Four years of renovation and remodeling have made the Olympic Stadium not only a top-rate sporting arena, especially for German and international soccer matches, but a popular venue for concerts and other large-scale events. This multifunctional stadium now provides covered seating for around 74,450 spectators. To improve the view of the playing field, the geometry of the stands in the lower ring was modified and the level of the playing field lowered by 2.65 meters. The VIP stands and other VIP areas were completely redesigned. Because the stadium is classified as a historical monument, however, only slight changes were made in its outward appearance.
HistoryThe Olympic Stadium was built for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had chosen Berlin in 1931 to host the 1936 Games. Hitler took advantage of the opportunity provided by the Games to present a propagandistic image of National Socialist Germany to the world. For the duration of the Olympic Games, for instance, signs forbidding Jews to sit on park benches were removed so as not to detract from the Third Reich’s portrayal of itself. The construction carried out for the Olympics was the Third Reich’s first large architectural project. The “Reich Sports Ground” was a monumental tripartite complex consisting of the stadium, the Olympic square, and the “Maifeld,” where huge rallies like the May Day events of the Hitler Youth could be staged. A swimming stadium, a hockey stadium, and an open-air stage, now known as the Waldbühne, were also built on the grounds, which covered a total of 131 hectares.
PresentThe sports and cultural life of today’s Berlin would be unimaginable without the “Berlin Olympic Park” built for the 1936 Olympic Games. The stadium is the home of the soccer team Hertha BSC; Bundesliga games and international soccer matches take place here; Berlin Thunder, winner of the World Bowl for several years now, plays its home games here; and in 2005, the Internationales Deutsches Turnfest (International German Gymnastics Festival) was held at the Olympic Park with more than 100,000 participants.
Anyone taking a morning stroll through the Olympic Park may be able to catch a glimpse of Hertha players practicing. Athletic activity is of course open to everyone: on hot summer days, up to 10,000 visitors can be found cooling off at the swimming stadium, and those who like a thrill can test their nerves at a climbing facility. The Waldbühne and the stadium draw fans of all music genres with open-air concerts by international stars, and visitors interested in history can learn about the varied past of the grounds when touring the stadium. In 2006, the Olympic Stadium attracted attention worldwide when Germany hosted the Football World Cup. Six matches – including the final on July 9 – were played here.