Düsseldorf – capital of the federal
state North Rhine-Westphalia – is situated on both sides
of the Rhine at the foothills of the “Bergische Land”
in the terraced landscape of the “Niederrhein” –
38 metres above sea level.
print by Matthaeus Merian taken from the book “Topographia
Germaniae“. This view of the town of Düsseldorf
dates from around the middle of the 17th century.
(Enlargement by a click on the mouse)
The early years
The settlement of Düsseldorf (village where the small river Düssel
flows into the Rhine) was first mentioned in 1135 and granted the
status of a town by Count Adolf von Berg in 1288.
During the reign of Count Wilhelm of the dynasty Jülich (1360
– 1408) the town expanded remarkably. In 1371 it was given official
authority in all matters of jurisdiction. After the count had been
given the title of duke in 1380, the sovereigns gradually transferred
their residence to Düsseldorf. Jülich, Kleve, Berg, Mark
and Ravensberg were joined under the rule of the dukes of Kleve in
1511. Düsseldorf became the capital and acquired a high level
of prosperity, especially during the reign of Duke Wilhelm der Reiche
(1539 – 1592).
When he died in 1609 without leaving any children Brandenburg and
Pfalz-Neuburg were able to stand their ground in the disputes over
the succession between Jülich and Kleve. In the “Vertrag
von Xanten“ (contract of Xanten) (1614) Jülich, Berg and
Düsseldorf were allocated to Pfalz-Neuburg.
The dukes of Pfalz-Neuburg also had their residence in Düsseldorf.
By pursuing a policy of neutrality Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm (1614 –
1653) succeeded in protecting the town from major damage during the
Thirty Years‘ War (1618 – 1648). The dukes promoted the
expansion of the town and its fortification.
The reign of the popular Johann Wilhelm (1679 – 1716), called
Jan Wellem, had enormous beneficial effects.
His perspicacious measures attracted a lot of craftsmen, merchants
and artists. Some of them only stayed for a while but quite a few
also settled down and bought houses or received them from the elector
as a gift. For his collection of paintings Jan Wellem had a special
gallery built from 1709 to 1714, which was a separate building but
connected to the palace. This collection, which also comprised quite
a number of paintings by Rubens, was transferred to Munich in 1805
where it later became the basis of the “Alte Pinakothek”.
well-known equestrian statue in front of the city hall
at the market place was created by Grupello from 1703
to 1711 and shows the Elector Jan Wellem in all his splendour
on a marble pedestal.
After Johann Wilhelm’s death on 8.6.1716 his brother, the Elector
Carl Philipp, moved the seat of the court to Mannheim and entrusted
his officials with clearing out the courtly household, a fact which
was a serious setback for Düsseldorf.
Only under the reign of the Elector Karl Theodor von der Pfalz (1742
– 1799) the town flourished once again. In the Seven Years‘
War – after a bombardment by General Wangenheim’s troops
– Düsseldorf was taken in 1758.
Karl Theodor completed the collection of paintings that Jan Wellem
had begun and appointed the painter Lambert Krahe as the director
of the gallery. In 1777 Krahe founded the academy for painters and
sculptors and the sovereign took on the aegis which was the beginning
of the famous academy of arts.
In 1787 the spacious “Karlstadt” was laid out. In Pempelfort,
situated outside the town gates, the country house of the brothers
Jacobi became a meeting place for German intellectuals. Wieland, Humboldt,
Herder and Goethe stayed there.
the end of the 18th century the country house of Friedrich
Heinrich Jacobi (* 1743, † 1819) and his brother
Johann Georg became a centre of German intellectual life.
Düsseldorf in the 19th century
In 1799 Karl Theodor died without descendants. His successor, Maximilian
Joseph von der Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken, had to hand Berg
over to Napoleon in 1806 so that Düsseldorf became the capital
of the Grand Duchy of Berg. In 1808 Napoleon took over the rule acting
as guardian of his nephew Louis Napoleon. When Napoleon stayed in
Düsseldorf in 1811 he gave the grounds of the former fortification
to the town as a gift - thus making its development to a garden city
After Düsseldorf had been incorporated into Prussia (1815) it
became the seat of the head of government and the provincial state
parliament in 1824. In 1819 Peter Cornelius became the director of
the academy of arts, now called “Königliche Kunstakademie
zu Düsseldorf“. But only after his successor, Wilhelm von
Schadow, had taken up this position in the autumn of 1826 the academy
gained its eminent importance. Among Schadow‘s students were
e.g. Theodor Hildebrandt, Karl Friedrich Lessing, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer
and Johann Peter Hasenclever who established the international reputation
of the “Düsseldorfer Malerschule“. Their works were
dominated by landscape and genre paintings, the high quality of which
was purely based on artistic inspiration due to lack of conspicuous
academy of arts with its symmetrical lay-out was built
in 1879 according to plans of the architect Hermann Riffart.
One of the most interesting features of its magnificent
facade is the frieze that runs along the east, north and
south side of the building with the names of 62 artists
from various epochs. In 1896 Prof. Adolf Schill completed
the architectural decoration of the building. The ceiling
paintings are by Peter Janssen, one of the directors of
Beginning in 1831 a brisk goods and loading traffic developed at the
river dockyard in front of the old palace. Five years later the shareholder
company “Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft für den Nieder- und
Mittelrhein“ was established - one of the first companies in
Düsseldorf organised according to modern principles. A chamber
of commerce was founded and a pontoon bridge served as the first steady
connection to the area on the left side of the river.
In 1838 the first railway-line of the “Rheinprovinz” connected
Düsseldorf with the already fully developed industrial region
of the “Bergische Land”. When the railway-line Düsseldorf
– Erkrath was opened the trains had to be pulled uphill by stationary
steam engines. Only seven years later a second railway-line connected
Düsseldorf with Cologne and – via the “Ruhrgebiet”
– even with Berlin.
Gas lighting illuminated the streets and places of the town since
The “Departementverfassung” – still dating from
the time of Napoleon – was replaced by the local code in 1845.
More and more certain reservations concerning the Prussian rule were
coming to light. The Catholic population feared the increasing political
influence of Protestantism and was highly suspicious of the Prussian
militarism. This anti-Prussian atmosphere was fuelled by the bad economic
situation which mainly affected the working classes in the early days
In the first months of 1848 the revolutionary movement – originating
in France – reached Düsseldorf. As one of the first groups
some of the artists headed by Ludwig von Milewski joined the revolutionaries.
Demands for freedom of the press and the establishment of trials by
jury were voiced; Lorenz Cantador organized a militia. On 7th May
1848, shortly after the elections to the “Frankfurter Nationalversammlung”,
Mayor Josef von Fuchsius resigned because he did not feel up to the
difficult situation any longer.
