Dortmund Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Dortmund

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    Tram Monument

    by Kathrin_E Written Nov 28, 2012

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    Once upon a time Dortmund had a tram network. Public transport through the city centre has long been transferred underground, nowadays there are no more trams but subway trains. In Kampstraße, a stretch of tram tracks has been preserved, and there is a tram standing as if it was waiting for passengers at the end of line.
    Don't fall for the trick. This tram will go nowhere. The tracks are blocked after some 50 metres. The entrance to the U-Bahn station was placed in its way.
    Since I like trams and appreciate cities that still have them, this forgotten streetcar evokes some nostalgic feelings...

    Nowadays...

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    Hellweg - Medieval Trade Route and Shopping Mile

    by Kathrin_E Written Nov 28, 2012

    The Hellweg is an ancient trade route that connected Rhine and Weser through the plains just North of the mountain ranges. The medieval Hellweg lead from Duisburg to Paderborn and Corvey and connected to other routes leading further East towards the Elbe. This route was one of the most important "highways" for trade and travel. Along it, towns were founded which then developed into trade centres, imperial cities and proud members of the Hansa. Dortmund is one of these cities.

    The Hellweg route is still clearly visible in Dortmund's town plan: the more or less straight street axis in East-Western direction that leads through the middle of the town centre inside the egg-shaped ring of "Wall" streets, the line of the former city ramparts. The name is also still present: Divided into Westenhellweg and Ostenhellweg , it is the pedestrian zone and main shopping street in the city. If you intend to do shopping in Dortmund you will end up here. Between fashion and discounts, devote a thought to history...

    Westenhellweg pedestrian zone
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    The U, and the Goldfish

    by Kathrin_E Written Nov 27, 2012

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    "The Dortmunder U" is a landmark of the city, not far and clearly visible from the station and from passing trains. It used to be the main building of a big and popular local brewery, Dortmunder Union. When the brewery closed down, the building was in danger of being demolished like the rest of the factory, but as it is a landmark it was saved and turned into a cultural centre. It now contains a museum of contemporary art and various artists' workshops, a cafe, and various other instalments around contemporary culture.

    The windows at the top have been turned into a supersize goldfish aquarium with moving 'fish' that shine in bright orange. At regular intervals they fade and disappear, and then return.

    ... goldfish reappear ... no goldfish Here they are!
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    The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner

    by Nemorino Updated Sep 21, 2012

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    Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) is about a ship's captain who has to sail the seas for all eternity until he is redeemed, if ever, by the fidelity of a loving woman. This was the fourth opera by Richard Wagner (1813-1883), but he later disowned the first three so this is the earliest one that is commonly presented.

    I have seen The Flying Dutchman numerous times in Frankfurt am Main, Mainz, Wiesbaden and Augsburg, and now in Dortmund.

    It is a deadly serious opera (Wagner was always deadly serious even when he was trying to be funny) but as I have explained on my Düsseldorf intro page it was based on a short, funny passage in a novel by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856). In Heine's version a destitute young Polish aristocrat called Schabelewopski goes to the theater in Amsterdam to see a play called The Flying Dutchman, but he only sees part of it because he meets a lovely blonde blue-eyed Dutch girl who starts flirting with him by dropping orange peels on his head from the upper balcony. In the intermission he finds her and whispers: "Maiden! I want to kiss you on the mouth." To which she whispers back: "By God, my dear Sir, that is a good idea." So when everyone else goes back in to see the rest of the play, Schabelewopski and the Dutch girl stay behind and kiss wildly on a black sofa in the lobby. Plus other things that he only hints at through a long -----.

    When he finally goes back to his seat the play is nearly over and the wife of the Flying Dutchman, whom Schabelewopski comically refers to as "Mrs. Flying Dutchwoman" (Frau fliegende Holländerin), proves her fidelity and redeems the Flying Dutchman by throwing herself into the sea and drowning herself.

    The moral of the story, according to Schabelewopski, is that women should take care not to marry any Flying Dutchmen, but the author Heinrich Heine must have been astounded when Richard Wagner contacted him in Paris and asked if he could use the story for an opera.

    Of course Wagner left out the part about Schabelewopski and the Dutch girl on the black sofa. Still, I can recommend The Flying Dutchman as one of Wagner's shortest and most accessible operas.

    Wagner as a young man was a big fan of Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835), the Italian composer of Norma, La sonnambula and I puritani, among other fantastic bel canto operas. In Wagner’s Flying Dutchman the influence of Bellini is still evident, which I personally find a very positive thing (several duets and lots of flowing Italian-style melodies), but in later years Wagner tried to eliminate the Italian influence from his music and make it sound 100 % German.

    Second photo: The stage entrance of the Dortmund Opera is off on the right (northeast) side of the building. This is where the singers and other participants come out after the show, like Andreas Macco after The Flying Dutchman and Elzbieta Ardam and Tamara Weimerich after L’Eliogabalo.

    Third photo: The program booklet of Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) at the Dortmund Opera.

    Click here to watch the trailer of The Flying Dutchman at the Dortmund Opera.

