Published: 10:43, June 21, 2024
Miniature Euro 2024 exhibition delights fans
By Reuters
Visitors look at a scale model of the Hamburg 'HSH-Nordbank-Arena' at the "Miniatur-Wunderland", or Miniature Wonderland, in Hamburg, northern Germany, March 26, 2009. (PHOTO / AP)

HAMBURG, Germany - Visitors to Hamburg including fans with time on their hands between Euro 2024 games have been enjoying a special exhibition that recreates the tournament in minute and colourful detail.

The city's ever-popular "Miniatur Wunderland" (Miniature Wonderland) has gone into overdrive, meticulously reproducing the local Volksparkstadion stadium, crowd scenes, and other aspects of the month-long tournament.

Staff update the exhibition as events occur.

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But the idea of making tiny Dutch fans marching to their game was a challenge too far: There were 40,000 of them.

"It's almost identical ... what you see here is almost what you get at the real stadium," said Croatian fan Joe Bekavac, who travelled from Australia to see his team draw 2-2 with Albania in Hamburg on Wednesday. "They’ve done very well indeed."

Miniatur Wunderland co-founder Frederik Braun, 56, said pride in being a championship host city was the inspiration.

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German's second-largest city on the Elbe river near the North Sea, Hamburg has already hosted two games and has three more to come, drawing tens of thousands of spectators.

"Of course, we have so many ideas," said Braun, himself a passionate soccer fan.

"Some we can make in advance, some like FanFest or something, and some are depending on the day, what's happening yesterday. If you have an idea ... like (French captain) Kylian Mbappe has a broken nose and so on, and we want to make something, it has to be so fast, we have to make it on the next morning."

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The football theme has spread through Miniatur Wunderland: even cows in an Alpine scene sport German and Austrian flags.

Nearly 24 million people have visited the attraction since it opened in 2000.

Despite some intense rivalries among nations playing in Hamburg, there has been minimal trouble on the street, with good-humoured fans bantering together and enjoying multiple soccer-related exhibits. Another favourite has been a striking, riverside construction of containers in the colours of each team.