On 14.5. during the visit of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV to Düsseldorf
a public scandal occurred: While the Prussian monarch was riding through
the town the outraged population shouted insults and threw horse droppings
After the failure of the Frankfurter
Nationalversammlung and bloody barricade-fightings the democratic
movement in Düsseldorf was finally put down by Prussian troops.
The artist von Milewski was among the dead.
“Ratinger Tor” - built in classical style
by Adolph von Vagedes between 1811 and 1814 - one of the
most beautiful architectural testimonies of this time
With the exhibition ”Provinzial-Gewerbeausstellung für
das Rheinland und Westfalen“ in 1852 Düsseldorf –
located in the centre of the industrial region comprising the towns
Mönchengladbach/Krefeld, the “Bergische Land” and
the “Ruhrgebiet” – had the first opportunity to
present itself as a place for exhibitions and trade fairs. Belgian
industrialists became aware of the town as a promising economic location
and in the same year the first iron-processing enterprises were set
After prolonged negotiations with the Prussian building authorities
headed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel plans for the expansion of the town
to the north and south were authorized on 3.7.1854. For Düsseldorf
this date marked the beginning of a fast development from provincial
capital to a town of industry and commerce.
From then on the first administrations of industrial enterprises and
associations were transferred to Düsseldorf. The further completion
of traffic connections together with the proximity to the “Ruhrgebiet”
and the high quality of life made Düsseldorf very attractive
so that it also became more and more interesting as a location for
banks, e.g. the banking house Trinkaus.
The entrepreneurs aimed at developing Düsseldorf into a metropolis
of the regional industry by means of mergers and the foundation of
interest groups. A central commercial stock exchange was established.
From 1860 on it traded securities of the first companies which had
been converted into public limited companies.
The so-called “Dreiklassenwahlrecht” - in force until
1918 - divided the population entitled to vote into three groups according
to their taxation. At the top were the representatives of the nobility,
wealthy merchants, bankers, factory owners, high-ranking army officers
and officials. The second class comprised physicians, lawyers, middle-class
officials and old-established merchants, followed by members of the
lower middle-classes: workmen, innkeepers and tradesmen. In the town
council the number of representatives of the first class (only 4%
of those entitled to vote) was up to 20 times higher than that of
the mostly Catholic representatives of the two other classes. The
members of the so-called „fourth class“, the majority
of the population, had neither the right to vote nor the right to
stand as a candidate in the elections.
The right to vote was granted only to males having reached the age
of 25, living in the municipality for more than one year and possessing
either land or having a minimum annual income of 600 to 800 “Taler”.
Due to shifts in income caused by rising profits as a result of the
industrialization the old-established “Biedermeier” bourgeoisie
slowly lost its influence in the municipal administration and institutions
to liberal-Protestant entrepreneurs and financiers. Their thinking
was characterised by economical rationalism and their attitude to
the progressive Prussian state much more approving than that of the
conservative Catholic merchants.
In December 1875 Ludwig Hammers resigned from his post as mayor after
25 years. Two months later Friedrich Wilhelm Becker became the first
Protestant mayor of Düsseldorf. These political conditions served
as the basis for the future development of industry and commerce.
of the oldest lanes in the old town:
The beginnings of the modern city
In 1882/83 Düsseldorf had become a city with a population of
100,000. The third expansion plan of the 19th century - the so-called
“Sübben-Plan” - was presented in 1884. The size of
the area to be developed had increased sevenfold compared to the plan
of 1854. The two railway-lines that hindered the development of the
city were combined into one. A new central (passenger) station was
opened in 1891 and replaced the old stations which had been closed
On the initiative of some industrialists the “Oberkasseler Brücke”
was built as the first road bridge from 1896 to 1898. The “Rheinische
Bahngesellschaft” (founded in 1895) headed by Heinrich Lueg
was not only responsible for the construction and maintenance of the
electric railway-line from Düsseldorf to Krefeld (the first railway-line
in Europe with express trains) but also for the development of a new
part of the city: the “Rheinische Bahngesellschaft” bought
the entire land in Oberkassel on the left bank of the river and developed
this area into an exclusive residential area for the middle classes.
The step into the 20th century is closely associated with the era
Wilhelm Marx, named after that legendary mayor (1898 – 1910).
The first high-rise building of the city (1922 – 1924) was also
called after him. At the beginning of his term Düsseldorf had
a population of 200,000 and at the end of his term it had 360,000
Marx used the ambition and the demands of the dominating social forces
- nearly all industrialists were city councillors (Poensgen, Haniel,
Bagel, Lueg, Schieß and others) - for promoting the prosperity
and importance of the city. During this period Düsseldorf became
the centre of trade associations, trusts, administrations and banks
and was called „desk of the Ruhrgebiet“.
Wilhelm Marx - Stadtarchiv Düsseldorf.
The “Industrie-, Gewerbe- und Kunstausstellung” in 1902
was a milestone in the development of the city and exceeded all expectations.
This exhibition had 160 different buildings, about 2500 exhibitors
and five million visitors – among them were the Emperor Wilhelm
II, the Crown Prince of Siam, the brother of the Japanese emperor,
nearly all of the German princes and also numerous ministers from
home and abroad. The “Parkhotel” at Corneliusplatz was
especially built as an exhibition hotel for upmarket tastes. The “Kunstpalast”
was later given to the artists as a permanent exhibition building
because they had initiated this successful exhibition together with
Prof. F. Roeber (later the director of the academy of arts), Mayor
Marx and H. Lueg and F Krupp, two entrepreneurs, who were the spokesmen
of the mining industry.
At the same time the city could develop extensive areas in the centre
and along the riverbank. The former barracks grounds stretched from
Kasernenstraße (Kasernen street) to the western side of Königsallee.
The former palace (since 1872 only a ruin) had been demolished and
the riverbank had been widened which now provided enough space for
buildings with new architectural features.
On the road becoming a metropolis on
Not only by the number of its inhabitants and its special atmosphere
but also by buildings typical of cities of this time Düsseldorf
aimed at presenting itself as a metropolis. A remarkable number of
specific big buildings give an impression of the structure of the
city before the First World War. These are e.g. the administration
building of the steel association (“Stahlhof” –
1904), the “AOK” building (1904/05), the “Luisenschule”
(1905-1907), the government building (1907 – 1911), the Provincial
Court of Appeal (1910), the “Mannesmann” building (1910/11),
the department stores “Tietz” (1907 – 1909) and
“Carsch” (1914 – 1916) as well as the buildings
of the district court and the country court in Mühlenstraße
(1912 – 1921).
The “Dumont-Lindemann” theatre with performances throughout
the year, the opera, the concert hall (built at the end of the 19th
century and expanded in 1901), the “Apollo” theatre, numerous
art exhibitions in the “Kunstpalast” and various other
attractions provided for an unusually abundant cultural life. Several
modern secondary schools were opened; not only the “Kunstakademie”
(academy of arts) but also the “Kunstgewer-beschule” (college
of arts and crafts) headed by Peter Behrens had an outstanding reputation.
