Unraveling Quirky Düsseldorf

Before my recent German “escapada” a few weekends ago, I had only been to Deutschland once on a very long road trip about five years back.

!MG_4861Since that absolutely lovely trip, I embarrassingly admit that every time I hear spoken German or see something remotely German-ish, I mockingly start speaking a self-invented gibberish German, which, if you’ve had a few beers, is actually quite boorishly funny on my part. Unless you’re German, and in which case, I really mean no harm. It’s just that the German language is really fun to imitate once in a while.

All of my childish antics aside, I would love to tell you that it just took one little trip to the goofily named city of Düsseldorf to change my silly behavior, but that didn’t happen, at all.

In fact, with a just-asking-for-it name like Düsseldorf and located in what is referred to as the Blue Banana area, it was hard not to giggle at with this little gem of a German town located on the banks of the Rhine and its small right tributary, the River Düssel.

Say “River Düssel” five times fast and just try not to giggle.

Don’t get me wrong. Düsseldorf is a charming city as are most of the few German cities I’ve visited, but if there is one German town that can stand out for its distinctly quirky atmosphere, it’s Düsseldorf.

Now, in the category of all things typically German, this city certainly offers your typical German features. You’ve got your street fairs:


You’ve got your pretzels. Have you ever tried a pumpkin seed covered pretzel? Divine.

You’ve got your sausages:
And you’ve got more sausages with sauerkraut:

And you’ve got your locals doing interesting things:


And you’ve got your totally normal horse-carted city tour with your own private keg in the back. (please, oh, please, bring this type of tour to Madrid….)

You’ve got large groups of men chugging beer together and intermittently chanting things:
Dusseldorf “Altstadt”

And you’ve got your charming plazas:


And you’ve got your wonderful river promenade walk that edges along the old town, or Altstadt:

You’ve even got sheep grazing on the other side of the Rhine River. Too cute, right?


But, then, things start to get a little bit odd deep down in the seemingly normal streets of Düsseldorf.

The Dukatenscheisser

I guess it’s nothing too crazy, really. I mean if Catalonia can have their Christmas shitter, Düsseldorf can have their the money pooper:
Dusseldorf money pooper

However, a Pooping Theater is really carrying it too far, don’t you think?


(Sorry about that. I couldn’t resist.)

Anywho, continuing on after our “puppen” show, the city’s true quirkiness really starts to shine:

So, a little bit heavy on the parking lot accessories. Why this is necessary or what this signifies, I have no idea.

And then you have, of course, a bit of good old Frank Gehry’s deconstructionism to fit right in with the Dusseldorf quirk:

This is Dusseldorf’s Media Harbour, which is a redevelopment project that was started quite a few years ago as a way to rejuvenate the dilapidated harbour area. And as with most Gehry buildings, the project’s stature quickly managed to convert the previously struggling area into coveted real estate. I love the fact that you can get close to the buildings and even eat in Gehry’s restaurant, which is great, by the way.



Most would agree that a Gehry building fits right in anywhere he wants to build it and is almost always breathtakingly bold and unusual. In many ways, his projects have become the epitome of architectural quirkiness and as such, it’s incredibly fitting that Düsseldorf would have a local Gehry design.

So, Gehry is a saint and all that he builds shines bright in the otherwise darkened sky, but …  can someone please tell me what in the ham hell is this business?




Totally odd, right?

Well, these little guys are called “Flossis” and were designed by German artist Rosalie. I really can’t tell you any more than that other than it fits right in with Düsseldorf’s contrasting mix of random oddities sprinkled on top of a rather sophisticated city ambience.

All kidding aside, I loved my trip to Düsseldorf and would love to go back and explore more of its unique characteristics. It’s a great strolling city and the river walk through the old town to the Media Harbour is just beautiful. Beyond that, the local culinary scene has some incredibly delicious food. Apart from the obligatory sausage and beer consumption, I had something so wonderful that I haven’t stopped thinking about it for weeks. It was a German bread dumpling (Semmelknödel?) with chanterelle mushrooms. Have you ever tried this dish? I’m seriously obsessed with it and will be counting the days until I can have another one.

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3 Responses to Unraveling Quirky Düsseldorf

  1. If that covered beer wagon keg tour comes to Spain, let’s do it, pretty please?!I lived with a girl from Dusseldorf and really liked the city when I visited – what a place!

    • Hamatha says:

      It’s a great city, isn’t it? And yes, I’d sign up today to be the first one on board that wagon if I could!! We should talk to Lauren of Madrid Food Tour and tell her to convert the tour into a mobile Madrid Food Tour, with horses, and beer, and some food along the way. But mainly just beer…:)

  2. Pingback: Shackled Amor and Rebel Tippy Toes in Cologne, Germany » Pass the Ham

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