Some updated tips for getting to, getting around and staying in Oberhausen in 2023…
We’ve all been through the pandemic – with travel restrictions being super-tight and easing continually. With that in mind, here’s our updated guide for Oberhausen – bearing in mind that any local, national and international restrictions could be applied at the drop of a hat. Make sure you check with your country’s travel advice before you travel – so you’re not caught out by changing requirements both before and after you travel.
Note: all details are correct as of September 2022, particularly as far as guidelines – and any places we suggest are just that, and are not advertisements or recommendations.
HOW TO GET THERE
Most people reading this will probably need to get to Oberhausen, and indeed Germany in the first place. Going by plane, Düsseldorf and Cologne are the nearest, with both airports having train stations that’ll help you get to Oberhausen. From Düsseldorf Airport you can get direct trains, whereas from Cologne-Bonn Airport, you’ll need to make at least one change to Cologne’s main train station, then possibly again via Duisburg. Depending on where you’re coming from, there may be some pre-departure forms to fill in – check the Covid Guidelines section for more details…
Remember to get your train tickets before you board a train – at Düsseldorf airport, there’s ticket machines before you board the Skytrain. Press the British flag icon to see your options in English. Remember: you’ll need to buy (and validate, if needed) your ticket before you board if you’re buying a paper ticket.
Since December 2019, the Deutsche Bahn’s latest timetables have started to be a little selective when it comes to showing what trains stop where. Double-check trains via bahn.de or via the DB Navigator app – especially if you’re staying or going somewhere away from the beaten track. If you’re going via the UK, you can get there by rail – starting at London’s St. Pancras International and changing at Amsterdam Centraal for the train to Oberhausen. It’s about a six hour journey with little options, but it’s a scenic route…
WHERE TO STAY
For wXw’s festival weekends, you’ll usually see fans booking out the Hotel Oberhausen Neue-Mitte (affiliated by Melia) (not-really called the HONMA, but was formerly called the Tryp) or the NH hotels – both of those have their benefits. Distance-wise, the Melia is nearer the Turbinenhalle, while the NH is extremely close to the main train station, and is better connected for transport in general. Other options include the Select (formerly the Mercure), which is a similar walk to the Melia (and has the added bonus of being in the same trading park as the infamous meat vending machine), the Holiday Inn Express, and the Super 8.
As of time of writing, Germany have removed all travel restrictions that were imposed as a result of the pandemic. However, mask mandates remain in place until February 2023 if you’re using public transport, along with some other facilities – so unless you’re planning on hiring a car and driving around, you’ll still need to pack and wear some FFP-2 masks when you’re on the trains and buses.
TRANSPORT TO TURBINENHALLE
In Oberhausen, you’ll be able to use the STOAG bus and tram system that serves the town well. If you’re staying at the NH, you’ll be able to get a bus or tram to Feuerwache or Lipperfeld, which are the nearests stops to the Turbinenhalle – and will be covered by the network’s short ticket (Kurtztrecke), as long as you travel from the main Hauptbahnhof bus station and not the Luis Albert-Halle stop outside the NH itself.
Unfortunately, if you’re staying at the Mercure, your only option (unless you want to hail a cab) is to go by foot through the trading park, while the Melia, Super8 and Holiday Inn is a similar situation – although if you’re insistent on using public transport, you’ll need to walk to the Neue Mitte station and take a bus or tram towards Lipperfeld or Feuerwache.
There’s usually some food on sale inside the Turbinenhalle, especially on festival weekends… Around the Turbinenhalle, your choices are limited: it’s either the McDonalds next door to it, the Edo Japanese grill, or the Burger King over the road. There’s the Yaman Däner kebab van too, otherwise you’ll need to head towards the Centro, where you’ve got a choice of restaurants on the Promenade, as well as a variety of outlets in the Centro’s food court.
Be aware: there are two Turbinenhalles in the same complex. Make sure you’re queuing for the right one! Turbinenhalle 1 – the larger venue that’s used for 16 Carat Golds – has a stairway on the outside and is often accessed via the main entrance on Im Lipperfeld, going into the car park. Turbinenhalle 2 – the one used for World Tag Team Festival – is at the “back” of T1 and has the steps after you’ve gotten inside the venue. If you’re going by foot, most fans tend to cut through the car park near McDonalds and navigate the puddle that always seemed to be there prior to recent works! T1 is on the left of our photos below, T2 on the right:
You’ll need to pay €6 in cash when you enter the venue – this is a non-negotiable venue charge, which gives you six bons (small pieces of card, about the same sort of size as a raffle ticket). Those can be spent on food (if they have it) and drink inside the venue, and yes, you can buy more bons afterwards. The Turbinenhalle now accept card payments for bons, so if you’re going for a festival weekend, those €6s can add up (although they don’t enforce the charge for matinee shows)… but if you’re not in the Eurozone planning on buying them with a card, it might be worth getting something like Revolut and exchanging some currency into Euros so you’re not getting hit with all those small transaction fees that stack up in a hurry.
If this is the first time you’ve been to wXw since the pandemic, remember… the Academy has moved. Don’t head towards Essen-Zollverein Nord! You’ll need to take a direct train from Oberhausen to Gelsenkirchen – and they’re far more frequent than the ones you’re used to. Doors for the Inner Circle show are at 6.30pm, but the venue is about a 15-20minute walk away… so you’re probably looking at taking either the 1716 or the 1741 trains from Oberhausen (these’ll arrive at 1728 and 1758 respectively).
Trains back from Gelsenkirchen in the evening seem to be twice-hourly – with trains departing Gelsenkirchen station for Oberhausen at 2129, 2201, 2229, 2301 and 2329 to get you back to Oberhausen before you all turn into pumpkins at midnight.
As mentioned before, while Gelsenkirchen will have more ticket machines, I strongly recommend using the DB Navigator app to search for and buy train tickets so you’re not having to fumble with the machines. It should be noted for the British and those outside of the Euro-Zone, PayPal is a payment option for those not wanting to incur exchange rate fees.