04 July 2024

German city temporarily renamed in Taylor Swift’s honour ahead of Eras Tour gigs

04 July 2024

The Swifties are about to take over the German city of Gelsenkirchen, where American superstar Taylor Swift is set to perform at three Eras Tour concerts later this month.

In honour of the singer, the city has renamed itself Swiftkirchen – at least temporarily – to welcome the tens of thousands of fans who are expected to come for her shows on July 17, 18 and 19, German news agency dpa reported.

A yellow city sign with the new name – which translates roughly to Swift’s Church – was unveiled on Tuesday by Swift fan Aleshanee Westhoff, who suggested the name to the city’s mayor and started a petition a few weeks ago.

Mayor Karin Welge thanked the teenager for her “great idea” in a letter accepting the proposal.

The Swiftie sign has been emblazoned with a pink portrait of the pop star and is located in the city centre.

Several more signs “at highly frequented locations in Gelsenkirchen” will be put up in the coming days, city spokesman Markus Schwardtmann told dpa.

One of the poorest cities in Germany, Gelsenkirchen is a former coal mining town that has never recovered from the decline of its main industry.

The Ruhr city is known for its football team, and a massive stadium that occasionally attracts international entertainers such as Swift.

And there is more to come in Germany’s Swiftie town.

The US singer will also receive her own stone on the Gelsenkirchen Walk of Fame, alongside local notables such as football coach Rudi Assauer and writer Ilse Kibgis, and during her concerts, the city will host open-air parties with karaoke performances.

A “Taylor Swift streetcar” is already up and running, dpa reported.

There will be lots of big and small surprises so that the Swifties have plenty to discover in Gelsenkirchen

Further fan attractions are being planned but kept secret for the time being.

“There will be lots of big and small surprises so that the Swifties have plenty to discover in Gelsenkirchen,” Mr Schwardtmann said.

Swift’s concerts in Gelsenkirchen are sold out and will take place at the Veltins-Arena on Schalke stadium, which has space for up to 70,000 Swifties.

Schoolgirl Aleshanee Westhoff shows a ‘Swiftkirchen’ sign in honour of musician Taylor Swift in Gelsenkirchen, Germany (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP) (AP)

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