The Olympiastadion hosted the 1936 Olympic Games, also known as Hitler’s Olympics. Today, the Olympic village remains and it’s also the home of Hertha Berlin football team. Things to see at the Berlin Olympic Village include;
- Host Stadium of the 1936 Olympic Games
- 2006 World Cup Final Venue
- Largest Stadium in Berlin
- Nazi Architecture
- Olympic Bell Tower
- 1936 Berlin Olympic Torch and Commemorative Plaque
- Olympic Swimming Pool Arena
The Olympiastadion is served by both the S-Bahn as well as the U-Bahn train routes. As a result it’s easy to reach the stadium wherever you choose to stay in Berlin.
Where is the Olympic Stadium in Berlin?
You can reach Olympiastadion via S-Bahn stations S-3 or S-9, alternatively the U-Bahn station U-2 also serves the stadium. All of these stations are appropriately named, Olympiastadion. If you’re in Berlin specifically to visit the stadium I recommend Berlin hotels near Olympic stadium.
Berlin Olympic Stadium
The Olympiastadion has a capacity of 74,475 spectators. As a result it’s the third largest stadium in Germany after Signal Iduna Park and the Allianz Arena. It’s the home of Hertha Berlin and the German national team often play here. Additionally, famous artists who have performed here include; Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, U2, Tina Turner, Beyonce and more recently, Ed Sheeran. Historical events here include the 1936 Olympics, 1974 and 2006 World Cups as well as the 2009 Athletics World Championships. Lastly, the highest ever attendance for a basketball game worldwide is over 100,000 at the Olympiastadion during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Berlin Olympic Stadium Tour – Meeting Point
The stadium tour starts from the Olympic Stadium Berlin Shop. It’s to the left of the iconic entrance to the Olympic Park. Here is the exact location. What is the Berlin Olympic Stadium cost? You have 2 options for an Olympic Stadium Tour. Firstly, you can take a guided tour but unfortunately they are infrequent. Secondly, you can simply enter the stadium independently on a self guided. Finally, you can book a self guided tour online in advance.
Podbielski Oak Tree
You would be forgiven if you missed the oak tree adjacent to the stadium entrance. But, it would also be a shame to miss it and learn about its purpose. Why is there a random oak tree within the stadium grounds? It’s named Podbielski after the former president of the German Olympic Committee. Viktor von Podbielski was one of the original planners of the Olympic Village and the tree was left to honor his legacy.
Olympic Running Track
The Olympiastadion Berlin has an impressive running track. As a matter of fact it’s the largest athletics stadium in Germany. Did you know the largest stadium in Berlin which sole use is football belongs to FC Union Berlin? Finally, Usain Bolt ran the world record 100m and 200m on this track.
1936 Berlin Olympic Games Olympic Torch
The Summer Olympics Torch Relay is the action of taking the olympic flame from Olympia, Greece to its host city. It was the 1936 Berlin Olympics where this tradition first began. The flame was brought from Olympia to the Berlin Olympic Torch which remains a monument in this huge stadium today. Both this event as well as the Olympics themselves are documented in the 1938 movie, Olympia.
1936 Berlin Olympic Games Commemorative Plaque
All of the gold medal winners from the 1936 Berlin Olympics are displayed on a commemorative plaque within the stadium. In addition, there are plaques which honor the architects of the Olympic village.
The Jesse Owens story became an important part of Olympic history. Hitler originally banned all Jews and people of African descent from competing. However, due to the threat of a boycott of the Olympics, he let all athletes compete. Jesse Owens was of African descent and he went on to win 4 gold medals. As you would imagine, Hitler was not happy with this result. There’s a movie called Race, which documents this historic event. Lastly, as I am British, I couldn’t help but search for members of Team GB on the commemorative plaque. There are a few and one such entry is Harold Whitlock who won the gold medal for the 50 km walk.
VIP and Media Seats
If you take the guided tour of the stadium you can sit in the VIP section. Otherwise, it’s still possible to view it from a distance. Above the VIP seats is the media section. Imagine how busy this was during the 2006 World Cup final! Even more so during the infamous Zidane headbutt incident.
Olympic Stadium Berlin Hitler
The stand which Hitler stood at in the Olympiastadion has been removed. It could have been removed during renovations or it could have been removed as it was an unwanted reminder of his reign. Another reason it may have been removed is because the Berlin tourist board didn’t want tourists recreating his infamous salute. However, for those who wish to see how it once was, you’ll find a poster outside the press entrance.
As you walk throughout the Olympic village, take note of the rare examples of Nazi architecture. Another place in Berlin with surviving architecture from this period is the abandoned Tempelhof Airport.
Olympic Bell Tower
The Olympic Bell Tower is an imposing structure which looks over Olympiastadion. What’s more, you can ascend the tower for panoramic views of the Olympic Village. After World War II, Soviet soldiers accidently set the structure on fire making it unstable. For this reason, the British destroyed it in 1947. During the destruction process, the Olympic Bell crashed to the ground and become unusable. In 1956, the Bell Tower was restored to its original form which is Nazi architecture. Finally, a new bell now hangs in the bell tower.
When the Olympic Bell Tower was destroyed in 1947, the bell came crashing down. It cracked but survived the fall. This bell now lies in front of the Olympiastadion as a memorial. Look closely, there’s a Swastika logo on the bottom of the bell.
Horse Holder Statues – Nazi Era Sculptures
In between the stadium and the Clock Tower are 2 horse holder statues (Rossefuhrer). These were created by sculptor, Josef Wackerle. It’s rare to see surviving Nazi era sculptures.
Relay Runner Sculptures
Maybe Nazi era sculptures are not so rare as there are several examples surrounding the the Olympiastadion. There are a couple of interesting sculptures by Karl Albiker. He designed both the discus throwers as well the relay runners. Another interesting fact is there is a sculpture of the Goddess of Victory, Nike. What makes it more interesting is that Germany became the country of Adidas and Puma!
1936 Olympic Swimming Pool
The diving pool and stadium is not in bad condition considering it dates back to the 1930’s. I can think of more recent Olympic diving pools which are in worse condition!
Hertha Berlin Club Shop
If you require any Hertha Berlin merchandise you can visit the club shop. Furthermore, they also sell matchday tickets in the store. You’ll also find a restaurant, complimentary toilets, in addition to the club shop.
Enjoy your Berlin Olympic Stadium Tour
I recommend at least 2 hours to explore the points of interest I mentioned above. Alternatively, if it’s a few quick pictures in the iconic stadium you require, 30 minutes should be plenty of time. As I mentioned, to get to the Olympiastadion, simply take the S-Bahn or U-Bahn to the Olympiastadion station. From there, you’ll see the stadium. Enjoy!
Check out the London Olympic Stadium which hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. Things to do in Berlin.
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