Commercial city and capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on the right bank of the River Rhine, 26 km/16 mi northwest of Cologne; population (2005 est) 574,500. It is a river port and the commercial and financial centre of the Ruhr area, with food processing, brewing, agricultural machinery, textile, and chemical industries.
Features The city is one of the best laid out in Germany, with fine squares and beautiful gardens. The main street is the Konigsallee, 1.5 km/1 mi long, lined with offices, shops, and restaurants. One of the city's churches dates back to the 8th century and there are still the remains of a palace of the Emperor Frederick I. The Lambertikirche dates from the 13th century. Modern industrial architecture includes the Thyssen building to the north of the city centre. Düsseldorf has several museums and art collections, an artists' colony, an academy of fine arts, and is the home of the Rhine opera company. There is a university, and the city holds a Shumann Festival annually in May–June.
Economy The river harbour handles over 3 million tonnes of goods annually. There are many governmental offices, a stock exchange, banks, and insurance offices. The industrial sector is dominated by steel rolling, wire making, textiles, chemicals, publishing, printing, and food manufacturing. There is also a large exhibition area with 11 halls covering 108,000 sq m/1,162,500 sq ft. The city is also a tourist centre. Neuss is the industrial and port suburb on the left bank. Its port handles 3.5 million tonnes annually. Agricultural machinery, sanitary ware, and food processing are the main industries. There is an airport at Lohausen.
Famous people Düsseldorf was the birthplace of the Romantic poet Heinrich Heine and the painter Peter von Cornelius. Among the residents of the city have been the poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and the composers Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann.
History Düsseldorf was made a city by the Duke of Berg in 1288 and became the capital of the duchy in 1385. In 1609 it passed to the Palatinate, and in 1815 was incorporated into Prussia. In the years before World War II it became the administrative capital of the Ruhr; many of the iron and steel, heavy engineering, and armaments plants of the Ruhr had their head offices in the city. It was an important target for Allied bombers during the World War II, especially from 1943 onwards, and when it fell to the Allies in 1945 more than half the city was in ruins.