In 1908/09 a municipal reform was carried out as the permanent growth
of the city required new relationships to the adjacent villages. These
had experienced an increase in population because of the improved
traffic conditions but did not have the financial means to satisfy
the needs of their growing population. The incorporation of Wersten,
Stockum, Rath, Gerresheim, Ludenberg, Eller, Himmelgeist, Heerdt and
Oberkassel doubled the size of Düsseldorf, the number of inhabitants
rising by about 62,900.
Before the beginning of the First World War the population exceeded
450.000. Therefore it was not surprising that the award-winning design
for “Düsseldorf as a city of more than one million inhabitants“
by Prof. B. Schmitz was highly appreciated when presented at the “Städtebau-Ausstellung
für Rheinland, Westfalen und benachbarte Gebiete” in 1912.
But the economic consequences of the First World War, the period of
inflation and the French occupation foiled a lot of plans. Construction
work came to an almost complete standstill followed by housing shortage
and a state-controlled housing market.
After the First World War
Already in 1919 young artists such as Max Ernst, Jankel Adler, Arthur
Kaufmann, Otto Dix, Otto Pankok, Adolf Uzarski and others met in Johanna
Ey’s art gallery and founded the group of artists ”Junges
Soon the first important examples of the architecture of the 1920s
were erected. Nowadays they are considered as ground-breaking for
the architecture of the Weimar Republic, although their construction
was begun during a time when the economic situation was still bad
: the “Wilhelm-Marx-Haus” (1922 – 1924), the “Industriehaus”
am Wehrhahn (1924), the “Darmstädter und Nationalbank”
(1924) in Königsallee, the “Pressehaus” at Martin-Luther-Platz
(1924/25), the “Stumm-Verwaltung” (1923 – 1925)
and the administration building of the “Phoenix AG” (1922
– 1926). An office-building company – in the foundation
of which the city of Düsseldorf had played a major role –
erected the two buildings mentioned at first. Different cooperatives
and this office-building company were also in charge of constructing
the first housing estates in Golzheim (from 1921 to 1923 and from
1922 to 1926).
Probably inspired by the exhibition centre founded by the mayor of
Cologne, Dr. Konrad Adenauer, the mayor of Düsseldorf, Dr. Robert
Lehr (1924 – 1933), realised that only a special event could
do justice to the inhabitants’ undiminished zest and bring new
glory to Düsseldorf as an exhibition place. The director of the
children’s hospital, Prof. Arthur Schloßmann, had already
energetically fought for founding the academy of medicine (1919) in
Düsseldorf. He achieved that the ”Gesellschaft der Naturforscher
und Ärzte“ held its conference in Düsseldorf in 1926.
Therefore he is also considered the initiator of the “Große
Ausstellung für Gesundheitspflege, soziale Fürsorge und
Leibesübungen“ (Gesolei). This exhibition was not focused
on industry and commerce but on human needs. Four hundred congresses
and conferences emphasized its informative character. The permanent
buildings by Prof. W. Kreis – the museums, the planetarium and
the “Rheinterrasse” – closed the riverfront between
the “Kniebrücke” and the government buildings. More
than 7.5 million visitors – among them about three million from
abroad – saw this exhibition.
View to the exhibition grounds of the “Gesolei“
with “Rheinterrasse”, “Ehrenhof”
and planetarium – now the modern concert hall. Stadtarchiv
(city archives) Düsseldorf. Photo from 1926.
(Enlargement by a click on the mouse)
In the following years large housing estates at Kaiserswerther Straße
(Kaiserswerther street), the “Salz-& Schmitz-Häuser”
at the “Theodor-Heuss-Brücke” and the housing estates
at Karolingerstraße were built. Although all of these buildings
were architecturally obliged to the Gesolei-buildings they nonetheless
showed more characteristics of the architecture of the war and the
early post-war years. During the second municipal reform in 1929 Kaiserswerth,
Lohausen, Benrath, Itter and Urdenbach were incorporated into Düsseldorf.
The beginning of National Socialism and the Second World War were
a serious setback for the city and put a stop to its cultural life.
Shortly after the ”Machtergreifung“ the teaching staff
of the academy of arts was exchanged : Paul Klee, Heinrich Campendonk,
Ewald Matare and others had to leave, also Jascha Horenstein, the
conductor of the city orchestra, and K. Koetschau, the director of
the art museum. Galleries of modern art were closed and numerous artists
were arrested, persecuted or banned from working. Innumerable works
of art were removed, especially those by Jewish artists.
In 1937 the big exhibition ”Schaffendes Volk“ was organized
– an event to which the city owes the “Nordpark”
and the “Golzheimer Siedlung”. Some of the bigger buildings
which had already been planned or the construction of which had begun
in the 1920s – the main station, the police HQ and the regional
revenue office – were completed in the 1930s.
A fresh start after the Second World War
The Second World War had caused enormous damage. The city looked like
a heap of rubble. It had lost all its bridges as well as half of all
its houses, industrial and public buildings. Nearly all of the churches
had been destroyed apart from their enclosing walls. Just about 7
% of all buildings had remained undamaged. The first and foremost
task therefore was to provide the citizens with housing resistant
to winter and not in danger to collapse.
Düsseldorf – at first Headquarters of the British military
government - became the capital of the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia
in 1946. Friedrich Tamms - city planner since 1948 - was council officer
for urban and regional planning from 1954 to 1969. The destroyed churches
and important buildings were reconstructed – whenever possible
according to their original plans and a reorganization plan from 1949
for a car-friendly city was approved. During the first years of the
”era Tamms“ his former colleagues from the “Arbeitsstab
Speer” participated in all major building projects and Düsseldorf
had the reputation of being quite conservative as far as its architecture
was concerned. Only gradually a change took place: with numerous outstanding
buildings the city was able to keep up with the international style
of architecture at the end of the 1950s.
called “Thyssen-Haus”, was built in 1960 at
the edge of the “Hofgarten” by two architects
from Düsseldorf, Helmut Hentrich and Hubert Petschnigg.
The building has 26 floors with a total height of 96 metres.
The “Drei-Scheiben-Haus”, the new theatre, the “Mannesmann”
building, the new state gallery, the new parliament near the TV tower
as well as the buildings by Frank O. Gehry in the harbour, the “Stadttor”
and numerous other new administration and media buildings contribute
to the constantly changing appearance of Düsseldorf. Old and
new are at close quarters but harmoniously complement each other.
A fact that Peter Behrens had aptly put on parting from Düsseldorf
(1907): “Heinrich Heine is right: This city is so beautiful
that nobody will be able to spoil it completely – no matter
how hard they try.“
At the moment (2000) Düsseldorf has approximately 570,000 inhabitants.
