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Duisburg

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Duisburg is a German city in the western part of the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet) in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a metropolitan borough with a population of just under 500,000 in 2019. With the world's biggest inland harbour and its proximity to Düsseldorf International Airport, Duisburg has become an important venue for commerce and steel production.

Understand

Contemporary Duisburg is a result of numerous incorporations of surrounding towns and smaller cities. It is the twelfth-largest city in Germany and the fifth-largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The core city was founded in the 5th century AD as a marketplace on the Westphalian Hellweg trade route, a ford on the river Rhine and the border between the Frankish Empire and the Duchy of Saxons. Around 740 it became one of several royal courts of Francia, it was first mentioned in a chronicle dated 883 AD as one of the Rhenish places conquered by Normans. 16th-century cartographer Gerardus Mercator, creator of seminal globes and atlases as well as the Mercator projection still used in modern world maps, lived, worked and taught in Duisburg for 40 years.

Since the late 19th century, the city is renowned for its steel industry, being Central Europe's leading site in this sector. All seven blast furnaces in the Ruhr are now located in Duisburg, producing half of the pig iron and a third of the crude steel made in Germany. Coal-mining, on the other hand, has never played the big role it had in other places on the Ruhr. As Germany's heavy industries have lost importance since the mid-20th century (due to the rise of plastics and relocation of production to low-wage countries), Duisburg had to go through a major structural transformation, losing tens of thousands of jobs in the steel mills while creating new ones in the services and logistics sectors.

Duisburg-Ruhrort, on the confluence of rivers Ruhr and Rhine, has long been and still is Europe's biggest inland harbour. It has successfully kept up with the times, replacing its facilities for break bulk and dry bulk cargo in favour of container shipping and modern logistics infrastructure as well as minimising the average laytime of ships from more than a day to only a few hours. Duisburg also aims to be the terminal of a "New Silk Road", offering direct freight train links from China.

The University of Duisburg-Essen, with 42,000 students, ranks among the 10 largest German universities.

Get in

By plane

  • Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS IATA) (20 km (12 mi) south of Duisburg). Take the SkyTrain people mover to the airport's long-distance train station and board any regional train going northwards - Duisburg Hauptbahnhof is the immediate next station, the trains take under 10 minutes to get there. You can also take the S1 S-Bahn train, with several stops on the way, taking about 20 minutes. The journey is covered by the B-level fare of the local public transportation authority, VRR.  
  • Frankfurt Airport (FRA IATA) is Germany's busiest airport with a wealth of short-haul and intercontinental connections. Direct high-speed trains take you from Frankfurt Airport to Duisburg Hauptbahnhof in about 1½ hr, departing frequently in daytime. Tickets can be had for €29 if booked in advance with Deutsche Bahn, passengers of many airlines serving Frankfurt Airport can also take advantage of the Rail&Fly offer.
  • Dortmund Airport (DTM IATA). This airport to the east of Duisburg sees some regular service from several European airlines. To get to Duisburg, take the Airport Express bus (25 min, €8.50 one way) and change to a Duisburg-bound train at Dortmund Hauptbahnhof. There are multiple trains every hour between both cities, including high-speed ICE and regional RE trains - both take between 30-40 minutes to cover the distance.  


  • Ryanair flies from some European destinations to Niederrhein Airport Weeze (NRN IATA) northwest of Duisburg, near the Dutch border. The only practical way to get from there to Duisburg is by ordering a minibus airport transfer, as there is no direct train connection.

By train

3 Duisburg Hauptbahnhof (central station). is the main junction of regional, nationwide and international railway lines.   Deutsche Bahn offers hourly ICE high-speed trains from Berlin (under 4 hours), Hanover (2 hr 15 min), Munich (5 hours) and Frankfurt (1 hr 45 min). Moreover there are two-hourly ICEs from Amsterdam (2 hours), Stuttgart (under 3 hours), as well as intercity trains from Hamburg (3½ hours) and Bremen (2½ hours). Four times a day, the Thalys from Paris (4 hours) and Bruxelles (2½ hours) stops in Duisburg.

Moreover there is a wide range of frequently running local trains linking Duisburg with other cities in the Rhine-Ruhr region (VRR network), e.g. from Essen in 10–15 minutes, Düsseldorf in 15 minutes, Dortmund in 35–40 minutes.

By car

Duisburg is part of the Ruhr's very dense Autobahn network (located on the junctions of A3, A40, A42 and A59), which is however prone to traffic jams.

