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VIDEO: What the 2006 World Cup did to Leipzig

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VIDEO: What the 2006 World Cup did to Leipzig
A public viewing in the centre of Leipzig. Photo: DPA
15:42 CEST+02:00
Dutch filmmakers interviewed citizens of Leipzig in a new interactive web documentary to find out how the 2006 World Cup affected the only city in former East Germany to host matches.

Entitled "Who are the Champions?", the documentary by Amsterdam's Submarine Channel and Leipzig-based Miriquidi Film gives the viewer a virtual tour around the vicinity of the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig using 12 personal stories about how the finals in 2006 affected the lives of local people.

Leipzig, the only city in former East Germany to host a match, was the venue for a number of group games, and so would have been invaded by fans from the four corners of the globe, including thousands of Dutch supporters famous for dressing up in bright orange.

Dutch fans at a public viewing in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

Leipzig in the limelight

Various different contributors to the project spoke about how and how the World Cup broke the taboo of national pride, as it became acceptable again to be proud to be German.

During the finals the city was plastered German national flags, but Elke Urban, director of the Leipzig school museum, thought it was "unpleasant", and says "we have nothing to be proud of".

A church near the stadium was opened to offer a quiet space for supporters to get away from all the madness. The worries about drunken fans didn't materialize, and there were no problems at all, showing Leipzig's open and welcoming nature. It was such a success that the church has continued doing it ever since.

“Football put Leipzig in the limelight,” says visual artist Michael Fischer. After the World Cup there was a flurry of investments in the city. Many developers and property investors from West Germany and other parts of the world saw a golden opportunity.

“Suddenly people noticed how beautiful the city really was," he continues.

But the lasting effects haven't all been positive on how Leipzig looks: "There used to be lots of empty buildings here before, but at least there were people living in the city,

"Now the city has 'gone plastic'. A beautiful façade with shops – but no ordinary people live here anymore,” he says.

The business opportunities were enormous and a restaurant owner speaks about churning food out round the clock to keep the hordes of football lovers well fed.

For bed and breakfast owners Sascha Jaeckel and Katja Goßmann the Football Word Cup was a baptism of fire in managing their own B&B.

Katja found €30,000 in cash inside a pillow case and thought she might have checked in an Italian drug dealer. 

The interactive web documentary was unveiled in Leipzig on Tuesday, as the city celebrates its 1000th birthday.

SEE ALSO: Check out our listicle about Leipzig celebrating the momentous anniversary

By Matty Edwards

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