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Image of adult, mural, young girl and boy

A personal opinion, impressions and hints about a special place that was once your writer’s home. Relocating for my employer, I originally experienced Düsseldorf as a fairly average German location. Incredible change has swept across the city and, while well-dressed fashionistas still roam the inner city, the place has become surprisingly cosmopolitan. Underlying free thinking has become more widespread.

Best aspects of living in Dusseldorf

Once a village on the banks of the tiny Düssel and the majestic Rhine, the state capital has a friendly, easy going, clean and safe feel about it. Even in the wrong areas of town and at night. A cosmopolitan flavour with a mix of many nationalities creates the perfect place to live.

Worst facets of living in Dusseldorf

It’s still a village in the midst of 18 million people. Düsseldorf has no coast, no mountains and little forest but more than its fair share of mid-northern-mainland European grey weather. The city also has its fair share of German service and smile standards, in my opinion.

Best way to get around

The trams and subways are excellent. They take a visitor just about everywhere they may wish to go. Taxis are easy to spot, fairly inexpensive yet not so easy to stop since hailing a cab is still not a Germanic trait. Bikes are even better.

Favourite secret place

A little way off the beaten track next to the Hofgarten, is a tiny Spanish store with a delightful owner. Even if only two patrons are ahead in the queue, be prepared to wait for 20 minutes. Several tender Serranos, delicious cheeses and excellent wines to seduce your palate can be purchased at Spanish prices. The clues may just help you discover my undisclosed choice.

Best place to exercise

The western banks of the river where shepherds herd their sheep are wide and the landscape fairly flat. Great for miles and miles or kilometres and kilometres of unhindered running and cycling.

Best place to relax

Developed around the turn of the 20th Century, my former home neighbourhood of Oberkassel is located on a peninsular left by the meanderings of the Rhine. Try the terraces of the numerous bars, trattorias and cafés. A mild sunny day draws people to soak the energy and devour picnics. Or walk a dog.

Best place to refuel

Meet and greet mostly young and some old, cute, sexy and good-looking guys and gals in a traditional and yet perpetually popular bistro named Muggel. They serve great cocktails and it has terrific atmosphere any time of the day or night.

Most inspirational building

Not so famous for any landmarks, architecture here tends to be more “me too” and not so sky scraping. Frank O. Gehry has created a group of three small sisters to Bilbao in the harbour; Daniel Libeskind designed the refreshing, yet surprisingly uninspiring creation at the court park, Hofgarten. The theatre, Schauspielhaus, or Theater is, for me, the finest building in town.

Best seasonal tip

Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, Weihnachtsmarkt. Düsseldorf presents a sprinkling of themed stands with a bubbly, jolly Christmas feeling. Lovers of less sweet mulled wine, Glühwein, should head straight for the cosy offerings on the town hall, Rathaus, square. Snuggled in the back left-hand corner an tasty white variety can be found along with so-called flamed cake, Flammkuchen. Both are delicious and it’s impossible not to make friends.

Of note

This thriving commercial centre boasts a fairly well balanced budget and with 630,000 inhabitants it is about the size of Helsinki. Best of all, the airport is only ten minutes away. This charming small city is not really a best-kept secret.

By Vincent Green, Jun 11 2020


Original language movies are popular among expats in Düsseldorf. Films are frequently screened in English at a variety of cinemas in original with subtitles, known as OmU or Original mit Untertitel and without, portrayed as OV or Original Version. 

Sandy beach, water and 2 women


To the surprise of newly arrived expats, some sections of the Rhine in Düsseldorf offer numerous beaches on both banks. The fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. Especially on warm and sunny summer days, people flock to enjoy the river. 

Artist performing on carpet


Art venues and museums in Düsseldorf regularly present selections of their fine pieces in well arranged exhibitions. Regular exhibits also include fascinating or rare works from across the globe with loaned art and artefacts.

Socialising in Düsseldorf

Staying in touch and getting together with others living in a similar situation can be important. Expat groups in social media are highly valuable sources for connecting. Socialising in Düsseldorf can include events, international clubs or heading for a popular spot to meet international residents.