Built to host the 1936 Olympic Games, the stadium is still in use today - you can even see the bell with the swastika obliterated. It is a fascinating blend of history and the present and is easily reached either by S-bahn or U-bahn which both have a station called Oly,piastadion. Be warned however: they are actually some distance apart and if you want to get an appreciation of the scale of the stadium you're better off approaching it from the U-bahn station. I spent a good 2 hours inside exploring the stadium itself, as well as the surrounding grounds with its aryan statues. There are plentiful toilets and a good cafe with terrace seating where you can relax and look out from a good vantage point over the stadium itself.
Situated in the Ruhleben district of West Berlin, and with so many other things to see in the city centre, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth taking the time and trouble to travel over here. Of course it’ll depend on how much time you have available but whatever your priorities are it’s definitely not a waste of time to visit the Olympic Stadium.
Having been constructed for the infamous 1936 ‘Games of Peace’, the stadium was left pretty well unscathed from WW2. Having said that it has been developed into a modern day sporting venue and is the home ground of Hertha Berlin FC. It also hosts the German Cup Final each year and in 2006 was the venue for the FIFA World Cup Final.
I think it would be fair to say though that most visitors who come here haven’t come to see where Hertha Berlin play. It’s more likely that they’ve come to see the arena where Adolf Hitler wanted to show the rest of the world that Germany had risen up from the country’s humiliation that came about at the end of WW1 - and if that’s what you came for you won’t be disappointed.
The first thing to remember though is that, like any other Olympic location, it covers quite a large area. If you want to cover the whole lot you’ll need to allow plenty of time. Personally, I confined my visit to the most important things not to miss - and that took a fair amount of time anyway.
We took the S5 to Olympiastadion and followed the signs to the front of the stadium where the ticket office is situated. The ticket allows you free access around the stadium, grounds and the Bell Tower.
Whatever you do make sure you allow time to visit the Bell Tower and Langemarck Hall, even though the tower was the one thing that was destroyed at the end of WW2. Although it’s been re-constructed it gives a great overall view of the entire area and beyond - and the Langemarck Hall underneath is still very much the place Hitler wanted it to be. Langemarck, which was a WW1 battlefield in Belgian Flanders, had a profound effect on him. 80,000 German soldiers were killed there and after this hall was constructed in 1936 he was known to turn to a few confidants to proclaim that there would be “Revenge for Langemarck”.
Even though Germany came out triumphant in the Olympic medal table, not everything went entirely to Hitler’s propaganda plan. Jesse Owens, the African-American athlete who won 4 gold medals, put a question mark over Hitler’s idea that white Aryans were the superior race. (Incidentally I’ve since read that Hitler didn’t hold a grudge against Jesse Owens and vice versa).
As regards the history of the site and the 1936 Olympics, there is plenty of information elsewhere, but if you want to experience another part of Berlin and its historical past then I can highly recommend a trip out to Ruhleben and the Olympic Stadium. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
It is historic stadium, mostly associated with Hitler speeches and Olympic Games in 1936. It was built in 1934 - 1936 instead of old one. It is quite interesting, that old one was also built for Summer Olympics of 1916, but never used due to First World War.
Olympic stadium was a bit damaged in Second World War, later was (is) used by Hertha football team, widely reconstructed for FIFA World Cup in 2006. It was also used for FIFA World Cup games of group A in 1974. So, place is very important historically and in terms for sport events.
Beneath the Bell Tower there is the Langemarckhalle which also serves as the grandstand for the Maifeld. It was originally built on the instructions of Adolf Hitler to perpetuate the myth of the Battle of Langemarck. The battle took place in November 1914 and cost thousands of lives. The myth surrounds ill prepared young German students and schoolboys as they enthusiastically charged the British and French lines held by experiences soldiers, singing as they went to their deaths. The battle was recast as a heroic victory of German youth, as they had fought with courage and were ready to make sacrifices and this was later seized upon by the National Socialists. Inside the hall there are 12 enormous columns and originally the flags of the 76 German regiments who fought at the battle of Langemarck were hung. On the walls of the hall are shields bearing the names of the divisions and their troop units, these still remain, and the hall is now a memorial. There are various information plaques sited around the hall giving an insight into its history. Entrance is included in a visit to the Bell Tower.
It had not been my intention to visit the Bell Tower as I was looking for a memorial close by and had overshot it. I was lucky to find the Bell Tower was open and thirdly the attendant spoke a certain amount of English so she was able to point me in the right direction as I had missed some of the exhibition. She also steered me to the cinema which was heated and welcome after my visit to the top of the Bell Tower which was windy and this added to the already freezing temperatures. The views from the top are superb and you can see for miles over Berlin which is flat as a pancake. There is a lift to take you part way up and then have to climb some stairs up to the top of the tower, passing the bell on the way.
