Achtung! These places have been destroyed by construction workers in the name of “development” and are no longer worth a visit. The original post from 2013 remains below for archival purposes.
WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER
Well, I’m sorry to report it is the end – the end of Grünau’s famous dance halls, Ballhaus Riviera and Gesellschaftshaus Grünau. Every friend has left, music included, the lights have been smashed, and the last dance is but a distant fading memory.
Now the Dahme flows sadly by, lapping the “Riviera” as if prodding a carcass for signs of life. There are none. Only the corpse is left, and very soon, it seems, that will be gone too.
It’s been 22 years since the last dance. The first was in 1890. That’s when Ballhaus Riviera was built – a dance hall with several other rooms and a palm-lined outdoor restaurant on a terrace beside the river – at a time when Grünau was a happening place and hot destination for Berlin’s movers and shakers.
Grünau was renowned for its watersports, particularly after June 27, 1880, when three local rowing clubs came together to hold the first Grünau Regatta. It was such a success, that the second, called the Großen Grünauer Regatta, followed in September 1881, and they continued yearly after that, drawing crowds of up to 50,000 people on good days.
With all the festivities, of course there was call for dancing and merrymaking! The Ballhaus was immensely popular. Musicians were honored to come and play there.
The Gesellschaftshaus (social house) with 9-meter high ballroom and other rooms was built in 1897/98 and together with the Ballhaus, they turned Grünau into a magnet for partygoers and revelers from far and wide. Germans love their dancing. It was no different then.
The watersports continued, of course. The area received a massive boost with the Olympic Games in 1936, for which more facilities were built, but that’s a whole other story…
The Ballhaus and Gesellschaftshaus continued their important role in Grünau’s social fabric throughout the DDR and the buildings were even given protected status in 1977. However, the glory days were already part of a bygone era by the time the ‘80s rolled around, with discos rather than ballroom dances taking center stage.
German Reunification in 1990 spelled the end, killing the DJ, and both Ballhaus and Gesellschaftshaus were shut down the following year. Treuhand, the state company responsible for privatizing East German enterprises after Mauerfall, seized control and attempted to find a solution.
Various investors came with plans to build apartments but these were rejected by the city. Meanwhile, the “Kavaliershaus” was demolished in 1999.
The Ballhaus’ and Gesellschaftshaus’ fate was still unclear when another crowd opened a Biergarten on the land in August 2000. It didn’t last long, closing in October, though it did well to stay open that long, I suppose.
The buildings were already being vandalized and thrashed when Treuhand announced they’d be demolished but for the large ballroom and façade. In the end they sold the whole lot in 2006 to an investor from Ankara, Turkey, under the impression she wanted to build a hotel there.
More ideas followed, an old folks’ home for one, before your wan from Ankara came back with another plan to build apartments. This too was turned down.
Locals fear the owner is simply waiting for the whole lot to fall down or be burned to the ground so there’s nothing left to protect anymore and she can go ahead and build her lucrative apartments.
It’s in a sorry state now, seriously dilapidated, yet the former splendor still manages to shine through. Just. The stages, backstage, dressing rooms, floors and walls and all you’d expect to find in a ballroom are still there, but the chandeliers and fancy trimmings are all gone the way of the dancers.
Any dancing now would bring the place down. I was afraid to sneeze in case it all came crashing around me. Several floors and parts of the roof had collapsed in both buildings.
Nazi scumbags had also left their mark, scrawling their mottos on the walls, with Antifa leaving their retorts. I had a heart-in-mouth moment when a rolled-up carpet looked like a propped-up body. This is the place for props alright.
The ballrooms must have been quite something in their heyday.
“Es war wunderschön!” said an old woman I met outside when I hopped back over the fence. She had learned to dance here in the ‘50s.
She said Ballhaus Riviera was open to all, with dances ongoing on weekday afternoons too. She also said a Berlin school of ballet performed in the Gesellschaftshaus, though I couldn’t find any corroborating evidence.
