What to see and do in Duisburg

Town Center


Lifesaver, Duisburg Königstraße is the main shopping street and stretches for 600m from the main railway station to the 'Kuhtor'.

Since 1980, when the trams were taken below ground, it has been a pedestrian precinct.

The image at left shows the 'Lifesaver' on Königstrasse. Formerly this was the site of the 'obligatory' Bismarck Monument, and I often ask myself whether the style of this 'new' sculpture in this particular location is a deliberate reaction against the past.

Marienkirche, Duisburg The Marienkirche lies to the South of the town center, in fact it used to lie on the town's walls, adjacent to the Marientor (Marien Gate). The present building dates from 1802 but a predecessor church was constructed here in 1145 as the first church in Germany of the Knights Hospitallers. It was before the Marientor that the citizens drove off a (half-hearted) attempt by the Archbishop of Köln to capture the town - an event which has been exaggerated a bit in the town's history since then.

Stadtwerketurm, Duisburg Close to the Marienkirche is the very visible high tower of a power station. It is possible to take a lift to the top of the tower. This tower also serves to show the location of the city's red-light district. Currently it is threatened with demolition.



At the western end of the shopping area is the older area containing the Rathaus. The Rathaus shares with the Portsmouth Guildhall the distinction of having lost some of its tower during the war.

Dreigiebelhaus, Duisburg North of the Rathaus is the oldest secular building in Duisburg - the Dreigiebelhaus (three-gabled house) at Nonnengasse 8. Or at least it was originally a secular residential building - just after 1600 it became a nunnery for about two hundred years. Today it contains artists' studios

The Old Harbor


Schwanenetor Bridge, Duisburg

To the west of the Rathaus (and the town center), you come to the Schwanentor Bridge (which often adorns guide books to the City) over the Inner Harbor. From here you can take river tours of the harbor area. Otherwise you can stroll around the developments in the harbor area - the expected cafes, restaurants etc. but also the City Museum and the Küppersmühle Museum. The image above shows an old warehouse adjacent to the Schwanentor Bridge. Below is the "Five Boats" office complex, designed by British architect Nicholas Grimshaw.

Five Boats, Duisburg

There is now an etap hotel in this area.

At the far end of this harbor, traffic flows over the Portsmouthdamm. Large scale re-planning in this general area is being carried out by Norman Foster's company.

The Port


The other 'main' harbour at the mouth of the River Ruhr lies further North from the Inner Harbor (you can take the 901 tram). Rhein Orange, Duisburg Adjacent to the point at which the Ruhr meets the Rhein, there is a 25m high 'sculpture' called the Rhein Orange. As you can see from the image, this also marks Rheinkilometer 780, i.e. 780 kilometers from the source of the Rhein. The name is actually a play on words - Rheinorange sounds like reinorange (pure orange) which is an official color under the RAL classification system.

Tausendfensterhaus, Duisburg The Tausendfensterhaus (Thousand Window House) was the local slang name given to the Haus Ruhrort office building, although this has now become an official name even to the extent of having a stop on the 901 tram route with this name. The building was fully renovated in 1992.

Landschaft Park


In the North, a former Thyssen iron works (which used to supply iron to the steel works in Hamborn and to the Friedrich-Wilhelm works in Mülheim) was converted (between 1989-99) into the Landschaft Park. The closure was fairly sudden (seemingly due to EU steel quotas) - a large investment was made on blast furnace No. 5 in 1984, only for the plant to close in 1985! This particular blast furnace still stands and you can ascend by staircase to the top (at 70 meters). Former storage areas for the raw materials can be viewed and some are used for training by climbers. A former gasometer is used by a Diving School. The Duisburg-Meiderich Youth Hostel is also based on the site in the former Administration Buildings. The area of the park adjacent to the Landschaft Park Nord tram stop is however quite 'rural' where buzzards are comparatively common.

The plant lies directly on the old historic railway branch from Ruhrort to Oberhausen, which is now a 'green path'.

The park is also adjacent to the 'Alte Emscher', see article below on Thyssen, Hamborn.

Thyssen in Hamborn, and Alsum


In the far north of the city, where once stood the 'village' of Alsum there is now the Alsumer Berg (also known popularly as the Beecker Halde) - an artificial hill, formed from rubble, with a height of 50 meters above the Rhein. From the top, you can see across Hamborn and particularly the Thyssen steel works.

