by Frank Gehry, on Düsseldorf’s MedienHafen.
Photograph: Getty Images
‘Düsseldorf has a certain flair. It is completely different from Berlin or Cologne or Munich. Lots of things come from Düsseldorf. It’s fairly spectacular what has been exported throughout the world from right here for the reason that Seventies; particularly contemplating the scale of the place.”
That’s how the late Klaus Dinger, an early member of Kraftwerk who went on to kind the teams NEU! and La Düsseldorf, summed up his home city.
And that’s what units aside this mid-sized metropolis in an industrial a part of Germany – the large cultural affect it’s had on the world. Düsseldorf is the cradle of digital music – in hindsight, bands like Kraftwerk, NEU!, La Düsseldorf, Rheingold and DAF gave Düsseldorf this haunting aural picture of a post-war industrial metropolis that grew to become a melting pot for trend, artwork, design and music. It isn’t any coincidence that Kraftwerk’s tune The Model is concerning the trend world in Düsseldorf.
In between the influences of the artwork academy (from Joseph Beuys to Andreas Gursky) and the occasion district of the Altstadt, there stays a thriving cultural scene on this Rhineland metropolis.
But, moreover all that’s grand, it’s the village-like really feel that makes residing in – and visiting – my hometown so enticing.
Brauerei im Füchschen
The Altstadt is Düsseldorf’s beating coronary heart, the occasion district with greater than 300 pubs and discos in a half sq. mile – which is why it’s often known as the longest bar within the world and is all the time heaving. Altbier is the native brew – a darkish brown beer with no components, so that you gained’t get a hangover, though that could possibly be extra to do with the small 200ml glasses. It’s nonetheless made in 5 microbreweries within the Altstadt. Brauerei Schumacher (Ostrasse 123) is the oldest – since 1838 – a darkish cavernous place favoured by former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flür; and Füchschen (Little Fox) is the smallest. You have to have been coming right here for 20 years to get a nod from one of many waiters, 50 years to be on first identify phrases. It’s additionally a vegetarian’s nightmare as a result of they serve 70s type meat dishes like Eisbein (pork knuckle) on a mattress of Sauerkraut. This was the place artist Joseph Beuys used to drink as a result of the artwork academy is simply across the nook.
• Füchschen, Ratinger Strasse 28, fuechschen.de
The artwork academy is the soul of Düsseldorf. Everything springs from it and revolves round it. All the issues the town is known for – artwork, trend, promoting, images and digital music – may be traced again to the college. And particularly to Beuys, who was professor of “monumental sculpture” right here from 1960-72. Former pupils embody Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gerhard Richter, the founding father of video artwork Nam June Paik and photographer Andreas Gursky, who teaches there now and whose exhibition is on present at London’s Hayward gallery (to 22 April). The new technology of Gursky graduates is spearheaded by Moritz Wegwerth. Every January, the college opens up its studios for the Rundgang, a public viewing of the works of about 550 college students.
• Eiskellerstras 1, kunstakademie-duesseldorf.de
Galerie Hans Mayer
Photograph: Sonia Folkmann
We’re spoilt for alternative for locations exhibiting up to date artwork, with about 100 galleries within the metropolis. There’s a golden part of galleries within the Altstadt that options the Okay20 (classical modernism to American pop artwork), Museum Kunstpalast (Düsseldorf faculty of portray, expressionism, images) and the NRW-Forum (design, promoting, structure, comics), which is the place Kraftwerk performed a hometown gig to open final 12 months’s Tour de France. A smaller, however no much less influential area is Galerie Hans Mayer. Mayer is the grand seigneur of artwork within the metropolis, opening his gallery in 1971, and he introduced the primary exhibitions of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat to Düsseldorf. In mid-February, the gallery might be amongst greater than 40 areas displaying within the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend and the 10-day Dusseldorf Photo competition.
• Galerie Hans Mayer, Grabbeplatz 2, 16-18 Feb, duesseldorfphotoweekend.de; 16-25 Feb, duesseldorfphoto.de
Salon des Amateurs, Kunsthalle
The Kunsthalle is one other up to date artwork area as attention-grabbing for its exhibitions selling discourse about artwork as for its brutalist 1960s structure. In 2004, a part of it was turned over to the Salon des Amateurs – a lounge membership began by three pals from the Kunstakademie who have gone on to construct a repute for internet hosting cutting-edge DJs. They have been impressed by the 60s membership Creamcheese and the Ratinger Hof, which within the 1970s and 80s was a hang around for punks and artists, and which gave rise to bands like Kraftwerk, NEU!, La Düsseldorf and DAF. Salon des Amateurs is the place the lengthy custom of artwork and music converging within the metropolis continues.
• Open Fri/Sat 9pm-7am, Grabbepl four, salondesamateurs.de
A neighbourhood ice-cream parlour in Pempelfort that’s been owned by the identical Italian household for 4 generations. It opened in 1926, nevertheless it appears prefer it’s frozen within the 1950s with Formica-topped tables and picket chairs. Today it’s run by brothers Daniele and Francesco, and in summer season there’s all the time a protracted queue and folks spill out on to the terrace to eat their scoops of selfmade ice cream. The final time I used to be at Da Forno with my son, I ran into Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider.