But she talked and talked with genuine affection. Her love for the place had not deteriorated, even if its condition has.
Last month, concerned residents sent an open letter to the owner’s legal representative in Potsdam, demanding that steps be taken to protect the buildings from fire, vandalism and weather, and that they finally get up off their arses and do something with the premises. Apparently other investors are willing to build a hotel there, salvaging some use from what was once the pride of the area.
Campaigners have gathered 3,000 signatures in an effort to save it. Will there be one more dance?
LOCATION AND ACCESS (HOW TO FIND GUIDE)
- What: Grünau’s twin dance halls Ballhaus Riviera and Gesellschaftshaus Grünau, collectively known by some as Ballhaus Grünau, though there were two. There still are two, albeit in nothing like anything approaching their former glory.
- Where: Regattastraße 161 & 167, Grünau, 12527 Berlin. (The numbers might be one or two out, but if you aim for the numbers given, you’ll get there. I assume nobody wants the postal address at this stage.)
- How to get there: The S8 and S46 go straight to Grünau S-Bahnhof. From there walk (or cycle) straight down the appropriately named Wassersportallee toward the river, turn right at Regattastraße (not left, like I did) and the dance hall buildings are up on the left. You can’t miss them. They’re the rusty, crumbling, overgrown, boarded up, suspiciously abandoned-looking buildings. Here’s a map.
- Getting in: I walked past the buildings and hopped the fence on the far side, then walked to the back (by the river) and found it very easy to get into the Gesellschaftshaus building from there. The other building was similarly easy, though I had to hop in over a windowsill where part of the roof had already collapsed and the rest looked like it could fall any minute.
- When to go: Go during daylight hours so you can see where you’re going and are less likely to be killed. These are not the safest buildings in Berlin.
- Difficulty rating: 4/10. It’s pretty easy to get to, and not to hard to hop over the fence outside. There’s no security and I guess the locals are more than used to people visiting. However, the buildings are in a very bad way, among the worst I’ve seen (though not the worst) and care is needed on weak floors and saggy roofs.
- Who to bring: If you really, really want to dance, and you’re stone crazy, then by all means bring your partner along for a twirl. You’ll have to hum your own music, ignore the swastikas and smell of piss, but if you can do that it could be very romantic indeed.
- What to bring: Camera, beer, good torch for exploring the basement, dancing partner.
- Dangers: As mentioned before, the biggest danger is the poor condition of the buildings. Great care is needed, especially if venturing upstairs in the Riviera building. Really, I wouldn’t recommend it, because when I was tiptoeing up the stairs, I was keenly aware they could collapse any second. I kept going despite my better judgment, but perhaps the stairs have collapsed since and it’s no longer an issue. The owners seem happy for the whole place to fall to the ground, so I guess you should watch out for that. Do not take any stupid risks or you may live to regret them (if you’re lucky). Watch out for Nazis too – they seem to like spraying their offensive signs around, marking their territory like dogs pissing on lampposts. If the dogs would piss on Nazis instead, the world would be a much better place.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 31, 2023 – Well, Ballhaus Riviera and Gesellschaftshaus Grünau are well and truly dead now. The Ballhaus has been converted into a fancy restaurant where you can get a four-course meal and evening of jazz for €65, and the Gesellschaftshaus is on its way to becoming a luxury old folks’ home. It’s only for luxury old people, not regular old folks.
Sorry to say, folks, but if you wanna go exploring, you should try somewhere else, somewhere like Funkhaus Grünau up the road.
The fun’s over
Kino Hubertus’ ruined villas in Waidmannslust
Two houses and a cinema clung to life in Waidmanslust, fighting loneliness with earthly possessions before they too went their inevitable way.
Delphi silent film theater
The 1920s Delphi silent film theater was reborn as the Moka Efti club in the Babylon Berlin television series, then it was silent once more.
