This market is definitely a must-visit for any one who is fortunate enough to be in Europe this time of the year. It all starts next week at six locations throughout the city’s OldTown (the market runs from 19 November to 23 December). Düsseldorf, while perhaps not the most picturesque of Germany’s major cities (it was badly destroyed in the Second World War and never regained its earlier historical attractiveness), is certainly an attractive shopping metropolis.
Its famous Königsallee is of course well-known as a high-rollers strolling paradise. But this time of year people from all walks of life flock to the city centre to enjoy the delights of a peaceful, family friendly and indeed exciting Christmas market.
This year it will consist of over 250 seasonally decorated huts, selling all kinds of tasty treats like hot chestnuts or ginger bread as well as a great range of handicrafts, both German and from around the world.
The Düsseldorf Christmas Market is in fact more of a city-wide event than merely a local market place. For the first time ever, the Christmas market will offer a free ice rink (at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz). Among the various settings are localities of the Christmas Market is the busy “Marktplatz”, the art-nouveau style “Engelchen-Markt” (at Heinrich-Heine-Platz in the Old Town) the Bürgermarkt and the Sternchenmarkt (located at the Stadtbrückchen and the Rhine river). Usually winters are not very cold in Germany. Snow is hardly ever knee-deep in cities and in Düsseldorf, geographically far from the mountains and at low-altitude; the festive season rarely receives more than a few snow-dustings. That can take away some of the deep-winter feeling from the Christmas market, but the sheer excitement and variety of the happenings at he market provide plenty of distraction from the weather (unless it happens to be raining). For grown-ups staying warm is made easy by the many stands serving the traditional “Glühwein” (hot red wine with cinnamon).
If one plans to stay on in the evening to in to tour the world famous Old Town with its countless pubs sieving not only the local “Alt” beer, but most any brand imaginable, drinking too much “Glühwein” beforehand is not advisable. Perhaps the best advice to share with all visitors, whether inclined to enjoy an alcoholic drink or not, is to be prepared for walking a long time. Its not just the walking that can prove to be tiring, the bags of unexpected purchases, for friends, family and yourself will need to be carried along! If you are passing through Düsseldorf by train to visit the Christmas market, then you may want to deposit any luggage you are carrying at the station until you return (the city also has an international airport). But best of course, is if you can find the time to stay overnight and check in to a hotel. Regardless, a few hours or a couple of days, Düsseldorf and its Christmas market will prove to be a most memorable experience. Merry Christmas!
Christmas market opening times:
19 November to 23 December 2009, daily from 11.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. (Sundays to Thursdays) and to 9.00 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays). On 22 November the market is closed for “Totensonntag” a religious holiday.