Destination Insight: Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf for Business
As the capital of Germany's most densely populated state, North-Rhine Westphalia, Dusseldorf is a prosperous city that's well connected for business, thanks to its proximity to Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels and Frankfurt. Its location near the industrial heartland of the Ruhr Valley doesn't hurt either.
Key industries in the city include banking, fashion, media, and there's a thriving arts and culture sector here too.
Local government takes a proactive, pro-business approach to entrepreneurship, which has meant that the Düsseldorf region is now the second-most popular destination for foreign direct investment in Europe, behind only London, but ahead of Paris.
It's also a popular destination for conference, event and group travel.
In fact we have recently arranged travel for a group of around 50 pharmaceutical professionals to attend a medical conference this week in Dusseldorf.
Of course there's more to Dusseldorf than designer suits, hearty handshakes and bratwurst. First time visitors may be pleasantly surprised to find a city alive with possibilities. Here are just a few ways to spend your downtime in Dusseldorf.
Explore the Altstadt
Much of the city was rebuilt after the Second World War, but the Altstadt (or Old Town) is still sizeable. It's also the place to head to for a few refreshments after dark. The density of its watering holes is such that it's known as 'the longest bar in the world' and it can get pretty lively in the wee small hours.
You'll probably want to sample a glass of 'altbier', the famous dark local brew. The best place to try it is one of the traditional bierhouses of course, such as Uerige, where you can also feast on schnitzel, pork knuckle and other traditional delicious German fare on the menu.
Rove along the Rhine Riverwalk
The promenade along the River Rhine is a fine spot to walk off all that indulgence. Start from near the TV Tower (you can pay to whizz up to the top if you want to and there’s a bar there too) and carry on past a few bridges until you pass the RoundTower. Across the water you can see the smart, upmarket suburb of Oberwasser and the fairground. There are scores of tempting bars and seafood restaurants you'll pass along the way too.
Discover Art Galleries
Dusseldorf's twin engines are art and commerce and there are plenty of inspiring options to enjoy when it comes to the former, once you've taken care of the latter of course.
First on your list should be the K20, a temple of modern art (pictured above) over several floors. Look out for conceptual artist and former Dusseldorf Art School professor Joseph Bueys' stovepipe, which surreally pops out from an exterior wall.
Next up is the NRW Forum. The NRW is one of the city's leading galleries of cutting edge, contemporary art, hosting an ever-evolving programme of special exhibitions and events. Finally for something more quirky and intimate, check out Kunst im Tunnel, a small, free gallery housed beneath a tunnel on the Rhine Riverfront.
Splurge on Konigsalee
‘She’s a model and she’s looking good’, sang Dusseldorf band Kraftwerk in their 1978 hit the Model and Konigsallee is the very area they were signing about, where a young Claudia Schiffer once strutted her stuff. The handsome tree-lined boulevard is easily one of this affluent city’s most scenic thoroughfares, and of course there are bags of designer goodies to splash out on here too, in the flagship stores including Prada, Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Jimmy Choo and many other luxury brands.
Admire the MedienHafen
Dusseldorf’s recently rejuvenated harbour area is now home to over 700 businesses. As well as being an attractive place to work, it’s also worth visiting even if your business does not bring you here, which indeed it might well do.
Marvel at the wonders which line the architectural mile, including signature buildings by internationally renowned architects such as Frank Gehry, and David Chipperfield, Joe Coenen, Steven Holl and Claude Vasconi.
Getting to Dusseldorf
Legacy and budget carriers link business hub Düsseldorf with three London hubs – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – as well as Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Leeds-Bradford and Edinburgh. Options include Air Berlin, British Airways, easyJet, Flybe, Jet2, and Lufthansa. You should be looking at less than £200 for return fares, and often a lot less with the low-cost carriers.
Getting around Dusseldorf
At Düsseldorf International Airport you have a choice of S-Bahn and regional trains to get downtown, as well as a taxi which will cost less than 20 euros.
The city centre and Altstadt is compact, making exploration on foot quite easy, and of course it's equally well served by a network of underground U-Bahn trains, overground S trains and trams.