North Rhine-Westphalia’s capital punches far above its weight in matters cultural. It has latterly acquired some cutting-edge architecture by big names like Frank Gehry and Will Alsop to match its established reputation for modern art: Joseph Beuys, the enfant terrible of the postwar art scene, was a professor at the esteemed Kunstakademie, and the city’s galleries are impressive. The Kunstakademie also nurtured the influential Düsseldorf school of photography, whose leading lights include Andreas Gursky, celebrated for his vast panoramic images. There’s a strong rock music tradition here, the most famous local musical exports being synthesizer pioneers Kraftwerk and Eighties electropoppers Propaganda. Düsseldorf is Germany’s fashion capital too, and it was in a local nightclub in the 1980s that supermodel Claudia Schiffer was discovered. Its greatest son was, however, neither rock star nor fashion plate, but the Romantic poet Heinrich Heine, who is commemorated by a museum.

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