When I flew out to Dortmund, Germany a few weeks ago for my brother’s 21st birthday, I was expecting to have an experience completely different to that which I’ve encountered in Liverpool. But, having now returned and reminisced over the trip, it struck me how many similarities the two cities actually share.
The standout feature is the reason I went to Dortmund in the first place – football. I had always known the city would provide ferocious support, having learnt of their 80,000-capacity stadium, but their influence on the game came as rather a shock. On my first afternoon whilst at a restaurant, I was sat enjoying a drink when I noticed a man walk past in a Liverpool FC jacket. He was surely one of many English speakers I overheard attending the match on Saturday, reflecting their popularity in our country. The Merseyside connection continued when I entered the stadium, with the iconic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ playing before kick-off just like it does at Anfield Stadium.
It’s not just the resemblance in the sport, though. Both Liverpool and Dortmund are located in the North-West of their respective countries, and both can claim to have a rich industrial history. This is apparent in the former in its many docks, and in the latter with Westfalian Museum of Industry located in the city, which I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit. It is also noticeable in the stunning mix of old and new architecture found throughout both cities.
In terms of things concerning the here and now, the University of Liverpool is matched by the Technical University of Dortmund and international tourism is booming through the Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Dortmund Airport. Even the weird and wonderful boasted by Liverpool with its popular Ghetto Golf is matched with Dortmund’s very own Glowing Rooms, a 3D minigolf course.
If someone went to either city for a cultural getaway, they’d once again find they match in even more ways. Liverpool’s skyline is dominated by long-standing churches and its unmissable radio tower, yet exactly the same features can be found on a visit to the German city, with its rich religious history standing alongside its contemporary marvels. And with the two places both being relatively compact in terms of size, it is easy to get around and soak up as much information and experience as possible.
I went to Dortmund with the sole purpose of watching a football match, but I discovered that there is so much to the city that can be aligned with the home of my university, which perhaps explains why I had such a great time. I would definitely recommend Dortmund as a city to visit, in the sense that, if you love Liverpool, you will not be disappointed.