The original 77m Bell Tower was built for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The outside was clad in limestone tiles over a steel frame giving it the same National Socialism Architecture look as the Olympic Stadium.
The tower was used to store a film archive during the war and survived the war only to be damaged by a fire shortly afterwards. The fire caused the steel frame to twist affecting the stability of the tower and the quick solution was to blow it up. Unfortunately this brought down the bell causing it to crack and rendered it unserviceable. The bell still exists and now serves as a memorial and is located along the south side of the Olympic Stadium.
Work started on the reconstruction of the tower in 1960 with a smaller bell and it was completed in 1962.
There is an exhibition on the ground floor which charts the history of the tower and a cinema. There are also toilets and a gift shop.
It costs 5€ to visit the Bell Tower or 7€ to also visit the Olympic Stadium.
In 1936 Berlin hosted the Olympics.
Hitler was in power and the opening ceremony was a spectacle army, police and Hitler youth.
The building itself, designed by Werner March, is an imposing and I cannot help but wonder how Jesse Owens managed to keep his wits and stomach! Of course, Hitler had declared Berlin should be portayed as a glorious place in which people, other than Arians, were tolerated and accepted!!!
The bell from the bell tower was damaged in the war when the British destroyed the bell tower. It feel to the ground and cracked! The bell is still in the grounds he bell was apparently rescued but then used as a target in shooting practice!
It is still in the grounds today but the Nazi swastikas on it have been partially filled. Personally I think it's all or nothing but apparently a semi swaistika is better than neither nor!
The bell tower has been restored and the blue prints were followed to the letter.
You can go up the tower and the views are amazing. You should note that it is a long walk from the stadium.
As it is still a working sports centre it is only possible to visit when there are no events on.
Adults are 7 euros. Children are 5 euros.
A family card is 16 euros and is x2 adults and up to x3 chhildren (to 16)
In 1931 Berlin was chosen to host the 1936 summer Olympics. In 1933 the Nazis came to power and a decision was made to hijack the 1936 Olympic Games for its own propaganda purposes. The current stadium was built between 1934 and 1936 and it is unusual in as much as the centre of the stadium is below ground level. The stadium could hold 110,000 spectators with a special stand for Hitler. The Olympic flame was at one end of the stand with the Maifield behind it. The Maifield was a grassed area of 28 acres which had been intended for May Day celebrations by the Nazis but it was not large enough for their parades. It was used for polo events during the 1936 Olympics. On the edge of the Maifield a 77m tall tower (Glockenturm Tower) was built from which the whole of Berlin could be viewed. The tower contained the Olympic bell which weighed 4.5 tonnes. During WW2 the only part of the complex that was damaged was the Glockenturm Tower which had to be demolished in 1947. It was later rebuilt and completed in 1962. After the war the Olympischer Platz was used as a military headquarters by the British, but sporting events including regular football matches continued to be held in the stadium. Between 2000 and 2004 major renovations took place on the stadium making it a 76,000 seater stadium with a roof, but the look of the original stadium remains.
I went to the stadium in the morning and as I walked from the station to the stadium I noticed there was litter everywhere which is unusual for Berlin and thought I had magically been transported back to the UK. Unfortunately there had been a match the evening before and individual visitors were not being allowed into the stadium until it had been cleaned up. The plus side was it allowed me a chance to talk to the staff and I discovered that being old and ancient I was eligible for a reduced ticket which was 5 euros compared to 7 euros for an adult. When I returned a couple of hours later the stadium was spotless. I would suggest hiring an audio guide as it provides excellent information regarding the history of the stadium.
It is a good idea to check the website as opening time can vary when there are football matches.
When I stepped off the express train from Prague at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof there was a feeling of ..."at last I've finally got here"..Berlin was the city in Germany that I wanted to visit most of all ...and having previously lived and worked in Munich and Stuttgart , Berlin was at that time ,then off limits and "behind the lines"" so to speak , moreso the facination ,the huge amount of Military History here for me was a magnet as being so interested in military history here there was volumes.
While visiting friends here a visit to THE Olympic Stadium was a must and long being on my long list of "must see and do's" The thought of standing in the exact place that Hitler stood when opening this famous Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Olympic Games was quite amazing..Looking at this huge stone structure today makes one wonder what everyone thought (THEN ) !!!when they saw it openend in 1936!!!it is even a huge structure by todays standards..I beleive that the roof is the only part of the Stadiums structure that has been changed...I found this to be a truly incredible place to visit..
As you can imagine, I have been an incredible lot of times at the Olympiastadion, for football and athletics – without ever taking a photo LOL So this one is from the stadium’s website.
First of all, Olympiastadion is home of the Bundesliga football team of Hertha BSC. They play all their home games there.
Game and ticket info on Hertha’s homepage
Since 1985 the final of German Football Cup (DFB-Pokal) takes place in Olympiastadion. This year (2008) it will be on 19 April. That is why in the qualifying rounds the fans chant: "Berlin, Berlin - wir fahren nach Berlin!"
