The fact that something like Blub Berlin exists in the middle of Neukölln came to us a surprise. We already visited a few abandoned places in Berlin but we never explored anything so easy to enter and close to the city. Supposedly, back in the 90’s, Blub used to be the coolest water park Berlin ever saw but nowadays the place feels more like a weird Mad Max water park than anything else.
When you enter Blub you start wondering how did anybody left this place to be destroyed like this. It seems like no expense was sparred to build this water park. They used to have waterslides, fountains, a water canal, a sauna garden and a waterslide with more than a hundred meters. And now there is nothing. You may be asking yourself why did this happen and we can only say rats.
Everything came to an end on February 2005 when the water park was shuted down. The sauna facilities stayed open until 2012 but, in the end, everything was closed down. The rats won their battle against the humans and now they have the entire park for themselves. But, the weird thing is that, on both times we visited the place, we never saw any rat.
Blub is short for Berliner Luft- und Badeparadies or Berlin Air and Bathing Paradise in english. It first opened in Neukölln back in February 1985 with a cost of over 40 million Deutschmark. Blu even sponsored Hertha Berlin for three seasons back in the eighties. And, quickly, this water park became one of the coolest water parks of West Berlin.
From what we read, more than 600.000 people used to go there every year to enjoy the saunas, the waterslides, the outdoor pools and even the saltwater pool! Some of our german friends told us that they used to go there when they were children and that Blub was the best place to swim in Berlin. Too bad the rats didn’t want it to last.
Blub’s future start to look grim once the Berlin Wall was over. The number of visitors started to drop until the point when the rats saw the opportunity to get in. And once they were in, the rats were everywhere. There was rat shit on the swimming pools, there was rats swimming on the outdoor pool and the local authorities had to step in before it would be too late.
This was 2002 and things were never the same again. Even thought Blub opened a week after being shut down by the Berlin authorities, the end was already near. The fences didn’t hold the rats out long and nobody likes a water park that has rat fences.
Would you swim in place that cannot win a fight against rats? We wouldn’t and apparently lots of people agree with us and Blub declared bankruptcy in the following year.
Harald Frisch, Blub’s owner, fought for a while and manage to keep the place open for a little longer with the sauna and the fitness center opened until there was no money left anymore. It was them that property developer Tobias Willmeroth bought the place and decided to turn the place into a holiday resort for families.
In 2011 his plans fell to the ground and he sold the area to a german investor group called H-Group. Their plan is to tear down the entire place and build more than 400 luxury apartments. Supposedly, construction starts in 2015 and then Blub will be gone forever. Harald Frisch still fights for his water park but nobody wants to swim in rat shit.
The city of Berlin is on the investor’s side and the rats are going to have a though fight. At least they have the gym equipment and they can get some muscles before the machines come to tear down Blub.
Our Visit to Blub Berlin in early 2015
Fotostrasse visited Blub Berlin together with Luiza from 360 Meridianos, Kathryn from Luminoucity, Lucie from voyagesetvagabondages.com, Inari from lapsiperheenmatkat.fi, Nick and Margherita from thecrowdedplanet.com and Dennis from seetheworldinmyeyes.com.
Our idea was to show them a different Berlin and we think we managed to do it. If you want to explore the place, take the U-Bahn to Grenzallee and go for the Teltow Canal. Get into the park and you are going to find the place where Blub is. It is quite simple to get in and since there is even an article about the place on The Guardian, there is no need to avoid giving the address.
Pay attention to the glass on the floor and the holes that used to be water drains. There is a lot of destruction going on there and we don’t believe it will stop. We even saw some people trying to steal some tiles when we went there for the first time in January 2015.
If you want to explore the first floor, where you can find the gym, take a strong flash light and you will be alright. Cellphones flashlight didn’t seem to work out really well there. And, if you want to see how Blub used to look like a while ago, take a look at this facebook page.
Blub Berlin Badeparadies
There are some really good posts about Blub Berlin on Abandoned Berlin, Neukoellner, LittleCity, The Lost Places and Finding Berlin. But most of what we wrote here came from Wikipedia, BZ Berlin, Bild, RBB and Der Tagesspiegel.
Blub Berlin – The Abandoned Water Park in Neukölln
Buschkrugallee 64, 12359
Neukölln – Berlin