Perhaps the weirdest of Berlin’s buildings, abandoned or not, is the hideously attractive Bierpinsel in Steglitz. It sticks out like a walrus in a tutu.
Please don’t publish addresses of these lost places!
Great post! And I disagree with the previous Anonymous – this place will fall down any day now anyway so why does it matter if it becomes popular among UEs?
Thanks Andrea. Actually, I did think long and hard about this before – if publicizing locations’ addresses was contributing to their destruction. Personally, I don’t think vandals go to the internet to look up the next place they’re going to trash. I could be wrong, but I reckon a vandal will just trash whatever they happen to come across. Forward planning is not their forte.
The Ballhaus(¨-er) were obviously well vandalized and weather-damaged before I publicized the address, so the vandals/weather evidently knew of their existence before anyone read this post.
This applies to other locations too. All of them are changing by the day, whether through vandalism, weather-damage, day-to-day wear and tear, or – worst of all – development. None of these places will stay the way they are when we first find them. Each place changes in its own way – for better or for worse. That’s why I go back when I can – to try and capture particular moments in time.
I don’t see anything wrong in sharing locations with others. I understand some people get a little kick about knowing things others don’t. Well, screw that. None of these places are going to last long the way they are. Some of them won’t last at all. They should be enjoyed by those who would enjoy them while they still can.
That’s exactly how I see it. I’m fairly certain that 99 % of the visitors you have on this site don’t go on here to read about places they can vandalise (as if you needed tips for those kind of places in Berlin..), they come here because they enjoy UE.
Random question – do you only do UE in Berlin or do you also travel to other countries? I kind of realised recently that I should start planning my holidays around UE destinations I want to visit (Pripyat, Chateau Miranda, Chateau de la Foret, Buzludzha etc.) rather than after friends/climate etc.
thanks! i think i’m gonna check it this weekend.
Funny you should mention it – I do have a foreign adventure planned for next month! All will be revealed… 😉
Great blog, thanks! Went to Grünau today, my most absurd UE-trip ever. The place is just beautiful, the ceilings and ornaments are to die for, but really, there were people everywhere! Approx 10-12 folks around while I was there, one was even a family – on Sunday trip?, complete with two kids playing around AND grandparents. What’s next? All abandoned buildings must have facilities for strollers and wheelchairs to get in lol. UE to the people! I didn’t really get the abandoned feeling I use to get, nor the excitement kick, obviously, when I was climbing into a window, someone else was climbing out… BUT as I said, the place is a gem, very easy to read it’s history, even though it’s totally falling apart. The Kinderkrankenhaus was worse though. When I came to Regatta strasse, some woman arrived in a small car, checking all the locks at the gates… So weird! I waited till she was gone, and took a walk down to the river. There was a hole in the fence, so no need to climb over. All in all very good, but would have been more magical if I was alone. I also went to Spreepark and the Kinderkrankenhaus, will comment later. Now I’m soon off back home to Norway. Last time I saw Siemensbahn. Have you been there? Cheers, Tove
Tried to post yesterday, but didn’t manage until today… so I went there yesterday. Sorry for the confusion!
living in the 21st Century nothing can remain a secret, so it’s silly to try and hide the address.
I am going there tomorrow.
I have been to the same place some months ago and every time I find new pictures in the internet the location is even more destroyed. Decay is part of the atmosphere in lost places, but I have met too many copper thiefs, vandalists, sprayer or “playing” kids to still believe that only nice people read sites like your blog. I don’t care if you publish the adresses of Teufelsberg, Bärenquell, etc. where everything is already destroyed. But there are many places where you won’t find i.e. offensive nazi signs and please help to keep these secret.
There are enough counter-examples you don’t know because they are secret.
Ballhaus Grünau, Teufelsberg, Bärenquell etc. were all well trashed before I wrote about them on this site.
