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Preparations get underway at the Düsseldorf Arena

05 April 2011 at 23:10 CEST

The 4th of April was a landmark date in the lead up to this year's edition of Europe's favourite TV show. Host broadcaster, NDR took over the Düsseldorf Arena when its present incumbent moved to a temporary stadium.

With just over three weeks to go until the first rehearsals begin, heavy machinery moved in and started to remove the football pitch and prepare the ground ahead of laying temporary flooring to accommodate the stage and seating. The first job was however to retract the huge roof over the arena to weatherproof it. 

After the groundwork has been completed a massive LED wall will be installed with approximately 520 lighting-elements covering a width of 60 metres and a height of 18 metres. 

With a diameter of 13 metres the stage is, according to NDR, "our biggest secret". It has been constructed in Hamburg and will be transported to Düsseldorf with the help of 37 lorries. It has also been described as "the heart of the construction". 

Once all the construction work has been completed, the arena will have space for up to 35,000 people, giving many members of the public a chance to experience the show live. 

The 2011 Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 10th, 12th and 14th of May. It will be the third time the contest is held in Germany, having previously been hosted in Munich in 1983 and Frankfurt am Main in 1957. 

Below is a gallery with some pictures of the initial construction work at the Düsseldorf Arena. 

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