Veltins Arena Schalke, © FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 e.V.

North Rhine-West­phalia – land of foot­ball

Home to the heart­beat of sport

Foot­ball is a pas­sion and part of life in North Rhine-West­phalia, and a vis­it to the sta­di­um is an un­for­get­table ex­per­i­ence here. Even when the pitch is quiet, the North Rhine-West­phalia land of foot­ball still has plenty to of­fer.

Sta­di­ums and tours

Of course, the at­mo­sphere dur­ing a loc­al derby between Dortmund and Schalke or a Rhine derby between Co­logne and Mönchenglad­bach is truly unique. But it is hard to ac­quire tick­ets be­cause so many people want to at­tend. For­tu­nately there are oth­er ways of get­ting in­to the sta­di­um, for ex­ample tak­ing a tour. This is a bet­ter al­tern­at­ive for those wish­ing to gain a glimpse be­hind the scenes, be­cause when else would you be able to enter the play­er dress­ing rooms or walk down the tun­nel in­to the sta­di­um like a pro­fes­sion­al?

Ger­many?s largest sta­di­um of­fers tours like these, among oth­er things. The sta­di­um formerly known as the West­falen-Sta­di­on in Dortmund and now called Sig­nal-Iduna-Park is the largest in Ger­many and seats 80,000 spec­tat­ors. Pro­fes­sion­al foot­ballers love the spe­cial at­mo­sphere of this sta­di­um and a few years ago, the Lon­don Times even named this foot­balling temple the best sta­di­um in the world. The com­pet­i­tion ground in the east­ern Ruhr Area also has an­oth­er su­per­lat­ive to of­fer: the loc­al sta­di­um of BVB is home to Europe?s largest stand­ing area. The Bor­us­seum is also housed at the mu­seum. This is the BVB club mu­seum ? a real ?get in­volved? mu­seum with club song karaoke and the chance to com­ment­ate a match your­self.

Of course, there is also a club mu­seum ?auf Schalke?, as the Gelsen­kirchen sta­di­um is known. Hard­core fans can get mar­ried or have them­selves or their chil­dren bap­tised in the ad­join­ing chapel. There is even a cemetery just for Schalke fans! The sta­di­um tours also of­fer a glimpse be­hind the scenes at the Velt­ins Arena, which is classed as Europe?s most mod­ern sta­di­um due to its clos­able roof and re­tract­able pitch. And if that wer­en?t enough, a tour of Schalke?s his­tory can be com­bined with a home game by the ?Schalk­er Knap­pen? (Schalke Miners) as they are fondly known, based on the motto of ?home game and his­tory? ? goose bumps guar­an­teed!
www.velt­ins-arena.de | www.schalke04.de

Reg­u­lar tours are also held of Bor­us­sia-Park in Mönchenglad­bach. Any­one wish­ing to find out more about the ?Bor­us­sia le­gend?, shaped by greats such as Günter Net­zer and Berti Vo­gts, can take part in a tour and track down signs of Bor­us­sia across the city. The tour makes 11 stops linked to the club be­fore end­ing with a lap of the sta­di­um.
www.moenchenglad­bach.de | www.bor­us­sia.de

There is also the op­tion of tak­ing a cir­cuit around the Düs­sel­dorf Es­prit Arena. While the For­tu­na team that plays here is con­stantly switch­ing back and forth between the first and second league, its home arena has already been long es­tab­lished as a top­class foot­ball ven­ue. The arena has not only hos­ted the Ger­man na­tion­al team sev­er­al times, but con­certs by in­ter­na­tion­al su­per­stars and oth­er events are also reg­u­larly held here. Tours of the sta­di­um take vis­it­ors to the play­ers? lock­er rooms and the press con­fer­ence room, among oth­er areas of the arena.

For those who don?t want to leave the sta­di­um, even at night, the Ba­yar­ena in Leverkusen is the per­fect des­tin­a­tion as Ger­many?s first sta­di­um hotel ? nestled with­in the ?Nordkur­ve? stand where the Leverkusen fans stand to watch the match. The en­tire sta­di­um can also be vis­ited dur­ing tours. In ad­di­tion to the nor­mal tours, there are also spe­cial tours for chil­dren and people with lim­ited mo­bil­ity.


In ad­di­tion to the sta­di­ums, there are also oth­er op­tions for ex­plor­ing North Rhine-West­phalia?s le­gendary foot­ball. These un­doubtedly in­clude the Ger­man Foot­ball Mu­seum in Dortmund. Opened in 2015, this mu­seum is one of the top at­trac­tions in North Rhine-West­phalia, land of sport and a real para­dise for foot­ball fans! Vis­it­ors here be­come par­ti­cipants and can walk through the play­ers? tun­nel to the sound of the fans singing. Even the res­taur­ant area fits per­fectly in­to the concept, since here, the former chef of the Ger­man na­tion­al team, star chef Hol­ger Stromberg, has had a hand in the menu. Guests are served the same dishes that helped the Ger­man na­tion­al play­ers be­come top fit world cham­pi­ons.

There?s even more foot­ball at the Ger­man Sport and Olympic Mu­seum in Co­logne where everything re­volves around the his­tory of sport, from an­tiquity to the present day. As Ger­many?s fa­vour­ite sport, foot­ball has its own spe­cial area in this per­man­ent ex­hib­i­tion. The per­fect at­mo­sphere is cre­ated with ex­cerpts from the le­gendary ra­dio com­ment­ary of the World Cup fi­nals in 1954 by Her­bert Zi­m­mer­mann in the back­ground.


For those who fancy do­ing some sport them­selves after all those sport­ing ex­per­i­ences, there is the per­fect thing on of­fer from mid-March to the end of Oc­to­ber in Es­sen at the Zollver­ein-Park, on the site of the Zollver­ein UN­ESCO World Her­it­age Site (coal mine com­plex): soc­cer golf! As the name sug­gests, this is a com­bin­a­tion of foot­ball and golf where the play­ers try to get the ball along a course of 9 goals us­ing as few strikes as pos­sible. The route has an in­dus­tri­al cul­tur­al back­drop and runs through the middle of the in­dus­tri­al nature of the World Her­it­age Site. Foot­balls and score cards can be ob­tained on-site on pay­ment of a de­pos­it.



Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

The Rheinenergie arena is the home of the football club 1.FC Köln, © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW
The BayArena is glowing at night, © KSmediaNET
Football fans celebrate in the Dortmund arena, © Stefanie Kleemann, Dortmund-Agentur
Nice view across the BayArena, © KSmediaNET
Veltins-Arena Schalke, © FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 e.V.
Persona Olivier Kruschinski, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.