By bus

See also: Intercity buses in Germany

Flixbus serves Duisburg. Buses are usually comfortable enough but slower than trains if usually cheaper.

Get around

Duisburger Verkehrsgesellschaft AG (DVG) operates a network of four tram and 32 bus lines. The U79 tram is a joint venture of the Düsseldorf and the Duisburg transport company, linking the cities. Moreover, Duisburg is part of the S-Bahn Rhein-Ruhr network operating urban rail both within the city and linking it with its neighbours Düsseldorf, Oberhausen, Mülheim and Essen. VRR combi-tickets are valid for all means of local transport (rail, tram, bus).

See

  • 1 Salvatorkirche (Church of Our Saviour), Burgplatz (Tram 901 "Rathaus" or bus 929, 933 "Schwanentor"). Duisburg's oldest church. A church has existed at this place since the 9th century, then being part of the Frankish royal court. It was rebuilt after burning down in the 13th century, the current Gothic-style building commissioned by the Order of Teutonic Knights being completed in 1415. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 2 Rathaus (City hall), Burgplatz 19 (opposite the Salvatorkirche). Located at the exact place of the former royal court, the present Renaissance revival building from 1902 has replaced several predecessor buildings. In front of it stands the 19th-century Mercator well, dedicated to the famous cartographer, one of the greatest Duisburgers of all times. (updated Oct 2016)
  • Old Market archaeological zone, Alter Markt (behind the city hall). Findings from the earliest stages of Duisburg's history (updated Oct 2016)
  • 3 Museum of Cultural and Local History (Kultur- und Stadthistorisches Museum Duisburg), Johannes-Corputius-Platz 1 (Tram 901, bus 929 or 933 "Schwanentor"). Monday: closed. Includes also the Mercator Treasury (a collection of globes an maps made by Gerhard Mercator, the inventor of the atlas) and a museum on the city of Königsberg.  
  • 4 German Inland Waterways Museum (Museum der Deutschen Binnenschifffahrt), Apostelstraße 84 (Train "Duisburg-Ruhrort", tram 901 "Ruhrort Bahnhof" or bus 907 "Binnenschifffahrtsmuseum"), ☏ +49 203 80889-40, ✉ service@binnenschifffahrtsmuseum.de. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Located in Europe's biggest inland harbour, the museum informs about the history and present of inland navigation, illustrated by several museum ships.  
  • 5 Lehmbruck Museum, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Straße 40/Düsseldorfer Str. 51 (Kant-Park; 750 m from main station; bus 912, 921, 923, 924, 926, 929, 937, 939, 944, SB10, SB30 "Lehmbruck Museum"). Tu-F 12:00-17:00, Sa Su 11:00-17:00. Internationally reknowned collection of modern and contemporary art, especially statuary and sculptures. Admission €9, reduced €5.  
  • 6 Museum Küppersmühle, Philosophenweg 55 (at the inner harbour; bus 934 "Hansegracht"). Centre for modern and contemporary art in a former brick warehouse at the inner harbour.  
  • 7 Explorado Children's Museum, Philosophenweg 23-25 (at the inner harbour; bus 934 "Hansegracht"), ☏ +49 203 29823340. Tu-Th 09:00-18:00, F-Su and public holidays 10:00-19:00. Huge children's museum with a "hands on—hearts on—mind on" concept, primarily designed for children aged four to twelve. There is a mix of fun activities, physical training and (subtle) learning on the history of grain processing in the inner harbour, archeology, building, communication and media. For younger children there is a pirate-themed area. Day ticket €16.50, reduced €12.50, afternoon ticket (Tu-Th after 15:00, F after 16:00) or miniticket (one hour) €5, children under 4 years free.  
  • 8 Zoo Duisburg, Mülheimer Straße 273 (Tram 901, Bus 924 or 933 "Zoo"). Great collection of primates, dolphinarium and koala bears.  
  • 9 Botanical Garden Kaiserberg, Schweizer Straße 24 (Bus 937 "Botanischer Garten").  
  • 10 Botanical Garden Hamborn, Fürst-Pückler-Straße 18 (Bus 908, 910, 917 "St.-Johannes-Hospital").  
  • 11 Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord (LaPaDu), Emscherstrasse 71 (Tram 901, Bus 906 or 910 "Landschaftspark Nord"). M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 11:00-18:00. Former ironworks complex which has been transformed to a park. Discover the cultural heritage of the Ruhr area [1] Free.  
  • 12 Tiger & Turtle, Heinrich-Hildebrand-Höhe, Angerpark, Duisburg-Angerhausen (Tram 903 "Tiger & Turtle"). Every day and night. Landmark and huge sculpture created during the 2010 Capital of Culture period of the Ruhr. It looks a lot like a rollercoster, but has no carts, instead you may walk on it. Illuminated at night. Free. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 13 DİTİB Merkez Mosque, Duisburg-Marxloh, Warbruckstraße 51 (Tram 903 "Heckmann" or bus 919 "Warbruckstr."). Completed in 2008, held in a traditional Ottoman style, with 1200 places one of the largest mosques in Germany. In addition to being a house of worship, it also hosts a centre for encounter as well as a library and archive of Islamic documents. (updated Oct 2016)

