It might not be immediately obvious, but Manchester and Dusseldorf are two cities with plenty in common.

In particular both are well known for their renowned music scenes, and plenty of Mancunians have been travelling to the west German city recently, especially for its popular Christmas market.

So what better time to have a look around the city on the Rhine than when it became half a century since their most internationally renowned sons, electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, were formed there.

Many have claimed that Kraftwerk are just as influential as The Beatles, an argument which has a lot of force.

Just look at our own city's musical history.

A view of Königsallee

The music of Joy Division and New Order as well as much of the aesthetic of Factory Records, particularly Peter Savile's artwork, has Kraftwerkian fingerprints all over it.

Unlike our friends down the M62 in Liverpool, there is not much overt physical evidence in Dusseldorf that Kraftwerk were ever here.

The main site is the band's legendary former Kling Klang base, which is still a working studio and has become something of a pilgrimage for devotees of Ralf Hutter and co.

During our trip we were granted a rare chance to venture inside the place where the magic happened, hidden on an unassuming street in Dusseldorf's red light district near the train station.

There is not much there from the Kraftwerk days, as they have packed up and moved on since creating legendary albums including Autobahn and The Man Machine.

Altstadt, the old town

One thing that remains is the legendary telephone, which apparently did not ring so the band would not be disturbed.

There is also the famous Königsallee, a picturesque street full of luxury stores which may have provided an inspiration for the band's number one single The Model.

Dusseldorf, like Manchester, is not just a one band city, there is Neu, La Dusseldorf, D.A.F., Propaganda, Die Krupps, and Rheingold to name just a few.

Thankfully we had local music experts Michael Wenzel and Sven André Dreyer on hand to give us a tour of the sites synonymous with the Dusseldorf scene, who run a regular walking tour.

The Rheinturm

A perfect companion piece is Kraftwerk: Future Music from Germany, the excellent book by German academic and music writer Uwe Schutte, the latest analysis of a band so ahead of their time that they have continually had to wait for technology to catch up with them.

And when you're tired after having traced the city's musical history, there's nothing better to do than recuperate with Dusseldorf's famous altbier.

A more historic version of brewing beer, the best place to sample it is in the Altstadt, the old town.

Boasting the 'longest bar in the world' with its more than 300 pubs and clubs, this is where the party gets started.

One thing you quickly learn is that unless you make it clear that you have had enough to drink, the altbier will continue flowing.

Kraftwerk in their iconic pose made famous on the artwork of their album The Man Machine

That's because the waiters are paid in relation to the amount of beer they serve. It's a great system to beat the bar queues, but might prove dangerous if you get on a roll and drink more than you had planned!

There's plenty to see and do around near the old town.

In the summer with better weather, a boat trip on the Rhine would be on the agenda.

We went up the 240m Rheinturm, a TV tower which provides stunning 360 degree views of the city.

The buildings designed by American architect Frank Gehry

Also worth a look are the striking buildings near the harbour designed by American architect Frank Gehry, also known for the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

There are also world class museums including the modern art Kunstsammlung NRW, which has pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol.

And the beauty of Dusseldorf's location and the country's fantastic transport links make it easy to hop over the border to the Netherlands or Belgium, or you could be in Berlin within five hours.

And with regular direct flights to Manchester, there's no excuse not to take in this historic city and see where its most famous sons took their first steps to becoming electro pioneers.

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