Germany is a country of sports enthusiasts and indeed a successful sporting nation. Around 28 million people in Germany are members of one of the more than 91,000 sports clubs. Alongside their sporting duties, the clubs also assume important social and inclusive roles. Particularly as regards youth work and integration they reinforce values such as fair play, team spirit, and tolerance.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation is an umbrella organization for German sport and sees itself as Germany’s largest civic group. It promotes top-class and grassroots sport. More than 20,000 of the 91,000 sports clubs it represents were founded after German Reunification in 1990. Furthermore, one can find profusion of sports facilities all over Germany – playing fields, gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and even Olympic training facilities. Most of the sports clubs all across the country offer opportunities to play soccer, handball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and other sports.
Of all sports, football is the most popular. Germany has won the FIFA World Cup four times (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014) and has hosted it twice in 1974 and 2006. Besides, Germany also has one of the most successful women's football teams in the world. They have won the Women's World Cup twice (2003, 2007). Over the years, the Germany women’s national team has developed into one of the best teams in Europe and has won European Championships on several occasions.
The Bundesliga, the top flight league in German football, is internationally regarded as one of the strongest leagues. Over the years, many other sports like gymnastics, tennis, shooting, athletics, handball, motorsport and basketball have become very popular in Germany. Ice hockey and volleyball have also become quite popular among Germans.
The Federal Government supports the international promotion of sports with the aim of building social skills. Since the early 1960s, German sports organizations have been promoting the development of sport in developing countries with support from the Federal Government, especially the Federal Foreign Office.
Promotion of sports is the firm part of Germany’s cultural relations and education activities abroad. Around 3,800 athletes from almost all Olympic disciplines, traditional non-Olympic sports, as well as disabled and deaf sport have been sponsored till now. In addition to this, over 1,400 short- and long-term projects have been completed in many different sports categories in over 100 countries.
As in other countries, many of the top performers here are very prominent public personalities. No doubt, you’re familiar with a few names already – e.g. Formula One champions like Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.