Sat 29 January 2022 | 20:29

Top facts about Olympiastadion, Germany's largest international stadium

Here you would go through an engaging ride through some of the most intriguing top facts about Olympiastadion, Germany's largest international stadium.

The Olympiastadion which is located at Olympiapark Berlin in Berlin, Germany,  was constructed by Werner March for the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics in pursuit of meeting the need of the Nazi Party's propaganda and that is why it is to be said the stadium has a dark history behind it.

Besides during the 1936 Olympics, more than100,000 audiences attended the stadium. Being often heralded as the largest stadium in Germany, it is currently the home ground of Hertha BSC, which is Berlin’s most popular football team.

That is to say, since the stadium was renovated in 2004, it has a permanent capacity of 74,475 seats, so as to become the largest stadium for international football fixtures.

As one of the most prestigious venues in the world that is used for sporting and entertainment events, it is a UEFA category four stadium too.

It was also the host of three matches in the 1974 FIFA World Cup and while it was renovated for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the tournament's six matches, most notably the final took place at this stadium.

Among more recent events, it was the host of the 2011 FIFA

Women's World Cup

along with the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, while the DFB-Pokal final match also occurs at this venue each year.

Top facts about Olympiastadion, Germany's largest international stadium

Come along with us to delve into everything there is to know in regard to the Top facts about Olympiastadion.

Olympiastadion History

In regards to the top facts about Olympiastadion, it is worth mentioning what happened to the stadium and for what purposes it was used throughout history.

Deutsches Stadion (1916–1934)

Initially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) appointed the city of Berlin to be the host of the 1912 Summer



At that time, a stadium situated in Charlottenburg Grunewald Forest, to the west of Berlin was set to be the host of the games, therefore it was also recognized as Grunewaldstadion.

Since a horse racing course had already existed there belonging to the Berliner Rennverein, the old ticket booths are currently available on Jesse-Owens-Allee.

While Germany's government was determined not to construct in the nearby Grunewald forest, or to renovate buildings that already had existed, they hired the same architect that initially had built the "Rennverein", Otto March who made his mind to bury the stadium in the ground ("Erdstadion", in German).

Yet, the 1916 Olympic Games were suspended because of World War I. Then in the 1920s the first building of a school, the "Deutsches Sportforum" (German Sports Forum), was allocated to be the teaching location of physical education's professors and in the northeast of the stadium, the study of sports science was built.

It was between 1926 to 1929 that the sons of Otto March (Werner and Walter) were appointed to construct an annex for these institutions, even if the finalization was postponed until 1936.

From 1926 to 1929, Otto March's sons (Werner and Walter) were assigned to build an annex for these institutions, though the finalization was delayed until 1936.

Olympia station (1936–1945)

After that the International Olympic Committee chose Berlin to be the host of the 11th Summer Olympics in 1931, initially, the government of Germany just wanted to only restore the earlier Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium) of 1916, at the supervision of again Werner March.

At the time when Nazis took the charge of Germany (1933), in an attempt to use the Olympic Games in 1936 for the intentions of propaganda, Adolf Hitler ordered to construct a great sports complex in Grunewald called the "Reichssportfeld" that was a new Olympiastadion, having Architect Werner March and his brother Walter in charge of the project, again.

While the construction process took two years between 1934 and 1936, it had 132 hectares (330 acres). Back then from east to west the stadium was composed of the Maifeld (Mayfield, capacity of 50,000) and the Waldbühne amphitheatre (capacity of 25,000), as well as several other places, buildings and facilities for various sports including football,


, equestrian events, and field hockey in the northern part.

While at the end of the stadium, the symmetrically-designed layout of the buildings of the Olympischer Platz was aligned, toward the Maifeld, there was also the Marathon Gate with a huge container for the Olympic Flame.

Werner March constructed the new Olympiastadion on the foundation of the initially Deutsches Stadion, once again with the lower half of the structure recessed 12 metres (39.4 feet) below ground level.

This time, the Olympiastadion had the capacity of 110,000 audiences, possessing a particular stand for Adolf Hitler and his political staff.

But unfortunately in the final weeks of the war, the Schutzstaffel (SS) executed more than 200 people at the stadium while most of them were youngsters.


The government constructed the Maifeld (Mayfield), a huge lawn (11.2 hectares, 28 acres) for


demonstrations, particularly for annual May Day celebrations.

While it was surrounded by 19 metres of land elevation (62 ft), the Olympiastadion (to the east) was just 17 metres (55 ft) high. With a total capacity was 250,000 spectators, 60,000 seats had been extended in the large stands at the west end.

Moreover, the Langemarck-Halle (below) and the Bell Tower (rising high) we're situated there. The walls were made up of sturdy stone belonging to the area of the Lower Alps and were decorated with equine sculptures which was the work of Josef Wackerle.

Massive halls were built under the stands of the Maifeld. On the raised Pillars some flags and shields were hung so as to commemorate all the forces that contributed to a battle fought in Langemark (West Flanders, Belgium) on 10 November 1914, in the First World War.

