In 1926, a beautiful planetarium was built on the banks of the river Rhine in Düsseldorf.
It was supposed to give people an insight into the 5,984,000,000 or so kilometres from the sun to the outer-most planets of our system. As is often the case in history though, things turned out very differently.
In the 1970s, the city’s famous semi-sphere was turned into a concert hall where the public gathered to explore the unlimited breadths of culture and to be inspired by international stars of all genres — from classical music to jazz, and from chanson and soul to cabaret.
In 2005, the conservative colour of the large concert hall gave way to a metal blue, giving the venue a modern feel. The dome-shaped and refined sound deflection make for magnificent acoustics. Optically, light diodes and a refined lighting concept today have turned the concert hall back into what it has always been:
a “Music Planetarium”. Düsseldorf's starry sky means concerts here are a particularly special experience. Director Michael Becker is amazed at how the concert hall attracts audiences: “Now the corner acoustics have been brought into the round at the concert hall, we are all indulging in concerts under the stars.”
More than 350 concerts with more than 300,000 spectators per year make the “Music Planetarium” a splendid cultural forum and a place to meet people. Over the years, two things in particular have remained unchanged: the large range and the frequent euphorically celebrated discoveries in Germany’s most beautiful concert venue.
The history of the concert hall
When it was developed in 1926, the round building on the Rhine was one of the first planetariums in the world. It was one of the most important buildings that architect Wilhelm Kreis created for the GeSoLei exhibition (abbreviations of the German words for public health, social welfare, physical exercise) to which the museums am Ehrenhof and the Rhine terrace now belong.
The transformation into a concert venue only took place a quarter of a century ago. At that time, an alternative for the old, war-destroyed concert hall on Schadowstraße was in desperate need and the search began for a new use for the war-damaged shell of the planetarium. The former planetarium was reopened as a concert venue in 1978.
The Tonhalle in numbers
In the last 30 years, 6.5 million visitors have passed through the doors of the Düsseldorf concert hall, where visitors have enjoyed 5500 concerts. Today, the average annual number of spectators is 300,000.
Large hall with 1854 seats, music chamber with 300 seats, rotund in the foyer with 200 - 400 seats (readings, café concerts), concert cash desk, foyer bistro, historical “Grünes Gewölbe” [green arch] with the famous Helmut-Hentrich glass collection.
Floor space: 80 x 80 m
Total height: 31 m
Dome diameter: 38 m