Section of city map with the ports of call on the HeineTour
Section of city map with the ports of call on the HeineTour

HeineTour – Heinrich Heine in Düsseldorf

Heinrich Heine died in Paris, but his life began in Düsseldorf. He lived his first years in the city on the Rhine – under French influence, something which was definitely not without importance for the Francophile poet. In 1815, when the Prussians took over Düsseldorf, Heine was already in Frankfurt. We visit significant locations from his childhood.

Length: two hours, on foot.

We start where everything began for Heinrich Heine: in his (1) birthplace. Heine was born on the 13th December 1797 in the back building of the house at Bolkerstraße 53, in the heart of today’s Old Town. Today, the Heine-Haus (Heine House) is the meeting point for those interested in literature with a bookstore, café and author readings.

When he wanted to read, Heine preferred to go to the house of his uncle Simon van Geldern in (2) Mertensgasse, where he could dream and browse books uninterrupted in the attic.

The small Harry Heine was clearly disapproving when he climbed up the (3) Jan-Wellem-Denkmal (Jan Wellem Memorial) in Marktplatz in order to get a clear sight of Düsseldorf’s councilmen, who had “taken on new faces” after the French had moved in in 1806.

His powers of observation and critical mind do not seem to have done him much good at school. The high school student achieved fairly mediocre results from 1807-1814 in the (4) Franziskanerkloster (Franciscan Monastery) on Citadellstraße/the corner of Schulstraße. Heine only decided upon a career as an author much later when he no longer lived in Düsseldorf. However, the only museum dedicated to the life and works of the famous poet is located in the city of his birth.

In permanent and special exhibitions, the (5) Heine-Museum helps us to understand what Heinrich Heine and his contemporaries wanted to achieve. The body responsible for the museum is the institute, which is widely regarded as the centre for international Heine research.

The (6) Heine Monument has been located just a few streets away at Schwanenmarket since 1981. Bert Gerresheim’s “Fragemal” was erected on the 125th anniversary of the death of the poet.

A more extensive Heine tour is provided by the "On the trail of Heinrich Heine" circular tour.