A city trip to Duisburg
Duisburg, a city with half a million inhabitants, is located just across the German border near the Dutch town Venlo. By car, it is a short 45 minutes.
Still, I never would have gone there had it not been for our youngest son boarding the train in Duisburg to Berlin. And since he left at 7 a.m., we, his parents, had the golden opportunity to enjoy the Duisburg sunrise.
An early start, which left us plenty of time to explore the city, great as far as I am concerned, as I am interested in industrial heritage. Like other nearby port cities like Rotterdam and Hamburg, Duisburg is part of the European Industrial Heritage Route with great architecture.
To be fair, the urban heart is not particularly attractive. The most important sites are outside the centre of Duisburg, which are:
- Inner harbour Duisburg
- Salvator Church
- Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain
- Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord
Inner harbour Duisburg
First, a bit of history to explain why Duisburg has become the city it now is. The tobacco and textile industry was essential in the town’s development during the 17th century. Coal mines and steel factories followed. Because the Ruhr and Rhine merged in Duisburg, the city became a powerful inland port.
The inland port has grown into the largest globally and is still a leading transhipment point for goods. The part of the harbour that borders the centre is now a popular residential and recreational area. Old warehouses, ultra-modern residential towers and offices are interspersed with historic buildings.
Sights inner harbour Duisburg
- Dreigiebelhaus at Nonnengasse 8 is the oldest residential house in Duisburg, built-in 1536.
- Five Boats is an office complex characterised by five buildings in the shape of a ship, each with the bow facing the water.
- Garten der Erinnerung, the memorial garden, is a city park with greenery and the remains of warehouses. The park is on Philosophenweg 9.
- The Jewish community house sits in the memorial garden. The centre includes a synagogue in the shape of a Star of David.
- The old city wall from the 12th century was uncovered during demolition works in the 1980s.
- In the Kultur- und Stadthistorisches Museum one can study the history of Duisburg from the Stone Age to the present day. The address is Johannes-Corputius-Platz 1.
Construction of the Salvator Church, a late Gothic basilica, started in the 14th century. The blackened spire is one of Duisburg’s visible landmarks from afar. The Protestant church is famous among church art enthusiasts for its beautiful window paintings, especially the Abraham window. The 16th-century pulpit and the 15th-century baptismal font are two other art treasures in the church, as is the plaque commemorating the famous cartographer Gerhard Mercator.
The church is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Salvatorstraße.
More information is on the website of the church.
Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain
Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain is an art installation in Angerpark, built-in 2011. Ulrich Genth and Heike Mutter designed it. It looks like a roller coaster, but it is a walkway with stairs. The vertical loop cannot be walked on and is closed. In 2013, HuffPost ranked Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain # 6 on the list of extreme stairs. The view from the top is supposed to be excellent. Unfortunately, we were not allowed in because the structure was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Go by car: via Ehinger Strasse or Kaiserswerther Strasse. The Angerpark does not have its own parking spaces. However, there is usually sufficient parking space in the surrounding residential areas.
- By public transport: tram line 903, stop ‘Tiger & Turtle’.
Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain
The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is the highlight of Duisburg, a cool place where I could have lingered for days. My husband had a different view on the subject. He described the site as
‘Chernobyl meets Angkor Wat’.
His somewhat crude description describes the ruins of a former blast furnace complex slowly but surely being returned to nature. Plants overgrow steel and stone.
In the middle of approximately 180 hectares is the dismantled iron factory Thyssen. From 1901 to 1985, the factory produced pig iron for further processing at the steel mill. Most of the buildings in the park are nowadays used for recreational purposes. From the former ‘blast furnace 5’, visitors have an excellent view of Duisburg and its surroundings. One can dive into the old gas tank, and there are climbing walls built-in ore storage bunkers.
The ironworks bath in a sea of light and colour in the evening, thanks to the light installation by British artist Jonathan Park.
Landschaftspark practical information
The terrain is a ‘living’ industrial monument. With its three blast furnaces, bunkers, sloping lifts and foundries, the Meiderich Ironworks retains the traditional image of a turn-of-the-century blast furnace factory. The park is equipped with information columns and signs with QR codes. By scanning a code on a smartphone, one can read the park’s history.
Admission is free
This is a great place to visit with children, where the little ones can climb and run freely. Teenagers can indulge themselves on skateboard tracks. Alternatively, have a picnic in the park. Plus, there is a cafeteria on site. The walking paths in the Landscape Park are barrier-free as much as possible and thus suitable for the disabled. Dogs are welcome in the park.
Get a map from the visitor centre at the entrance.
- Reach by car: park at Emscherstrasse 71, 47137 Duisburg.
- By tram: from Duisburg Hbf (central station) tram 903 direction Dinslaken to the stop ‘Landschaftspark-Nord’, then walk into Emscherstrasse. The park is about a ten minutes walk. Directions to the park are at the tram stop.
- By bus: bus 906 or 910 to the stop ‘Landschaftspark-Nord’, then into the Emscherstrasse. The park is about a ten minutes walk.
Duisburg has a wide choice of hotels, from budget youth hostels, business hotels to boutique accommodations. Click here for prices and availability.
In search of the wolf Disguised as a granny, I embark on a search for wolves in the German wilderness with Biosphere Expeditions. Through the brothers Grimm, I know that wolves have a culinary preference for ladies of a certain age. So I plan to draw the wolves out of...
Chamäleon in Mitte (Berlin) represents the ‘new’ circus with international productions showcased in their historic Art Noveau theatre.
Hamburg has all the big city attractions: an international cuisine, events, fabulous sights and here you can shop till you drop.
The Schwarzwald in Germany is known for its culture, traditions, gastronomy and great outdoors. It is also the sunniest part of Germany!
The Black Forest in the South West of Germany is an ideal winter destination for families. A ski holiday combined with other in- and outdoors activities.
The city is known for many things: some good, some great and some rather disturbing. And let’s be honest, Germany’s capital is not exactly easy on the eyes. However, if you take the time to discover what the city has to offer, you will not regret it.