German Language Blog

Interesting German Places: Olympiapark, Munich Posted by on May 15, 2019 in Culture, Language, Sports

Guten Tag! It can be fascinating to learn the history behind seemingly ordinary buildings and places. Today we’ll look at one such place, namely the Olympiapark in Munich.


Olympiapark from above. image via pixabay.

The Olympiapark München (Olympic Park, Munich) is a huge venue in Oberwiesenfeld. Originally created for die Olympische Sommerspiele 1972 (1972 Summer Olympic Games), it is used today for Konzerte (concerts) and sporting events, and has a public Schwimmbad (swimming pool) and Eisbahn (ice rink). The Olympiapark’s unique roof was designed to imitate die Alpen (the Alps) – you can even climb it, if you want to! There are Flohmärkte (flea markets) held here, and it is one of the locations for Munich’s Tollwood festival. Aside from the multitude of events held here, the Olympiapark is also a great place to simply go for der Spaziergang (a walk).

The roof design was inspired by the Alps. Image via pixabay.

But the Olympiapark has a tragic history. Built for the 1972 Olympic Games, it is probably better-known for der Terroranschlag (terrorist attack) that happened during the games themselves. A Palestinian group called Black September held members of the Israeli team hostage in their accommodation, sneaking in at night wearing tracksuits, to make people think they were fellow Sportler (athletes). They did this because they wanted 234 Palestinian Gefangene (prisoners) jailed in Israel to be freed. As a result of this attack, eleven of the Israeli team, as well as one German police officer, were killed. This attack is often referred to in English as the ‘Munich Massacre’.

The apartment building in which the terror attack took place, today. ProhibitOnions [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

What made this all the more tragic was that the Olympiapark was designed to represent a new, free and welcoming Germany. Germany saw it as a huge honour to be able to host the Olympic games; it was the first time they had hosted them since 1936, when the country was under Nazi rule. In fact, the Motto (motto) for the 1972 games was “Die Heiteren Spiele” – “The Cheerful Games”.

Following the terror attack, one German newspaper wrote, “Die Welt trauert. München weint.” (“The world mourns. Munich weeps.”)

For those who’d like to read more on this subject, I personally recommend the book ‘One Day In September’ by Simon Reeve.

The Olympic Village

May 2013

author’s own photo.

The Olympisches Dorf (Olympic Village), situated next to the Olympiapark, was built to house the Sportler (athletes) of the 1972 Olympic games. Today the former female quarter is still in use, but as Studentenunterkunft (student accommodation). The apartment where the hostages were held in 1972 (Connollystraße 31) is not part of this accommodation, but is used as a guest house by the Max Planck Society.

As you walk through the Studentendorf (Student Village), as it is now known, you will notice the majority of buildings are painted in bright colours and designs. This is because the Studentenwerk (Student Association) allows each new student to paint their house when they move in.

May 2013

author’s own photo.

The Studentendorf (Student Village) is also known as Studentenviertel Oberwiesenfeld (Oberwiesenfeld student quarters) and, simply, Olydorf. Olydorf is a shortened version of Olympisches Dorf, an affectionate nod to the village’s original use.

Vocabulary from text (singular, with articles)

Der Olympiapark – Olympic park

die Olympische Sommerspiele 1972 – 1972 summer Olympic games

das Konzert – concert

das Schwimmbad – swimming pool

die Eisbahn – ice rink

die Alpen – the Alps

der Flohmarkt – flea market

der Spaziergang – walk, stroll

der Terroranschlag – terror attack

der Sportler – athlete

der Gefangene – prisoner

das Motto – motto

“Die Heiteren Spiele” – “The Cheerful Games”

das Olympisches Dorf – Olympic Village

“Olydorf” – nickname used by students to refer to the village

die Studentenunterkunft – student accomodation

das Studentendorf – student village

das Studentenwerk – student association

das Studentenviertel Oberwiesenfeld – Oberwiesenfeld student quarter

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.


  1. Bill:

    thanks for the post, giving me some ideas