When leaves begin to turn color in Autumn, my enthusiasm builds about sweaters, scarves and stormy weather, but above all else, I look forward to glass trade shows in Germany – actually, one in particular. See a theme here? I like the fall season, but I love Glasstec.

Glasstec in Germany is a trade show like no other. One hall at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre, where Glasstec is held, could rival many cities entire convention centers, but there are nineteen halls total in Düsseldorf, most of which are filled with glass and glass related products – a dream for most glass industry professionals.

"The only limits we set on your imagination concern space: 262,000 square metres of hall space and 43,000 square metres of outdoor space.”
- Messe Düsseldorf

There is an abundance of information that can be found specifically about Glasstec in publications such as Glass Magazine and USGlass Magazine, so let’s get down to talking about the beautiful city of Düsseldorf and a few gems I’ve discovered by traveling there every two years, like a salmon searching for its hatchery.

List of must-see or may-need in Düsseldorf

  • Altstadt Düsseldorf - The main U trains in Düsseldorf pass through this area and Altstadt is conveniently located for easy access at the end of each day after walking Glasstec – this area is also known as “Old Town”. Central downtown part of Düsseldorf is where you may go to drink many a beer, and is full of fabulous restaurants, pubs, and shops. Your choice of beer may be a darker Altbier, the lighter version many Americans will be familiar with is a Pils. Be sure to enjoy a local-fare must-have: pig knuckle with German potatoes; any of the Argentinian steak eateries are mouth-watering as well. After dinner, wander for some drinks at any of the 260+ pubs the district has to offer.

  • Japan Town - One wouldn’t expect Germany to offer some of the best sushi someone has had in their life, however Düsseldorf is host to a large Japanese community and has been since the 1950’s. Japan Town boasts of 500+ Japanese businesses.

"The central Japanese quarter in the Düsseldorf city is called Immermannstraße, a long road lined with Japanese bookstores, restaurants, bars, supermarkets, bakeries and even a Japanese hotel called Hotel Nikko.”
- Amy Airlines

  • Königsallee - Shopping? Who will have time while you’re looking to buy your next glass tempering oven? Well, good question, but you owe it to yourself to do an early morning stroll or take at least one afternoon to buy chocolate or a new little something for yourself in the shopping district, affectionately known as "Kö" by Düsseldorf's residents. Königsallee is a beautiful section of town accessible by both U train or a few blocks walking distance from Altstadt. The lake and architecture alone are worth the detour – perhaps, on your way to dinner.

  • Ride the Rhine - Many years ago I was lucky to be invited on a Rhine cruise. A large silicone sealant manufacturer had invited our team, along with their employees from all points on the globe. First, it was a fantastic experience to meet new friends from all over and enjoy the company of people from many cultures. Second, the food and scenery were incredible. The waterfront in Düsseldorf offers many of these dinner cruises. It’s a must-see to observe one of the world’s most bustling rivers atop a lengthy and agile dinner boat.

  • Kaiserwerth - One Glasstec year, we waited too long to secure our hotel arrangements. Lesson learned – you often need to book a year in advance to stay at your first-choice location. I travel quite a bit and know what can come from unfamiliar hotel bookings and in this instance, I could feel my anxiety begin to rise. With many places reserved, our team ended up in a small Kaiserwerth hotel, based in a suburb of Düsseldorf on the North side. Once we entered the area, all fears subsided. Kaiserwerth is one of the oldest areas of Düsseldorf, a quintessential small German village that feels welcoming and familiar. The Hotel Barbarossa in Kaiserwerth became our home station for Glasstec many years after. Always worth a ride on the U train to see this beautiful community on the Rhine.

These are some highlights I’ve enjoyed about Düsseldorf that will surely enrich your time at the Glasstec show. After many trips to Glasstec, I know it’s difficult to find the time to explore, but before you gulp-down a few too many delicious beers and you’re too sleepy from pig knuckle, try to work in a few of the sights. You will not be disappointed. See you in Germany!

- Kris Vockler