German Football Museum Dortmund
Germany’s favourite sport for more than 90 minutes
Here, there’s more than just titles, goals and triumphs on display. The museum is dedicated to the less appealing aspects of football as well as those that promoting understanding between nations.
When the room lights go out and the large screens light up, you can feel the goosebumps. “Rahn shoots”, “Özil scores”, or “Müller rotates around his own axis, and ...” - the monitors show magical moments for celebration that illustrate why football needs a museum.
The museum was opened in Dortmund in 2015, and is at most about an hour’s drive from five Bundesliga stadiums. Here, directly next to the main train station, Schalke and Cologne fans or fans of the record-breaking champion, Bayern Munich, are also welcome. 200,000 visitors come here every year, with the largest numbers on days when the BVB Dortmund is playing at home, when guest fans are in town.
The building is not divided into floors, but into half times. The first half time is devoted to the national team. Their victories, their defeats and their history. But that’s far from all. The museum has more to offer. For example, the treatment of Jewish players during the National Socialist period. It describes the political aspects of national games, such as the World Cup game between East and West Germany, which Sparwasser decided in favour of the GDR. Or it commemorates the player Lutz Eigendorf. His fatal car accident, which is recorded in Stasi documents, is an unsolved puzzle.
Naturally, the exhibition also shines and sparkles in various places, thanks to the stars on the jerseys, the imperial aura of the Beckenbauer display cases and the many victory trophies. Incidentally, the cups won by the women’s national team fill more space than those of their male colleagues.
The second half is dedicated to the team colours, the fan culture, reporters’ voices and other aspects of the game, such as the balloon silk trainer jacket worn by Christoph Daum, which was once stolen. Overall, the museum shows a kind of cultural history in many facets, and in a highly entertaining way. It’s therefore no surprise to the exhibition curators that the museum is not just popular the generic male fan with his team scarf, but is also visited by a very mixed group of visitors. These visitors can experience the art of the professional players themselves - by lying down in the same position as Klaus Fischer when he scored his “goal of the century”, for example.
After the end of the second half, there is space for extra time - the playing field on the ground floor. Here, the focus is no longer on football history, eternal heroes and sports policy. Here, the ball simply has to land in the net.