Together with Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich it is nationally
and internationally one of the most important economic centres. The
following facts emphasize its importance as a centre for international
trade: Düsseldorf has the biggest settlement of Japanese in Germany,
the third largest airport of the Federal Republic (more than 16 million
passengers in 2000) and is the second largest banking and securities
trading centre. But Düsseldorf is also a market of creativity,
the arts, fashion and well-known for its international trade fairs.
About 1000 companies of the information and communications industry
with more than 26,000 employees have their offices in Düsseldorf;
more than 200 galleries organise exhibitions and about 600 artists
live and work here; more than 900 advertising agencies – some
of them international companies– with approximately 6,500 employees
are based here. Düsseldorf also has various colleges and universities,
e.g. the “Heinrich-Heine-Universität”, the academy
of arts and the “Robert-Schumann-Hochschule”.
life on the banks of the river Rhine with the “Schloßturm”
dating from the middle of the 16th century and “St.
Lambertus Basilika” dating back to the 8th century.
The international atmosphere of the state capital Düsseldorf
is also reflected in its cosmopolitan and friendly population, its
numerous leisure facilities and the attractive landscape on both sides
of the river. In other words: Düsseldorf is always more than
worth a visit. Come and experience the city on a balmy summer evening
- sitting on the Rhine-promenade and drinking a glass of “Altbier”
(top-fermented dark beer) to end an eventful day in pleasant company.
Ralf A. H. Thonemann
Highlights of the state capital (a selection)
The castle of the earls of Berg (later the dukes of Jülich-Kleve-Berg)
was probably built after Düsseldorf had been granted the status
of a town (in 1288) and dominated the riverfront for centuries. In
general its construction (at first probably only a fortified dwelling
house) is estimated at around 1324 when there were plans to collect
customs duty in Düsseldorf. The castle, mentioned in official
documents from 1386 on, had already undergone considerable expansion
at that time. Presumably in the last two decades of the 14th century
and at the beginning of the 15th century a complex consisting of three
wings was built. It opened up towards the town and had towers at the
end of the northern and southern wing. A wall stretched between these
towers and a water-filled moat surrounded the whole complex. The northern
Düssel which flowed under the castle did not only feed the above
mentioned moats but also formed a small moat for waste disposal in
front of the long wing facing the Rhine. The palace itself was situated
right next to the shipyard.
After the fires around 1490 and 1510 the castle was dilapidated. Between
1522 and 1529 it was renovated – first by Duke Johann III of
Jülich-Kleve-Berg and then by his successor Wilhelm der Reiche.
Alessandro Pasqualini, the master builder from Bologna, was in charge
of the conversion. Around 1551 he finished the round tower (which
still exists today) and added a fourth polygonal store that was structured
by Tuscan semi-columns and originally had a hemispherical dome crowned
with an onion-shaped lantern.
The palace was one of the favourite residences of the last dukes of
Jülich-Kleve-Berg. In 1585 it served as setting for one of the
most glittering celebrations in the town history: the marriage of
Duke Johann Wilhelm to the Countess Jakobe von Baden.
picture of the Elector Johann Wilhelm, painted by Jan
Frans Douven in 1703. Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Inv.Nr.
Of the sovereigns of Pfalz-Neuburg the Elector Johann Wilhelm spent
all his life in Düsseldorf and had the palace modernised and
sumptuously furnished. From 1709 to 1714 he even had a separate gallery
built for his collection of paintings. It was connected to the palace
and one of the first of its kind in Germany.
”Close to the palace there is the building finished in 1710.
It houses the famous gallery of Düsseldorf – one of the
three most distinguished collections of paintings in Germany“
Ludewig Wilhelm Gilbert in 1792.
The court buildings also had a theatre, an opera and a “Ballspielhaus”
(a building for playing ball games). Near the palace tower were the
living quarters of the servants which had been remodelled together
with some other outbuildings in 1699.
Schloss” – view from the west. The picture
shows the building with roof and floors in the early 18th
century. Drawing from around 1800, based on a lost original.
Stadtmuseum (city museum) Düsseldorf.
After Johann Wilhelm’s death his successors did not live in
Düsseldorf any longer. They had the furnishings, the collections
and the library gradually transferred to their new residence in Mannheim
so that the palace slowly became uninhabitable.
Elector Karl Theodor commissioned his master builder J. H. Nosthoffen
to renovate the buildings and he added floors to the entire complex.
During a bombardment by French troops in 1794 the palace was destroyed
by fire and remained a ruin until the beginning of the 19th century
when it housed the newly-founded academy of arts.
Professor Rudolf Wiegmann of the academy of arts planned the reconstruction
of the completely demolished northern wing which was assigned to accommodate
the provincial parliament; on the day when the foundation-stone was
laid, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV came to Düsseldorf.
For the tower – at that time still a ruin – Wiegmann designed
an open upper storey of octagonal shape, structured by double arcades
and decorated with a balustrade. But in 1872 the palace (by then already
called the academy of arts) was once again destroyed by fire.
The ruin of the palace after the devastating fire in March
1872. On the left side of the picture: the palace gate
by Pasqualini next to the ruin of the former academy of
arts. On the right side: the northern wing (next to the
palace tower). It had accommodated the “Ständehaus”.
After the fire the “Ständehaus” moved
into a building at the “Kaiserteich”. H. and
E. Becker, 1872. Stadtmuseum (city museum) Düsseldorf
In 1882 the ruin was sold to the city of Düsseldorf. The council
decided to pull it down and in 1892 granted the necessary funds for
extending the palace tower which was still in relatively good condition.
When the “Oberkasseler Brücke” (Oberkassel bridge)
was opened to traffic in 1898 plans were made for laying-out the now
empty space at the riverfront. In 1909 the dilapidated balustrade
of the tower was removed and replaced by a flat tent roof. During
an air raid in the Second World War (1943) the tower burnt out. In
1950 it was only pro-visionally repaired and from 1978 to 1983 basically
restored. Today it accommodates the valuable collection of inland
shipping of the “Stadtmuseum” (city museum)– the
so-called “Schiffahrts-Museum” (shipping museum).
From 1999 to 2001 the tower was again renovated and fitted out with
a cafe in the so-called lantern (the upper storey) from where you
have a wonderful view to the old town and the river Rhine.
The remains of the palace: the palace tower on the riverbank.
Today (2002) it accommodates the “Schiffahrts-Museum”
(shipping museum) with a cafe in the lantern (the upper
His life and his works
Heinrich (christened Harry) Heine was born in Düsseldorf on
13.12.1797. From 1807 to 1814 he attended grammar school. One year
later Heine left his home town and completed a training as a bank
clerk in Frankfurt and Hamburg. He studied law in Bonn, Göttingen
and Berlin but also attended lectures on history and philology.
