I’ve lived in Germany for over 20 years. Stuttgart has become my second home (third? fourth? It’s hard to say when you moved every few years as a child). Stuttgart is the ideal city, with all you could want:
- great restaurants
- parks & public spaces
- outdoor cafés
- public transportation
- proximity to Nature
What a great place to live! I used to think, If only Germans would relax and have more fun… and then the World Cup came to Germany.
It was 2006. May was cold and damp, and June was no different. Everyone waited anxiously for the start of the soccer tournament and prayed for good weather.
The weather gods decided to smile. Our prayers were heard and a few days before the tournament opened, the skies cleared and the temperature rose. We suddenly had perfect, sunny summer weather. The country let out collectively held breaths and said, Let the Games Begin!
Stuttgart set up 3 gigantic outdoor viewing screens in the heart of downtown.
Every restaurant and café had flat screen t.v.s. For once, patrons all wanted the set on and the sound turned UP!
I arranged my work schedule around the games and each afternoon my friends and I headed in to town to watch the afternoon matches. We never knew what we’d see on the UBahn trains or on the streets. An Aussie might be carrying a life-sized blow up kangaroo, or we’d spot French fans with their hair and faces dyed in the tricolors of the French flag.
Downtown Stuttgart swam in soccer fans.
The entire city turned orange on the days the Dutch team played.
One early afternoon several hundred British fans partied hard, getting more sunburned – and more inebriated – by the minute as they cheered on England.
Another day the Brazilians draped themselves in flags and samba-ed their way up our main pedestrian street, the Königstrasse, accompanied by musicians.
My husband joined us each night after he finished work. We’d grab a bite to eat and then head back to the main plaza for the evening match. The sides of the area that erupted with cheers when a team scored let you know: that was where the Italians were sitting. Or Portuguese. Or Americans. Or…
The German team was coached by Jürgen Klinsmann, a Schwab whose family still runs a bakery in a Stuttgart neighborhood. The team kept advancing! The mood in Germany grew more animated! EVERYONE stayed in a good mood.
It didn’t matter who won. (Okay, it did, it did!) Let me rephrase that: Fans cheered and groaned and stayed civil and good-natured no matter how the matches ended. The crowds swelled to over 100,000 people as it got closer to the finals.
The Königstrasse literally became a sea of happily excited fans.
It was a social happening: people from all over the world came to Germany to share these games together. You wanted to be in a beer garden or plaza or outdoor café, anyplace with a crowd of people. The 2006 World Cup Games is the greatest international event I’ve ever attended.
My adopted country is one hell of a host. Forget dour and uptight: these people know how to throw a party! Now if they could just hold the World Cup annually instead of every four years. And let Germany host it again, soon. I’ll be wearing a team shirt and face paint. And I will be hollering, Let the Games Begin!
(All photogaphs can be enlarged by simply clicking on the image.)
30 thoughts on “The Year the World Came to Party”
Neat stuff Jadi – Thanks for sharing, and Uwe’s pic are great!
It was an amazing international party that lasted for weeks and everyone left with gread memories. It’s hands-down the best time I’ve ever had in huge crowds (every night! And they only got bigger!)
Stuttgart is a beautiful city — the central Schlossplatz was really done up right for the games ! It looks like you had a wonderful time !! 🙂
EVERYBODY had a wonderful time! It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a gigantic crowd…
I still sometimes get what an old boyfriend used to call “Jadi’s migrating instinct” 🙂
When I was in college, I moved every semester. Roommates graduated, got married, dropped out……….. I guess I wasn’t good at picking roommates. After graduation in 1973 and a decade of working, my friends started calling me “Two-year Russel” because I moved every two years. Kept doing that until 2007 when I decided to settle down………..lol
Thanks for finding my blog worthy of your questions! Send me an email address and I’ll respond there. —Jadi
The email just bounced: send me an address and I’ll try again.
Hi, I’m a writer based out of Brenda Park, Australia and I discovered your site via http://jadicampbell.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/the-year-the-world-came-to-party/. Would you have any points for those looking into blogging? I’m hope to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Could you suggest starting off with a free platform like Pixie or go for a paid option? I’m confronted with so many options and it’s all so intimidating… Any tips?
As the Germans say, Your word in God’s ear! —Jadi
That looks like such fun! I am sorry i didn’t make it to Germany for that (’06) World Cup because, for sure, it was so well organized, even on TV I could see the fans and crowds were having a brilliant time and also because it was such a terrific tournament, full of great football. Before and since then, German football has got and is getting stronger and stronger. I think a German club will win the Champions League this year, and it’s only a matter of time now too before the German national team starts winning big tournaments again. Kind regards from Dublin, and thank so much for following my little blog. Best regards – Arran.
Hi Arran, The German team is young and has a good attitude. The 2006 World Cup was huge for generating good will and a great party atmosphere. I’ve never experienced anything like that summer. —Jadi PS: Thanks for the kind words about Germany winning a tournament but Spain is going to be hard to beat.
ah, yes, the Spanish are indeed fantastic. and I love to watch them play, but even they can’t keep winning forever. I think Germany will start soon to win, and win big. Looking forward to the great battles ahead 🙂 Arran.
Thanks for liking my post. Somehow I am not getting the notifications for yours, so I am going to re-follow. This German party looks fun!
Marilyn, it lasted a magical 5 weeks…the weather, the mood, the crowds, everything was in perfect tune. It was fun for sure! —Jadi
Wow! So viele Leute! Thanks, Renee
Hi Renee, Danke für den Kommentar. There were indeed tons of people ..and nobody was uptight. It was amazing how much fun being in a crowd was. —Jadi
It was a blast! I just relived it through your story and pictures and I too wish it happened more often. Great memories 🙂
Liz, we went to the World’s Greatest Party. Great memories for sure! —Jadi
What fun! This is what I think I love most about Germany, the fact that despite all the serious, rule-oriented order, when there’s a party, everybody’s friends and everybody’s having a good time together. Great post and great photos 🙂
I still can’t get over how easy and fun it remained, even with huge crowds towards the end. You pegged it: everybody was having a good time together. —Jadi
How sweet of you to post this today. I happened to live in Stuttgart during the 2002 world cup and the street scenes where quite similar to those in your photos! What a lovely vibe. German people really have a way of creating beautiful atmosphere. I have been living in South Africa since 2005 and must say even during the 2010 Fifa world cup we did not have such a great spirit as Germany managed to create. If you like traveling, check my blog at christianevheerden.wordpress.com
Hi Christiane, Great to get your message. We may have been sitting in the same café watching the 2002 games in Stuttgart 🙂 Glad you’ve experienced Stuttgart during the World Cup – it’s a fun place to be. Thanks for commenting. —Jadi