General and levelling plan of the Lord Mayoralty of Düsseldorf, c. 1870
Topographic base map and contour line plan with drawing of the course of the river Duessel
Ink drawing, watercolour with handwritten inscriptions
Scale 1:10,000, 108 x 102 cm
© City Archive Düsseldorf
The river divides into the northern and southern Düssel in the district of Gerresheim. Both streams later divide again. The four arms of the river run in a square around the historic city centre and still supply all the central water facilities in the city centre today. The garden architect Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe (1775 - 1846) designed numerous parks in Düsseldorf and integrated the Düssel into the ponds or canals that were created. This is how, among other things, the Schwanenspiegel or the famous Stadtgraben on Königsallee were created.
After it rises in Wülfrath, the Düssel crosses what is now the Neandertal nature reserve. The river has carved deep gorges into the soils of clay, limestone and slate, forming a gentle plain. Many mills were built here, some of which are still run by the Düssel's water power today.
Especially in the first half of the 19th century, the Neandertal was a popular destination for artists from the Düsseldorf Art Academy, who carried out their artistic studies of the rock formations and plants here. The painter Eduard Steinbrück was also inspired here for his mythological and allegorical artwork The Nymph of the Düssel from 1837.
Today, the Düssel with its four river branches flows through the entire Düsseldorf city area. Partly underground, it passes industrial areas, numerous noteworthy sights, residential and recreational areas. Just before the Düssel flows into the Rhine, the northern and southern Düssel join in the Stadtgraben. The urban space has changed over the years and the Düssel has lost influence and importance. Although the Düssel can still be seen in today's cityscape, it is tamed in the straight riverbed and goes its way as a shallow trickle.