Dusseldorf Experiences!

June 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm 1 comment

Duesseldorf Experiences!

Wow, a week can go by so quickly. For that matter, a month can fly by when you have been as busy as we have been. I feel like I have been on a university course with an intense curriculum to be absorbed in a short period of time.

Each week our team has been privileged to experience a totally different aspect of German life, culture, and events. There have been no repetitions—each club has designed experience to illustrate a different aspect of NRW life. In Dusseldorf we were able to experience the arts and culture side of this part of NRW. We traversed upscale city life on Konig’s Alley—the shoppers were often decked out to the nines as they strutted their stuff on the Alley. Luckily, window shopping excursions provided me sufficient evidence that I would, most likely, be asked to demonstrate I could afford to purchase the exquisite items within the glittering stores. Be happy Bert that I did not put it to the test as I am sure my credit card would be quaking at the mere idea of being used in any of these establishments.

We began our week in Dusseldorf by taking in an opera, Turning the Screw, by Benjamin Britten written in the 1950s. This dark and despairing piece was sung in English (or so we were told—much of it was not recognizable as English due to various accents of the singers.) Subtitles would have been helpful (but Google helped clarify the story after the fact!) What I found intriguing was how the audience acted—they were thoroughly engrossed in the performance; there were shouts of Bravo! Bravo! And three full scale curtain calls that went on for more than 20 minutes!  The audience was comprised of old and young alike and they all seemed to appreciate the performance, despite the dark, despairing content. This appreciation for the arts by those living or frequenting Dusseldorf, was a theme that would emerge over our week in the city.

Prior to arriving in the “Df” I had been advised by Rotarinas in Willich that there were many “must see” art galleries in the city. They were correct—unfortunately they are all closed on Mondays and I had two Mondays to explore the city on my own!  Luckily, the Rotary Club had arranged for us to tour the Museum of Arts Dusseldorf, (Kunstsammlung.) We had a guided tour, by the way, that is THE best way to visit a museum! Our guide highlighted various artists and their movements (ie Cubist, Impressionalism, Surrealism, etc) We got to experience the works of  Picasso, Dali, Max Ernst, Pollack Jackson, and the list goes on….WOW! She had me so interested in one story behind the paintings of Max Ernest that I had to know how it turned out—perhaps I will have to sign up for art history courses!   Absolutely an exceptional afternoon!

We ended the day with a classical concert – baroque music from Italy at Benrath Castle – what a feast for the senses! Pink marble & green – giant cherubs – baroque setting – everything on a grand scale – exceptional setting! Strains of Vivaldi; George Muffat; Schickardt; filled the castle’s rooms engulfing us in music.  While our Team was some of the very few under the age of 65, all of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We were also the only ones, (well, perhaps that was mostly me!) who was wandering the castle interior around taking pictures of everything from cherubs to ceilings to garden views. Experiencing the concert in a castle also provided us an opportunity to polish the marble floors as we had to wear big felt slippers as we slid along from room to room to hear the various musical pieces. Since we were only able to see 4 rooms, I will have to return to this are just to visit the castle!

Dusseldorf is also renowned for its fashion industry. We toured an excellent castle, the Linn Castle that was situated in an area known for textile production throughout the ages (I just love those castles!) Later, back in Dusseldor, we were lucky enough to meet with the talent behind the Academy for Fashion & Communications, where we learned about the educational system as it applies to the areas of art, design, fashion and communications. We followed these visits up with our own fashion showing at Rita Lagune, a designer of repute in Dusseldorf who offers limited edition fashions that could be customized to each client. Once again, while difficult we all resisted pulling out our credit cards!

My Dusseldorf vocational experiences here focused on schooling beyond basic high school graduation and included visits to the Ministry of Education, where I met and discussed systems and issues facing both of our systems. I also spent time at Kaiserwerther Diakonie, a very large non-profit educational system, mostly funded by the city and state governments, that offers training at less cost than it would be for government to provide. They have numerous departments including a large nursing school, vocational training in numerous fields, an in-service training facility for employees seeking short courses to upgrade skills, and the list goes on. I appreciated the time Astrid Hofmeister and Monica Schult spent meeting, sharing, and answering questions.

A busy and rewarding week! Thanks to Thomas Berger and to the Rotary Club of Dusseldorf-Schlossturn!


Benrath Schloss-a feast for the senses!

The distinguished Academy of Design & Communications

The Team at Linn Castle.

The Team after exploring and learning at one of Dusseldorf’s many museums.





Entry filed under: Team Blog.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. billrobson1  |  June 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Awesome, just awesome.


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