During a hiking tour in the “Harz” Heine visited Goethe
in Weimar on 2.10.1824. In June 1825 he converted from Judaism to
Christianity; one month later he did his doctorate in law. From
his time as a student date ”Gedichte“ (1822) and two
tragic-dramatic essays (tragedies with a lyrical intermezzo), but
only ”Reisebilder“ (two volumes, 1826 to 1827 including
”Harzreise“, ”Nordsee“, the book ”Le
Grande“; two further volumes 1830/31 including ”Reise
von München nach Genua“ and ”Bäder von Lucca“)
were a big success – alternating witty descriptive prose and
lyric poetry interludes written in a nimble and elegantly chatting
style. From that time on Heine was able to live as an independent
In the back-building of this house in the old town, Bolkerstraße
53 (Bolker street), Heinrich Heine was born on 13.12.1797.
Heine collected the verses that were scattered in ”Reisebilder“
and published them together with a lot of new ones in ”Buch
der Lieder“ (1827) which became the most successful German collection
of poems and established Heinrich Heine’s world-wide reputation
as a lyric poet.
In 1831 Heine went to Paris as a correspondent for the ”Allgemeine
Zeitung“ (Augsburg) and only revisited Germany briefly in 1843
On 31.8.1841 he married Eugenie (Mathilde) Mirat (* 1815, †
For quite some time Heine received an honorary pension from the French
government because of his merits (acquaintance with Balzac, V. Hugo,
Dumas the Elder, Lamartine, George Sand, A. de Musset, G. de Nerval
and others). As a writer he tried to mediate between Germany and France
by means of introducing French art and liberality to Germany and German
literature and philosophy to France. To this end ”Geschichte
der neueren schönen Literatur in Deutschland“ (two volumes;
extended by the German Romantic period it was published as ”Die
Romantische Schule“ in 1836) and ”Französische Zustände“
were published in 1833. In 1834 the first volume of „Salon“
(with ”Französische Maler“, poems and the fragment
”Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopski“) and
”Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland“
(in the second volume of „Salon“ together with ”Frühlingslieder“)
The German parliament banned the works of Heinrich Heine and those
of the writers known as the ”Jungdeutsche“ in 1835.
In 1837 the third volume of „Salon“ was published (including
“Florentinische Nächte“ and ”Elementargeister“).
In the same year Heine attacked Platen in ”Bäder von Lucca“
and W. Menzel in ”Über den Denunzianten“, in 1840
he settled the score with L. Börne. In 1840 Heine published the
fourth volume of „Salon“ including „Rabbi von Bacharach“
and ”Über die französische Bühne“, poems
and romances. A journey from Paris to Hamburg inspired his epic poem
”Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen“ (1844) in which
he mercilessly exposed German weaknesses by means of biting wit. In
his epic poem ”Atta Troll“ (1847; partly in magazines
in 1843) he ridiculed literature written for political purposes only
and advocated the independence of genuine poetry instead. Heine wrote
the poem ”Die Göttin Diana“ in 1846, ”Doktor
Faust“ in 1847 and ”Geständnisse“ and ”Memoiren“
between 1853 and 1856.
In ”Neue Lieder“ (1844) the lyric tones of voice took
second place to political tendencies; at the same time Heinrich Heine
- following Saint-Simon – preached the cult of sensual pleasures
intoxicated by beauty. His most genuinely personal tones of voice
are to be found in ”Romanzero“ (1851) and its sequel (in
the third volume of ”Vermischte Schriften“ – 1853/54)
which were written when he was already suffering from an incurable
disease which affected his spinal cord. Constantly in pain Heine had
been confined to bed since 1848. At the end, when he was helpless
and became more and more isolated, his last lover ”Mouche“
(Elise Krinitz, * 1830, † 1897) cared for him. Heine died in
Paris on 17.2.1856.
Painting by M. Oppenheim, 1831. “Kunsthalle Hamburg”.
His personality and his influence
Heinrich Heine was one of the most important and gifted talents in
the post-Goethe 19th century. In the tradition of Eichendorff’s
and Wilhelm Müller’s four-line-poems Heine combined the
magic and the variety of sentiments of late-Romantic poetry with the
reflectiveness and the scepticism of the intellectual who was - similar
to Byron - full of inner conflict.
Too conscious and too confused to be able to abandon himself to the
pathos of a sentiment, and too honest to feign an innocence of feeling
he did not have any more, Heinrich Heine introduced a Romantic irony
to lyric poetry which included a witty reflexion on his own point
of view. This led to the frequent - partly shrill-cynical, partly
gloomy-dissonant - changes of mood in his poems.
At first sight Heine’s songs and ballads seem to be rather simple
in style. However, a closer look reveals their artistic perfection.
Some of them have become quite popular, especially in their musical
arrangement by Schubert and Schumann. The satirist Heine was of scathing
shrewdness. With his ingenious, emotional and ironical prose he created
a literary style which nowadays is often used in the sections of a
news-paper dealing with culture, literature and entertainment.
Equally impressed by Hegel and Saint-Simon Heine sympathized with
the “Linkshegelianismus” in his aggressive and partly
revolutionary attitude towards state and church (acquaintance with
Karl Marx in Paris).
Heine’s ambivalent and contradictory personality can be explained
by the transitory era he lived in - an era in which the ethical and
metaphysical obligations of the Idealistic epoch were fading. His
literary works are nonetheless homogeneous and complete, his wit a
means of synthetizing intellect and emotions, the individual and the
Heinrich Heine’s literary influence in Europe was extraordinary.
His poems were translated into many languages and the notion of German
Romanticism abroad has been considerably shaped by Heine. But from
the beginning Heine and his literary works also met with hostility
– the culminating point of the dispute about Heinrich Heine
was around 1900 (K. Kraus, “Heine und die Folgen“, 1910).
Anyone who is looking for the spirit of Heinrich Heine in Düsseldorf
should pay a visit to the “Heinrich-Heine-Institut” in
Bilker Straße 12-14 (Bilker street) as it is museum, memorial
and research institute at the same time. A permanent exhibition gives
an introduction to the life and works of the poet. The institute stores
original manuscripts (about half of all Heine autographs in the whole
world) and further authentic documents. Re-searchers on Heine from
all over the world keep coming to the institute as guests.
On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Heine’s death an
eventful history of a monument came to its end: Bert Gerresheim’s
Heine monument - donated by Dr. Stefan Kaminsky – was set up
at Schwanenmarkt in 1981. A first initiative for a Heine monument
in Düsseldorf came from the Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) of Austria
in 1888 but failed because the Prussians were ruling over Düsseldorf
at that time. Later the citizens‘ donations for the monument
were used to purchase Heine’s literary estate.
In 1932 the artist Georg Kolbe won the first prize in a competition
for a Heine monument. His bronze sculpture of an aspiring young man
could not be set up at the “Ehrenhof” until after the
Second World War.
