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You only get one chance at a first impression. The circumstances of my first encounter with Düsseldorf could not have been more favourable. When I first stepped off the train in Hauptbahnof I was in the middle of a particularly memorable long-distance, international pub-crawl. Those were the days.

Dusseldorf is, in many ways, an odd mixture. The capital of Germany's most industrialised state, in the heart of an area of steel and chemical works, yet home to a sizeable upper middle-class population. These can be seen in their designer suits and fur coats strolling along the Konigsallee, the poshest shopping street in the whole of Germany.

Physically, the maze of busy roads is counterbalanced by the large pedestrianised Altstadt, which manages to be one of the country's liveliest and most-used city centres. Here everything is on a human scale with shopping and entertainment both well provided for.

The Altstadt is jokingly known as Germany's longest bar and this isn't far short of the truth. There are an enormous number of pubs within its boundaries. For a night out, there are few places to rival it in the whole of Europe, if you're after decent beer. The locals certainly seem to have a good time. The jokey atmosphere in many pubs should help to dispel misconceptions about Germans' lack of humour and general dourness. The waiters are sometimes entertainment in themselves, with their cheeky comments (I wouldn't try asking for water in Zum Uerige). Dusseldorf's best pubs are amongst the best pubs in Germany.

Happily, for anyone wanting to try out a few altbiers, the city has an enviable public transport system of trams (both on the surface and underground), as well as good train connections. So, no excuse for drinking and driving.

Cambodge, 1975, Football in Dusseldorf

Equatorial Guinea, 1974, Dusseldorf

German Federal Republic, 1964, Monument of Jan Wellem

German Federal Republic, 1988, Monument of Jan Wellem

German Federal Republic, 2000, Jester

German Federal Republic, 2000, House of Parliament in Dusseldorf

German Federal Republic, 1974.05.1819, Dusseldorf. Monument of Jan Wellem

German Federal Republic, 1988.05.05, Dusseldorf. Dancers

German Federal Republic, 1990.06.05, Berlin. Dusseldorf'90

DDR, 1990, Dusseldorf

German Federal Republic, 1982, Monument of Jan Wellem

German Federal Republic, 1983, Dusseldorf

German Federal Republic, 1990, Panorama of Dusseldorf

USSR, 1990, International Stamp Exibition DUSSELDORF90


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