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Spotlight: Düsseldorf, a centre of relations

With Düsseldorf ranked among the richest cities in Europe, its place on the international conference stage is well assured.

The capital and second-largest city of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf is an international business and finance hub, famous for its fashion and trade fairs, and more recently one of Germany’s top telecommunications centres.

Around 30 per cent of its residents have an international background, giving the city a cosmopolitan air.

European politics – including the UK’s exit from the EU – and employment relations were under discussion at the German Industrial Relations Association’s 12th ILERA European Congress, held at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in September 2019.

Some 310 delegates attended from almost 40 countries for a packed three-day schedule, with a highlight being the Young Scholars’ plenary session, according to Martin Behrens from the Hans-Böckler-Foundation.

Dr Behrens described the venue as, ‘very down-to-earth and not too fancy, which was what we were looking for when we have picked the venue for an academic congress’, with the new lecture theatre singled out for praise.

Coordinating the presentation of 250 papers was not without its challenges, he admits, as was working within Germany’s tax laws (which apply equally to researchers and scientists coming from abroad as well as citizens) and budgeting accordingly.

Special room rates, at the Ibis Düsseldorf City, Intercityhotel Düsseldorf, and Leonardo Hotel Düsseldorf City Center among others, were secured with the help of the convention bureau team, and a bespoke booking platform set up for delegates which included information about arrival by train, plane or bus as well as sightseeing tours.

The congress dinner was held at craft brewery Zum Schlüssel, known for its Original Schlüssel brew and tasty traditional dishes, in the heart of the old town: according to the organisers, the event was well-received.

Banks of the river Rhine

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Airport

Düsseldorf Airport, situated some 7km from the city centre, serves 200 destinations in more than 50 countries. Passengers arriving at Terminal C can jump on the S-Bahn to get to Düsseldorf central station in about six minutes (there are almost 180 trains a day), or you can ride the free SkyTrain to the airport station and take an overground train into the city.

Accommodation

There’s plenty of new construction underway with 20 new hotels slated for completion this year, including the 455-room Holiday Inn Express Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, and a further 11 in 2021.

There are currently five five-star hotels, including the beautiful Capella Breidenbacher Hof Düsseldorf, and 84 four-star options – the Hotel NH Düsseldorf City is worth checking out for its contemporary bedrooms and 15 meeting rooms, while the slick 393-room Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf has an indoor pool and a decent Japanese restaurant – plus 78 three-star hotels.

Key venue(s)

Messe Düsseldorf, which incorporates Congress Center Dusseldorf, opened its new Hall 1 in autumn 2019 after two years of construction. Covering over 12,000 square metres, it has enough space for 10,000 people plus six spacious meeting rooms.

On the banks of the Rhine, the beautiful Tonhalle concert hall, which started life as a planetarium, is well worth checking out, while the sky-high Kerkhoff Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows offering fantastic views over the city plus a lovely roof terrace.

Key industries

Swanky Düsseldorf excels across the board, from fashion and banking to the creative industries: it’s home to hundreds of advertising agencies, publishing houses and several television studios. It’s particularly well known as a science and research hub and boasts a huge number of research institutes, technology and start-up centres in one of Europe’s densest research and university networks.

Subventions

Requests for support are considered by Düsseldorf Convention on a case-by-case basis, with different levels of subventions suited to each event – the team suggests getting in touch to find out more.

Worth a visit 

There’s plenty of elegance on offer, especially at the tree-lined Königsallee whose luxury stores draw shoppers from around the world. For more cultural fare, the city’s 26 museums include the K20 and K21, the former filled with Pablo Picassos, Andy Warhols and Gerhard Richters, along with 100-plus works by Paul Klee. Personalised group tours are available – just bear in mind that most museums are closed on Mondays.

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