Alleys, canals and van Gogh around every corner. Amsterdam is one of the most exciting cities in Europe. The historic centre was built on five million spruce trunks. The experiences this city has to offer are limitless. Paintings by famous artists can be admired in the newly designed Museum Square.
No other city between Constance and Rotterdam has integrated the Rhine into its city life as grandly as Basel. Pretty art nouveau baths have been installed in the river, there are small restaurants and pubs and bars on its banks, pop concerts are held here, and the residents are all too happy to plunge into the waters for a swim. Another detail not to be missed in Basel is probably the most beautiful museum in Switzerland, perhaps even in the whole of Europe.
It is the seat of the European Union, the headquarters of NATO, the capital of Belgium and, above all, it is one thing: a top address for foodies and art lovers. The density of Michelin-starred restaurants, chocolate factories, museums and galleries is enormous, a fact that is somewhat lost amidst all the political and global political radiance of Brussels.
Can office buildings dance? In Düsseldorf, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”. The architect Frank O. Gehry designed it – its model must have been the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They are located in the city’s famous “Medienhafen” quarter, where other international architects have also immortalised themselves in style between quay walls and railway tracks. Definitely worth a visit.
Is this place still haunted? At the very least, it is downright mysterious. Footsteps echo in the dark walls, and creepy torture instruments lie resting in the “Executioner’s Cabinet”. Welcome to the “Grafenburg” or the “Count’s Castle”, built in 1180 by Count Philip of Alsace in Ghent. It is located in the middle of the city – and anyone who sets out on the journey with the audio guide will be amazed – and will laugh at the same time.
Cologne, that’s the city’s “Tünnes and Schäl”, that’s gabled houses on the Rhine front, that’s the Old Market with cafés and streets through which the carnival passes in spring and the gay community moves in summer at Christopher Street Day. These are residents of the city who are known for their casual, humorous and friendly yet direct manner.
Between the green hills and the blue Danube is nestled the charming city of Grein. The rococo theatre in Grein, which is Austria’s oldest theater, was built in 1793 solely to provide a little diversion for the guests passing through. It is located in the middle of the enchanted old town and is still preserved. Its wooden hall is situated in today’s town hall. Another highlight is Greinsburg Castle with its maritime museum, which provides a perfect overview of the history of navigation on the Danube for history or maritime buffs.
Rotterdam, yes, is a cool port city, trendy and hip and known for its art scene, a chic shopping city and, above all, it is famous for its modern architecture. And the contrasts: There are the historic buildings like the Witte Huis (from 1898) in Art Nouveau style, there are cube houses built on stilts (from 1984) and there are also the imposing skyscrapers. Architects like Renzo Piano and Norman Foster have designed the spectacular (and renovated the historic) in a modern way.
Ok, it is a former Electoral Palatinate residential town. It is the second largest city in Baden-Württemberg and its port facilities are among the largest inland in Europe. Since the city was all but destroyed during the Second World War, it is not exactly considered the pearl of the country today. And yet it is worth a visit. Mannheim is young, also due to the students at the university and the State University of Music and Performing Arts. Incidentally, the city’s National Theatre hosted the premiere of Friedrich Schiller’s drama “Die Räuber” in 1782.
It’s quite possible that you will find yourself saying “WOW” every now and then as you stroll and wander through Strasbourg. What you get to see here is impressive and touching, and quite simply beautiful. For example, the cathedral surrounded by half-timbered buildings with colourful decorative glass from the 12th century and one of the highest church towers in the world (142 metres). Or the lock bridge (17th century) can be described without exaggeration as a grandiose work of art by the engineer, Barrage Vauban. And that is by no means all: Be sure to stroll through the “Quartier des Tanneurs”.