    Next: Konzerthaus Dortmund

    Cast of The Flying Dutchman Stage entrance Program booklet
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    In the Dortmund opera house

    by Nemorino Written Dec 25, 2011

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    This opera house seats 1170 people, which makes it a bit larger than the nearby Aalto-Theater in Essen and somewhat smaller than the Frankfurt Opera in Frankfurt am Main.

    Unfortunately the Dortmund Opera seems to be in a phase where they have trouble selling enough tickets to fill those 1170 seats. Even Wagner’s Flying Dutchman didn’t fill the house, and for Cavalli’s L’Eliogabalo they didn’t even try, just put the first eighteen rows on sale and nothing else. Too bad, because L’Eliogabalo was an excellent production and well worth seeing.

    That said, I hasten to admit that whenever Frankfurt puts on an opera by Francesco Cavalli they do so in their smaller venue, the Bockenheimer Depot, where they have a good chance of filling all the seats. The Bockenheimer Depot is also where they presented their fantastic production of the opera L'Orfeo by Cavalli’s mentor and teacher Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643).

    Second photo: Lots of seats in the Dortmund Opera.

    Third photo: Looking up from the lobby of the Dortmund Opera.

    Fourth photo: A rock garden behind glass at the lobby level of the Dortmund Opera. This reminds me of a similar feature in the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, which was built at around the same time.

    Fifth photo: Program book for L’Eliogabalo by Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676).

    Click here to watch the trailer of L’Eliogabalo at the Dortmund Opera.

    Next: The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner

    1. In the Dortmund opera house 2. Lots of seats! 3. Looking up from the lobby 4. Rock garden behind glass 5. Program book for L���Eliogabalo
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    Konzerthaus Dortmund

    by Nemorino Written Dec 25, 2011

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    The new concert house in Dortmund was built starting in the year 2000 and was inaugurated in 2002.

    It doesn’t look like much from the outside, more like an office building or an insurance company, but the inside is said to be quite stunning and also acoustically superb, since the acoustic engineers had the final say in all questions of detail while the concert hall was being built. (Unfortunately I haven’t been to a concert there yet, so I can’t give a first-hand report.)

    In the first photo they are advertizing a concert by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which often performs in Dortmund.

    Second photo: The entrance to the concert house, with reflections of the buildings on the other side of the street.

    Next: The U-Tower

    1. Konzerthaus Dortmund 2. Entrance to the concert house
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    The U-Tower

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 25, 2011

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    The Dortmund U-Tower was built in 1926/27 as part of a large production complex belonging to the Dortmund Union Brewery, which for many years was the largest brewery in Germany.

    The big four-sided U was not added to the top of the tower until 1968.

    For sixty-seven years the U-Tower was a production facility for beer, but in 1994 the Dortmunder Union shut down and the company was merged with several other Dortmund breweries to form the Brinkhoff’s Brewery.

    For several years no one knew what to do with the U-Tower, since it was a listed building and couldn’t be just torn down. On the other hand, it had been purpose-built as a brewery and wasn’t really suitable for anything else.

    Finally the inside of the town was re-modeled and in 2010 it opened as the “Dortmunder U Centre for Art and Creativity” showing artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries and developing “innovative concepts of cultural education in the digital age”.

    I haven’t been inside yet, because the weather was great for cycling on the one day I was there, but I did note down the opening hours:

    Tuesday + Wednesday 10:00 – 18:00
    Thursday + Friday 10:00 – 20:00
    Saturday + Sunday 11:00 – 18:00
    Monday closed

    Admission to the Dortmunder U is free, but most of the exhibitions charge entrance fees.

    Second photo: Looking up at the big U.

    Next: Dortmund Skyline Countdown # 1 and 8

    1. The U-Tower 2. Looking up at the big U
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    Dortmund Skyline Countdown # 1 and 8

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 25, 2011

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    The RWE Tower, on the right, is the tallest building in Dortmund. It was completed in 2005, has 22 floors and is 100 meters high.

    If it were in Frankfurt it would only be the 28th or 29th tallest building and hence would not qualify for my Frankfurt Skyline Countdown, which only includes the top 25.

    The letters RWE stand for Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk, though the company no longer uses the name, just the initials. RWE is currently one of the four big power utility companies in Germany which have the country divided up between them. RWE is highly unpopular as a regional monopolist and an incorrigible operator of atomic energy plants.

    The IWO-Hochhaus, on the left, is the 8th tallest building in Dortmund. It was completed in 1966, has 19 floors and is 66 meters high. It is currently used for offices of the Dortmund City administration.

    The letters IWO are all that is left of a real estate company which went bankrupt shortly after this building was completed.

