By R. P.
Today’s Sparkassen-Arena has a multi-layered and diverse history. It is not a modern invention but rather a necessity for the city. Kiel became the capital of Schleswig-Holstein on august 23, 1946 and needed a hall sized building for major events for economic and industrial partners who wanted to show what they had to offer, for politics and music entertainment, and to give sport and theater a place to present themselves in a successful and lucrative way.
During the golden 20’s, there was a hall on the grounds of the main fire station that had the character of an exhibition hall, which was to increase trade and profits during the Weimar Years and also to combat unemployment after the war. Among other things, the Nordic exhibition was held in the Nord-Ostsee-Halle at the Gutenbergstraße, a forum and platform for economic interests.
Construction of a new multipurpose hall
A decision was made in favour of the destroyed Kuhberg district to build a larger multipurpose hall. A base element of an airplane hangar from List on Sylt was used and still is a carrying structure of the Ostseehalle, which was inaugurated in 1951 with the Schleswig-Holsteinische Wirtschaftschau during the Kieler Woche, carried by pride and joy of the people as a sign that things were looking up again after the war. The hall was welcomed by the people.
Modernisation of the Ostseehalle
As with most things of public property, there was not enough money to modernize the hall. Also bigger amounts of money could not prevent voices being raised to privatize and modernize the hall. Lord Mayor Norbert Gansel said in 1998 that the city is very interested in modernizing the hall, but was not able to find the required funds in the budget. Thus, the hall was sold the very same year to a group of investors, the Kieler Nachrichten, Provinzial and Citti.
Ten years later, on January 1st 2008, the Sparkasse financial group took over and since then the Ostseehalle was renamed to Sparkassen-Arena. The hall offers space for almost 14,000 people and is one of the largest and most modern halls in the entire country.
A main tenant of the Sparkassen-Arena is THW Kiel, who installed a business-lounge, VIP-boxes and a glass facade, that holds all the trophies of the champion handballers.
A story full of events
The Baltic-Horse-Show, musicals like “Cats”, the show “Holiday on Ice” and many other events are part of the main programs of the hall. And not only did the Rolling Stones, The Kinks and other bands play in it, but politicians like Helmut Schmidt and Konrad Adena
uer visited it too. Conductor Leonard Bernstein and many opera and pop singers like Katherina Valente and Udo Jürgens played here, as well as the famous “Wetten dass…!” with Thomas Gottschalk, and “The Dome”. These days, Peter Maffay is returning with “Tabaluga”, Ventriloquist Sascha Grammel, and the comedian Bülent Ceylan who will entertain their audiences. The list is endless.
Hall name with an adaption effect
The people of Kiel have loved their Ostseehalle ever since and it had been almost a shock when it became the Sparkassen-Arena, a name that needed getting used to. For many, the hall is still the Ostseehalle, but times have changed and the DMark is gone too. Many still calculate with it, which may be taken ambiguous. It has become commonplace for halls and stadiums to take on the names of the new owners, as districts have to sell their real estate assets due to financial problems. It’s not the name that is important, but the emotions and memories that have been felt and made, back when the days were supposedly “better”.
And thus, the hope is slowly running dry that the Sparkassen-Arena will one day be the Ostseehalle again. Perhaps the younger of us would then one day be asking where their belovedSparkassen-Arena has gone, too.