Düsseldorf has something to offer for everyone: There is at one hand the “Kö”, Düsseldorf’s shopping street par excellence with shops like “Prada” oder “Gucci”. Then there are the greener areas of Düsseldorf: the meadows on the Rhine, Kaiserswerth, a lovely suburb with lots of history and we even have a beach. But then there is also the “Altstadt” which translates into “old city” but does not especially refer to the old houses and churches and the town hall near the Rhine (even though there are quite a few gemstones to be found). The Altstadt is the party area of Düsseldorf. Several pedestrian streets lined with bars and clubs attract locals and tourists alike. I always get the feeling that at least every second German bachelor party is hold in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt. It’s not the place where I prefer to go out except for about 5 days a year: Carnival.
If you think of Brasil when you think Carnival, than add more clothes (because it’s usually freezing) and subtract Latin American dancing skills. Now here are nine things you should know about German street Carnival, if you haven’t been there before.
- It’s loud: some streets play one song for the whole street, other places have their own sound system
- It’s wild: Carnival is like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. “Bützen” (kissing strangers) and “Schunkeln” (linking arms with your neighbours and then swaying left and right) are the sport of this long weekend. And if you do more than “Schunkeln” and “Bützen”, well, that’s how it usually goes. Some even say that even if you have a partner, that doesn’t matter on Carnival… but that is everyone’s sole decision.
- It’s loads of alcohol: beer stalls everywhere. They usually sell Düsseldorf’s speciality “Altbier”, a dark beer that you need 2-3 glasses of before it starts to taste nice. And to be honest, I can’t stand the music without a glass or two…
- It’s German traditional Carnival songs: I’m not from the Rhine region, so even I often don’t understand the dialect they are singing, but those are the good songs. Carnival seems to bring together the most horr
- It’s people more or less fanciful dressed up: nearly everyone dresses up for Carnival. Imagine the usual like young girls as angels or devils or uniforms, but also groups of middle aged men all dressed up as mustard cubes, old women with fancy hats and a feather boa, I’ve even seen two fully decorated christmas trees three years ago.
- It’s all ages: Kids go for Junior Carnival partys or the Kids Parade, Teens go for the drinking and showing off, people from their twenties onward just go for the fun and for older people it’s just tradition
They have marching bands, they select a prince and a princess for Carnival, if your grand-parents have been a member of a club, your parents will be too, you will be and be damn sure your child one day will be too.