From 2006, the ground floor has been the home to a public exhibit, giving historical data on the area of the former Reichssportfeld.

Whereas in the 1936 Olympics, the Maifeld was utilized for polo and equestrian dressage events, following the Second World War, the occupying forces of the British Army (Berlin Infantry Brigade) commemorated the King's or Queen's Official Birthday on the Maifeld each year.

They also used it for a number of sporting activities as the likes of cricket and then from 2012, Maifeld turned into the home of the Berlin Cricket Club.

Bell Tower

Anong the tiers of the Maifeld stands The Bell Tower was crowned western end of the Reichs Sportfield with a 77 metres (247 ft) height.

While you can see the whole city of Berlin at its peak, it was an observation post for administrators and police officials, doctors and the media during the games.

The Olympic Bell, and on its surface Olympic Rings were situated in the tower while the only part of the Reichssportfeld diminished in the war by Soviet troops was this Bell Tower.

Even if in 1947, the British engineers completely smashed the tower; it was reconstructed in 1962 by the architect Werner March again.

While the sabotaged old bell has survived and is used as a memorial, the current tower has become a significant tourist destination that offers a sublime panorama of Berlin, Spandau, the Havel Valley, Potsdam, Nauen and Hennigsdorf.

The most considerable battle around the Olympiastadion took place in April 1945 when the Soviet army tried to capture it, yet apart from the impacts of machine gunshot, The Olympiastadion remained almost untouched.

West Berlin-era (1945–1990)

It took not a long time that the British forces renovated the buildings that were sabotaged by war and converted interiors to their particular needs as one gymnasium became a dining hall, another into a garage).

Until their departure, British forces annually celebrated Queen's Official Birthday in the Maifeld with the presence of thousands of audiences from Berlin.

Besides, in the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Berliners got familiar with American football with American military and high school football teams exhibition games at the stadium.

At that time, even Bundesliga football matches took place in the Olympiastadion, while Hertha BSC was the local team.

In addition, several other tournaments of football, rugby and polo were held in the Maifeld, too while its theatre was employed as an improvised ring for



Reunified Berlin (1990–2004)

It would be considered as one of the

top facts about Olympiastadion

, that in 1998, reminiscent of the dark legacy of the stadium for


, aroused the debate whether to smash it down and construct completely a new one, or let it be gradually diminished just "like the Colosseum in Rome", but eventually they decided to renovate the Olympiastadion.

Since FIFA selected the stadium as one of the venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, The State of Berlin hired a consortium consisting of Walter Bau AG and DYWIDAG that won the €45 million franchise.

They were at the helm of the operation of the facilities along with Hertha BSC and the Government of Berlin following the remodelling.

It was on 3 July 2000, that with the presence of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, accompanied by Eberhard Diepgen (Mayor of Berlin), Franz Beckenbauer and Prof. Dr. Ignaz Walter, the renovation was officially started.

Multi-purpose arena (2004–present)

On 31 July 2004, and 1 August 2004, in the re-inauguration ceremony of the new Olympic Stadium, Pink, Nena and Daniel Barenboim performed at the party.

Even friendly matches were arranged between various categories of the club Hertha BSC and visiting teams.

While on 8 September 2004,


coped with Germany, the stadium was the home of the Berlin Thunder from 2003 to 2007.

Lastly, the Art of Living organized the World Culture Festival at the stadium in 2011, and more recently it was the host of the 2018 European Athletics Championships as well.

Olympiastadion Renovation

The playing field was lowered by 2.65 metres (8.7 ft), in so far as to create a more intimate atmosphere for football games. In doing this, around 90,000 cubic metres (3,200,000 cu ft) of sand was excavated and the lower tier of seating in the stadium was completely smashed and reconstructed at an varied angle of inclination.

In order to make the roof cover an overall 37,000 square metres (400,000 sq ft), it was required  20 roof-supporting columns enduring weight of 3,500 tonnes (3,900 short tons) of steel.

One of the amazing top facts about Olympiastadion is that its roof rises 68 metres (223 ft) above the seats while it has consisted of transparent panels letting sunlight flood in during the day. Moreover, the western portion (on the Marathon Arch) is open to show the Bell Tower to the audiences.

The natural stone blocks of the stadium were preserved for its historically monumental usages. Following some complaints, they also changed the athletics track around the game field from red to blue, so as to make its colour coincide with the colours of Hertha BSC.

Around 70,000 cubic metres (2,500,000 cu ft) of concrete and 20,000 cubic metres (710,000 cu ft) of pre-cast reinforced concrete elements were used for the renovation process while some 12,000 cubic metres (420,000 cu ft) of concrete was destroyed and 30,000 cubic metres (1,100,000 cu ft) of natural stone was refurbished.

