Discover customs

Tradition is of great importance in Düsseldorf – this is especially apparent when the “fifth season” begins and the carnival-goers take over the city. But Düsseldorf is much more than just crazy fun: the Radschläger, for example, has developed from a custom into a symbol of the city in several hundred years of its history. The art of marksmanship also has a long tradition in the city, as does the Biggest Fair on the Rhine, which is held annually on the Oberkassel Rhine floodplain. Many other marksmen's festivals add to the celebrations in city districts. And: Mer spreche Platt (we speak dialect)! The Düsseldorf dialect can still be heard today in the city.

Helau! D'r Zoch kütt!

Would you like to experience the city in an exceptional state? Then plan a visit in spring. Düsseldorf is one of the bastions of the Rhenish Carnival. The parade on Rosenmontag, the day before Shrove Tuesday, is world-famous and draws up to a million visitors every year. Another highlight: Altweiber in February, when the Möhnen (old women) storm into the City Hall and none of the ties of the Närrinnen (men) are safe. The starter’s gun for the session traditionally goes off on 11.11 at 11:11a.m. with the “Hoppeditz-Erwachen” (Hoppeditz awakening).

“Eene Penning” for a cartwheel

When, in the year 1288, after the Battle of Worringen, Düsseldorf was granted city rights, the children did “cartwheels of joy”. Since then, small Radschläger can be seen here and there in the city, displaying their abilities for a penny. The fastest and best ones in this discipline are crowned during the annual cart-wheeling tournament.

Platt - et letzte Stöck von de Aldestadt

When the older residents of Düsseldorf talk among themselves, or “Mäutzkes verzälle” as it is known, you can still hear it: the Düsseldorf dialect. When you hear it for the first time, it sounds similar to the “Kölsch” dialect (Cologne), but it distinguishes itself through some special features: do you want to know what a “Rotzisch” or a “Plüschprum” is and what a resident of Düsseldorf means when he or she says “Et hät no immer joot jejange”? Then why not learn the dialect? The “Mundartfreunde” (regional dialect lovers) run language courses for the Düsseldorf dialect. Have fun: “Spaß an de Freud”!

Public festival mood in summer

Candyfloss, roller coasters and numerous beer tents – visitors to Düsseldorf in July should not miss a stroll around the Biggest Funfair on the Rhine. The public festival lasts nine days and draws up to four million visitors annually to the floodplains on the Oberkassel banks of the Rhine. Düsseldorf’s oldest marksmen's club, the Sankt Sebastianus Schützenverein of 1316, founded the fair and still organises it today.

Marksmen’s festivals

Marksmen's clubs are as much a part of Düsseldorf as Radschläger and Carnival. The art of marksmanship dates back to the vigilante groups in the Middle Ages, when craftsmen and journeymen undertook to protect the property of citizens against marauding enemies. There are numerous clubs active in Düsseldorf and its surrounding area. The highlights of the year for marksmen are the almost 50 festivals, which take place from April to September.

Lanterns for St. Martin

Getting in the mood for advent: on 10th November, it is a tradition in Düsseldorf to remember the Roman legionary St. Martin, who shared his coat with a beggar. More than a hundred St. Martin processions wind their way through the State capital around 10th November. St. Martin, riding on his horse, is followed by singing children with their lanterns. The highlight of every procession is when the division of coats, which takes place rather impressively in the Old Town in front of the City Hall. 

Christmas market

The Christmas market in the city centre is also a tradition. For almost five weeks, the city of Düsseldorf is taken over by the scent of roasted almonds and the festive lighting ensures that the narrow streets shine brightly as evening falls. Over 200 stands and stalls have a wide range of different products on offer, in addition to the traditional culinary delights. From Christmas tree decorations, through handicraft products, to warming winter accessories, you can find everything on the market – perhaps even that missing Christmas present. Visitors can round off their stroll around the market with a warming mulled wine.