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Düsseldorf (düsˈəldôrf), city, capital of North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany, at the confluence of the Rhine and Düssel rivers. It is a major industrial, financial, and commercial center; a busy inland port; and an important rail junction. It has three harbors on the Rhine and one of the nation's busiest civil airfields at Lohausen. Its manufactures include iron, steel, machinery, chemicals, textiles, and glass. Chartered in 1288, Düsseldorf later was (14th–16th cent.) the capital and residence of the dukes of Berg. In 1614 it passed to the Palatinate-Neuburg line of the Bavarian house of Wittelsbach. It was occupied by France in 1795 and in 1815 became part of Prussia. Its industrial growth dates from c.1870. After World War I it was occupied again by France from 1921 to 1925. The city was badly damaged during World War II but has been rebuilt. Present-day Düsseldorf is an elegant city and a cultural center, with noted theaters and museums and a university. Its famous art academy (founded 1777; reestablished 1819) gave its name in the 19th cent. to the Düsseldorf school, of which Bendemann and Schadow-Godenhaus were representative. Heinrich Heine, the poet, was born (1797) in Düsseldorf.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Federal Republic of Germany, the administrative center of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, and one of the largest economic centers of the country. Population, 680,800 (1970; 704,000 in 1963; 541,400 in 1939). The greater part of the city is situated on the right bank of the Rhine, where the Düssel River empties into the Rhine.

First mentioned in the 12th century, Düsseldorf was chartered in 1288 and was the capital of the Duchy of Berg. Its growth began in the second half of the 19th century, with the industrial development of the Rhineland and especially of the Ruhr region. Düsseldorf is an important transport center, with a railroad freight turnover of about 12.5 million tons in 1968, and a river port on the Rhine, with a turnover of 2.9 million tons in 1969. Düsseldorf has the country’s second largest airport, with a passenger turnover of about 3 million in 1969. About 45 percent of the employed population works in industry. Among the city’s industries are the production of steel and rolled steel (the Mannesmann and Thyssen concerns), especially pipe rolling; general and transport mechanical engineering; and the production of steel structures, of equipment for the ferrous-metallurgy and mining industries, and of machine tools (the Schiess AG firm). There are also an electrical-engineering industry (including the Siemens plants), a chemicals industry (producing synthetic cleansing agents and other products), and glass, wood working, textile, and clothing industries, especially women’s clothing. Düsseldorf is an important center of the wholesale trade (the Rhine-Westphalia stock exchange and fairs) and of foreign trade. The leading banks of the Federal Republic of Germany have branches in Düsseldorf, and the boards of many concerns are also located there.

Düsseldorf is a city with wide and elegant streets, parks, and squares. The Altstadt, or Old City, which forms the city’s center, lies on the right bank of the Rhine; four bridges span the Rhine. Düsseldorf’s architectural monuments include the Lambertuskirche (13th century, rebuilt in 1394), the Andreaskirche (1622-29), the castle tower (13th century), and the town hall (1570-73). Buildings of the 20th century include those of the Mannesmann firm (1912, architect P. Behrens; 1958-60, architect P. Schneider-Esleben) and of the Thyssen firm (Phoenix-Rheinrohr; 1957-60, architects H. Hentrich and H. Petschnigg), the Rheinhalle concert hall (1926, architect W. Kreis), and the Hamiel Garage (1954, architect P. Schneider-Esleben).

Düsseldorf is an important cultural center. Its university was founded in 1965. There is a medical academy, the State Art Academy, an academy of economic management, and an institute of ferrous metallurgy. Among Düsseldorfs museums are the economic museum museum, the Museum of Art, and the Goethe Museum. There is a conservatory and an opera theater. The famous German poet H. Heine was born in Düsseldorf.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.