Sports hall (Cologne)

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Boxing match between the Federal Republic of Germany and the USSR 1963: In the lightweight, the Soviet boxer Nikandorow (left) beat the West German Schmitt on points
Major SPD event in the sports hall in 1983 with Hans-Jochen Vogel as candidate for Chancellor, parts of the cycling track can be seen in the background .

The sports hall was up to the inauguration of the Cologne Arena in September 1998, the main event hall Cologne . Between the first event in December 1958 and the last in August 1998, 3469 events with 15.4 million visitors took place here. The sports hall was demolished in 1999 as part of the expansion of the Koelnmesse .

Planning and creation

Before the Second World War , indoor sports events took place in the Rhineland Hall in Cologne-Ehrenfeld . Plans to revitalize the badly damaged hall for sporting purposes failed for financial, structural and traffic-related reasons. After various initiatives had not been pursued further, the leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Theo Burauen , demanded again in February 1955 the construction of a “larger sports hall”. 1957 plans were presented, after which on the exhibition center in Cologne-Deutz , a Hall X to be built, which could be used in trade fairs and shows free time for sports and other events. On December 5, 1958, the Kölner Betriebsgesellschaft GmbH was founded for the purpose of supporting and marketing the events for the sports hall on the exhibition grounds in the Deutz district on the right bank of the Rhine . This operating company was a subsidiary of the Dortmund Westfalenhallen AG. The founding contract stipulated that the hall could be used for sporting events from December 1958 to February 1959. On December 13, 1958, the celebratory opening of the Cologne sports hall took place with speeches by the President of the German Sports Confederation Willi Daume and Cologne’s Lord Mayor Burauen. As early as 1959, Westfalenhallen AG withdrew from the contract, and the operating company, renamed Kölner Sporthallen GmbH, became the property of the City of Cologne. It was later renamed Kölner Sportstätten GmbH and has since managed other sports facilities in the city of Cologne.


The 6,500 m² sports hall, with a capacity of up to 8,000 spectators, had a permanently installed cycling track with a length of 166 meters. In the interior, the seating could be designed variably, depending on the type of event, using tubular steel stands and rows of mobile chairs. An ice rink was installed here for the regular events of the Holiday on Ice ice skating revue . Initially, the sports hall was only used for sporting events in the winter months, thus replacing the Rhineland Hall in Cologne-Ehrenfeld. On March 31, 1962, it was isolated from the hall complex of the Messe- und Ausstellung GmbH, so that it was now available for all types of events. Contrary to its name, it was not only used as a venue for national and international sporting events from the start, but was also a stage for world-class concerts and other events. It was used as a multifunctional hall, even if the built-in cycling track was disturbing. Nevertheless, international concerts continued to take place in the exhibition halls, such as the concert by The Who with the Lords and the Cologne Beat Stones (predecessor of the Bläck Fööss ) in Hall 8 on November 6, 1966, as part of the pre-program for the Beach Boys concert the Beat Stones presented their first single What? Am I in love? .


