Dortmund and its football culture

Crowds of people streamed out of the trains at Dortmund’s main station and into the city centre. They all had just one aim: Friedensplatz square. They came from Essen, from the Lower Rhine, from the Sauerland and even from neighbouring states. And they all wanted to come to Dortmund.

What was going on? Well, there weren’t any Championship celebrations and BVB hadn’t won the cup. No, they wanted to see Germany play. On a screen. Dortmund was a venue for the World Cup 2006 and one of the places which set up huge public viewing screens.

But why did all those people come to Dortmund from so far away, even though it was clear they would never get into the stadium?

Dortmund, the self-proclaimed Capital of Football

Public broadcast Football World Cup 2006 in the Westfalenhalle. Thousands of German fans are celebrating and waving their flags.
© DORTMUNDtourismus Public broadcast Football World Cup 2006, Westfalenhalle

Dortmund has always liked to call itself the Capital of Football. Especially, but not only during the World Cup, it bore this title quite rightly. Apart from a bit of trouble before the game against Poland, fans from all over the world enjoyed celebrating together.

Perhaps it was back in 1987 when this story started. BVB was playing in the UEFA Cup again at last and had to face Celtic Glasgow in the first round. The City decided to welcome the visitors with a massive fan festival right in the centre of the city. This was such a success that it has been repeated uncountable times since.

Go to town to watch the English fans

Dortmund got the visiting fans into the city centre and invited them for a beer. The idea behind it was that if you are friendly to visitors, they will be friendly too. When FC Arsenal, Manchester City or Tottenham come to Dortmund, you’ve no need to worry. Come into town and “join the Engländer at play”. They won’t do anything to you. They just want to sing.

Dortmund also showed this positive attitude during the 2006 World Cup. The slogan “Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden” (The world is visiting its friends) was taken up by everyone in the city. Word spread about this, so the crowds headed to the public viewing screens here instead of watching the games in their local pubs.

DFB honours the Capital of Football with the Football Museum

Illuminated German Football Museum by night.
© DORTMUNDtourismus The German Football Museum

The city’s special relationship with football has also been honoured by the DFB by setting up the German Football Museum here in Dortmund.  Maybe in Frankfurt they remembered that the very first German Football Association (DFB) office was in Dortmund. 

That was back in 1910 though. A long time ago. Now we’ve got a museum. If you come to Dortmund by train, the Football Museum welcomes you when you arrive, as its right next door to the station. Inside, the DFB shows you its impressive collection of trophies. You can immerse yourself in the successes of the national team and feel like one of the World Champions of 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014, or try out being a football commentator and experience so many other things – in the Capital of Football too.