Do

  • Boat trips on Duisport (Weisse Flotte Duisburg), "Schifferbörse" pier, Duisburg-Ruhrort, Gustav-Sander-Platz 1 (Tram 901, bus 905, 907, 911, 925 or 929 "Friedrichsplatz"). Europe's largest inland harbour. 
  • 1 Duisburg Opera (Deutsche Oper am Rhein), Neckarstraße 1 (Bus 934 "Stadttheater"). 
  • Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. 
  • Duisburg Accents (Duisburger Akzente). Festival in March. 
  • Visit the Innenhafen (inner harbour), a formerly industrial plot converted and gentrified, for museums (listed above), restaurants, pubs and bars overlooking the river.

Buy

Eat

  • Poukhoun, Heerstraße 256 (Bus 937, 944 "Bethesda-Krankenhaus"), ☏ +49 203 72999533. An inexpensive Laotian restaurant in a residential district that has had enough rave reviews to merit taking reservations. (updated May 2015)
  • Mongo's, Philosophenweg 17-18 (at the inner harbour; bus 934 or night bus NE4 "Hansegracht"). A Mongolian buffet restaurant - and a part of a bustling chain thereof to boot! - is perhaps the last thing you expect in Duisburg, but the terrace overlooking the Innenhafen and simply good food make it a pleasant surprise. (updated May 2015)
  • The Innenhafen (inner harbour) also hosts Spanish, Italian, Asian and German restaurants overlooking the river.
  • Enoteca La Trattoria, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz 2 (Tram U79 or 903 "Steinsche Gasse" or bus 923, 924, 926, 929, 937, 939, SB10, SB30 or night bus NE1, NE2, NE4 "Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz"). An Italian restaurant with a sizeable wine cellar, popular with local businessmen and well-to-do, many of whom grew to be friends with its host, Massimo. (updated May 2015)

Drink

  • Duisburg is the home of König Pilsener (KöPi), one of Germany's best-selling mainstream beers. One can buy it in supermarket, kiosks and in almost every restaurant.
  • Sinalco, a lemonade brand quite known throughout Germany (claiming to be the oldest brand of carbonated soft drinks in Europe) is produced in Duisburg.
  • There are two small breweries producing their own beer: Webster Brauhaus and Brauhaus Urfels. Both of them have restaurants too.
  • Finkenkrug, Sternbuschweg 71. Home to over 222 varieties of beer from all over the world. (updated Nov 2016)
  • The Innenhafen (inner harbour) hosts a café, cocktail bar (Mississippi Queen), pubs (choose Diebels im Hafen for Alt, König Pilsener Wirtshaus Duisburg for Pils beer, but don't worry - both serve other drinks and varieties of beer, too), and restaurants overlooking the river.

Sleep

  • City Hostel, Friedenstraße 85 (Tram U79 "Musfeldstraße"), ☏ +49 203 9356362, ✉ info@hostel-duisburg.de. Dorm bed from €21. 
  • 1 Mercure Hotel Duisburg City, Landfermannstraße 20 (350m from the main station), ☏ +49 203 300030. 

Go next

  • Mülheim an der Ruhr, 10 km to the east, the cities are effectively grown into each other (5 minutes by train)
  • Oberhausen, 12 km to the northeast, the cities are effectively grown into each other (5 minutes by train)
  • Essen, 20 km to the east (10–15 minutes by train)
  • Krefeld, 20 km to the southwest (15–25 minutes by train)
  • Düsseldorf, 25 km to the south (15 minutes by train)


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