The Arena AufSchalke

Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena is home to Schalke 04, one of the biggest names in German club football.

For Bundesliga matches the stadium capacity is 61,524, while for international matches, like the World Cup, it is reduced to a 53,975 all-seater venue.

History
The Arena AufSchalke (now Veltins Arena) was built to replace the club’s old ground, the Park Stadion (the semi-demolished remains of which still stand next to the Arena). The latter had been built for the 1974 World Cup, but by the early 1990’s was falling more and more below the standards expected of a top flight stadium. Plans were therefore made to build the Arena and the first foundations were laid in 1998.

Funded almost entirely from the club’s own finances, construction of the Arena cost around 183m euros. It was opened in August 2001.

Special features
The stadium has a restractable roof enabling it to be converted into an enclosed hall, which is done, for instance, when the Arena is used to stage non-footballing events, such as pop concerts or even opera.

The stadium pitch can also be moved out of the Arena to accommodate such events and to allow the grass to be better exposed to natural weather conditions.

To this end, the Arena’s south stand was built like a bridge, so that the pitch can be slid out on steel tracks beneath it.

Hanging from the centre of the Arena roof is a giant video cube with a screen on every side giving spectators in every seat in the house a fantastic view of match highlights, score flashes and other displays.

Uniquely in Germany, the Veltins Arena also has its very own chapel, which has already been the scene for many weddings and christenings.

Museum and stadium tours
If you’d like to find out more about Schalke 04, who despite their low profile outside Germany vie with Bayern Munich in the ranks of the best-supported clubs in the country, there is also a Schalke museum at the stadium.

Museum opening times:
10am to 7pm Tuesday-Friday
10am to 5pm at weekends
(closed Mondays)

Admission: Adults 3.10 euros. Family ticket 5.10.

The club also organises tours of the Arena, starting from the museum and lasting about 90 mins, including a visit to the changing rooms.

Tour opening times:
Daily from 10am to 5pm
(closed Mondays)

By appointment only. Tours can be provided in English.

Admission: Adults 6 euros. Family ticket: 12.50. Includes museum entry.

Parking is available in car park P2 next to the museum. Access via Stan Libuda Weg. To arrange a tour, e-mail: tour@arena-aufschalke.de

Prices correct as at Dec. 2004. Family ticket = up to 2 adults with their own children.

External links
More info here on the English
pages of the Schalke 04 site.

Or visit the Arena AufSchalke website, however, last time we looked, it was all in German.

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