While I acknowledge writing about may lead to an increase in visitor numbers, I still don’t believe that those visitors are vandals. Copper thieves and kids don’t come to this site to find out where they should steal or play, and Nazis don’t come here to see where they should next spray their offensive signs.
I don’t like seeing these places destroyed any more than you do, but I feel the overall benefit of publicizing locations outweighs the negative in leaving them only to the would-be vandals. The vandals already know where the places are – others don’t.
I went there just for pure chance two months ago. This place is very magical, especially the main room! You really feel like you are in “Shining” and imagine thousand of couples dancing waltz at candlelight!
Not to be antagonistic, but I agree with the previous anonymous comment. You are right that “vandals” as such probably don’t come to your website to look up where these places are. At the same time, even “normal” visitors can do harm to the places, by leaving rubbish behind, writing stupid sh*t on the walls just to show they were there etc. A case in point would be the Iraqi embassy, which, when I visited a few weeks ago, was in a completely different shape than when I went there a few years ago.
I have very mixed feelings – I like the project and above of all the concept behind it, but I don’t necessarily like that it has almost become yet another tourist project, for visitors to go there and not respect the places, not to even have any desire to find out what the places are about, only to take pictures and post them on social networking websites and in the meantime often causing a lot of harm to the sites. I feel like this attitude is part of a wider phenomenon where certain people (like easyjetters) come to Berlin for a few days, treat it as their playing ground without realizing people actually live here and will always live here, and then go away to their next destination, leaving a lot of shi*t and rubbish behind just because they felt like they were entitled to anything while they were here.
I guess I would prefer if these places were talked about and publicized in more informal ways, e.g. through stories and oral transmission, but not on an internet blog.
I feel conflicted about this, there were far too many negative examples of growing vandalism after an location’s adress got known. It’s not like there are play-kids looking for their next place to destroy, that’s right, but there are other kind of people looking up for abandon places just to do their things. Like, look what happened to Krampnitz, after it got quite popular, there suddenly was an artist that is almost “living” their and doing it’s…well…”art”.
Last time I visited there it seemed like people made a freak’n camping fire in the middle of the halls.
People don’t come just to “destroy” but they come and look for places like that to party, to be alone with their people or whatsoever.
One of the girls in my university even invited around 30 people to one of these ruins to celebrate halloween – it’s horrific what people are doing to actually beautiful places.
They may fall down by their own, but there’s quite a difference between graffiti, beer bottles and destructions by idiots, than the “natural” slow decay but it’s own…
As a photographer you should know this…actually…
You mean you wish there weren’t so many visitors. I dunno, I don’t think the manner of talking and publicizing these places makes any difference. The issue is whether people find out about them at all and how they treat these places when they do.
Obviously there are gobshites and idiots everywhere, visiting ones too, but it gets back to the same point – if these places weren’t publicized, would they really be so much better off?
I don’t have a problem with street art in places that are fucked already anyway. There’s a difference between art and graffiti. I can live with beer bottles too. I think that girl with the Halloween party is playing a dangerous game for her and her guests but as long as they don’t set fire to the buildings then it’s not a major issue. Some of these places are so ruined – Eisfabrik, the children’s hospitals, Teufelsberg, there are countless examples – that parties are not going to make a difference one way or another.
The one thing I can’t abide are the people who set fire to buildings, like the idiots who keep burning the hospital at Weißensee.
But we keep getting back to the same point. I don’t think I can give my position any more clearly than I have already above or in the “about” section of the site.
I did a photo shoot here in mid-November and then heard from someone shortly afterwards that this place had actually fallen down. Does anyone know about this?
I didn’t hear anything about it so I’m sure it’s still standing. Great photos you’re taking!
Good to know, and thanks very much! Thanks for your great site 🙂
I stumbled onto this site. I will be traveling to Berlin next summer. I certainly wouldn’t vandalize these sites.