For more information on the Thyssen works, visit this site

In the early 50s Alsum 'sank' by about a meter because of subsistence due to coal mining, and in 1954 the Duisburg council decide to re-locate its inhabitants (ca. 1500) elsewhere (although it was 1965 before the last inhabitant left).

Earlier there was a dock in Alsum. Thyssen wanted to extend it but was refused permission - instead they built a dock further north at Schwelgern. In 1926, Alsum dock was damaged by flooding and filled in.

Up until 1910 the Emscher used to flow into the Rhein here - its course was re-located to flow into the Rhein at Walsum, while the old course, the 'Alte Emscher', was retained as a local 'drain' (it can also be viewed at the Landschaft Park). The re-location was necessary because subsistence due to coal mining had affected the course of the river through the Duisburg area

alsumer berg

One way to reach it is by foot or bike from the South via the Rheindeich (Rhein Dyke) which serves as flood protection.

Thyssen built the Matenastrasse to connect Bruckhausen with Alsum, and nowadays to reach Alsum from the east, you can travel along the 400m Matena Tunnel, which goes right underneath the Thyssen works. It has a pavement for pedestrians (and once had a tram line)

matena tunnel
map of alsum

Hamborn Abbey


Hamborn Abbey

Since 1958/59 the abbey has been in the hands of the White Canons (Premonstratensians) who were originally expelled during the secularization at the time of Napoleonic hegemony. This turn of events occured in conjunction with the establishment of the new diocese based on Essen. Extensive re-building was required after bombing damage.

The church features include, among others, a romanesque baptismal font made from Namur blue sandstone around 1200. From the edge of the shell project two (of the original four) stylized heads with wide-open eyes. A deep brown oakwood sculpture of Anna Selbdritt (a portrayal of Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, with Mary and the infant Jesus) from ca. 1450 was rescued from the rubble of the last war. Baroque oil paintings show, among others, St. Thomas Aquinas and Norbert of Xanten. Of the romanesque cloister of the monastery remains only the north wing. In the sacristry are preserved, among others, liturgical garments from the 16th century, as well as a magnificent sunburst ostensory from 1710.

West of the abbey church, the expressionistic extension of St-Johannes-Hospital is impressive - it surrounds the courtyard in a wide semi-circle (architect: Carl Brocker, 1929). High over the main entrance is a dominant statue of St John the Baptist with cross and anchor


  • Schimanski

    Horst Schimanski
    Horst Schimanski Duisburg receives a certain notoriety via the TV detective Horst Schimanski, portrayed by Götz George. This (popular) program is perceived by many to highlight negative aspects of the city.

    City Museum

    The City Museum on the Inner Harbor is especially known for its Mercator Collection. It also houses a section on the fomer East German city of Königsberg (now the Russian city of Kaliningrad).

    Küppersmühle Modern Art Gallery

    Küppersmühle Art Gallery The Küppersmühle Modern Art Gallery on the other end of the Inner Harbor to the City Museum is based in a converted flour mill.


    The Sechs-Seen-Platte is a collection of six lakes in the far south of the city, formed by the quarrying of stone. They lie just south of the Sportpark Wedau which also has artificial lakes formed by the Krupp comapny and named after members of the family : e.g. Bertasee, Margaretensee. The Sportpark is also the location of the home stadium of MSV Duisburg football club.


    St Dionysius, Mündelheimkirche, Duisburg The Mündelheimkirche is possibly the oldest church in Duisburg, dating from 1220-1230. It is dedicated to St. Dionysius and lies not far from the bridge linking Mündelheim to Krefeld-Uerdingen on the other side of the Rhein. The original of this bridge was opened as the Adolf-Hitler-Bridge (it then followed the usual pattern of being blown up by the Germans and later being rebuilt).


    Sandmuehle, Huckingen, Duisburg The oldest commercially-used building in Duisburg is the Sandmühle in Huckingen, used as a grain mill from the 17th century.


    Steinhof, Huckingen, Duisburg The Steinhof in Huckingen, stands as the oldest building in Duisburg: a 15m high defense or refuge tower from the 11/12th century