Trendy neighbourhoods in Dusseldorf: Bilk – The alternative and artistic one

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Have you ever imagined what you could experience beyond your known comfort zone? While this question is applicable for many things in life, I’m referring to your journeys – your approach of exploring your or any random city. Thus, you rather focus on city centres and mass hotspots or do trendy neighbourhoods beyond the centre’s edge hold a magical attraction for you?

Well, howsoever, I’m going to show you all the alternative and unique stuff you could experience when you journey through trendy neighbourhoods. In this issue, we immerse in a trendy neighbourhood of Dusseldorf.

Dusseldorf, a city known for its majestic Rhine riverside promenade, its old town with hundreds of bars, restaurants and breweries and its precious boulevard “Königsallee”. While these are the common sights which visitors see, one might wonder what lies beyond of them.

Let me assure you that there is a good number of trendy neighbourhoods existing in Dusseldorf. Furthermore, they differ considerably from each other. Let me present Dusseldorf’s trendy neighbourhood Bilk – the alternative and artistic one.

Welcome to Bilk – The alternative and artistic one

When you arrive at a city, you might get welcomed by a landmark. However, once you got to Bilk, a huge colourful mural behind an old brick building welcomes you though. There you are, at Düsseldorf’s alternative and artistic trendy neighbourhood.

Let’s assume you arrived at Bilk by train, the mentioned mural is the first sight which strikes out the most. Go there and admire the mural made by artist “Farbfieber” more closely.

From here on you have various possible paths to proceed. However, in my point of view, continuing with Blumenstraße is the best option to go on.

First impression of Bilk when arriving by train or public transport with Farbfieber‘s tremendous mural already striking.
Farbfieber‘s marvellous street art from up close at Merowingerstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf

Urban vibes at Brunnenstraße

Just around the corner of Farbfieber’s Mural starts, maybe, one of the most vivid streets of trendy neighbourhood Bilk – “Brunnenstraße”.  

As soon as you walk up Brunnenstraße, you feel those trendy urban vibes. The main reason are many little stores, Cafés and even a small cinema. Although replaceable buildings from the post war era dominate the street scene, those already mentioned factors create that special atmosphere. Moreover, street art and graffiti emphasise it and keep your view at street level.

Especially the artworks by French artist Ardif are absolute eye-catcher, as soon as you discover them. Faces of half animal and half machine are spread throughout Bilk.

Sometimes people say to never look back. This time, I beg you to look back here and there. If you don’t, you could miss some great artworks, details and different viewpoints of the experience – for instance, Fin Dac’s street art. The Belgian artist created a beautiful artwork, illustrating an Asian woman, on the opposite wall of one of Ardif’s works.

In case you like racoons, Ardif has a surprise for you. Go to the tram station Färberstraße, If you are willing to make a short detour.

First artwork by French artist Ardif – half Zebra, half machine
Sometimes you should look back – Asian woman by Belgian artist Fin Dac at Brunnenstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
And sometimes you should look to your left and right – Half wolf and half machine – another work by Ardif at Brunnenstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Slogans like “It is all about love” on the top and “You will achieve exactly what nobody believes in!” on the window welcome you inside this record store, where vinyls are being presented like laundry.
Brunnenstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf also got a vintage-looking cinema.
Overview of the street scene at Brunnenstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf with some of its attractions on ground level
One nice looking backyard at Brunnenstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
In case you do a small detour, you can admire another artwork by Ardif at tram station Färberstraße
Ardif‘s racoon street art at Färberstraße, Düsseldorf has unfortunately been destroyed a bit

Karolingerstraße – The green lung and its artistic surprises

After a 300 meter stroll along the trendy section another street called Karolingerstraße crosses Brunnenstraße. This marks a new phase at Bilk. In fact, this is the point where the trendy neighbourhood’s green lung stretches through the cityscape.

