Located just north of Düsseldorf at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, Duisburg is best known as having one of Europe's largest inland ports, with a lively, urban culture to go with it. The city is a central trading hub, and as part of the revival of the famous Silk Road route (an ancient network of trade routes connecting the east and the west), 80% of trains from China stop here first on their journeys to Europe, making it a key city in Germany.
The city is not, however, only about its commercial connections. The bustling inner harbour (Innenhafen) is a lively hub of museums, restaurants, and nightclubs, alongside the many quirky art installations and inviting gardens which are breathing life into this industrial centre.
Today, Duisburg is a great city in which to spend a few days, thanks to its modern, urban feel which complements its industrial heritage rather than replacing it, making this city the perfect mix of the past and the present.
Things to see and do in Duisburg
- Innenhafen - Duisburg's inner harbour, once the central trading centre of the Rhine, has become a hub for living, working, and leisure in the city, offering a vibrant mix of old industrial architecture and chic modern buildings. In the day it's a great place for a waterfront stroll and a dip into a museum, and when evening falls it comes alive with bars and restaurants overlooking the water.
- Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park - This park is one of the best ways to experience how Duisburg is embracing its past, finding a new interpretation of its old industrial buildings and areas. The park is built on the site of an iron works, and today you can dive in an old gasometer, go climbing in abandoned storage bunkers, or admire the views from a disused blast furnace. How cool is that?
- Tiger and Turtle - This quirky art installation in the south of the city is a 21 metre-high walkable roller-coaster and is the brainchild of artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. The sculpture is essentially a winding, looping staircase that you can walk around, offering amazing views of the city from the top. It's quirky and fun, and a cool way to spend an hour in Duisburg.
- German Inland Waterway Museum - If you're intrigued about the workings of Duisburg's inland port, then this museum is a great place to get clued up on the facts. Housed in a former Art Nouveau swimming pool, the museum offers exhibitions covering the technical, economic, and social history of German inland waterway navigation through interesting and immersive exhibitions. You can even arrive at the museum by boat, making you feel part of its heritage.
Getting to Duisburg
If you're planning on flying to Duisburg the closest international airport is in Düsseldorf, 20 kilometres south of the city. From the airport it's around a 25 minute drive, or a 30 minute train ride from Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal station costing between €12 and €17.
Duisburg station is also a hub for regional, national, and international trains, including links to Brussels (taking around two hours 40 minutes and costing €46 when booked in advance) and Paris (taking around four hours ten minutes and costing €54 when booked in advance).
There are also relatively easy driving routes connecting Duisburg to Essen, Düsseldorf, and Cologne.