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Sports and urban development for an active life

IAKS Study Trip to Hamburg in May 2019

On 27 and 28 May 2019, 38 architects, municipal representatives and experts in sustainable sports development were given unique insights into professional sports and urban development in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Eight different staging posts were on the sightseeing programme prepared by Thomas Beyer, the former head of the Hamburg sports department.

The operators of the sports and leisure facilities on the programme led tours through their facilities and provided first-hand information on operational and technical issues.

The international participants of the study trip comprised experts from Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom. There was plenty of opportunity for the participants to get to know each other and talk shop during the coach rides through Hamburg and over lunch and dinner.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_international delegates 2_Klaus Meinel

photo: IAKS, Klaus Meinel

Hamburg is a Global Active City.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_reception in town hall_Klaus Meinel

photo: IAKS, Klaus Meinel

To kick off, the participants were welcomed by the Land Councillor for Sport Christoph Holstein in the tradition-steeped Phoenix Room of Hamburg’s Town Hall. ‘From the Sports Decade Strategy to the Active City Master Plan for Hamburg’ is the apt description of the changes that have been taking place in Hamburg for some years now. The Active City Master Plan adopted after the failed Olympic bid comprises 32 projects from the Olympic plan which, once implemented, will modernise and expand Hamburg’s sports infrastructure across the board. Sport, exercise and the active shaping of everyday life are seen as an indispensable part of all fields of politics and administration, so that as the city grows the quality of life in the city will also improve. Land Councillor Holstein provided key information for all those who want to pursue exercise-oriented urban development.

Bundesstrasse sports centre of the ETV

Eimsbütteler Turnverband (ETV) is a sports club in the Hamburg district of Eimsbüttel. With around 15,000 members, the ETV is Hamburg’s 4th largest sports club and the 35th largest in Germany. Chairman Frank Fechner provided insights into the club’s impressive growth over the last ten years and into the next projects for the future, including the construction of another district sports centre for 18 million euros. The tour included the more than 100-year-old sports building with its very interesting history, which has recently been extensively modernised and goes a long way towards meeting modern requirements.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_inside ETV sports hall_Klaus Meinel

photo: Klaus Meinel

Kaifu swimming and brine pools in Eimsbüttel

2019 IAKS Study Trip_inside Kaifu pool_ÖISS Florian Szeywerth

photo: ÖISS, Florian Szeywert

Swimming in water and bathing in brine are possible in a dual-pool facility containing a brine pool and, in a second hall, a swimming pool, plus an outdoor pool, spa and sauna area. This facility includes Germany’s oldest outdoor pool and a cooperative venture with a fitness provider (Kaifu Lodge). The Kaifu pool has over 100 years of history and tradition, which have given it cult status. Michael Dietel from Bäderland Hamburg welcomed the group and led them on a tour through the bathing halls and plant rooms.

DIE HALLE – Parkour Creation Center Oberhafen

A young business start-up team with huge enthusiasm for parkour and freerunning has fulfilled a dream by converting a former warehouse in the new Hamburg Oberhafen creative quarter. In July 2017, DIE HALLE opened its roller shutters and since then has shaken up not only the parkour scene, but also the entire Hamburg sports world. Although the hall met with resistance in its early days, the operator association has meanwhile made a name for itself with activities for groups, youth work, events and as a base club for integration through sport. The IAKS experts expressed their great respect for the integrative and uncompromisingly non-profit concept presented by Joe Hofmann.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_inside parkour die halle_ÖISS Florian Szeywerth

photo: ÖISS, Florian Szeywerth arena in Wilhelmsburg

2019 IAKS Study Trip_outside edeloptics arena_Klaus Meinel

photo: IAKS, Klaus Meinel

This basketball hall is the former flower show hall of Hamburg’s International Garden Show in 2013. The hall is located in the middle of the Elbinselpark (created by the International Building Exhibition and the 2013 International Garden Show) in a building complex with an indoor pool (Land elite training centre for water polo).

After the flower show, it was converted into a basketball arena for 3,400 spectators and other sporting events. What is interesting about this hall from an urban planning point of view is that this competitive sports venue has brought the ‘island in the river Elbe’ to the attention of Hamburg’s residents north of the Elbe, shifting the island into Hamburg’s centre.

Managing Director Jan Fischer impressively outlined the special club strategy of Hamburg Towers, which exemplarily combines professional match operations with wide-ranging social engagement in the district of Wilhelmsburg with its challenging social structure.

World of Exercise in Wilhelmsburg

The World of Exercise is an open-air exercise landscape created as part of the International Garden Show 2013. Its conceptual designer was Beate Wagner-Hauthal, today’s Managing Director of ParkSportinsel e.V. She introduced to the unconventional exercise spaces in which her club activates up to 2,000 people in ParkSport.

The World of Exercise includes a skate park, where wheelchair training is also practised, various items of sports equipment, an outdoor basketball court and a beach volleyball court as well as a privately sponsored high ropes course and the Nordwandhalle. All highly innovative, particularly because of the active cooperation between sports clubs and private and municipal sponsors.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_site plan at Welt der Bewegung_Klaus Meinel

photo: IAKS, Klaus Meinel

Süderelbe community centre in Neugraben-Fischbek

2019 IAKS Study Trip_operational strategies at BGZ_Klaus Meinel

photo: IAKS, Klaus Meinel

This is a new building on a green-field site, which was erected first as an infrastructure measure and subsequently joined by residential buildings. On approx. 17,500 m², seven partners are working together on a single site on the basis of a common forward-looking concept – in order to reliably deliver high-quality services in the fields of education, leisure, culture, sport and consultancy.

Nathalie Leibold from the all-day primary school at Johannisland and Jan Pastoors from the Harburg district office explained the community centre’s programme and approach.


Barakiel Hall

Under the sponsorship of the Evangelische Stiftung Alsterdorf, the Barakiel Hall is the first and only fully inclusive sports hall in Germany. The triple-section hall contains equipment that makes it easier for people with disabilities to take part in sport (special insulation and induction loops for people with hearing impairments; colour schemes for the various door functions; light bells, etc.). Linda Bull from the sport and inclusion team explained this impressive building to participants.

2019 IAKS Study Trip_inside Barakiel hall_ÖISS Florian Szeywerth

photo: ÖISS, Florian Szeywerth


The diversity of the sports and leisure facilities visited and, above all, their various sponsors and operator concepts impressively communicated Hamburg’s goal of being an ‘active city for all’. The participants used the unique exchange of ideas with those responsible for the facilities as an opportunity for an international discussion among professionals and as inspiration for their personal duties and challenges. This IAKS Study Tour, organised exclusively for IAKS members, was a unique experience.