With Taylor Swift Heading to Germany, One City Has Taken Her Name — at Least For a Few Weeks

Associated Press - July 5, 2024 6:45 am

BERLIN (AP) — The Swifties are about to take over the German city formerly known as Gelsenkirchen, where American superstar Taylor Swift is set to give three Eras Tour concerts later this month.

In honor of the singer, the city has renamed itself “Swiftkirchen” — at least temporarily — to welcome the tens of thousands of fans who are expected to come for her shows on July 17, 18 and 19, German news agency dpa reported.

A yellow city sign with the new name — which translates roughtly to “Swift’s Church” — was unveiled Tuesday by Swift fan Aleshanee Westhoff, who suggested the name to the city’s mayor and started a petition a few weeks ago. Mayor Karin Welge thanked the teenager for her “great idea” in a letter accepting the proposal.

The Swiftie sign has been emblazoned with a pink portrait of the pop icon and is located in the city center. Several more signs “at highly frequented locations in Gelsenkirchen” will be put up in the coming days, city spokesman Markus Schwardtmann told dpa.

One of the poorest cities in Germany, Gelsenkirchen is a former coal mining town that’s never recovered from the decline of its main industry. The Ruhr city is known for its soccer team, and a massive stadium that occasionally attracts international entertainers like Swift.

And there’s more to come in Germany’s Swiftie town.

The U.S. singer will also receive her own stone on the Gelsenkirchen Walk of Fame, alongside local notables like soccer coach Rudi Assauer and writer Ilse Kibgis, and during her concerts, the city will host open-air parties with karaoke performances. A “Taylor Swift streetcar” is already up and running, dpa reported.

Further fan attractions are being planned but kept secret for the time being. “There will be lots of big and small surprises so that the Swifties have plenty to discover in Gelsenkirchen,” Schwardtmann said.

Swift’s concerts in Gelsenkirchen are sold out and will take place at the Veltins-Arena on Schalke stadium, which has space for up to 70,000 Swifties. Further Eras Tour shows are planned for Hamburg and Munich.

 

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