City Report: Nürnberg, Germany

April 3, 2013 at 6:55 am

Tell us a little bit about your city
Nuremberg (Nürnberg) is a German city in Bavaria about one and a half hours by car north of Munich and has around half a million inhabitants. It’s mostly famous for its Christmas Market, the Kaiser Castle direct in the Old Town and for its “Nürnberger Lebkuchen” (Gingerbread) and it’s Bratwürste (fried sausages)…those are some of the nice things…now the not so nice things…but facts nonetheless…

Nürnberg was one of Hitler’s favourite cities during the Third Reich. Many of his buildings remain standing today as Monuments and sad reminders of the past for future generations. After Hitler’s capitulation the “Nuremberg Trials” were held there in 1945-1946. Busted!!!

When and how did polo start there?
It started in May 2010 but really picked up in the late summer of 2010. Some guys just discovered bike polo while investigating the internet for urban cycling after joining the Nuremberg critical mass and thought about trying it out. They got as many friends together as possible and a lonely few fell in love with it and stuck at it. At first we played 2 on 2 in the streets or parking garage when it rained until we were thrown out by security. In the first year we could only get a few players together but over the years the interest grew and finally got a team of six happening and it keeps growing.

How many people play in your city?
Around 20 or so and of those about 3 playing classic “Radpolo” from Wendelstein (the infamous guys from team “Polonauten”). Our youngest player is 16 yrs old and our oldest is 52yrs…young.

How often do you play?
We play twice a week and are now trying to get 3 set practice days a week.

Tell us about your courts
Since August 2011 we officially joined a street hockey and speed skating club which offers us regular training dates on their hard court. We pay annual membership fees of 120 Euros (60 Euros for students). The court is 50m x 25m (!) with high boards and the surface is really smooth with amazing grip and three months ago they installed proper lighting! As soon as the construction works finished we will have another smaller court (30m x 17m with smaller boards) plus access to showers and locker rooms.

In winter we play in an old industrial warehouse which was a stroke of luck! We have a lot of space there and our court size depends on how many boards we have, mostly 35m x 20m. The surface is incredible slippery, sometimes pretty dangerous – but it’s free, we pay not rent because we could make a deal with the owner ourselves. Problem there is that anybody can spontaneously rent “our” space for Art Exhibits or concerts, etc. and we have to leave on short notice but that’s mostly in summer when we’re outdoors anyway. Still, belonging to an “official” club is best because we’re all insured should injures occur.

What have you found works to get new people play in your city?
Nothing really quite yet. We had flyers but that really didn’t work out. Most of the time it’s usually through friends or our internet site that attracts new players.

This summer the city of Nuremberg will offer a holiday program for children and youth which our club will also participate in and there we will have the opportunity to show our skills, spread the word and hopefully get new kids interested.

Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the next city that plays?
There are some other clubs in a distance between 200km and 300km like Munich, Leipzig, Karlsruhe, Giessen, Frankfurt and Konstanz.

Do you play with other clubs in your country often? If so is this for tournament or just for casual?
We try to play as many tournaments as possible, around six or seven a year. Seeing that Germany isn’t that big we try to meet up with clubs in neighbouring cities. That goes for Europe as well, size wise, so we apply for tournaments in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, etc.

Has your city hosted any tournament or a you hosting any soon? Please tell us about them.
We have not hosted a tournament yet because our courts are under construction, like I mentioned, new lights, new boards, second court … When everything is finished, it is the first thing to do on our list. Nonetheless we had some casual polo sessions with other clubs in our city.

Tell us a little known fact about your city
In 1924 the German National Soccer team was made up mostly of two rival teams, Nuremberg and the neighbouring town, Fürth. Although they travelled in separate trains, they fought together on the pitch to win the first time against the Netherlands.

Questions by Virginia Castellan

Answers by Tim Schlenker and Ralph Weisbach

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