Basilika St Lambertus: The Oldest Church in Dusseldorf

Updated on October 23, 2023  


Basilika St. Lambertus in Dusseldorf, a hidden gem of architectural splendor, beckons visitors with its timeless beauty and rich history.

This stunning basilica stands as a testament to the city's heritage, drawing travelers and locals alike into its awe-inspiring embrace.

History and Architecture of Basilika St. Lambertus

Origins and construction of the basilica

The Basilika St. Lambertus, one of the oldest building in Düsseldorf, had its humble beginnings in 1206 as a mere church consecrated to Our Lady.

Over time, the desire to expand and enhance religious architecture led to a century-long construction wave starting from 1288.


In this period of expansion and remodelling, the basilica emerged with new grandeur & witnessed its rededication to St Lambert before finally reaching completion in 1394. [1]

This complex is home not just to the cathedral but also an assortment of historical buildings cohabiting within its walls which further amplify the rich tapestry of its origins and journey.

Influences of Gothic style in its design

The Basilika St. Lambertus is a stunning masterpiece of Gothic architecture, featuring high pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses – all classic Gothic elements.

It was influenced by Romanesque architecture but evolved into a more intricate and light-filled style. The basilica is adorned with detailed decorations, showcasing Dusseldorf's architectural transition from Romanesque to Gothic.


Inside, vibrant stained glass windows depict biblical scenes. The basilica's unique blend of architectural influences not only reflects its history but also adds historical significance.

Stone carvings and spiral pillars enhance its dramatic aesthetics without compromising structural integrity.

The twisted spire is a distinctive feature, symbolizing the transition between architectural eras.

Overall, the Basilika St. Lambertus harmoniously combines various Gothic influences, making it a testament to Dusseldorf's rich architectural heritage.

Unique features such as the twisted spire

The twisted spire of St. Lambertus Basilica is an architectural marvel that piques the interest of both locals and tourists in Dusseldorf.

The most popular theory is that the Devil twisted the St. Lambertus tower in a fit of anger. His plan was to take down the whole church, but he only managed to twist its tall steeple that stood out on the Rhine skyline. Some say the tower will only straighten if a virgin gets married inside the church.


Disproving such folklore, however, is the fact that this unusual twisting design resulted from using damp wood during a restoration project. As the wood dried out over time, it caused the tower to warp into its characteristic spiral—an unintended yet fascinating feature.

Today, this unintentional outcome not only adds to the gothic charm adorning this historical landmark but also serves as a distinctive symbol for all who visit and admire its cultural heritage.

Significance and Importance of Basilika St. Lambertus

Religious ceremonies and significance

The Basilika St. Lambertus holds religious ceremonies and services that are steeped in centuries of tradition and reverence.

Worshipers gather here to express their faith, partake in rituals, and experience a sense of spiritual connection.


The basilica's importance goes beyond its significance as a place of worship - it is a symbol of the city's heritage and cultural identity.

Visitors are drawn to the sacred atmosphere and the opportunity to witness or participate in these timeless ceremonies, becoming a part of an ancient legacy that continues to thrive.

Cultural events and festivals held at the basilica

St. Lambertus Basilica is not only an important religious site but also a vibrant cultural hub in Düsseldorf.

Throughout the year, the basilica plays host to a variety of exciting cultural events and festivals that showcase its rich historical significance and contribute to the local community's traditions.

Some events that are held regularly here are:

  • Gospel Nights
  • Live Organ Concerts
  • Vespers
  • Liturgies
  • Church Tours

From artistic performances to community celebrations, there is always something happening at this iconic landmark.

The basilica serves as a venue for concerts, exhibitions, and other artistic performances, attracting both locals and tourists with its diverse program of events.

Whether you're into classical music or contemporary art, you will find something to pique your interest at St. Lambertus Basilica.

Visiting Basilika St. Lambertus

Mass times and services

The Basilika St. Lambertus offers a range of mass times and services for visitors to attend.

The Lambertus Basilica is open:

  • Mon: 3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 
  • Tue - Sun: 9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m

The mass is held at the following times:

  • Weekday: Thursday 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 5:00pm (vigil), 5:00pm

This provides an opportunity for parishioners and tourists alike to come together in prayer and participate in religious ceremonies.

The church also hosts various other services throughout the week, allowing individuals to engage with their faith and experience the spiritual atmosphere of this historic basilica.

Nearby attractions and things to do in the area

The downtown historic district of Dusseldorf, where Basilika St. Lambertus is located, offers a variety of nearby attractions and activities to explore.

Here are some of the top attractions to visit in Dusseldorf Old Town:

Marktplatz Square: This central square is home to the Town Hall of Düsseldorf and features an equestrian statue of Elector Johann Wilhelm II. It offers a glimpse into the city's rich past and architectural heritage.

Schlossturm: Located on Burgplatz, Schlossturm is the only remaining tower of an old castle that once stood over the city. It now houses the SchiffahrtsMuseum, which displays a collection of ship models, illustrations, and artifacts that narrate 2000 years of maritime history.

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (K20 and K21): This art collection consists of two venues, K20 and K21, and showcases a rich array of 20th-century masterpieces and contemporary art. The architectural brilliance of both buildings adds to the experience.

Bolkerstrasse: Known as the "longest bar in the world," Bolkerstrasse is a must-visit destination for nightlife lovers. It offers an array of pubs, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that provide entertainment throughout the night.

Rheinuferpromenade: This scenic waterfront promenade offers a picturesque walk along the eastern bank of the Rhine River. It is lined with restaurants, bars, and cafeterias where visitors can enjoy dining options and refreshing beverages while taking in the stunning riverside views.


Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall): This historic building, designed by Heinrich Tussmann, is considered one of the oldest structures in the city. It is located on the north side of the central marketplace and serves as a significant historical site and symbol of Düsseldorf's history and identity.