You cannot purchase tickets on demand. As an incredible lot of people want to attend the tickets are given out in a draw.
More info (but not more hope…) on the website of the German Football Federation DFB.
The next looming mega event are the Athletics World Championships from 15 to 23 August 2009.
Another major athletics event is the Internationales Stadionfest, the ISTAF athletics meeting, which has been held for 70 years. The next one is on 1 June 2008.
This year (2008) it is the start of the Golden League season, in previous years it has often been the final where the athletes had the last chance to save their shares of the 20 kilo gold and later the 1 million US$ jackpot.
Tickets (from 8.50 to 69 Euro):
Phone (030) 4430 4430 (Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm)
or online on the dkb-istaf website
The Olympiastadion can be visited on days without scheduled events.
Self-guided (4 Euro) and guided tours (8 Euro/about 70 minutes) are possible. You have to arrive at least half an hour before the scheduled closing time for self-guided tours.
In Winter 9am – 4pm
In summer peak season 9am – 8pm
Tours only in German, for bookings:
Phone (030) 28 01 81 18
General info hotline (030) 25 00 23 22
Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in the western suburbs, north of the forest park of Grunewald, opened on 1 August 1936. It will forever be famous and infamous for the Olympic Summer Games in 1936 and Hitler not congratulating athletic’s black hero Jesse Owens, and misusing the whole event as a mega propaganda demonstation of the Nazis.
The stadium had started as a horse race track at the very end of the 19th century. When Germany successfully applied for the Olympic Summer Games 1936, the horse track was demolished. Construction began in 1934 only, the architect was Werner March.
After the Olympic Games it was used as the so-called Reichssportfeld which means the national sportsground (stadium) for large-scale events. The Academy of Sports was closed as soon as it was opened. Instead Hitler founded the Reichsakademie für Leibesübungen (State Academy of Sports), with the fine difference that the original academy was independent, and the Reich’s academy was used for the training of the paramilitary SA, in Hitler’s jargon “a uniform education as leaders on the field of physical education”.
Like in the surroundings of the stadium in Nürnberg, you can well imagine the Nazi marches and reunions in those bombastic concrete surroundings of Maifeld. Today one of the streets in the area is named after Jesse Owens (Jesse-Owens-Allee).
The stadium had been altered several times, the last big overhaul was finished in 2004, in preparation of the FIFA Football World Cup 2006. In this process the seating capacity of the stadium sank from 76,005 to 74,228.
The floodlights were installed in 1966, the masts were 88 metres high. During the reconstruction process they were demolished. The floodlights are now integrated in the roof structure. The tribunes are now completely under a roof.
The stadium has always been used for football and athletics (see extra tip for sports events and visits).
The 1936 Olympics, held in Berlin, are best remembered for Adolf Hitler’s failed attempt to use them to prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority. As it turned out, the most popular hero of the Games, was the African-American sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals. During the long jump competition, Owens’ German rival, Luz Long, publicly befriended him in front of the Nazis. 1936 saw the introduction of the torch relay, in which a lighted torch is carried from Olympia to the site of the current Games. The 1936 Olympics were also the first to be broadcast on a form television. Twenty-five large screens were set up throughout Berlin, allowing the local people to see the Games for free.
Basketball, canoeing and team handball made their first appearances, while polo was included in the Olympic programme for the last time. Thirteen-year-old Marjorie Gestring of the United States won the gold medal in springboard diving. She remains the youngest female gold medalist in the history of the Summer Olympics. Inge Sorensen of Denmark earned a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke at the age of 12, making her the youngest medalist ever in an individual event. Hungarian water polo player Olivier Halassy won his third medal despite the fact that one of his legs had been amputated below the knee following a streetcar accident. Rower Jack Beresford of Great Britain won a gold medal in the double sculls event, marking the fifth Olympics at which he earned a medal. Kristjan Palusalu of Estonia won the heavyweight division in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
3,963 athletes (331 women, 3,632 men)
11.01.07 - 03.19.08 - 9 am - 4 pm - last entry: 6.30 pm
3.20.08 - 05.31.08 - 9 am - 7 pm - last entry: 3.30 pm
Check the website below to find current times!
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Built for the Olympic Games in 1936, is one of the best examples of monumental architecture from the Nazi era. The structure, inspired by a coliseum, was built by the brothers Walter and Werner March. Currently the stadium is used as the setting for football matches, athletics and other sports competitions.
Construido para los juegos olimpicos de 1936, es uno de los mejores ejemplos de la arquitectura monumentalista de la epoca nazi. La estructura, inspirada en un coliseo, es obra de los hermanos Walter y Werner March. En la actualidad el estadio se utiliza como escenario de encuentros de futbol, atletismo y otras competiciones deportivas.