• Schwerinstrasse 1
The identify actually means “fancy cap” and that is Düsseldorf’s coolest bike shop-cum-cafe. It’s run by two biking fans, Carsten and Konrad, who have a love of classic metal body racing bikes. But additionally they needed to kickstart the town’s biking neighborhood and organise group rides into the neighbouring countryside from the store, which is positioned in an previous industrial yard south of the Altstadt. The store has a lot of retro frames, jerseys and caps, provides full bike companies and serves nice espresso and meals. There’s one other music connection, as Carsten was the co-founder of A&O Recordstore, home to vinyl, CDs and books, in Düsseldorf’s fanciest shopping center.
• Talstrasse 22-24, schickemuetze.de
Markt am Carlsplatz
Photograph: Sabrina Weniger
This is the previous farmers’ market – established within the 13th century – that’s gone all connoisseur in recent times. You can simply lose €100 in your groceries on the 60 stalls promoting regional veg, fruit, fish, meat, wurst, cheese and flowers. But earlier than you scoff, it’s additionally the place Florian Schneider took Iggy Pop purchasing for asparagus when he was on the town. For locals, it’s a extremely cool place to satisfy up, and seize a fast lunch and a beer from one of many artisan stalls – lentil soup and an Altbier from Dauser, Reibekuchen (hash browns) and desserts at Confiserie Otto Bittner (one other Kraftwerk sizzling spot), espresso from Kaffeereich, and bread from Düsseldorf’s greatest bakery, Bäckerei Hinkel, run by the identical household since 1891.
• Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 8am-4pm
Düsseldorf has Germany’s largest Japanese neighborhood – the third largest in Europe. Why? Because of the town’s proximity to the Ruhr valley and the world’s greatest inland port at Duisburg. In the 1950s greater than 500 Japanese corporations arrange bases within the metropolis to purchase iron ore and equipment. The Japanese quarter is round Immermannstrasse with a lot of cafes and eating places. A favorite is Kikaku, a easy place that’s been open for the reason that 1970s and serves a lunch particular of sushi, noodle soup with deep-fried dough flowers, pickles and fruit for €13.
• Klosterstrasse 38, kikaku.de
Statue of the Rossebändiger in Nordpark, by Sculptor Edwin Scharff. Photograph: Ventura Carmona/Getty Images
Klaus Dinger stated: “The good thing about Düsseldorf is that it doesn’t take long to get to the greenery … and the river Rhine.” There are a number of parks within the metropolis – the Südpark is the most important and most visited – however Nordpark, out in direction of the airport, is absolutely attention-grabbing. It was deliberate in 1936 for the Reich Exhibition Schaffendes Volk, a propaganda train for the Nazis, and opened in 1937. The Rossebändiger, which fashioned the doorway portal of the exhibition, are two huge equestrian statues sculpted by Edwin Scharff, which resulted in him being categorised as a degenerate artist. If you stroll the size of the park – which has an Aquazoo with aquariums and terrariums and a Japanese backyard devoted by the native Japanese neighborhood – you come to a bridge that takes you over Rotterdamer Strasse to the Rhine. This is the place Kraftwerk shot a part of their video for the tune Tour de France.
• Kaiserswerther Strasse
Photograph: Murat Taner/Getty Images
Düsseldorf is Germany’s promoting capital, and one in all its most well-known promoting designers was Charles Paul Wilp. In 1979, his guide of artwork images, Dazzledorf, captured the technological and architectural advances of the post-war metropolis. The newest expression of Dazzledorf may be found on the MedienHafen, the previous docklands which have been given a futuristic makeover with colored glass and chrome steel buildings by Frank Gehry (Neuer Zollhof), Will Alsop (Colorium, pictured above), and the primary-coloured rock climbers by artist Rosalie (Roggendorf-Haus).
• Harbour, 40211
Way to go
Me and All Hotel
Ryanair flies from Edinburgh, Luton and Stansted from £23 return; Flybe flies from Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford, London City, Manchester and Southampton from round £75 return; BA flies from Heathrow from round £85 return.
Me And All resort within the Japanese quarter has doubles from €109pn
Best time to go
16-25 Feb for the Düsseldorf Photo competition. The metropolis hosts a lot of music festivals: Düsseldorfer Jazz Rally (17-20 May); the Electri_city_Conference (12-13 Oct, on Facebook) explores the town’s popular culture historical past with particular visitor Brian Eno; New Fall Festival (25-28 Oct) showcases bands in prestigious venues.
£1 = €1.14
Small beer (zero.2l) in a neighborhood pub prices about €2
Rudi Esch is the creator of Electri_city, the Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music (Omnibus Press, £18.99), organiser of the Electri_city Conference and was the bassist within the digital rock band Die Krupps