While the latest technological sound equipment, as well as artificial illumination, were installed in the stadium, the establishment of 113 VIP stands, a set of restaurants, and two underground garages for 630 cars made the total cost of the remodelling and amplification to be around €242 million.

Olympiastadion Capacity

One of the most significant

top facts about Olympiastadion

is that the new Olympic Stadium has the highest all-seated capacity in Germany which is a permanent 74,475 seats. There are 31 seating rows at an average slope of 23° at the upper-tier that have 36,455 seats, consisting of 36,032 regular seats, 290  seats on the press stand as well as 133 seats in skyboxes.

Likewise there are 42 seating rows at at a mean angle of 25,4° in the lower tier with a number of 38,020 seats, including 32,310 regular seats, 560 box seats, 563 lounge seats (expandable to 743), 4,413 business seats coupled with 174 are wheelchair spaces.

For specific football matches, like those between Hertha BSC and FC Bayern München, the stadiums capacity could be expanded temporarily by the addition of movable grandstand over the Marathon Arch reaching an extended capacity of 76,197 seats in 2014.

Among football stadiums in Germany only Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund and the Allianz Arena in Munich have higher total capacity than Olympiastadion and because the Signal Iduna Park and the

Allianz Arena

have both seating and standing areas, they have a lower all-seated capacities in comparison. Besides the extended capacity of this stadium is higher than the total capacity of the Allianz Arena.

Olympiastadion Tenant

When in 1963, the Bundesliga was founded, Hertha BSC joined with the direct invitation and left its old stadium (the "Plumpe") so as to play Olympiastadion. Since then,  Olympiastadion has been the home of this club.

They played their first local game against 1. FC Nürnberg with the result of 1–1. draw. Yet, in 1965, the German Football Association accused them of bribery and relegated them to the Regional Leagues.

However in 1968, Hertha came back to the first division, and the Olympiastadion, selling "Plumpe"  in 1971. Fortunately, Hertha BSC Berlin was very prosperous in the second half of the 1970s to the point that in 1979, they reached the semifinals of the UEFA Cup, yet they were beaten by Red Star Belgrade. Even they could reach the finals of the German Cup twice (1977 and 1979).

But they were not very successful in the 1980s, having a declining role in the


, and therefore they descended to the Regional Leagues in 1986. Despite this, they went on to recover and reached the Second Division (1988–1989).

As the Berlin Wall was toppled down in November 1989, due to the sympathy felt with Hertha and 1. FC Union Berlin from Eastern Berlin, a friendly match was held at the Olympiastadion with 50,000 spectators (27 January 1990).

Moreover, Hertha came back to the First Division, and even if they fell again to the Second Division from 1991 until 1997, since 1997, they have progressed a lot, ascending to the Bundesliga table.

Not to mention that they also were qualified for the UEFA Champions League, competing in matches against top European teams like


and A.C. Milan.

 Olympiastadion Momentus Events

As one of the other top facts about Olympiastadion, it is notable to suggest that the stadium is the record holder for the attendance of a baseball game at some stage in the 1936 Olympics as more than one hundred people had joined the stadium.

Since 1985, the stadium has hosted the finals of both the DFB-Pokal and its associate women's tournament, the Frauen DFB Pokal. Yet, it was not the host of the 2010 final of the Frauen DFB Pokal, which occurred at Cologne's RheinEnergieStadion in an experimental attempt to host the tournament in another city.

From 1990 to 1994, the stadium was the host of 5 American Bowls. It was additionally home to Berlin Thunder, which is an American football team in NFL Europa, from 2003 till  2007.

The World Culture Festival of 2011 also took place at the stadium so as to commemorate 30 years of providing services to humanity through the Art of Living Foundation.

Besides the stadium is the venue of the Internationales Stadionfest, which also operated as an IAAF Golden League event till 2010, while its upcoming days are quite unknown.

It should not be excluded from the top facts about Olympiastadion that it was the venue of the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in that the legendary Usain Bolt amazingly smashed the 100 meters and 200 meters world records.

On 1 August 1936, the Olympics had been formally inaugurated by the presence of the head of country Adolf Hitler, while the Olympic cauldron was lit by competitor Fritz Schilgen. Four million tickets had been bought for all of the events of the 1936 Summer Olympics and this was also the first and foremost Olympics which was broadcasted by television transmission (25 viewing spaces were spread throughout Berlin and Potsdam) and there were also radio transmissions in 28 languages (with 20 radio vehicles and 300 microphones).

In regard to the

top facts about Olympiastadion

, when it comes to the other sports competitions, one of the most unforgettable events was the great feat of the African-American

track and field

sportsman Jesse Owens, who represented the US  and picked up the honor to grab the gold medal in the 100, 200, long jump, and 4 x 100 relay. In honor of his incredible performance, one of the main streets outside the stadium is called Jesse Owens Allee.

Apart from some momentous football events like1974 FIFA World Cup Group A, 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, 2015 UEFA Champions League Final the stadium was also the venue of the equestrian jumping and handball events.


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