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EURO 2024 venue profile: Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen

The home of Schalke 04 will have a capacity of just under 50,000 for UEFA EURO 2024.

Gelsenkirche’s Arena AufSchalke)
Gelsenkirche’s Arena AufSchalke) Getty Images for UEFA

In the heart of the industrial Ruhr district, Gelsenkirchen – with a population of 250,000 – was a city that owed its prosperity to coal mining and steelmaking (hence the nickname: 'City of a Thousand Fires'). It also produces great footballers, via local club Schalke 04, and has more to offer besides.

Arena AufSchalke

The Arena AufSchalke, which opened in August 2001, is the home stadium of seven-time German champions and 1996/97 UEFA Cup winners Schalke.

Situated in a central location in Gelsenkirchen, which is the 11th-biggest city in Germany, the Arena AufSchalke will have a capacity of just under 50,000 for UEFA EURO 2024 – but can hold 62,000 for domestic matches.

A multi-purpose arena with a retractable roof and a slide-out pitch, the Arena AufSchalke has also staged major entertainment events, and served as one of the venues for the 2010 Ice Hockey World Championships. It also holds a popular biathlon competition at the end of each year.

In 2004, Porto won the UEFA Champions League final in Gelsenkirchen, beating Monaco at the Arena AufSchalke. Two years later, the ground was used for four group stage games at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as Portugal’s quarter-final shoot-out success against England.

Three things to do

Relax in Nordsternpark

A view of Gelsenkirchen
A view of GelsenkirchenGetty Images/iStockphoto

An area the size of 130 football pitches, Nordsternpark is a great place for a walk or a bike ride, and boasts a huge adventure playground, cafes, beer gardens, a highly-rated restaurant and a convenient place to take a boat cruise on the Rhine-Herne-Canal.

Take in a show

The Musiktheater im Revier (translation: Ruhr Musical Theatre) puts on opera, ballet and orchestral performances and is impressive both inside and out. Rated as one of the most distinguished theatres built in modern times, it has two different performance spaces.

Go deep underground

The Schloss Horst offers an interactive view of life in the 15th and 16th centuries, while the Zeche Hugo – a mine which closed for business in 1997 – has been reopened as a monument to the place that the coal mines have in the culture of the city, and its football club, Schalke.