"Duisburg - Europe's biggest inland port!" Top 5 Page for this destination Duisburg by ettiewyn

Duisburg Travel Guide: 119 reviews and 409 photos

Let's face it - Duisburg is a very unpopular city. It is not a tourist destination, and even among people in Northrhine Westphalia, it is not highly ranked. I go there quite often because my dad's partner lives there, but when I tell others I'm going to Duisburg, I only earn a screwing up of their noses.
Why is that?
Duisburg is an industrial city, its history is very similar to places like Manchester, Glasgow or Cardiff. Like those cities, it has tried to escape its fate and to become more upmarket, but this has only partially been successful.

Already in the Middle Ages, Duisburg was quite an important town, due to its strategic location where the rivers Rhine and Ruhr meet. In the 19th century, Duisburg became huge: Close to the two rivers, and equally close to the coal fields of the Ruhr Area, it became the biggest inland harbour in Europe (and still is), and the main place of transshipment for iron and steel, which were also produced in the city. Due to this industrial heritage, the Ruhr Area still has a stigma, and people still imagine it to be like it was fifty or hundred years ago: Dirty, ugly, crowded, sooty, smoky. The truth is that the area has changed. Although there are still a lot of works and factories, it has become a livable area with lots of green spaces and parks, shopping centers, river promenades and new developments. The Ruhr Area absolutely tries to fight its old image, there are exhibitions, new museums and events... But still, the old prejudices are hard to lose. And some of them still are true: Disemployment is among the highest in the whole of western Germany, and poverty and ugly corners are still very visible.

So - is it a tourist destination? I would say no if you are only in Germany or Northrhine Westphalia for a short time. There are a lot of nicer and prettier places to be seen. However, the Ruhr Area still is an important area of Germany, and if you are interested in industrial history or feel like seeing some unique sights that really go away from the half-timbered houses and castles, then give Duisburg (and maybe also nearby Oberhausen) a try. Although there are still some dirty and grubby parts, it is not nearly as terrible as most Germans seem to think.

One date needs to be mentioned when we speak of Duisburg today: The 24th of July 2010, the date of the Love Parade tragedy. About a million people came to Duisburg to dance and have fun, but due to bad organization and total overtaxing, a disaster happened, and twenty-one people were crushed to death. Many more were injured.
After this terrible disaster, Duisburg is not what is was before.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Industrial heritage, interesting sights, the river Rhine
  • Cons:Still many ugly and shady corners
  • In a nutshell:A city trying to find a new self!
  • Intro Updated Dec 18, 2012
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Reviews (11)

Comments (4)

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Duisburg for me means the zoo, the only place in Germany - and maybe in Europe - where koalas can be seen. Years ago we took the children and went there just to see them - it was worth the long trip. I plan on going back and then will go and see some of your tips. Thank you.

    • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
      Dec 19, 2012 at 7:04 AM

      Thank you for visiting my page, Christine! Nice to hear that you plan to go back to Duisburg :-)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Lovely little page about Dusiburg here, where I only know the train station and the football stadium. The Art Nouveau style building of the Museum of Inland Shipping looks indeed to be interesting. By the way: If you like football you better go to Mönchengladbach instead of Dortmund from Duisburg.

    • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
      Dec 15, 2012 at 12:58 AM

      Thank you, Holger! As I wrote in my tip, the train station is certainly not the nicest part of the city (don't know about the stadium, though) :-) Oh, and sorry for my football mistake ;-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Hi Mirjam, you've made a fine new Duisburg page here. I've never been to Duisburg except to change trains (so I know the ststion), but I hope to go there sometime because they have finally agreed to continue funding the opera house after all. (I have seen several performances of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, but so far only in Düsseldorf, not in Duisburg.)

    • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
      Oct 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Hi Don, thank you for visiting my Duisburg page! Good to hear about the opera house - Duisburg certainly has some prettier parts than the station :-)

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Should i include this city when I go to that area? Mmmm, busy trip!

    Tell me please when you finish

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