Music & Madness: Discovering the Real Düsseldorf

Nestled away on Germany’s picturesque Rhine, Düsseldorf often gets overlooked in favour of its bigger counterparts. And while the likes of Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich certainly all have their own unique charms, it is this western city that knows what’s up when it comes to the arts. Home to some of the most successful names in the creative world, Düsseldorf is a universe unto itself, marching well and truly to the beat of its own drum. Looking to see Germany in an altogether new light? Let this city show you the way.


If you really want to get to know Düsseldorf’s beating heart, start your adventure in Aldstadt. The city’s central party district, Aldstadt brings together countless clubs, pubs, and bars, each promising a night that you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry. Microbreweries reign supreme in this part of town, giving you a chance to sample some of the best local brews around. Brauerei Schumacher is arguably one of the best and, boasting a history dating back to 1838, it’s clear that the local brewers have been doing something right all this time! 


If Aldstadt is the place in which everybody goes to while the night away, then the Kunstakademie, the city’s arts academy, is most definitely its daytime counterpart, bringing in visitors from far and wide. Practically everything creative that springs from and is centred around the city can be linked in some way to the Kunstakademie; such is its influence. While the place does exist as a private academy for arts students, it opens its doors every January in a public showing, celebrating the works of its five hundred and fifty students. Get your spot in line and feast your eyes on the next big thing in art.

Galerie Hans Mayer

While there are any number of stellar spots spouting some of the best contemporary art you’ve ever seen, Galerie Hans Mayer has arguably some of the best pieces around. Smaller than its counterparts, Hans Mayer is none the weaker, and is well worth a perusal. Having opened its doors in 1971, the gallery has since housed works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to name but a few. The gallery also participates in a number of local arts events, including the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, which takes place every February.

Salon des Amateurs, Kunsthalle

Renowned for its contemporary art, architecture, and string of musical events, the Kunsthalle is doing a huge amount for the local scene. While the Kunsthalle is focused on arts pieces and contemporary exhibitions, it is its Salon des Amateurs that is giving local musicians the opportunity to show the public their prowess. A lounge club originally started by three friends from the Kunstakademie, the Salon des Amateurs puts music first, creating the ultimate backdrop for the Kunsthalle’s art pieces.


There are numerous parks in the city, and while others might be bigger and more populated, Nordpark is undeniably one of Düsselfdorf’s hidden gems. Located a little further outside of the city centre, the park is a smörgåsbord of different styles and cultures, featuring sculptures and works from eras past. Walk the length of the park and you’ll take in aquariums, Japanese gardens, and statues, and you’ll find your way to a bridge traversing the Rotterdamer Strasse. Walk towards the Rhine, take in the views behind you, and discover Düsseldorf in all its glory.



Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.