May 3, 2013

0156, 0238, 0627 GERMANY (North Rhine-Westphalia) - Der Neue Zollhof and other stuff from Düsseldorf

Posted on 25.03.2012 and completed on 05.06.2012 and 03.05.2013
Grown on the mud and the sand of the east bank of the Lower Rhine, where the delta of the River Düssel flows into the Rhine, almost a thousand years ago, Düsseldorf granted the town privileges în 1288. Rival of the older and wealthy Cologne (located just 40 km upstream, which today means 18 minutes by Regional Bahn), the city has constantly developed as commercial, but also as cultural center, both under the dukes of Jülich-Cleves-Berg and under the house of Wittelsbach, peaking during the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm II (r. 1690-1716). Strongly affected by the Napoleonic Wars, Düsseldorf enjoyed a revival by the mid-19th century, thanks to the Industrial Revolution. Heavily bombed by the allies in WWII, in 1946 Düsseldorf was made capital of the new federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Located now centrally within The Blue Banana, in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region, is one of the country's five global cities (together with Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin). The city itself has only 590,000 inhabitants (of which 110,000 are foreigners), but this doesn’t prevent to be one of the top telecommunications centres in Germany, and also one of advertising and fashion industries.

In the largest picture on the first postcard, but also in the second one, can seen Der Neue Zollhof (New Customs House), located in Unterbilk. The complex, consisting of three separate buildings, was designed in a style commonly considered deconstructivism by American architect Frank O. Gehry (which designed, among others, Olympic Fish from Barcelona, and Dancing House from Prague) and was completed in 1998. Floorplans and facades of all three buildings are curve and lean (constructed of concrete flat slab), reason for them being likened to leaning towers. Each building has a different facade cladding - the outer two in white plaster and red brick respectively; the central building's stainless steel facade reflects material and shapes of its two neighbour buildings. Otherwise geometry, massing and exterior material, provides each of the buildings with a unique identity. The buildings currently occupied primarily by… warehouses.

In the background of the second postcard is Rheinturm (Rhine Tower), a 240.5m high concrete telecommunications tower, built between 1979 and 1981. It houses a revolving restaurant and an observation deck at a height of 170m. As a special attraction, there is a light sculpture on its shaft which works as a clock, the biggest digital clock in the world. This sculpture was designed by Horst H. Baumann and is called Lichtzeitpegel (Light Time Level).

The other five figures illustrate in the first postcard, from left to right, are:
● a sculpture made by Horst Antes in 1986-1987, located in Bertha von Suttner Square, behind the Düsseldorf Central Station (Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof)
● promenade along the banks of the Rhine to the Medienhafen. In background can seen the Theodor Heuss Bridge, also known as the Nordbrücke (North bridge), a cable-stayed bridge built from 1953 to 1957, the clock tower of the ancient collegiate church of St Lambertus, and castle tower
● Central Station (Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof)
● Galeria Kaufhof 'an der Kö' (on Königsallee), a department store located centrally on Düsseldorf’s internationally renowned shopping boulevard in the heart of the city, between the Altstadt and Schadowstrasse.

As I wrote before, Düsseldorf was heavily bombed by the allies in WWII, and the images in the third postcard, dating from 1945, are very conclusive. In the upper photo is Königsallee (King's Avenue), noted in nowadays for both the landscaped canal, as well as for the fashion showrooms and luxury retail stores located along its sides. In the bottom photo is the corner between Blumenstrasse and Schadowstrasse, today shopping streets.

About the stamps
On the first and second postcard
About the stamp, illustrating St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg, I wrote here.

On the third postcard
The stamp was issued on February 9, 2012 for commemorate 125 Years of Harz narrow-gauge railways.

sender 1,3: Marius Vasilescu
1: sent from Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany), on 01.03.2012
foto: Torsten Krüger
3: sent from Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany), on 21.02.2013

sender 2: Klausdiemaus (postcrossing)
2: sent from Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany), on 25.05.2012

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