The “Kunstverein” donated the torso of a girl ”Harmonie“
in the “Hofgarten” in Heine’s honour in 1953. Different
from all these allegorical sculptures Gerresheim’s ”Fragemal“
critically reflects the possibilities of a monument at the present
time. His monument is a distorted sculpture which breaks up Heine’s
death-mask and surrounds it by numerous symbols.
The Heine monument at Schwanenmarkt - a sculpture of his
physiognomy - created by Bert Gerresheim from Düsseldorf
The “Hofgarten” – ”one of the most beautiful
and appealing parks of modern times“ (”Die Kunstdenkmäler
der Rheinprovinz“) covers 27 hectares – stretching from
“Schloß Jägerhof” to the river Rhine.
This peaceful park owes its existence – although this may
sound paradoxical – to hostilities. The Seven Years‘
War had seriously damaged the land in Pempelfort which was situated
outside the defences. Count Franz Ludwig Anton von Goltstein, the
elector’s governor, did not only want to have these devastations
removed but also tried to boost a kind of job creation scheme for
poor and unemployed inhabitants.
View of a part of the pond “Landskrone“
in the “Hofgarten”.
In 1769 the oldest part of the park was laid out in classical French
style according to the plans of Nicolas de Pigage (who also designed
the park of “Schloß Benrath”). About 700 inhabitants
were employed for levelling and planting. The “Hofgarten”
– at that time expanding from “Schloß Jägerhof”
to present-day Pempelforter Straße (Pempelforter street)–
was decorated according to the dominating courtly taste with statues,
plaster lions and even a Chinese pavilion at the basin of the ”Jröne
Jong“. All these splendours fell victim to military plannings.
Between 1797 and 1799 the French - who had taken Düsseldorf during
the turmoils of the revolutionary wars – turned the town into
a fortress and destroyed many trees including the pavilion. After
the “Frieden von Lunäville” in 1801 the French had
to withdraw and the fortifications were razed to the ground. That
left scope for a further expansion of the park which was begun in
1804 according to designs of Maximilian Weyhe. In 1811 Napoleon specifically
approved of this project by issuing a decree with which he handed
over the grounds of the former ramparts to the inhabitants of Düsseldorf
for turning them into green areas. Weyhe created a landscape garden
in English style. His skill becomes immediately apparent in his arrangement
of rising grounds and gentle valleys – thus miraculously creating
the impression of a „natural“ landscape. One example of
his brilliant achievements is the combination of the hills “Landskrone”,
“Hexenberg”, “Ananasberg” and “Napoleonsberg”
with the adjacent extensive meadows.
Weyhe also redesigned big parts of the old French gardens, preserving
only the “Reitallee” and the “Seufzerallee”
next to the Düssel (river Düssel).
The “Hofgarten” was an integral part of the town planning
at that time. Despite their different personalities and opinions Weyhe,
the landscape gardener, and Adolph von Vagedes, the town planner,
worked in close and fruitful co-operation. The area of the former
fortifications was supposed to be converted into a continuous ring
of parks and promenades. The parks at “Spee’scher Graben,
Schwanenspiegel”, “Königsallee”, “Hofgarten”
and “Heinrich-Heine-Allee” were finished by the middle
of the 19th century - M. Weyhe having been in charge of their lay-out.
“Ananasberg” and “Napoleonsberg” simultaneously
mark the end of Königsallee and Heinrich-Heine-Allee, respectively;
the focal point of the park is the “Goldene Brücke”
across the pond “Landskrone” from where you can see as
far as “Schloß Jägerhof” in one direction and
as far as the old town in the other.
On the whole the park has been preserved in this condition until today.
Only some of its smaller parts and the garden behind “Schloß
Jägerhof” have been covered with buildings. The “Ehrenhof”,
built in 1926 for the exhibition “Gesundheitspflege, soziale
Fürsorge und Leibesübungen“ (Gesolei) and separating
the park from the riverfront, presents a quite appealing sight due
to the homogeneity of the buildings.
The variety of landscapes in the “Hofgarten” also offers
a setting for numerous monuments. A statue of Maximilian Weyhe (1850
by C. Hofmann) is near “Schloß Jägerhof”. Close
to Louise-Dumont-Straße there is a statue of the actress, modelled
after a portrait bust by Ernesto de Fiori (1930).
At the southern edge of the park a bronze statue (1901 by C. Buscher)
commemorates the poet Karl Immermann (*1796, † 1840). The “Goldene
Brücke” (built by Anton Schnitzler from 1852 to 1853) across
the pond “Landskrone” leads to the “Märchenbrunnen”
(1905 by M. Blondat).
South of the bridge is the impressive war-memorial by K. Hilgers (1892).
In the direction of the river Rhine the monument of the poet Heinrich
Heine (*1797, † 1856) is situated on “Napoleonsberg”.
Modern sculptures like Vadim Sidur’s “Mahner“ and
Henry Moore’s ”Liegende Figur in zwei Teilen“ are
valuable additions to the artistically created landscape of the park.
Statue of Maximilian Weyhe, the landscape gardener (*1775,
† 1846), who created the “Hofgarten”
(1850 by C. Hofmann).
This group of children by the French sculptor Max Blondat was one
of the most admired works of art at the “Gartenbau- und Kunstausstellung”
in 1904. The society for improving the appearance of the city entered
into negotiations with the artist and in the following year a contract
was made including details of the design and an agreement concerning
the sculptor’s assistance in case of possible future damage.
Already at that time the small grass-plot at “Ananasberg”
was assigned as the place for erecting the sculpture.
At the turn of the century Max Blondat was an unusually successful
artist. By exhibitions in Europe and America his works of art became
well-known. The “Märchenbrunnen” is not only to be
found in Düsseldorf but also in Odessa
(Russia), Zurich (Switzerland), Dijon (France) and Denver (USA).
The sculpture, chiselled from Blanc-Clair marble, was finished in
Three children – snuggling up to one another – are sitting
on a stalactite pedestal from which seem to hang wet moss and moist
lichen. The children are looking at three bronze frogs on the opposite
edge of the basin where thin water jets are spurting out of the frogs‘
The “Märchenbrunnen” chiselled from Blanc-Clair
marble by Max Blondat (completed in 1905) – a replica
set up at the edge of “Ananasberg”, near the
“Goldene Brücke”. The original can be
admired in the Stadtmuseum (city museum).
The beautiful railing does not belong to the original design. Soon
after the sculpture had been put up it was necessary to surround the
fountain „with a railing not too low and tastefully forged,
its tips to be provided with barbs in order to prevent people from
climbing over“. At times a policeman had to protect the sculpture
from wilful damage. As there was no end to that kind of vandalism
repairs by the sculptors Julius Haigis and Fritz Coubillier were necessary.
