Düsseldorf is a business and finance powerhouse, attracting as many blue-chip companies as it does trade fairs. But if that makes the city sound staid and boring, think again.
It’s certainly an affluent city, exemplified by the boutiques and high-end hotels that line Königsallee. Yet such economic prowess has resulted in a city that bankrolls its culture – there are more than 100 art galleries and 26 museums, plus landscaped parks, concert halls and an opera house.
Perhaps that’s why pioneering musical acts such as Kraftwerk are synonymous with Düsseldorf – there is certainly a feeling on those Old Town/harbour streets that creativity is to be celebrated and nurtured rather than stifled.
Many cultural attractions can be found in the Old Town, or Altstadt, an area best explored on foot. In fact, you could easily spend a few hours either wandering around this fascinating neighbourhood or strolling along the Rheinuferpromenade, a walkway that connects it with the MedienHafen harbour area, creating a literal and figurative pathway between the old and new.
All of which makes Düsseldorf something of a pleasant surprise for those who come for a trade fair and find themselves with a few hours to spare. With its Michelin-starred restaurants, fashionable cafes and lounges, quality hotels and impeccable transport links, most people who come to the city for business end up returning for fun.