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Düsseldorf’s inhabitants are spread across ten administrative zones, all but one of which are located to the east of the river. The fourth district, Stadtbezirk, is nestled within the loop of the Rhine’s western banks.

The river that weaves its way through the city has defined Düsseldorf from the very beginning. Flavours and styles of urbanisation vary widely throughout. Early twentieth century residential buildings predominate in popular Oberkassel, the main hub of activity on the western banks. Many wide, quiet leafy streets can be found in the area known as Zoo, with the proximity to the large woodlands especially attracting families. 

Outlying districts such as Kaiserswerth are popular for their spacious layout and proximity to open, flat countryside too. Younger residents including many expats mix well with aged locals in cosmopolitan and bubblier neighbourhoods of Derendorf, Pempelfort, Flingern and Bilk.

The main downtown areas for shopping are focussed around Schadowstrasse, Königsallee and the old town, Altstadt. Commercial suburban streets include Nordstrasse, Luegallee, Rethelstrasse or Friedrichsstrasse. The vibrant atmosphere of a long history of Japanese influence can be experienced on and near Immermannstrasse.


Some people adore being in the midst of city life. Choosing the district of Mitte brings expats to the liveliest part of the city. Immermannstrasse runs from the central railway station in the direction of the old town. Entering this street brings the pedestrian into a different world, the heart of the Japanese community.

For lovers of sushi, sashimi, tempura, other Japanese delicacies and Asian foods, this district is a perfect place to head. Living in areas around Berliner Allee, Carlstadt or the Altstadt offer a unique opportunity to experience all that Düsseldorf has to offer. From morning till night.


Expats who desire a more relaxed lifestyle, the vicinity to open countryside, woodlands and the local international school choose these neighbourhoods. Kaiserswerth, a former battlement beside the river of Düsseldorf. Living here is akin to being in a self contained village with all that entails. An open air evening drink or meal beside the river is highly enjoyable.

Zoo takes its name from the time animals were housed in the district. Wider avenues, gardens and a good infrastructure include the Rethelstrasse. All manner of amenities can be enjoyed here including a great culinary scene. Woodlands beyond the racecourse invite to stroll.


The neighbourhood of Flingern oozes a certain simplistic honesty. It is what it is and it’s folk are who they are. A large area of contrasting styles and surroundings, this is also a terrific place to live. Divided into south and north, it is centrally located, lively and mostly down to earth.

Düsseldorf possesses a fascinating, semi-gentrified squat here, where the power of democratic action is a constant reminder. Against all odds and with tenacity, residential properties were saved from being demolished and later covered with joyous graffiti. Many places to go out with desirable gastronomy, quiet streets and industry sit side by side in this district.


An eclectic area of the city since many decades, Unterbilk is a fascinating neighbourhood of Düsseldorf. The neighbouring harbour area has been in transition for just as long. Young people have been moving into traditional, turn of the previous century apartments, to live among delightful elderly ladies and gents. Thus creating a vibrant, interactive mix of residents.

The Lorettostrasse offers a diverse mix of desirable cafes, eateries and bistros as well as a variety desirable stores. Elizabethstrasse delivers the rest. The former harbour reveals yet more interesting eateries and great places to stay out late.


These two districts are vibrant without being overwhelming or pompous. Favourites among young expats or families who mix well with elderly residents in Pempelfort and Derendorf. An incredible offering of bistros, restaurants and cafés can be discovered. An enormous expanse of cultivated grassland invites residents to relax beside the riverbank nearby.

Possibly the most intact urban streets for neighbourhood shopping, the Nordstrasse is full of surprises. It offers a large number of bakeries, many organic shops and everything else besides. Wednesday and Saturday street markets offer a great variety of produce and atmosphere too.


The districts of Heerdt and Lörick have also become popular following the extensive construction of many new properties. Contemporary, efficient and light flooded apartment blocks are in high demand, especially among expats familiar with the benefits.

More a mix of residential and commercial, both neighbourhoods offer easy access to expansive river banks and the city centre via public transport. An open air swimming pool in Lörick is popular during summer, while the newest indoor pool in Heerdt is highly convenient.


Always a desirable neighbourhood, Oberkassel is in high demand. The first group of people living here include some who still played football on quiet residential streets. Others came later because it was pretty and relaxed. Nowadays many move here due to all the above and because it is fashionable and sought after. Plus the river banks. Plus favourite gastronomy.

Oberkassel was originally farmland until four founders of the Rheinbahn bought most of the land. Many residential buildings stem from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s still create a charming atmosphere today. More modern family homes north of the tram tracks in Niederkassel are popular too.

City guide for expats

Amazing Capitals Düsseldorf is packed with insights for expats. It is dedicated to helping international residents make better choices, settle in and participate. Enjoy!