The river Düssel, the city’s name giver, is responsible for having the green corridor. Hence, beautiful, elegant and colourful row of houses have been built along the Düssel. It’s quite a contrast when you just left the alternative Brunnenstraße.

However, that contrast doesn’t last that long – Düsseldorf’s alternative spirit catches you up, again. It is that certain moment, when you notice another street art on a house corner.

At first glance you might think that it’s just a birch. Nonetheless, your view changes only at second glance, when you change position and see the birch being framed by real trees from the riverbank.

When you proceed to stroll along the river heading west, another mural appears between the huge and old trees along the Düssel. Surprisingly, instead of the expected mural, you get an old bunker from the second world war era which has been gifted with street art. What a beauty!

The artist Farbfieber is also responsible for this artwork, which is called “Schutzraum” (shelter – inspired by the bunker).

Luckily, this piece of art has been saved by the locals from getting demolished. Thus, the artwork will be kept intact, while the inside will transform into a “Culture Bunker” and the Top get five apartments. This is what I call a successful urban reutilization project without losing its artistic and alternative spirit.

The crossing point where Brunnenstraße meets Karolingerstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
The wonderful birch street art framed by real trees at Karolingerstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
That moment when you notice another mural between the streets from Karolingerstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Another splendid artwork by Farbfieber called Schutzraum (shelter) on a bunker from world war two times at Karolingerstraße/Aachener Straße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Close up to Farbfieber’s Schutzraum where a lighthouse is being presented like a candle in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Looking back again to an old row of houses next to the trendy neighbourhood’s green lung at Karolingerstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Overview of Bilk’s green lung and “river” Düssel

Suitbertusstraße – The end of an era

From the bunker, you make a quick jump to Suitbertusstraße, where natural street art welcomes you. Ivy, the evergreen vine, covered almost completely a corner house.

So, guess what – even nature loves great street art and tries hard to give Bilk an appropriate tribute.

When you walk down Suitbertusstraße, heading towards the clock tower of St. Suitbertus church, a huge mural will take your attention at some point. To be precisely, I’m talking about Pixel Pancho’s superb “Robo” street art, which fits a complete four-storey wall.

To admire its details, you might enter a forecourt. The forecourt of Bilk’s former cultural temple – Boui Boui Bilk. This was the neighbourhood’s hotspot where big events like Food as well as Music Festivals, Flea Markets etc. were taking place. It was a place, where Düsseldorf’s alternative subculture and niches had a stage.

Unfortunately, Boui Boui Bilk had to close its doors after the last event on September 22 of 2019. Soon the area will transform into a residential project. Thus, both the Robo and another huge and gorgeous mural by graffiti artists “The Band” will disappear between the upcomming and existing buildings.

Street art made by nature itself – ivy covered corner house at Suitbertusstraße/Aachener Straße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
Following the clock tower of St. Suitbertus chruch at Suitbertusstraße in Bilk, Dusseldorf
A mighty hotspot for murals and street art – the now closed Boui Boui Bilk in Dusseldorf
A reinterpretation of Bert Gerresheim’s “Battle of Worringen” by five graffiti artists called “The Band” in Bilk, Dusseldorf
The mighty Robo in full glory by artist Pixel Pancho from 2013 in Bilk, Düsseldorf
The former neighbourhood’s cultural temple, Boui Boui Bilk

How to reach Bilk?

I recommend reaching Bilk by train or public transport. As Brunnenstraße is super close to Bilk Station, you’ve got many options to get there conveniently. Since constructions are already ongoing, Bilk will also be served by regional trains from Aachen, Cologne, Venlo, Dortmund and other cities in the near future.  

As you may struggle finding a parking lot in Bilk, keep your car in your garage or at least head for a park & ride, e.g. at Südpark.

Otherwise, take a bicycle.

Closing words

Folks, if you are interested in discovering new and alternative areas beyond the city centres or want to see Düsseldorf from a different angle, Bilk is the trendy neighbourhood you’re looking for.

