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Düsseldorf, Germany

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Düsseldorf; often Dusseldorf is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second-largest city in the state and the seventh-largest city in Germany, with a population of 617,280.

Düsseldorf is located at the confluence of two rivers: the Rhine and the Düssel, a small tributary. The -dorf suffix means “village” in German (English cognate: thorp); its use is unusual for a settlement as large as Düsseldorf. Most of the city lies on the right bank of the Rhine. Düsseldorf lies in the center of both the Rhine-Ruhr and the Rhineland Metropolitan Region. It neighbors the Cologne Bonn Region to the south and the Ruhr to the north. It is the largest city in the German Low Franconian dialect area (closely related to Dutch).

Mercer’s 2012 Quality of Living survey ranked Düsseldorf the sixth most livable city in the world. Düsseldorf Airport is Germany’s fourth-busiest airport, serving as the most important international airport for the inhabitants of the densely populated Ruhr, Germany’s largest urban area. Düsseldorf is an international business and financial center, renowned for its fashion and trade fairs, and is headquarters to one Fortune Global 500 and two DAX companies. Messe Düsseldorf organizes nearly one-fifth of premier trade shows. As second largest city of the Rhineland, Düsseldorf holds Rhenish Carnival celebrations every year in February/March, the Düsseldorf carnival celebrations being the third most popular in Germany after those held in Cologne and Mainz.

There are 22 institutions of higher education in the city including the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, the university of applied sciences (Hochschule Düsseldorf), the academy of arts (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, whose members include Joseph Beuys, Emanuel Leutze, August Macke, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, and Andreas Gursky), and the university of music (Robert-Schumann-Musikhochschule Düsseldorf). The city is also known for its influence on electronic/experimental music (Kraftwerk) and its Japanese community. Düsseldorf is classified as a GaWC Beta+ world city.

The first written mention of Düsseldorf (then called Dusseldorp in the local Low Rhenish dialect) dates back to 1135. Under Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa the small town of Kaiserswerth to the north of Düsseldorf became a well-fortified outpost, where soldiers kept a watchful eye on every movement on the Rhine. Kaiserswerth eventually became a suburb of Düsseldorf in 1929. In 1186, Düsseldorf came under the rule of the Counts of Berg. 14 August 1288 is one of the most important dates in the history of Düsseldorf. On this day the sovereign Count Adolf VIII of Berg granted the village on the banks of the Düssel town privileges. Before this, a bloody struggle for power had taken place between the Archbishop of Cologne and the count of Berg, culminating in the Battle of Worringen.

The Archbishop of Cologne’s forces were wiped out by the forces of the count of Berg who were supported by citizens and farmers of Cologne and Düsseldorf, paving the way for Düsseldorf’s elevation to city status, which is commemorated today by a monument on the Burgplatz. The custom of turning cartwheels is credited to the children of Düsseldorf. There are variations of the origin of the cartwheeling children. Today the symbol (Der Radschläger) represents the story and every year the Düsseldorfers celebrate by having a cartwheeling contest. After this battle the relationship between the four cities deteriorated because they were commercial rivals; it is often said that there is a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Today, it finds its expression mainly in a humorous form (especially during the Rhineland Karneval) and in sports.

A market square sprang up on the banks of the Rhine and the square was protected by city walls on all four sides. In 1380, the dukes of Berg moved their seat to the town, and Düsseldorf was made regional capital of the Duchy of Berg. During the following centuries, several famous landmarks were built, including the Collegiate Church of St Lambertus [de]. In 1609, the ducal line of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg died out, and after a virulent struggle over succession, Jülich and Berg fell to the Wittelsbach Counts of Palatinate-Neuburg, who made Düsseldorf their main domicile, even after they inherited the Electorate of the Palatinate, in 1685, becoming now Prince-electors as Electors Palatine. Wikipedia

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