Unfortunately, wilful damage led to the replacement of the original
by a replica from shell-lime (donated by Walter Kessler) in 1985.
The original sculpture was restored and got a place in the Stadtmuseum,
Berger Allee in 1998.
The pleasing forms of the fountain later gave rise to the question
whether the sculpture represented more than a mere genre-motif. Even
though the three frogs and the three naked young girls contradict
the fairy tale ”Froschkönig“ the vague correspondence
to this fairy tale might have fascinated people and after some years
the name ”Märchenbrunnen“ was generally accepted.
The fountain seems to be a symbol of a happier time and its attitude
of life. Over and over again requests were made asking permission
for copying this work of art. The sculpture perfectly adapts to its
natural surroundings and the still lasting charm of the figures together
with the interaction of the delicately chiselled marble figures and
the decoratively forged railing make it one of the most appealing
monuments in the city.
After only one and a half years this park was laid out for the ”Große
Reichsausstellung Schaffendes Volk“ (1937) according to the
designs of the director of the gardening authority – Willi Trapp.
If you enter the park from Kaiserswerther Straße
(Kaiserswerther Street) your attention is drawn to the
artificial fountains forming big archs along the whole
length of the 170-metre-basin and the big fountain at
the opposite end.
Formerly only some brickworks were located in the mainly undeveloped
fallow grounds between Reeser Platz and Lantz‘scher Park where
the soil was of only moderate quality. The park - designed as an expansive
area with axial ground plan – could be laid out according to
purely architectural principles as no natural restrictions had to
The paths leading to the different parts of the park are designed
as clear main and side axes and therefore have a strong visual effect
on the visitor. A good example for the eye-catching axes typical of
the park is the “Kanalgarten” with the “Fontänenplatz”
and the continuation to the Rhine which look like a corridor deco-rated
The magnificent stock of trees has its origin in several hundred big
trees which were taken from other parks and cemeteries. Numerous conifers
came from private parks in the surroundings of Düsseldorf. The
exhibition site for ”Schaffendes Volk“ had a total area
of 78 hectares, 28 hectares of which accounted for the park. At the
present time the park covers a total area of 36.6 hectares: 22 hectares
of lawn, 7 hectares of bushes and 7 hectares of paths.
On the whole, the park nowadays looks like it did in 1937. Only the
big flower hall - like all the other exhibition buildings designed
by the architect Professor Fritz Becker from Düsseldorf –
does not exist any more. Just a big round flowerbed - in the middle
of which the slim cinematographical sculpture by George Rickey gently
moves in the breeze – is reminiscent of this building. Some
of the sculptures in the Nordpark have been preserved from their date
of creation, e.g. the huge ”Rossebändiger“ (designed
by Edwin Scharff) at the entrance, ”Sitzende“ (Johannes
Knubel) as well as the four sculptures – bigger than life-size
– along the big water-basin : all that remained of the original
12 sculptures are ”Bauer und Bäuerin“ (Kurt Zimmermann),
”Winzerin“ (Alfred Zschorsch), “Falkner“ (Willi
Hoselmann) and ”Schäferin“ (Robert Ittermann) which
is now in Benrath.
In 1975 the Japanese community of the state capital gave a Japanese
garden to the city of Düsseldorf as a gift. This garden - located
in a part of the park - is a most valuable asset. It cost 1,000,000
EUR and covers an area of 5,000 square metres. This oasis of peace
and quiet was planned by the Japanese landscape gardener Iwakii Ishiguro
and his son. The project was carried out by the master gardener Sakumo
and six assistants. From time to time Japanese gardeners come to Düsseldorf
for its cultivation and maintenance. The garden combines all the picturesque
features of a typical Japanese garden: a cascade, ponds and islands,
stones and plants (especially pines, azaleas and Japanese cherry trees)
as well as the special modelling of the ground. This part of the Nordpark
is very appealing at the time when the azaleas are in full bloom.
A special pumping equipment supplies the running water typical of
a Japanese garden.
The “Löbbecke-Museum” and the “Aquazoo”
have been the architectural highlight of the park since 1987. The
architects Dansard, Kalenborn & Partner designed the new buildings
because their project had won the competition solely held for this
purpose in 1975. With this complex the park has an architectural centre;
by different levels varying in height the visitor is led to the central
area: the tropical hall with its glass roof. The new building joins
the scientific collection and the aquarium with the terrarium to a
history of this church leads back to the 15th century. There is
evidence that Saint Rochus had been worshipped in Pempelfort since
1448. Wayside shrines, small houses for prayer and finally a small
chapel were the stages of worshipping Saint Rochus in Pempelfort
– a phenomenon which had first begun during the plague of
1448 but kept flaring up in difficult times. Also during epidemics
like cholera or epidemic diseases of animals the people turned to
Saint Rochus for help.
A modest chapel built in 1667 became the destination for pilgrimages
and was used for mass. The village of Pempelfort (belonging to Düsseldorf
since Düsseldorf had been granted the status of a town in 1288)
was situated outside the town gates up to the middle of the 19th
century. When Düsseldorf became the commercial centre on the
Rhine due to the industrialization shortly before the turn of the
century the district Pempelfort also expanded.
At the end of the 19th century the chapel had become too small,
the parish of St. Rochus was founded. On 2.5.1894 – the time
of construction having taken three years – the parish moved
to a Romanesque church built by the architect Josef Kleesattel from
Düsseldorf, who had taken the church St. Aposteln in Cologne
as a model. In the Second World War (1943) St. Rochus‘ church
was destroyed apart from the church-tower.
Romanesque church built by the architect Josef Kleesattel
from Düsseldorf in 1894. The time of construction
took three years. Model was the church St. Aposteln in
Cologne. Stadtarchiv Düsseldorf. Photo from 1908.
1953 a decision in favour of a new church was made. The tower, which
had been preserved (similar to the “Gedächtniskirche”
in Berlin), and the new building designed by the architect Paul Schneider-Esleben
were supposed to form a functional whole. The modern church is a detached
building and consists of three parts. Its structural steel work is
crowned by a copper-plated dome consisting of three parabolic-shaped
shells. The egg-shaped dome, which is supported by 12 columns, represents
life. This modern church is a building in the tradition of ancient
symbolism: the three parts of the ground-plan stand for the Holy Trinity
and the 12 columns for the 12 apostles as the spiritual foundation
of the church.
The interior furnishings are by Ewald Matare, Professor of Sculpture
at the academy of arts in Düsseldorf and by the architect Paul
Schneider-Esleben. The large figure of the triumphant, crowned Jesus
(Matare himself called it ”Auferstandener“) which dominates
the room was created during the war in 1940. The slim upwards-striving
shape of the white-varnished wooden figure connects the assembly room
to the dome. From 1940 date Matare‘s 14 “Kreuzwegstationen”
(depicting the Passion).
