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22 February 2024 - Daniela Krause

Sportgarten concept in the Überseestadt is a complete success

Leisure and Tourism

Interview with Hanns-Ulrich Barde from Sportgarten Bremen e. V.

The Sportgarten (Sports garden) Überseestadt stands for exercise, sport and intercultural encounters. Hanns-Ulrich Barde, who co-founded the Sportgarten Bremen association, can still remember the beginnings on the wasteland at Winterhafen. In this interview, he talks about the development and the latest milestone: a lighting system.

A skater performs a stunt on the skate park in the Überseestadt Sportgarten.
Right from the start, the centrepiece of the Überseestadt Sportgarten was the modern skate park with elements for beginners and advanced skaters. © WFB/Thomas Hellmann

Mr Barde, how long has the Sportgarten been active in Überseestadt?

Hanns-Ulrich Barde: We started with the Überseestadt Sportgarten on wasteland when only the Landmark Tower was standing. In 2009, we designed and carried out a participation process for WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH. This process with young people was designed to be open-ended. This means that if children and young people in the west of Bremen had not shown an interest in getting involved, the Überseestadt sports garden would never have been realised. I experienced the commitment to the park, the joint approach from the idea to its realisation, and the support of the Walle advisory board, as appreciative, creative and dynamic. The collaboration was highly constructive.

The participation of children and young people was at the centre of the entire process. They developed guidelines and contributed their suggestions and wishes. Our basic idea was to integrate the sports and leisure facilities into the park in Überseepark. In the end, this worked very well.

Hanns-Ulrich Barde with Andreas Heyer at the opening of the Überseestadt Sportgarten
The park in Überseepark was opened in 2014. Here: Sportgarten manager Hanns-Ulrich Barde (right) in conversation with WFB Managing Director Andreas Heyer. © WFB/Frank Pusch

The whole process was extremely exciting because we were something of pioneers in this field. In addition to the modern skate facility, which opened in 2014, the ball sports area and the parkour facility were added in the following years. Parkour was a completely new sport for many at the time. The precise design of the parkour area with its objects was also devised by the traceurs and realised together with the planners.

Young people play in the future Überseestadt Sportgarten for the first time
At the Brachländparty in 2011, the children and young people rehearsed for the first time for the Sportgarten just in case © Sportgarten e.V.

How has the Sportgarten established itself in Überseestadt?

The concept has been a complete success. The Überseestadt Sportgarten has become a very lively place that is used intensively by many different target and age groups. We recently succeeded in organising a lighting system together with the WFB, which means that the sports facility can now also be used after dark. You can contact us quickly and easily via social media, and when the lights are needed, we switch them on via a switch in the office container.

Parkour facility Sportgarten Überseestadt
The parkour facility was planned with experienced traceurs. © WFB/Frank Pusch

We provoke encounters. How exactly is this Sportgarten motto to be understood?

That may sound a bit harsh, but that's exactly what it means. People of different ages, backgrounds and status come together in the Sportgarten. They don't always have to get on really well, but they do have to share this place with each other. And that usually works really well.

What is the purpose of the two containers on the Sportgarten site?

We've had a container right from the start. We use it to store sports equipment that can be borrowed during opening hours, such as BMX bikes, scooters, skateboards, balls and a table tennis table. Since January 2024, we have also owned the container next door, where we would like to set up a small media area. This would give us an additional place to retreat to when the weather is not so favourable in the cold season. A room where we can discuss and plan things. The basic idea behind the sports gardens is that young people can actively help to organise our activities and events. And we now have a place to do this whatever the weather.

Young people at a basketball tournament as part of the Übersee Games.
A school tournament as part of the Übersee Games. © Sportgarten e.V.

What major Sportgarten event is there in Überseestadt?

There's the Übersee Games, which are planned and realised with schools from the west of Bremen. It's a big sports festival with tournaments, workshops, dance and music - a very nice event, but one that takes almost a year to prepare. The next Overseas Games will take place on 24 May 2024.

What is being planned for this year?

In addition to holiday camps and workshops in the Easter, summer and autumn holidays, a skate jam is planned for the summer. The Weserhelden charity run will also kick off on 19 September. This was instrumental in helping to complete the Überseestadt Sportgarten as planned with the children and young people.

It takes a lot of helping hands to organise events and keep things running. How can people volunteer with you?

Volunteering is always very important to us at the Sportgarten. We have programmes throughout Bremen, but also in the west of Bremen, with the cooperation between the Sportakademie's school and youth welfare services. We can always use committed people in the field of sport and exercise. It's particularly about regular activities, but also about planning and organising events and, most recently, setting up the new media area. If you want to be there for children and young people and get involved, these would be areas of work, for example.

A football camp was held in the Überseestadt Sportgarten at Easter 2023.
The holiday camps at Sportgarten Überseestadt are very popular. Here are some impressions of the football camp in the 2023 Easter holidays. © Sportgarten e.V.

What would you like to see for the future of the Sportgarten in Überseestadt?

I think it would be great if we could be in even closer contact with the institutions and residents of Überseestadt and organise and implement things together. Our employees Helal Omar and Tim Stölting are working at full capacity, but are happy to hear from and support anyone who is interested. Incidentally, there is also the opportunity for young people to complete their federal voluntary service at the Sportgarten.

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