Dusseldorf, Germany things to do: Nine highlights


Make like a spider and scuttle into the silver mesh "web" strung under the glass cupola of K21, a contemporary art gallery. Tomas Saraceno's in orbit installation is suspended more than 25 metres over the gallery floor below. Visitors don a jumpsuit before entering the installation – if knee wobbles start, slide around horizontally on the tri-level interlaced steel ropes containing giant inflated spheres. See kunstammlung.de


Admirers of architect Frank Gehry's brazenly curvaceous masterpieces should point themselves towards Dusseldorf's Media Harbour. The Neuer Zollhof complex, completed in 1998, is a trio of office buildings clad in strikingly different materials: white plaster, red brick and mirror-polish stainless steel.  


There's no way you can miss the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) – at 240 metres high, the soaring concrete landmark is the city's tallest building. Head to the observation deck 168 metres above ground to take in a view that, on a clear day, stretches all the way to Cologne Cathedral's Gothic spires. Closer to home, check out the sheep grazing the urban meadows on the Rhine's opposite bank. See rheinturm.de


Dusseldorf spawned the famously emotionless electro pioneer band Kraftwerk. Around town, you can admire the handiwork of co-founder Florian Schneider's architect father. Stroll through the stately 27-hectare Hofgarten (Germany's oldest public park) to St Rochus Church in Pempelfort. Behind the 19th-century church tower is Paul Schneider-Esleben's 1950s-era addition: a copper-plated, egg-shaped dome that looks like it could have lobbed from outer space.


Cosmopolitan Dusseldorf is home to some of the country's best Japanese eateries but for a refined take on regional German fare, head to Weinhaus Tante Anna. Sit at an ancient oak table within the atmospheric former 16th-century chapel and tuck into Dusseldorf-style mustard-crusted strip loin or fish with potato doughnuts. The wide-ranging wine list stretches to Grange, but to finish with a hyper-local flourish, knock back a chilled shot of Killepitsch – a delicious herbal liqueur. See tanteanna.de


Dusseldorf's cobblestone Altstadt – or Old Town – has been called the world's longest bar. Become an Altbier ("old beer") expert on a safari that incorporates microbreweries such as Brauerei Kurzer and Brauerei im Fuchschen. The etiquette is that no ordering is involved. Simply arrive and a glass of the flavourful dark-brown brew arrives in front of you (the server marks the purchase with a line on your coaster). The only way to stop the beers from coming is to place the coaster over your glass as the level drops. See altbier-safari.de


Konigsallee, nicknamed Ko, is the city's glamorous shopping boulevard. Even if you're not into luxury boutiques, stroll its length to admire the canal and its bridges, framed by chestnut and sycamore trees. At the Konigsallee-Hofgarten juncture is Ko-Bogen. The glass and white-stone complex designed by Daniel Libeskind, architect of the World Trade Centre's masterplan, includes the Breuninger department store.


Opposite Ko-Bogen is the 130-room Steigenberger Parkhotel. The five-star hotel dates from 1902 but upper floors were destroyed in World War II, which explains its sleek roofline. Grab a room facing the Hofgarten's lake and be serenaded by honking geese. See steigenberger.com


Vincent Van Gogh incorporated a jar of Dusseldorf's piquant ABB mustard into his 1884-85 painting, Still Life with Bottles and Earthenware. Snaffle a pot of the iconic condiment that's been around since 1726 at Dusseldorfer Senfladen in the Old Town.  See loewensenf.de



If you're all about minimising travel logistics, it takes only 10 to 15 minutes to reach Dusseldorf's charming centre from the airport. Compact Dusseldorf makes a low-stress base for exploring western Germany – Cologne's soaring cathedral is 44 kilometres south, Bonn (home to the flagship Haribo confectionary store; gummy bear addicts can also hit an outlet at Dusseldorf Airport) is 70 kilometres away while Drachenburg Castle is a further 14 kilometres from Bonn. The Gasometer Oberhausen, 40 kilometres north of Dusseldorf, part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, is one of the most revelatory art spaces anywhere in the world. See dus.com, gasometer.com

Katrina Lobley was a guest of Dusseldorf Airport and Singapore Airlines.