Went there today (Jan 10, 2014). Place is totally boarded up with sheet metal over the entrances. There were a couple of windows on the second floor that looked accessible if you were a confident climber, but it was pretty waterlogged and didn’t look ideal for climbing on.
That’s a shame. I guess someone felt there were too many visitors. I wouldn’t recommend climbing onto the second floor. When I was there, the second floor wasn’t very stable…
I went there today – I really enjoyed the place – there was no one but some nice and suprising traces of artists working on the upper floor.. it is still accessible from the backside, the are still some windows open.. btw I really like your photos, they are plenty of light.. mine aren’t so good.. thank you for telling about this place, your site is great!
Big skills required to climb in the windows in the back? 🙂
Hi, went there today with a friend.
we encountered a dozen people there !! almost crowdy 😉
a hole in the fence (pier side) allows and invites to go in. one window for each building makes it so easy to go in. (just look for them they exist) no skills required, about 1,2m high to climb 😉
i noticed that some small trees and branches had been cutted in the garden, it might be the sign of a forthcoming renovation or building work soon.
IMPORTANT: as said in the description: great care is needed for the floors and ceilings, don’t really try the stairs. second building is in the worst condition.
we nade some nice pictures with shadows as it was getting dark. sweet place. will definitely go back.
some people make money,videos,portfolios and even more from art in such places,dont be ridiculous people..
very nice blog keep up the good work!!
Thanks for the kind words! I’ll do my best…
Went back yesterday … the´ve boarded the windows in with sheet of metal. Bring a ladder.
as a hobbyist 3D game Environment artist I visit such places for reference to take photographs for reference purposes while other people visit sties like this simply because they want to know how to visit these historical places before they completely disappear. PLEASE STOP PUBLISHING ADDRESS. Great website.
ofcourse vandals and nazis arent “surfin the web” to find the coolest place to go and vandalize. The people who are actually coming to this website are nerds who are curious about lost places in the city. Its people who are searching hidden spots in this city, and its actually people who have high interest in Berlins culture. People in Berlin have such a problem on keeping things “underground” to remain cool. I understand, but there also are people who do like to share what they know and find, and I actually thank these people for sharing this information because it allows people who maybe aren’t as adventurous or dont have the time to be able to discover these hidden gems that are part of the berlin culture. THeres nothing wrong with sharing and allowing people to be part of something.regardless of what u do, there will always be idiots.. THe building is going to be destroyed regardless of what happens, at least let people get to see it and see some history. The people u should be hating on are the people who are profiting from these places such as spree park. The creator of this blog coudl of easily went that route, especially the fact that this blog is getting a lot of recognition, but no he did this blog simply to share his discoveries. THank you for sharing!!
Just on my way home. Even oder locals climbed in. Crazy.
Previous week there was a crew shooting there… i entered and they were even re-painting the walls for the commercial’s sake. I didn’t stay that long, as they ask me to not shoot any photo, since they payed for the place, and they were rearranging it for the shooting.
I hope they didn’t change it too much
Oh that sounds not good. In which condition is the place now ? Did they pain all the walls ? Is it still possible to get into the location ? Please let me know. Regards Dave
Guys I went there this morning:
getting in isn’t that easy: I went thru a hole in the fence on the north part (easy) but I had to wait until the civilians were gone (it’s a public garden there…)
The north house is cool: the ground floor and the first floor have a nice architecture, the second floor has nothing special. the basements are cool too, they are enormous but everything is mildewed.
Just watch out for the floors: the wood is mildewed but if u know how do deal with it it’s ok (I weight 90Kg and I made a full tour)
Watch out the second house (on the south part)!!!
I was jumping in when suddenly I saw someone dancing in the middle of the room. The first problem was that this man was completely naked (also no shoes), the second was that this man worked out VERY well (he was at least 120Kg, VERY muscular)!!!
