The Radschläger of Düsseldorf

One of the oldest symbols associated with Düsseldorf is the “Radschläger” or translated, “Cartwheeler.”  No matter if it is a sculpture on the street or on top of a fountain, you can find this character just about everywhere. Making it the most popular souvenir purchase for those looking to commemorate their visit to Düsseldorf.

No one quite remembers when the tradition began, but this city’s symbol is based on the boys who once lived in the town and earned their pocket money by entertaining the pedestrians.  Strolling down the Königsallee (right next to the Old Town) you were sure to see the boys cartwheeling and shouting for a penny at the same time.

Today, the performances are less common. But there are some opportunities to catch the cartwheelers.  In fact, there is a yearly competition!  Every June since 1937, several hundred boys and girls (girls were allowed to compete since 1971!) from approximately 15 different nations participate and present their skills.

Not just the sculptures, which adorn the cityscape, but also the traditions, turn Düsseldorf into a colorful city full of activity and life.

 

(Auf Deutsch)

Comments

  1. John Ashworth says:

    While living with a family in South Devon in the UK back in 1966, a German student stayed with the family who gave me a small memento in brass of a boy cartwheeling with the words at the base of the figurine ‘Radschlager – Dusseldorf. At the time, I didn’t know what it meant, and the student with broken English, tried to explain it to me.

    I have had this figurine in a draw all this time, and decided to find out what it meant. Well, this website has pretty well done that. Very interesting history.

    John

    • Capella Hotels Insider says:

      Thanks so much! I love sharing the stories of Dusseldorf with everyone. This city is so rich in history, I am glad you were able to discover some here!

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