Dusseldorf: let the music begin!

Modern, cosmopolitan, fashionable and bustling with life and activity... that's the face that Dusseldorf turns to the world. And across Europe this weekend, more people than ever are going to turn their eyes to the German city as the songs of the Eurovision Song Contest ring out across the continent. Let's take a look at the city where the event is to be held.

Whether it's the highlight of your year, or you think it's pure cheese, the Eurovision Song Contest must have something going for it: an estimated 125 million viewers will watch the musical extravaganza, which has been going strong for over half a century. Last year, teenage singer Lena won the contest for veteran participant Germany and she'll be back on stage in Dusseldorf, in her home country to defend her title against the 24 other performers who have made it through to the finals on Saturday night.

This year, beyond the glitz and kitsch of the contest lies the most cosmopolitan and prosperous of German cities, a pioneer in the world of art, design and modern architecture. Dusseldorf has no shortage of attractions: there's the exlusive shopping street Konigsallee, the old town with its narrow streets, ancient churches and countless bars and restaurants – don't miss sampling the local beer, the strong dark Altbier – and vibrant artistic and cultural life. Or you can take a pleasant walk along by the Rhine down to the Medienhafen, where the old trading port has been transformed into a new golden mile thanks to master architects such as Frank Gehry. Take a look at our photo gallery and start planning a getaway.

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Dusseldorf, Germany
The pleasant promenade extends along the banks of the Rhine to the Medienhafen – the media harbour – a fashionable new business centre located in the old trading harbour / © Dusseldorf Tourism 

Benrath Palace, Dusseldorf, Germany
The marvellous formal gardens and park of the Benrath Palace, home to the Museum of European Garden Design / © Dusseldorf Tourism 

Dusseldorf, Germany
(Left) Taking a break at one of the Old Town's many pavement cafes.  (Right) The clock tower of the ancient collegiate church of St Lambertus / © Raine Kiedrowski 

Art mujseum, Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf boasts a whole range of museums and galleries / ©  Dusseldorf Tourism 

Ceramics museum, Dusseldorf, Germany
The Hetjens Museum – the Museum of Ceramics – is home to a marvellous collection of ceramics from around the world / ©  Dusseldorf Tourism 

Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf's Old Town boasts the longest bar in the world / ©  Dusseldorf Tourism 

Fireworks over the Rhine
Fireworks light up the sky over the Rhine, Germany's longest river / ©  Dusseldorf Tourism 

Kalkum castle, Dusseldorf, Germany
Kalkum castle, in the north of the city was built on the site of an earlier castle that dated from the Middle Ages / © Rainer Kiedrowski 

Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf lies on the banks of the Rhine, one of Europe's longest rivers, which flows from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea / © Rainer Kiedrowski 

Dusseldorf, Germany
Nocturnal view of Konigsallee, the city's exclusive shopping street / © Andrew Cowin 

Medienhafen, Dusseldorf, Germany
The old harbour area has been transformed by modern architectural works by masters such as Frank Gehry / © Jochen Keute 

Modern art, Dusseldorf, Germany
The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, the Art Collection of Northrhine-Westphalia, has a section for twentieth century art and another for twenty-first century pieces / © Jochen Keute 

Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf is Germany's most cosmopolitan and prosperous city and a pioneer of modern art, architecture and design / © Torsten Kruger 

Schauspielhaus theatre, Dusseldorf, Germany
Dusseldorf's Schauspielhaus theatre is housed in a modern building but the theatrical tradition of the city dates back centuries / © Rainer Kiedrowski