Paul Schneider-Esleben designed the dove in the centre – the
symbol of the Holy Ghost – as well as the seats of the priests
and acolytes, the altar, the tabernacle and the pulpit.
The sculptor Bert Gerresheim created a monumental bronze sculpture
of the crucified Jesus for the “Katholikentag” held in
Düsseldorf in 1982. After the end of the convention the sculpture
was put up on the facade of the church-tower. Gerresheim dedicated
it to the Franciscan father Maximilian Kolbe who was murdered in Auschwitz.
the foreground: the preserved church-tower with the bronze
sculpture of the crucified Jesus by the artist Bert Gerresheim
from Düsseldorf. In the background the church building
by the architect Paul Schneider-Esleben dating from 1953:
a central building consisting of three parts, crowned
with a copper-plated dome in the shape of an egg.
After the church (since 1988 classified as a historical building)
had undergone extensive renovation it was consecrated by Cardinal
Joachim Meissner from Cologne in September 1991.
St. Rochus‘ church is one of the biggest churches in the state
capital and as a listed building widely-known outside Düsseldorf.
Benrath (Palace of Benrath)
In the former village of Benrath in the south of the city (since 1929
belonging to Düsseldorf) the Elector Karl Theodor von der Pfalz-Sulzbach
had a palace built by Nicolas de Pigage from Mannheim from 1756 to
1773. This baroque building is set in the middle of an extensive park
which stretches to the banks of the river Rhine. The original building
– built by Johannes Lolio, called Sadeler – which had
a zoological garden and was surrounded by water, had been pulled down
The „garden palace, plain and elegant as it was the fashion
at the time in Paris“ (Dehio) is situated in the axis of the
palace pond with two lateral wings and gate buildings. The paths of
the park lead to the domed hall in the centre; behind the whole complex
is the pond ”Spiegelweiher“. The main building shows the
typical features of a “maison de plaisance” – a
style developed during the French rococo. The curved roof with its
oval windows perfectly fits into the whole outline. The sandstone
sculptures at the terrace and in the park were created by the sculptor
Anton von Verschaffelt.
The front windows give the wrong impression that there is only one
floor between the base and the attic roof, although, in fact, it is
a four-storeyed building. This way Pigage had space for 80 rooms despite
the relatively small floor area.
Aerial view of the baroque palace with its two wings and
the park which borders on the river Rhine. The Elector
Karl Theodor von Pfalz-Sulzbach had this well-preserved
garden palace built by Nicolas de Pigage from Mannheim
between 1756 and 1773.
The halls facing the park,
the vestibule and the domed hall in the centre are decorated with
lavish marble stuccowork, ceiling paintings, mirror-frames with gold-leaf
ornamentation and parquet floors with marquetery in Louis XVI-style.
Important artists – among them the director of the academy of
arts Lambert W. Krahe (ceiling paintings) – contributed to the
interior design of the rooms.
Passing through the vestibule the visitor enters the magnificent domed
hall which takes up the whole height of the building and was inspired
by the Pantheon in Rome and the Roman baroque. The marble floor displays
a star in its middle. Towards the top the hall gets brighter and finally
ends with the “Götterhimmel” (Diana with her entourage
by Krahe); a music-gallery is hidden in the dome. Attached to this
hall are the two garden halls and – in the middle of the narrow
sides – the bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms of the elector
and his spouse. The beautifully curved main stairs lead to the upper
storey with the chapel. All rooms are fitted out with valuable furniture,
clocks, paintings, chandeliers and “Frankenthal” china.
The architectural task, masterly carried out by Pigage, reflects the
change of the sovereign’s perception concerning his own role.
His official functions receded into the background while more importance
was attached to his private needs as far as his living quarters were
concerned. Chambers of comfortable luxury, bedrooms with bathrooms
as well as the rooms for the servants are grouped around two partly
hidden inner courtyards. The private living quarters of the elector
and his wife are symmetrically arranged. Each of them had his or her
own private rooms – the lady in the east and the gentleman in
“Schloß Benrath” stretches to the river Rhine. It
was designed according to Pigage’s instructions and corresponded
to Lenotre’s ideas. The basic idea is its strictly geometrical
shape which is even reflected by the axial character of the paths
in the woody parts of the park. The eastern wing of the palace with
the French garden and the western wing with the English garden clearly
emphasize the harmonious combination of palace, park and ponds. Different
ground levels create an optical effect of spatial expanse. In 1841
the English garden at the western wing of the palace was remodelled
by Maximilian Weyhe.
Jägerhof (Palace of Jägerhof)
This hunting-lodge dates back to the late baroque. It is situated
at the head of the “Hofgarten” and the beginning of the
“Reitallee” in the district Pempelfort.
Johann Joseph Couven, the master builder from Aachen, and Nicolas
de Pigage, the sovereign’s architect, built this hunting-lodge
from 1752 to 1763 as a residence for the masters of the huntsmen.
Two wings protruded from the main building. The courtyard was separated
from the “Hofgarten” by a wrought-iron fence, which was
removed in 1809 when the park was redesigned by Weyhe.
“Schloss Jägerhof” (photo by Robert Franck,
The photo shows the hunting-lodge built in the second
half of the 18th century according to Johann Joseph Couven’s
plans. In 1826 Prince Friedrich commissioned Adolf von
Vagedes with the construction of two lateral wings, which
were pulled down in 1909..
Until 1795 - when it was looted by republican troops “Schloß
Jägerhof” was the residence of the masters of the huntsmen.
From 1806 to 1808 it served as residence for Joachim Murat, the grand
duke of Berg, who had been appointed by Napoleon.
In 1811 Napoleon himself stayed in “Schloß Jägerhof”
while visiting Düsseldorf.
In 1820 Adolf von Vagedes added more storeys to the extensions and
also renovated the interior when Prince Friedrich von Preussen chose
to live there. “Schloß Jägerhof” was the residence
of the dynasty Hohenzollern until 1885 when it became the seat of
the emperor’s adviser.
In 1909 the city of Düsseldorf purchased “Schloß
Jägerhof” and its gardens which were divided into lots
and sold. Because the wing buildings jutted out beyond the alignment
of houses in Jacobistraße by 1.70 metres, they were pulled down
During the French occupation after the First World War “Schloß
Jägerhof” was the seat of the commander’s office.
During an air raid in the Second World War (Pentecost 1943) most of
the palace was destroyed. The architects Helmut Hentrich & Hubert
Petschnigg rebuilt the external walls in their original baroque style
and mostly respected the former baroque structures indoors. The construction
was completed in 1954.
At the moment (2001) “Schloß Jägerhof” houses
the “Goethemuseum” and the “Schneider” collection
View from the “Reitallee” to “Schloß
Jägerhof”. The hunting lodge was rebuilt by
the architects Helmut Hentrich & Hubert Petschnigg