Aachen has a great deal to offer in matters concerning leisure activities. Sport fans should perhaps watch a game of the local football club Alemannia Aachen, which currently plays in the fourth Federal League, go swimming in one of the many swimming pools such as for example the Elisabeth swimming pool built in art nouveau style or take part in the annual Lousberg run of the Aachen Company Run.
Aachen’s theatre offers something for everyone’s taste. The first theatre was opened here in 1751, the current theatre in 1825. Every season, Aachen theatre presents a variety of dramas, opera, dance, and concerts. Smaller theatres such as the puppet theatre “Öcher Schängche”, the “Grenzlandtheater”, the "DAS DA" theatre as well as the local school’s and university’s drama groups enrich Aachen's colourful theatre scene.
What started as an experiment in Aachen has in the meantime found its fixed place in the cultural life of the border countries, the Euregio and NRW! schrittmacher is an exciting mixture of all those things that are to be understood and experienced today internationally under the term dance. Dance companies from all over the world are guests at the festival whose performances take place partly in the Stahlbau Strang factory and Heerlen’s theatre.
There are many events which are worth visiting. As Aachen belongs to the Rhineland, the typical Rhineland carnival, the “fifth season of the year”, is celebrated with many parties, carnival Monday processions and the annual awarding of “Ordens wider den tierischen Ernst” to a person of public life. Carnival processions are also popular in the Belgium and Dutch border region. The procession of the “Blanc-Moussis” in the tranquil Ardennes town of Stavelot is particularly worth seeing. Carnival which was already celebrated in the Middle Ages is hard to be surpassed with regard to folklore and exhilaration. The most important carnival figures, the “Blancs Moussis” (“White Bubblies”), according to the legend go back to a citizen protest against an Abbott in 1502, who forbade the monks to take part in the traditional mid-Lent merriments.
Twice a year “Öcher Bend” opens its doors, the town’s funfair which was recorded for the first time in 1413. Aachen Zoo which was opened in 1966 is an attraction for animal lovers and families with children with 1,700 animals and 250 animal species including monkeys, zebras and antilopes. The GaiaZOO in Kerkrade in the Netherlands is worth seeing just as much as the Euregio Zoo in Aachen. This zoo is the first zoo in the Netherlands that was designed and built completely in the 21st century. It opened its doors in 2005. The GaiaZOO enables a breath-taking look at the animals and their life in the wild. Thanks to its new and unique ZOO concept the ZOO in south Limburg received the award “Most beautiful ZOO in Benelux” several times in succession.
The summer festival Cultura Nova is also based in the Dutch border region. The culture festival that usually takes place at the end of August in Heerlen and surrounding areas, presents a wide spectrum of over 150 activities for young and old with theatre, circus, music, films and visual artists. In neighbouring Belgium the culture scene is also very active. “Eupen Musikmarathon” is a free, two-day music festival that welcomes musicians and groups of different kinds in May in Eupen city centre. It was set up in 1992 according to the French paradigm “Fête de la musique” with much idealism and counts in the meantime as one of the most popular music events in the Euregio. In summer in Eupen lower town acrobatics and aesthetics, passion and humour and theatre and dance meet side by side. It is the time of the HAASte sounds?! of the international street theatre festival.
In September the “September Special” with free open air concerts attracts thousands of visitors to Aachen. The annual NetAachen Cathedral jumping at the beginning of September is a fixed event in Aachen’s cultural calendar. On the Katschhof in the historical old town of Aachen the elite of the pole vault scene shows sporting top-performances in a spectacular backdrop. And of course each year finishes off with the famous Aachen Christmas market which is very popular with tourists form the whole of Europe and welcomes approximately 1.5 million visitors annually.
Aachen has a great deal to offer in matters concerning leisure activities:
In the last few years the “Öcher Zoo” has blossomed into one of the most popular leisure activities of the region. The Euregio zoo houses about 1,000 animals of 200 species and breeds oven an area of about 8.9 ha in generous cages.
In GaiaZOO you can make a journey around the world in just one day. You can explore the African Savannah and come face to face with the most beautiful and powerful animals in the world. The GaiaZOO won awards on several occasions as the most beautiful zoo of the Netherlands.
Twice a year (spring and summer) the “Öcher Bend” is open over a total surface area of approx. 40,000 m2. Hundreds of thousands stroll over the fairground as thanks to attractive offers the “Bend” developed in the course of time to a fairground attraction in the “Dreiländereck” (the point where three countries meet).
The summer festival Cultura Nova that takes place in Heerlen and surrounding areas, presents a wide spectrum of over 150 activities for young and old with theatre, circus, music, films and visual artists.
schrittmacher is an exciting mixture of all those things that are to be understood and experienced today internationally under the term dance. Dance companies from all over the world are guests in the venues Stahlbau Strang factory in Aachen and the theatre in Heerlen.
In high summer in Eupen lower town acrobatics and aesthetics, passion and humour as well as theatre and dance meet side by side. It’s time for HAASte sounds?! - a declaration of love for street theatre, against which at the beginning the world music festival nestles.
Annually in autumn NetAachen Cathedral jumping attracts an international leading group of world-class athletes to Aachen. For more than 10 years now Olympic Winners, World and European Champions in pole vaulting compete in a unique historical backdrop on Aachen Katschhof.
The football team has been playing in the West Regional League since 2013. From 1967 to 1970 and in the season 2006/07 the team played in the “Bundesliga” (national league).
Due to its beautiful position in Aachen’s old town and the atmosphere associated with this the Christmas market is particularly popular with tourists from all over Europe and it attracts about 1.5 million visitors each year.