Since I've (re)discovered analogue photography, I surprise myself more often than not, walking aimlessly through my hometown of Dusseldorf. I don’t think I need to explain how your perception of your surroundings changes through the viewfinder. On one of my last trips a few weeks ago I, in the truest sense of the word, stumbled across one of Düsseldorf's significant treasures, the historic cemetery of Golzheim. With its ancient, weathered monuments and poplar-lined paths and trails, it offers visitors a sight reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie.
The four-acre Golzheim cemetery was created in 1805 and back then it was located on the outskirts of Duesseldorf, directly on the banks of the river Rhine. Today, the historic cemetery is split into two by Klever Road and the Cecilienallee which separates the area from the Rhine.
The modern buildings in the immediate surrounding area were violently contested by the public, but offers me an interesting contrast as a photographer. Embedded in steel and glass buildings you will find an oasis of tranquility and meditation.
The charm of the cemetery is made up by the many preserved classical, neo-Gothic and Romanesque headstones. Many are decorated with ancient symbols such as butterflies, poppy seed flowers, laurel wreaths, broken columns or dying torches, which are still easily recognized today. While in 1938, there were still 668 tombs counted, now there are only about 350 left.
The 18th century cemetery served as a municipal cemetery for both the catholic and protestant communities in 1805-1897. Historically, many of the city’s local celebrities of their time are buried here. Among others, the landscape architect Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe (1775-1846), designed the cemetery at the time.
In 1982 the cemetery Golzheimer was finally listed to be preserved as a site of historic interest and along with the old cemetery in Bonn and Cologne’s Melaten cemetery, which is considered to be one of the main historical cemeteries in North Rhine-Westphalia.
For me, the cemetery is a park of peace and reflection. The ethereal atmosphere of the ancient tombs, the dense trees and the many icons are ideal for walks and photo safaris. I have been there often and yet I can find something new with every visit.
Dusseldorf Golzheim, Crossing: Fischer Strasse / Klever Straße (behind the building of the Victoria Insurance Company)
To reach by Metro lines U78, U79 – Stop: Victoria / Klever Straße