The Olympic Stadium is Berlin's largest sports stadium. Built for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, it now hosts major sports and entertainment events.
Berlin's Olympiastadion and Glockenturm (Olympic Stadium and Bell Tower) was built for the 1936 Olympic Games when the 2400m horse-racing track in the Grunewald district, by Otto March 1909, was demolished in 1934 to make room for a new National Stadium designed by March's sons Werner and Walter March and supervised by Hitler's Imperial Interior Ministry. The Nazi-era monumentalist stadium and the exhibition in the Bell Tower carry vivid memories of the iconic images of African-American sprinter Jesse Owens whose historic four-medal Olympic victory shook Hitler's theory of the superiority of the Aryan race.
Olympic Stadium was built as part of a full-scale sports complex
Werner March's project for the 1936 Olympic Games – redesigned in typical Fascist monumental grandeur was intended as a full-scale sports complex - an Olympic Square, an Olympic Stadium seating 110,000 spectators and a track field known as Maifeld intended as a marching ground for mass rallies of up to 500,000 people and an Olympic swimming pool. The Waldbühne, one of Berlin's most popular open-air venues today, with 25,000 seats was built for gymnastics competitions. A 78m Olympic tower – The Bell Tower - completed the ensemble. Architecturally the Reich Sports Field attempted to draw effect from the interplay of architectural forms, nature and sculpture as a backdrop to national and organised events such as those depicted in Leni Riefenstahl's controversial films which orchestrated and immortalised the cultural aesthetic of National Socialism.
Photo Gallery (in German)
Renovation and modernization of the Olympic Stadium
The site was reopened in 1946 when the British troops stationed in Berlin hosted and 8- nation track-and-field competition for Allied Forces soldiers. After the fall of the Wall in 1989 Berlin's bid for the 2004 Olympics failed and in 1998 the Berlin Senate took the final decision for the full transformation of the former complex into a modern multifunctional sports venue redeveloped by architects Gerkan Marg and Partner Group.
A multi-functional sports and events arena
The final, comprehensive renovation and modernization of the new Stadium took four years and was completed in 2004 complying with the highest requirements of the monument conservation orders and global sports events as a multi-functional sports and events arena which can seat up to 76,000 spectators. On July 9, 2006 Berlin's Olympia Stadium hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup final between France and Italy.
Visiting the Olympic Stadium
The Bell Tower with the Visitor's Centre and the German Historical Museum Exhibition on the ground floor -"Historic Site: The Olympic Grounds 1909 – 1936 – 2006" was fittingly remodernised for the 2006 World Cup event. Highlights include the new glass lift and an observation deck.
To explore the Olympic Stadium grounds guided tours are available daily as well as audio-guides. Tours include the usually off-limits areas such as the VIP lounges, the high tech floodlights and giant screens, 25 info points documenting the history of the complex and even the locker and changing room areas of Berlin's Bundesliga Football Club, Hertha BSC.
Olympic Stadium Information
- Opening Hours
- 20.03. - 31.05.: 9-19,
01.06. - 15.09.: 9-20,
16.09. - 31.10.: 9-19,
01.11. - 19.03.: 10-16
- Admission Fee
- Adults 7.00 €, reduced 5.50 €, Family Card 16.00 €
(for viewings in the visitor centre only)
- Guided Tours
- Guided tours by arrangement (see www.olympiastadion-berlin.de)
- Werner March
From Alexanderplatz to Zoo: the most important attractions and sights in Berlin from A to Z.
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Last edited: 19. November 2015