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Created by T. Gentsch | News

Skateparks under the magnifying glass | Düsseldorf-Eller

The biggest skatepark in Germany is now open!

Photos & Text: T. Gentsch
Translation: M. Kuncaitis

A lot has changed with the development of skateparks in Germany over the last ten years. About 15 years ago, we saw a flood of new skateparks being built in communities around Germany. However, many of these parks were simply pre-fabricated ramps placed onto paved or concrete slabs. Moreso, many of the obstacles were often oriented towards inline skaters or BMX bikes, making them not so desirable for skateboarders. A lot of taxpayer money was spent to build these parks, but thankfully, times have began to change. Communities now seem to be coming to the realization of the benefits of building quality skateparks that adhere to the needs of the skateboarding community. The new Düsseldorf-Eller skatepark is a great example of this positive shift in thinking.

"Eller: an innovative and versatile park! You really need some time to enjoy all the skate obstacles it has to offer!" - Alex Ring

One possible motive that could have influenced communities to take skatepark construction more seriously is the increasing number of DIY skatepark projects being created around Germany. These projects show communities the importance of providing quality skate areas that are catered to the specific needs of skateboarders. In addition, they show how deeply that skateboarders care for their skate spaces. These DIY projects have even provided planning, design, and construction experience for an increasing number of skatepark construction companies appearing in Germany. Yamato Living Ramps, Minus Ramps, DSGN CONCEPTS, and Anker Skateboard Ramps are all examples of skater-owned skatepark construction firms who are finding increasing success within Germany. Many new parks utilize concrete constructions, enabling every park to become unique in it’s own right and capable of offering something truly desirable for skaters for many years to come.

Enter Düsseldorf-Eller. In early 2017, rumors began to spread that Germany's largest skate park was to be built in Düsseldorf. The park was planned to cover 3800 sqm. When the first excavators arrived in May of last year, the rumors were confirmed. The opening date was initially set for 16.12.2017. However, early frosts caused park construction to delay in December; but at least the park had taken shape.

Nevertheless, the park construction took another half a year. I can't for certain what caused this time frame, but creating a park of this caliber certainly takes time and it’s absolutely necessary that it’s done correct the first time. One construction obstacle was actually just the nearby trees. As Donald Campbell put it bluntly, “little crap was always falling out of the trees onto the park, requiring constant sweeping until a ‘net’ solution was provided for under the trees”. Even small details can make a big difference.

"When I first arrived to the park, the sheer size was astonishing! There aren’t so many big parks in my area. The bowl section is huge and looks fun, even if transition isn’t really my style. But the street course is super fun to skate! Excellent lines and the design seems comparable to top parks in the United States" - Dominic Wenzel

It wasn’t easy for the Düsseldorf locals to get a park like this. For 11 years, the "Sports City Düsseldorf" fought for a park that was large enough and sufficiently constructed for a national or even international skateboarding event. This idea happens to go quite well with something on a lot of skaters minds right now – the Olympics. It just so happens that Düsseldorf local and likely 2020 Olympic Skateboarding competitor Lenni Janssen lives nearby. Such factors are a real driving force behind funding for such an ambitious project by the city of Düsseldorf.

"The park is super nice! Perfectly smooth concrete and everything is well-shaped." - Josh Junkes

Skateboarding in the Olympics is currently a controversial topic among the skateboarding community. Terms like “Sports City, Olympia, and Training Center” are enough to keep some skaters away. Many skaters believe that Olympic skateboarding does not embrace the core values of freedom that skating is rooted in. At the Düsseldorf park, you will find security and there were even officials telling others not to take photos on the opening day. I was personally concerned about whether I could even drink a beer or smoke a cigarette there, but I can’t confirm whether this is allowed or not. Unfortunately, such a big park also attracts a big crowd. With a big crowd, you can’t expect them to be all skaters… I can imagine that especially on Saturdays and Sundays, skaters must prepare for a crowd of scooters and BMX bikes. Even during our visit, the bottom of the bowl was often filled with scooters and bikes, making it nearly impossible for skateboarders to skate the new bowl. Who knows, maybe Lenni can issue a formal complaint that he “can’t train for the Olympics with the park like this”. It’s probably a dream, but maybe the on-site security could at least prevent kids from standing at the bottom of the bowl.

Don’t be discouraged by the last paragraph, the park itself is still truly awesome. The fact that there is no entrance fee is just that much cooler and leaves little room to complain. When we arrived with some Titus Shop riders for this check-out on Monday afternoon, the number of scooters/bikes was actually pretty limited. As the day progressed, more and more people came, but fortunately most of them with skateboards. Due to the size of the park, however, there’s quite a lot of skating space to go around which is certainly nice. Another awesome plus is the water fountain flowing fresh water, which has definitely saved a few skaters from dying of thirst. A lighting system also keeps the session going into the night and the location at Schlosspark Eller is far enough away from residential areas to keep the noise down for the locals.

"It’s not just the biggest skatepark in Germany, it’s also one of the best! It has perfectly combined street, line, and bowl sections." - Thilo Nawrocki

"I’m in love with the park, especially since it’s my new local park! Everyone should come check it out, there’s definitely enough space!" - Kalle Zollino

Important facts about the park:

Planning: Dirk Lücke together with Finelines marketing and the Düsseldorf locals

Construction: Minus Ramps

Architecture: Dirk Lücke

Bowl Design: Rune Glifberg

Size: 3800qm

Build Time: 18 Months

Cost: ca. 2 Million Euros

Our riders give the park: 9 out of 10 Stars

Arriving by car:

Arriving by car is nice and easy, simply head towards Düsseldorf. If you are coming from the north or south on the A3, turn off at the Hilden junction in direction Düsseldorf. Then take the Eller exit and Deutzer Straße in the direction of the city centre. After about one kilometer, Deutzer Straße becomes Heidelberger Straße and a short time later the park is on the left (see map). Those coming from the east will also end up directly at the Eller exit via the A46, which passes Wuppertal. If you drive with a navigation device, enter Heidelberger Straße 20, this address should lead you just next to the park.

Arrival by Bus and Train:

From Düsseldorf main station, take the U75 in the direction of Vennhauser Allee. From here, take the 730 bus in the direction of Benrath Bahnhof and get off at Schloss Eller. The journey time by public transport from the main station is 17 minutes. The skate park is located in the immediate vicinity of the bus stop and cannot be missed.

Eating and Drinking:

Directly across the street that leads to the skatepark parking lot at the corner of Heidelberger Straße/Schlossallee, there is a kiosk that will probably soon have an owner who drives a Ferrari. There you can buy cold beer and drinks, as well as pizza baguettes from the oven. The nearest supermarket is Gumbertstraße, which is an extension of Schlossallee (towards the city centre). Just walk to the Vennhauser Allee subway station and it’s across the intersection.