History: Bielefeld, venue for the Final of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010, was founded in the year 1214 by Count Hermann IV of Ravensberg on the site of the medieval farming settlement of Biliuelde. The Count's intention was to secure his sovereignty, and boost his own commercial and financial standing by turning Bielefeld into a mercantile centre.

The construction of Sparrenburg Castle from the late 13th century onwards prompted an influx of labourers and craftsmen. In all likelihood, most of the newcomers settled on a site between the town and the castle, causing the rapid growth of a New Town adjacent to the Old Town. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the textile industry dominated the town's economic life: in 1870, eleven percent of all Germany's spindles and looms were in Bielefeld. Later, a growing engineering sector came to characterise the region. Bielefeld remains Germany's fifth-biggest mechanical engineering centre.

Portrait: Bielefeld is situated in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia bordered by the Teutoburg Forest. The nearest major cities are Hanover and Dortmund, 100 km to the north and south respectively. The city's most famous landmark and historical building is Sparrenburg Castle with its 37-metre tower.

The attractive cityscape shows off many facets of natural beauty, including a botanical garden, Olderdissen zoo, the 4,800 hectare forest, and 580 kilometres of leisure trails. Generously-proportioned pedestrian areas between the station and Sparrenburg Castle have turned the city into a retail paradise.

Two theatres with a track record of outstanding productions have made Bielefeld a must for lovers of drama and musicals. The City Hall, Seidensticker Hall and Ravensberger Park host international concerts and cultural events. Traditional regional delicacies include Westphalian ham, wheat schnapps, and Westphalian pumpernickel, a steam-baked rye bread.

Famous sons and daughters: Silent movie director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (Nosferatu), political scientist Christina Rau, and football presenter Oliver Welke.

Sights:

- Sparrenburg Castle
- Nicolai church
- Olderdissen zoo
- Ravensberger textile mill
- Bielefeld arts centre

Football: The city's leading club is Bundesliga 2 side DSC Arminia Bielefeld. Arminia spent the years from 2004 to 2009 in the Bundesliga, but were relegated at the end of the 2008/09 campaign. The club was previously promoted to the Bundesliga in 1999, 2002 and 2004. Indeed, Arminia hold the German record with a total of seven promotions to the highest domestic league. Arminia's all-time roll of honour includes Dieter Schulz, Frank Pagelsdorf, Norbert Eilenfeldt and Uli Stein.

President OC Venue

  • Hermann Korfmacher (President Westphalia and Athletics Association)

Ambassadors

  • Kerstin Stegemann
  • Oliver Welke