Dusseldorf: let the music begin!

Modern, cosmopolitan, fashionable and bustling with life and activity... that's the face that Dusseldorf turns to the world. And across Europe this weekend, more people than ever are going to turn their eyes to the German city as the songs of the Eurovision Song Contest ring out across the continent. Let's take a look at the city where the event is to be held.

Whether it's the highlight of your year, or you think it's pure cheese, the Eurovision Song Contest must have something going for it: an estimated 125 million viewers will watch the musical extravaganza, which has been going strong for over half a century. Last year, teenage singer Lena won the contest for veteran participant Germany and she'll be back on stage in Dusseldorf, in her home country to defend her title against the 24 other performers who have made it through to the finals on Saturday night.

This year, beyond the glitz and kitsch of the contest lies the most cosmopolitan and prosperous of German cities, a pioneer in the world of art, design and modern architecture. Dusseldorf has no shortage of attractions: there's the exlusive shopping street Konigsallee, the old town with its narrow streets, ancient churches and countless bars and restaurants – don't miss sampling the local beer, the strong dark Altbier – and vibrant artistic and cultural life. Or you can take a pleasant walk along by the Rhine down to the Medienhafen, where the old trading port has been transformed into a new golden mile thanks to master architects such as Frank Gehry. Take a look at our photo gallery and start planning a getaway.

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