The first Cologne six-day race took place shortly after the opening on December 26, 1958 and was the first after the war. The classic oval cycle race track had built-in, elevated curve pieces, the seating in the tiers (wooden folding seats without seat cushions) was permanently installed. On December 4, 1965, the German championship in amateur dancing took place here for the first time, on September 23, 1966 the world championships in cycling and one-way cycling, on October 17, 1969 the European championship in team cycling for professional cyclists, on September 4, 1970 international professional boxing and from February 19, 1973 professional tennis world championships. In addition, the sports hall was the venue for the final of the European Cup of National Champions in Basketball in 1982. On June 1, 1962, the German boxing championship in the middleweight division between local hero Peter Müller and Hans Werner "Buttje" Wohlers took place here, which Müller lost due to a technical knockout . The fight against the Italian Juan Carlo Duran ended tragically for the Cologne boxer Jupp Elze on June 12, 1968, because Elze fell into a coma and died eight days later of a cerebral hemorrhage. In addition to boxing matches, numerous concerts were held, such as by the Rolling Stones (on March 30, 1967, September 18, 1970, September 4, 1973 and June 2, 1976), Led Zeppelin (March 3, 1970, March 23, 1973, June 18, 1980), Frank Zappa (February 17, 1976), Rainbow (September 25, 1976; live recording for the album On Stage ; double CD Live in Germany , 1990), Johnny Cash (September 22, 1972, 20 April 1978), David Bowie (May 19, 1978), The Moody Blues (comeback concert after five years, October 19, 1978), Queen (February 1, 1979, November 26, 1980, May 6/7, 1982 ), Supertramp (October 12, 1979), Mike Oldfield (October 8, 1984), U2 (January 31, 1985), Elton John (April 6, 1986), Duran Duran (April 6, 1987), Depeche Mode (7. November 1987, July 22, 1993), Tina Turner (October 22, 1990), Rush (April 23, 1992) and Prince (June 2, 1992). The farewell event of the Cologne band Floh de Cologne (April 7, 1983) had 6,000 spectators and lasted 14 hours with the participation of numerous well-known musicians such as Hannes Wader , Dieter Süverkrüp , Franz Josef Degenhardt , Hanns Dieter Hüsch , BAP and Ina Deter . Peter Alexander presented the opening broadcast of the entertainment show Treffpunkt Herz with 41 stars on June 14, 1975 (broadcast on October 4, 1975), a charity series for the benefit of the German Cancer Aid . Alexander stood here on stage more than 14 times in front of a hall that was always sold out and was honored with a prize by the city of Cologne on September 4, 1976. German rock greats such as Can (February 3, 1972), Marius Müller-Westernhagen (November 25, 1981), Udo Lindenberg (March 13, 1988) and Peter Maffay (March 10 and 11, 1990) celebrated great successes here. GDR songwriter Wolf Biermann gave a momentous concert here on November 13, 1976 in front of a sold-out house, which led to his expatriation from the GDR three days later . The Cologne rock band BAP performed a total of 23 times in the sports hall between 1984 and 1996, the first time on October 13, 1984. Two Cologne bands have set musical monuments to the sports hall with pieces of music: BAP with Hück ess sing Band en der Stadt (January 1999) and the Bläck Fööss with sports hall (1984).

The hall was not only a venue for sports and music events, but was also used for major election campaign appearances. For example, Willy Brandt performed together with Heinrich Böll in the sports hall before the 1972 federal election . In December 1974, a dramatic creditors' meeting of 4,000 creditors took place in the sports hall because of the crisis in Cologne's Herstatt Bank .

The very popular carnival events under the motto Laughing Sports Hall have also taken place in the sports hall since their premiere on May 27, 1965 (with star guest Willy Millowitsch and 300 participants), a total of 199 times until it was closed. They are continued today in the Laughing Cologne Arena , where there is still room for the self-sufficient audience. The last six-day race in Cologne ended on January 4, 1998.

The End

The Cologne sports hall was one of the most important German concert arenas. The aging hall, however, had neither the size nor the functionality of modern event halls and therefore had to give way to a larger and technically more modern arena. On August 30, 1998, more than 6,000 visitors came to the big farewell event with Cologne celebrities in the Cologne sports hall, which also stood in the way of a planned extension to the Koelnmesse. After the opening of the Kölnarena (since 2008 Lanxess Arena) in 1998, the sports hall was demolished by demolition on March 13, 1999. In the eyes of many onlookers, the hall should collapse at 7:00 a.m. However, it survived the first demolition attempt quite unscathed from the outside; only the second demolition in the late afternoon was successful.

Web links

Commons : Sporthalle Köln  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kölner Sportstätten GmbH, Kölner Sporthalle , illustrated book on the occasion of the 10th year of the event, Cologne 1968
  2. VRK of February 10, 1955, p. 105.
  3. Kölner Sportstätten GmbH, facts and figures
  4. a b Gabi Langen: Sport and leisure policy in Cologne 1945 to 1975  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Dissertation, Cologne 2006, p. 168 (PDF; 6.7 MB); printed: this., Sport and Leisure Policy in Cologne 1945 - 1975, Sankt Augustin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89665-419-9 .@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  5. a b Peter Fuchs (Ed.), Chronicle of the History of the City of Cologne , Volume 2, 1991, p. 295.
  6. ^ Concert events in Cologne
  7. Walter K. Schulz, When the Fööss learned to walk , 2010, p. 45.
  8. Gabi Langen, Sport and Leisure Policy in Cologne 1945 to 1975 , dissertation, Cologne 2006, p. 314 ff.
  9. Final European Championships Basketball Cup , on Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  10. Entry in the German Box Museum
  11. Peter Fuchs (Ed.), Chronicle of the History of the City of Cologne , Volume 2, 1991, p. 363.
  12. HISTORICAL ARCHIVE KÖLN, The Cologne sports hall in the poster, 2014
  13. Peter Fuchs (Ed.), Chronicle of the History of the City of Cologne , Volume 2, 1991, p. 314.
  14. ^ Return of a Cologne legend , Kölner Rundschau from November 19, 2010.

Coordinates: 50 ° 56 ′ 45.3 "  N , 6 ° 58 ′ 50.7"  E