Long days, long nights in Düsseldorf

By JC, Germany, June 2011

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Something strange happens as spring starts in Germany: as the days get longer so do the nights. Or, to be a little less cryptic, many major cities hold events where cultural institutions stay open long past their bedtimes, hosting dozens of special events in a festive atmosphere.

Rhine-side Düsseldorf kicks off with “Lange Nacht der Museen” (Long Night of Museums) on 2 April. A very reasonable flat fee of €12 gives you entrée to 40 venues around the city – everything from large-scale art barns like Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen to edgy inner-city galleries. You can get on and off the specially-deployed shuttle buses as often as you like.

So there’s two ways to approach this. If have strongly-held artistic preferences or just can’t bear not knowing what’s going to happen, sit down with the program and schedule your route. But it’s probably much more rewarding to follow the crowd and/or your own impulses and see where you end up. After Düsseldorf, Stuttgart holds a similar event on 9 April, with Hamburg following suit the week after. Frankfurt’s world-class institutions have their turn in the sun (or rather moon) on 7 May, as does Leipzig.

The late-night formula has proved so successful that it’s expanded beyond visual arts. On 16 April, Berlin hosts its third annual night of theater, opera and music – all up 60 of the capital’s performance powerhouses will be soliloquizing, warbling and jetéing into the night. Think of it as cultural speed-dating: a great way to venture beyond your normal entertainment routine and encounter new things. 

Photos courtesy of Nacht Der Museeum Dusselforf

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