    Next: A&O Hotel Hostel

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    Westfalenstadion

    by Maria250 Updated Aug 26, 2011

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    The stadium is officially named Signal Iduna Park under a sponsorship arrangement lasting from December 2005 until June 2016, giving naming rights to the Signal Iduna Group, an insurance company. The older name Westfalenstadion derives from the former Prussian province of Westphalia, which is part of the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. It is one of the most famous football stadiums in Europe and was elected best football stadium by The Times for its renowned atmosphere. wikipedia

    Find the best FC Schalke 04 tickets online at TicketSeating.com. To buy tickets for FC Schalke 04 at low prices online, choose from the FC Schalke 04 schedule and dates below. TicketSeating provides premium tickets for the best and sold-out events including cheap FC Schalke 04 tickets as well as FC Schalke 04 information. For questions on purchasing FC Schalke 04 tickets or general ticket inquries, please contact our support staff to assist you.

    source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Iduna_Park
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    Alte Markt

    by vichatherly Written Jul 26, 2011

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    The Alte Markt is athe historical centre of the city.

    It's a great place to get a chance to taste all the varities of delicious beers that Dortmund has to offer. It is a small square in the middle of the city center and has seven or eight bars/restaurants, making it ideal for pub crawl.

    We took advantage of the lovely June weather and sat outside the bars, in the square itself. If the rains does come, then not to worry as the bars have plenty of umbrellas and also supply blankets.

    Alte Markt Alte Markt
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    Florianturm

    by vichatherly Updated Jul 22, 2011

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    The Florianturm is a telecommunications tower and landmark of the city of Dortmund, you can’t really miss seeing it.

    It is named after St. Florian, the patron saint of gardeners, which is rather apt as it is situated inside the Westfalenpark, with its German Rose Garden, amongst other things.

    It the TV tower of Dortmund and was built in 1959 as an attraction for a federal horticultural show with a height of 219.6 metres. At the time it was briefly the highest freestanding structure in Germany.

    You have to pay a fee to take the speedy lift to the observation decks.

    In September 7, 2004, a Russian helicopter was used to replace the aerial, reducing the height to 208.56 metres, making it the fourteenth highest structure in Germany.
    In 2000 a catwalk for bungee jumping was opened on the upper platform. This was subsequently closed in 2003 and the dismantled in July 2008 after a fatal accident.

    Florianturm
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    Hövels Hausbrauerei

    by vichatherly Updated Jul 22, 2011

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    We were intending on going on a short tour of this micro brewery, but they weren't running on the day we got there. We settled for a taste of their lovely beer and I peeked through the windows at the copper distillery tanks.

    The bar serves a very good dark beer called Hoevels Original.

    Hoevels Hausbrauerei Hoevels Original
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    Dortmunder Brewery Museum

    by vichatherly Updated Jul 19, 2011

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    DAB = "Dortmunder Actien Brauerei".

    A great place to learn about the extensive history of beer in Dortmund.

    Top tip FREE entrance on a SATURDAYS*

    This small but interesting place was great. I especially liked the exhibit where you picked up a bottle of local beer and put it on a red spot, it then recognised which beer it was and played the tv advert for the beer, most of which were really 1970's and wonderfully cheesy.

    Dortmunder Brewery Museum Dortmunder Brewery Museum Dortmunder Brewery Museum Dortmunder Brewery Museum Dortmunder Brewery Museum
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    Westfalenpark

    by vichatherly Updated Jul 14, 2011

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    We spent a lovely day in this huge park, which was a short walk from our hotel. We had already checked out and so took advantage of the cheaper car park, only four Euros for the day. We entered the park at the Blutengarten gate and then strolled around the beautiful rose gardens. We then took a seat and watched the ducks for a while and then sat on some hippos, wooden carved ones of course. There are plenty of water features in the park and loads to keep the kids occupied. In one of the water spots there are some wooden barrels which the kids can have a play around in. To manoeuvre your barrel you have two lumps of wood. We wickedly laughed to ourselves we these were dropped overboard so to speak. But the water isn't very deep and kids were soon rescued safely.

    In the park you will find the Florianturm, which is a tall telecoms tower. We took the lift up to the high viewing points. You get great views of the city of Dortmund as well as the nearby Ruhr mining museum and the Borussia Dortmund football stadium. This trip didn't take long and it certainly made your ears pop.

    It was then off for a lunch of tasty succulent local white asparagus at the Cafe an den Wasserbecken.

    We spent the last couple of hours in the park, sitting at a discreet distance from the live entertainment of the A-cappella-Festival.

    The park is a nice place to relax the day away.

    Westfalenpark Westfalenpark Westfalenpark Westfalenpark Westfalenpark
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    Museum Ostwall

    by vichatherly Written Jun 27, 2011

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    The museum is housed on the fourth and fifth floors of the famous U building in Dortmund. It is a modern art gallery, which I can only compare to the Tate Modern Galley in London.

    You either love the art or hate it. I don’t think that you have to be that polarised about it just try and see it as a bit of fun. Like the stuff that makes you think or laugh and don't worry if you think that some is rubbish. I was interested in the uploading of local photos to give a live modern history of Dortmund and I also had to like the short film of a bloke putting on many jumpers one by one just for the hell of it.

    We also ventured up to the seventh floor and had a drink at the Kathedrale restaurant view. I would go up there fir the great view of the city, but not if you want to take some photos. There are bars across the windows which make it impossible to get a clean shot of the city. The Photo shots I took could be classed as modern art, and maybe that was the thinking all along.

    Museum Ostwall - U Building Museum Ostwall Museum Ostwall - The view from the top
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