Famous for its remarkable architecture and its art scene, Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s largest cities and the capital of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. As part of the seminar organised by Friedrich Naumann Foundation, we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the Landtag – the state parliament that convenes in Düsseldorf. Group tours of the State Parliament can be booked by anyone interested in visiting and, you’ll be pleased to know, they’re completely free.

Rhine Tower Dusseldorf
The Rhine Tower

The building itself is beautiful, particularly if you’re fortunate enough to witness a bird’s eye view from the nearby Rheinturm (Rhine Tower), which is an iconic landmark and the tallest building in Düsseldorf. The guided tour through the Landtag’s interior will give you an insight into Germany’s political process which is made even more interesting with the knowledge that the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia is larger than some European countries! The purpose each room serves, which of the parties have the majority of seats and other interesting trivia are part of the tour.

Landtag Doors Dusseldorf

For me, the highlight were the three doors providing an alternate entrance to the plenary chamber. Labelled Ja (yes), Nein (no) and Enthaltung (abstention), we were told that these are used in case of a division of votes where an undisputed majority can not be established through raising of hands etc. The president can then call for Hammelsprung (literal translation: wether’s leap) which is a voting method where all the MPs leave the plenary chamber and re-enter through the door that represents their vote. Mentally drawing comparisons with the dysfunctional “democracy” we have in Pakistan, it was fascinating to learn the ins-and-outs of a democratic system that has been built from the ground up post the second World War, around the same time that Pakistan achieved independence.

13 thoughts on “Düsseldorf – A Tour of the Landtag”

  1. The only time I went to Dusseldorf was to go to a concert haha, but it was nice to learn a bit more about the city. Interesting how the doors could be used for a vote!

  2. Nice overview. Hopefully it avoids undignified hurling of insults and quarrels if the representatives can be told to all leave and express themselves by re-entering!

    1. From what they told us, it sounded like quite a civilised process but we’d have to witness the actual thing to find out for sure! 😉

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