The Berlin Spreepark
The former place of pleasure in the Plänterwald in Berlin-Treptow has its own, almost surreal effect on its visitors in its abandonment and neglect.
As long as it still exists in its present form, we would like to recommend one of the upcoming guided tours. Although there are no more guided tours on the site itself, but only along the outside of the fence, you can still get a good impression of the enchanted place and its morbid charm.
Guided tours around the fence take about 2 hours and cost 8€ per person. Tours start on Sundays at irregular intervals of two to three weeks at 1 p.m. at the corner of Neue Krugallee and Am Plänterwald.
On the website berliner-spreepark.de you can register for the Spreepark guided tours.
But how did it come about that a place dedicated to pleasure could fall to ruin and become overgrown and today is only used as an impressive backdrop for films and music videos?
History of the Ghost Park in the Plänterwald
The amusement Spreepark Berlin was opened in 1969 in the form of a state-owned enterprise (VEB) in Berlin-Treptow and was the only amusement park in the GDR. The fairground with Ferris wheel and merry-go-rounds
was very popular at that time and attracted more than a million visitors every year.
After the reunification the VEB was privatized and passed into the Spreepark Berlin GmbH of the showman Norbert Witte.
Spreepark Berlin GmbH and Norbert Witte
It is also the name Witte, which will probably be connected with the history of the Spreepark for all eternity.
Under Witte's leadership from 1991-2001, the amusement park, which from a western point of view was more like a simple fair with a ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and show booths, increasingly became an amusement park according to western standards.
early as the mid-1990s, the number of visitors was five times lower than expected. Instead of the planned 2 million people, only just under 400,000 came to the park, which naturally led to a drastic drop in income.
The Witte family had no choice but to file for insolvency in 2001. After the insolvency proceedings, a mountain of debt amounting to 11 million euros remained as a sad remnant of the former amusement park.
The failure of the park and mutual reproaches
According to Witte, the area around the amusement park was subsequently declared a protected landscape area by the Senate, which made the construction of the necessary parking spaces impossible and made the journey difficult.
The state of Berlin, on the other hand, points out that the Wittes are in arrears with their rent
and that there is a lack of park administration.
For example, the listed excursion restaurant "Eierhäuschen" was not renovated and toxic waste was discovered on the site.
But one thing is clear: the lease was never disclosed, nobody wants to be responsible for the failure of the park.
New plans for the Spreepark
After the park was closed, the site has remained unused to this day. Although there was no lack of interested parties, a new lease was never drawn up.
Thus the Spreepark became more and more a ghost park.
Again and again burglaries occur, whereby the intruders sometimes take souvenirs with them in an extremely rough way: With chainsaws they get to grips with the rides and plastic figures and rob them
of seemingly interesting parts.
The latest plans are for the enchanted area to be transferred to the state-owned Grün Berlin GmbH at the beginning of 2016, which may want to reopen it in the same year as a nature and recreation park with plenty of space for culture and art.
What will become of the rusted rides is still unclear. The only thing that is certain at the moment is that the Ferris wheel will remain the park's landmark.
We are curious!
Trouble in Peru
After the park closed, the Wittes emigrated with the remaining rides to Peru to try their luck with a new amusement park. But even here they failed and soon had to close the park. Norbert Witte began to slip into the criminal milieu and smuggle drugs.In 2003 he
and his son were arrested when they tried to smuggle almost 170 kilos of coke to Germany in a ride.
Norbert Witte was sentenced to seven years in prison in Germany, while his son Marcel, who was arrested in Peru, received a very high prison sentence of 20 years, even by Peruvian standards
Upcoming guided tours
Please inform yourself about current guided tours and dates on the Spreepark website.
Meeting point: Neue Krugallee, corner Am Plänterwald
Cost: 8€ per person
Duration: approx. 2 hours
Guide: Christopher Flade