Based on the above-mentioned facts, you’d experience a bunch of different sights and might strand into various attractions.

For urban street art admires, Bilk is one address to paradise. However, you should hurry up, if you still want to capture Robo and other street arts around the old Boui Boui Bilk with your own eyes, as they might disappear soon due to constructions.

At least masterpieces on the bunker could be saved by the locals, which might imply that new artworks and cultural areas will follow after the Boui Boui era. Hence, Bilk will maintain its unique trendy atmosphere.

Last but not least, after the rain comes the rainbow. The guys behind Boui Boui Bilk announced on October 1st of 2019, that there will be a future for their concept at another place in the city.

For now, Düsseldorf’s Holthausen ward is the hot candidate for a continuation under a new name. Maybe the Boui Boui guys manage to transform Holthausen into another trendy neighbourhood.

If you are interested in guided tours, there’s also an Urban Art Walk tour being offered here.

What to expect in the second part of Bilk – The alternative and artistic one?

Get excited for deeper insights into Bilk’s subculture and its attractions like Cafés, Bars etc.

8 COMMENTS

  1. If you would have asked me whether one can find any graffiti art in Bilk, I had answered “Yes”. But I couldn’t tell you where and what kind of paintings you can discover. Furthermore I hadn’t expected that there is such a story behind those paintings.
    Next time I walk through Bilk with an open eye for those artful walls. Until I read this lovely article I didn’t recognized these colorful streets. They were visible, invisible to me like the “mask” of racoon.

    Cheers!

  2. Cheers moite,

    First of all, I appreciated your reaction a lot.

    It’s unbelievable how many times we walk through our cities and homes with closed eyes, while beauty awaits us at every corner.

    Moreover, you’d fullfil me with joy, if you keep an eye on these mural, like a cheeky cat while hunting, during your next stroll through trendy Bilk.

    Last but not least, you did enjoy Ardif’s racoon artwork, huh? ;-D

    Cheers

  3. Cheers mate,

    Thanks for the detailed insights into my immediate neighborhood – short and precise.
    Since I have been living in Düsseldorf for around six years now there are still (too) many spots to discover.
    Could you please write a report of the district Flingern? Anyway, I would appreciate it alot 😉

    Have a good weekend.

    Cheers,

    Norman

    • Cheers mate,

      Thank you so much for your great reaction to my article.
      It’s astonishing how many people pass by that area everyday and haven’t noticed those great artworks yet.

      Flingern is coming sooner or later, mate. If you register for the newsletter, you won’t miss its release.

      Thanks and I hope you also had a great weekend.

      Cheers

  4. When the sun was shining, i went for a walk and decided to look after the street art, which i heard about here…allthough i have been often in bilk i never noticed a lot of paintings…so i decided to walk by looking behind me, looking left and right…and it was absolutely amazing what you can see if you Walk through a City with Open eyes! And the best: you can see wonderful Art in a City by walking on sunshine, you dont have to Go in a Museum for that…thank you for your recommendation!

    • Hey Mitch,

      Thank you so much for your delighted comment.
      It makes me very happy to hear that my article motivated you to explore the urban streets of Bilk.

      You made a valid point, mate – it’s an open air gallery.

      Much appreciated and I hope to welcome you back.

      Cheers

  5. Love it, great article! It’s especially nice to now know all the artists behind the great street art. And I’m definitely gonna do the Urban Art Work tour. What I would still love to know is info on some nice bars and restaurants. Do you know any of them and have a few tips for me?

    • Cheers Timo,

      I’m glad you loved the article – thank you so much!

      Yeah, I appreciate the fact that a little bit of deeper background about the artists is welcome.
      Bars, Restaurants, Coffea Shops etc. will get their own dedicated article. So, if you haven’t done it yet, register for the newsletter and you won’t miss its release. In case of urgency, PM me. 😉

      Cheers

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