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Created by T. Gentsch | News

Skateparks under the magnifying glass | Dortmund-Hombruch

A huge new park in the middle of the "Ruhr-Area"!

The image of the classic skatepark has evolved greatly over the past decade. Instead of boring prefabricated ramps, most towns and cities are now building parks which take into account the needs and wishes of skateboarders. This is important, because if a municipality is going to invest a lot of money in a new park made of permanent concrete, the result should remain usable for a long time and, above all, remain interesting for skateboarders of all ages and skill levels. While we’ve often reported on new skateparks in smaller communities in our past skatepark checkouts, this time we’re heading to a big city, Dortmund. Located in the heart of the Ruhr Valley, Dortmund is a focal point of this region of Germany. For this reason alone, an adequate outdoor park in the metropolis is more than appropriate; especially after the "Utopia DIY Skatepark" was removed in summer 2020.

Actually, the Dortmund Utopia DIY park was an outdoor park that satisfied everything. Well, perhaps that’s a little exaggerated, but almost everything. The thing is, with DIY parks, the more heart and soul that the community puts into creating the park, the more devastating it is to lose it. While the ground the “U” was far from perfect and the obstacles may have been a bit “adventurous” in some places, the park had a charm that would be hard to find anywhere else. The location of the park right in center city was practically unbeatable in itself.

But enough about the DIY park in Dortmund. After all, the city is big enough to happily be home to several outdoor parks. In the southern district of Hombruch, the youth center "Epizentrum" has had a small skatepark for many years. Around 10 years ago, an extension was planned, especially since there was a big dirt area adjacent to the park.

Around 5 years ago, a meeting finally took place including well-known local skaters like Patrick “Skippy” Vetter and Lara Michalski ( Keuninghaus) as well as people from the youth center and city officials. The basic idea, according to Lara, was to plan a park roughly based on ideas from Lentpark in Cologne. Preferably larger, but with many smaller obstacles to keep things fun.

Unfortunately, at least from Lara's point of view, things turned out differently in the end. Where and at what point the inspirations from the locals were lost, no one really knows at this point. However, it’s pretty obvious that little of the "Lentpark idea” remained in the final design. "You just see that in Hombruch, the planning office was led by a BMXer" says Lara. "Especially for beginners, the small obstacles are missing. We don't have a small curb, there’s no small quarters, and if you just want to play a game of SKATE, you're better off going to the old park around the corner than be knocked down here by scooter kids and BMXers." This is mainly due to the triangular shape of the park, says Lara, as everyone starts from the hip no matter which direction they want to go. She and many of the locals had expected much more from something recently titled "Germany's biggest skate park”.  

Entering the park for the first time from the parking lot side, you’re almost overwhelmed by the sight of the massive transitions. The first bowl is exactly what you’d want as a beginner, the second is definitely for those who have some experience (similarly designed as the one in Cologne at Northbrigade) and the third bowl with a tunnel reminds you of a massive park in the US state of Oregon. Rest assured, what might look relatively mellow in photos is gnarly in person and you might wonder who can really even skate it. In addition, Lara adds "The big bowl is actually just dangerous because you can't see who is behind the bridge in the bowl". In other words, If you skate through the tunnel, there’s a good chance you’ll crash into a bunch of scooter kids you didn’t see.

So, the final question arises: In Germany, about 90% of skateboarders skate street. Is this simply due to a lack of bowls/pools or would people still skate street even if there were more bowls? If you pose this question in regards to Düsseldorf, where since the opening of Eller Skatepark in 2018 everyone has a huge bowl landscape to ride, it has to be (unfortunately) noted that the bowls are pretty sparsely used by skateboarders. Fortunately, in Dortmund and the surrounding area, there are quite a few transition skaters who are happy to shred some concrete. So, these three Dortmund transition monsters could be a meeting point for this type of skateboarding. Nevertheless, one may quietly consider that sometimes a little less is more (like for street obstacles). And to all bikers: You don't wax pool coping! If you can’t grind it with pegs, then that's just the way it is.

Tastes are different. If you compare the statements of our "testers", they are very far from those of some locals. The bottom line is that Dortmund-Hombruch has a modern skate park where both street skaters and (or perhaps especially) transition skaters can have a lot of fun. If you want to inspire the locals a little more, the city should perhaps think about variable usage times. Then, as Lara says, "the park would certainly work much better"!


Facts about the park:

Adress: Deutsch-Luxemburger Str.,44225 Dortmund (if you come by car, gps Kieferstraße 42, then onto the parking lot on the left, as marked on the map

With the subway exit at stop Hombruch Hallenbad

Planning: Betonlandschaften (with help from "Dietsches Pools")

Building: Max Häring

Size: 10.000 qm

Bouilding tiome: about 12 months

Scooter-ratio: 7 out of 10 points, in summer after school hell on earth

Ouer testers gave the park: 8 out of 10 points