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The reopening of the Berlin Olympic Stadium - Party of the Year

Two-day stadium fest with a gala show and football game


The Berlin Olympic Stadium is shining with a new brilliance. On July 31 and August 1, 2004, this historical sporting venue will be presented to the public following four years of top-to-bottom renovation. “We are putting on the Berlin party of the year”, promised Winfrid Schwank, who became the director of the Stadionbetreibergesellschaft Olympiastadion GmbH (Olympic Stadium Management Company) in February 2004.

Football World Championships 2006 with the Finals

In the future, there will be room for a total of 76,000 spectators in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, where a total of 6 games, including the finals, of the Football World Championships in 2006 will take place. How well-fitted the new Charlottenburg stadium really is will be tested on September 8 with a national game of Germany against Brazil.

The anticipated guest list at the two-day opening celebration includes German Home Secretary Otto Schily, World Championship head organiser Franz Beckenbauer, and the president of the German Sport Association Manfred von Richthofen, as well as numerous other prominent guests. The show and entertainment will include pop-stars Nena, US superstar Pink and star director Daniel Barenboim with his West Eastern Divan Orchestra.

The moderator of the programme on July 31st will be the ZDF talk master and sport commentator Johannes B. Kerner. At 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 1st, the football 1st league team Hertha BSC will play Besiktas Istanbul in an "historical" friendship game.

5-star arena
Even before its renovation, the new Berlin Olympic Stadium was considered to be one of the most modern and architecturally demanding sport and event venues in the world (so to say, a 5-star arena).

The conceptual planning was undertaken by the renowned architectural office Gerkan, Marg and Partner (gmp), which recently received the German Steel Construction Prize (10,000€) for the complicated roof construction. Implanted in the roof are 320 2000-watt lights in a "Ring of Fire", which together with a high tech sound system can produce great acoustic-optical effects, unusual for an open sport arena. The costs for the comprehensive renovations and reconstruction work total 242 million Euros, of which 200 million were carried by the federal government and the remaining 42 million through a loan acquired by the construction company Walter-Bau.

The changes in the Olympic Stadium, which did not alter the outer shell, include the lowering by 2.65 metres of the playing field and track and field instalments, the creation of 113 VIP boxes (which can be rented by companies), and most importantly, the construction of a roof over all 76,000 spectator seats, and two animated score boards In addition, there are new changing facilities, quiet and relaxation rooms, and space for the athletes to prepare for competition, as well as drop-off and parking facilities for over 600 vehicles, and much more.

Each year up to 30 large-scale events are to take place here. In addition, capacities within the stadium are to be rented about 100 times a year—including the representative Coubertin-Hall within the VIP lounge. The stadium now also includes a chapel, which, as the currently largest ecumenical stadium prayer room, is also to be used for baptisms and weddings.

Around the stadium there will be 30 informative signs on the moving history of the Olympic Stadium and former Reichssportfeldes (Empire Sports Field), which in 1936 was the site of the infamous Summer Olympic Games, misused by the Nazi regime. There will also be a centrally located light column made from glass and cement as an “informational point”.

A completely new addition is the blue-white 400m track (in the club colours of Hertha BSC), which will be initiated on September 12, 2004 at the international stadium sports festival (ISTAF) by the fastest men and women in the world.

Application to host the Track and Field World Championships 2009

Berlin hopes to “gather points” for the acquisition of the Track and Field World Championships 2009 with a full stadium at the ISTAF on September 12. The decision for or against Berlin will be made at the IAAF congress on December 9, 2004. Next May the stadium will also be the central venue of the International German Gymnastics Festival.

The Berlin Olympic Stadium management company offers daily viewing of the stadium, as well as regular thematic tours around the 100-hectare compound. The Berlin Senate has put together a concept for the future development of an "Olympic Park", which step by step is to become a sport and leisure arena for top athletes as well as for the general public.

Dr. Detlef Kuhlmann

Further information about the Berlin Olympic Stadium is available online at:
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