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German city temporarily renames itself to welcome Taylor Swift

Gelsenkirchen? More like Swiftkirchen...

By Emily Zemler

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performing live on The Eras Tour at London's Wembley Stadium on June 21, 2024 (Picture: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

A German city is preparing to celebrate the Eras Tour by temporarily renaming itself after Taylor Swift. Ahead of the singer’s three July concerts, Gelsenkirchen has taken on the moniker Swiftkirchen, which translates to “Swift’s Church.”

Swift’s popular global tour will arrive in the city formerly known as Gelsenkirchen on July 17, 18, and 19 at the Veltins-Arena on Schalke stadium, which holds 70,000 people. The idea to rename the city was suggested by local fan Aleshanee Westhoff, who petitioned Mayor Karin Welge a few weeks ago, according to AP.

Westhoff was part of the unveiling of a new town sign on Ebertstraße earlier this week. In a letter to Westhoff, Welge said, “It’s a great idea to temporarily rename Gelsenkirchen to ‘Swiftkirchen,’ and I am especially pleased that you can witness the temporary ‘renaming’ of Gelsenkirchen live today.”

Gelsenkirchen will continue its transformation in over the next few weeks leading up to the concerts. Several more signs “at highly frequented locations in Gelsenkirchen” will be put up in the coming days, according to city spokesman Markus Schwardtmann. Additionally, Swift will receive a stone on the Gelsenkirchen Walk of Fame and during her concerts the city will host open-air parties with karaoke performances. A Taylor Swift streetcar, dubbed “Taylor-Swift-Tram,” is running.

“There will be lots of big and small surprises so that the Swifties have plenty to discover in Gelsenkirchen,” Schwardtmann said, per AP.

Swit is currently on the European leg of the Eras Tour, which recently touched down in London for a series of celeb-packed shows. The singer also took the opportunity to bring her boyfriend Travis Kelce on stage during her third and final Eras concert at Wembley Stadium in June. During the intro to “I Can Do It With a Broken Heart,” Kelce appeared as one of her dancers and carried her to the couch during the vaudeville-styled segment.

Kelce later revealed that he jokingly floated the idea of making an appearance during the 1989 portion of the show, which got the wheels turning in the singer’s mind as she asked him: “Would you seriously be up for doing something like that?”

“I was just like, ‘What? I would love to do that, are you kidding me? I’ve seen the show enough — might as well put me to work here,’” Kelce recalled telling Swift. He initially imagined himself emerging on a bike in 1989, but they determined that would be a safety hazard for the band and dancers. Still, once Swift knew he was being serious, “she found the perfect part of the show for me to come in.” He noted that it was an “honour” to stand beside a “true showman” like her.

From Rolling Stone.