The football-crazy town of Gelsenkirchen has 270,000 inhabitants and is situated in the centre of the Ruhr Area.
The local football club Schalke 04, is Gelsenkirchens number one publicity feature and an identification image for many residents.
The state of the art Veltins Arena is the clubs home ground and was one of the designated stadium locations during the 2006 FIFA World Cup . It houses 62,000 spectators and has a sliding roof and as well as football, hosts other big events such as pop concerts, car racing and boxing tournaments.
Traces of heavy industries from earlier days still colour the towns image. Former collieries and factories have been converted into commercial premises and event venues such as die Kaue. The Music Theatre in Revier, a renovated post-war theatre with a seating capacity of over 1000, a municipal museum and the Halfmannshof artists community lend the town its cultural colour. In the newly-built zoo, aptly named Zoom, there is a wide variety of creatures from the animal kingdoms of Alaska, Africa and Asia.
There are two centres in Gelsenkirchen for shopping and going out. The University is situated in Buer which is in the north of Gelsenkirchen. Buers pedestrianized shopping area has a pleasant atmosphere due to its many street cafés and cosy pubs. The open countryside of the Münsterland is within easy reach. The roots of the towns industrial history can be found in the south of Gelsenkirchen where the first coal mines and industrial estates were built. Today however, it is the location for local community services, a shopping centre, the Science Park and the main railway station.
Other towns and cities in the Ruhr Area and the Rhineland can be easily accessed from the station.