Countdown to Carnival in Düsseldorf

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Feb 24, 2014

The countdown for Düsseldorf's Carnival weekend (Feb. 28 - Mar. 4, 2014) has reached a fever pitch, and that sound includes drag queens in starting blocks ready to race each other down Düsseldorf's famous night club "Nachtresidenz." Düsseldorf again hosts the annual drag queen race (called "Tuntenlauf") on Saturday evening (March 1). Speed is of the essence just as at any race, but heel height, dress and running style are just as important. When thousands line the streets to cheer the drag queens with "Tunte, Lauf!" (run, drag queen!), the motto is: may the fastest and funniest drag queen win.

The race started in 1995 and has since grown into one of the craziest carnival weekend events at a time when there is no shortage of craziness in Düsseldorf. Millions of revelers will descend upon the city, gearing up for the Rose Monday Parade on Monday, March 3.

The race is part of one of the hottest dance parties in Düsseldorf at club "Nachtresidenz" that night. This rambunctious party is a fundraiser for the city's nonprofit "Heartbreaker," a local AIDS charity. During the party, the winner of the Tuntenlauf is crowned, and the party continues to the wee hours.

The Longest Bar in the World

Carnival weekend in Düsseldorf, including the Drag Queen Race and Rose Monday, is one of the most popular European destinations for winter revelry. The Rhine region is known as Germany’s center of carnival festivities, or Rhenish Carnival, and carnival in Düsseldorf is one of the strongholds. Carnival is not just a weekend celebration, but an entire season, called Fools’ season, which always kicks off on Nov. 11 and ends on Ash Wednesday.

Because of Düsseldorf’s 260 bars, pubs, and restaurants in the city’s historic Old Town, the neighborhood has also become known as "the longest bar in the world." These venues become the backdrop for the extended festivities as the carnival parties and events spill into the entire city and the revelers take over.

To jump into the carnival madness, travelers can hop on a plane (there are non-stop flights to Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS) from seven North American cities), and be in the thick of things mere minutes after landing. Düsseldorf’s tourism office is offering hotel and city specials for many of the city’s events throughout 2014, including a special carnival hotel package.

The package, called "Düsseldorf Helau!" can be booked right from the tourism office’s website. Prices start at €69 per night per person based on double-occupancy for a three-star hotel in the city center and at €76 per person for a four-star hotel.

The package includes breakfast, one breakfast board with carnival motive, one DüsseldorfCard (free public transportation within city limits plus 30 free or reduced admissions to city attractions), a city information package and a city guide.

For more information about Carnival in Düsseldorf CLICK HERE.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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