I’ve absolutely no idea about what the **** was he doing, why the heck was he naked and why he was gesticulating with a blue tube (like as a neon but without cables)
Anyway due to I had no idea about if was he alone or not, I decided to move and went out.
Probably a film shoot of some kind. Or just a nutter.
I looked for “man dancing naked blue sword” in google and it was better not to look… 😛
Went there today! It’s accessible, although you have to jump over the fence, there are no holes now.
The first building is actually only accessible through the basement, we’ve met some other explorers that told us that. It’s not hard to get in, but really bring a torch, because it’s totally dark in the basements and there are metal parts hanging from the ceiling, so you have to be really careful.
In the main room there is a piano… It looks amazing.
The second one is accessible through the window that was actally covered with metal sheet, but someone opened it (well “opened” its not the right world… 😉 ) Its easy to get in. But inside… It’s really creepy. I wouldn’t recommend the stairs. They are still there, noy collapsed yet, but when you walk on them you can feel the wood bending :/ we went upstairs , part of the roof already collapsed and the whole upper level doesn’t seem safe at all.
I just found that. People were climbing up to the roof without any problem!
Evocative post, so I’m sorry to say that this place is now really on the way out. Everything is going to be demolished except the main hall, which is to be restored and incorporated into the development. Since the whole building is baufällig, there are plans to seal all the doors and windows to start with in order to limit the owner’s liability. Don’t want to implicate my source, but let’s just say I pretty well got this from the horse’s mouth. The moral of the story is that if you still want to see it, hesitate no longer and go there before they do seal it all off.
They did seal the first one completely. There is no way in. 🙁 Or at least we didn’t find it.
Luckily for us one of the doors to the second one (the completely demolished one) was open, so we could have a very cautious look around, but its in such a horrible state that we didn’t push our luck.
Elsewhere it has been reported that it has been completely bricked now. Is there any confirmation of this yet?
There is pretty much only one room that you can still enter – the whole of the second building is boarded up and only accessible via the basement (I would strongly advise AGAINST using that route in). The upstairs of the first building is boarded up too, and the former way-in through the kitchen has been bricked up. I went last year and had a great time, went again a few months ago and there was nothing left to see. It was such a shame. Going here now is a waste of time.
I love your site. Thanks for sharing. Disagree that going there is a waste of time – my colleagues went two weeks ago and got some amazing pictures of them dancing in the ballroom.
Go there! Go soon!! Go this weekend!!
According to local news on website riviera-retten.de, Treptow-Köpenick district authorities have started activities to secure the site against vandalism and further decay. Both former dance halls belong to a businesswoman from Potsdam. She is just interested in water-side estate, yet not at all in the buildings, which are listed monuments. District authorities successfully prevented the ruins from demolition and furthermore set a deadline to the proprietress to secure them. As she didn’t react, district auhorities have now started started execution by substitution, i. e. building measures.
As of thursday, 23rd October 2014 I can assert: 1) Both restaurants are still accessible. It is very dark inside as the owner has partly bricked, parrtly boarded windows (both destructive for the buildings because of clammines and fungus inside). 2) District authorities measurement works are in progress. Beware of helmeted professionals. They have keys to padlocks of hoarding at the small park and to the last right-hand door.
NB: Former “Bootshaus der Rudergesellschaft Undine” (i. e. boat house of rowing club “Undine”), last use as kindergarten in GDR-times and partly burnt down several years ago, now is totally demolished. It’s been situated about a kilometer north from Ballhaus.
i went there last week- very easy to access the ballroom building and bar through the bathrooms in a hole in the wall
the second building is accesible too but i didnt enter
also thanks to the nice person that made a staircase with the bricks to get over the fence:))))
Interesting news about this place, apparently the owner doesn’t really care…
My pics of Ballhaus Grünau from today: bit.ly/1zR84Fn . The piano is amazing, you can still play some tones although it won’t sound clear… The whole building is pretty creepy and dark inside, so be sure that you have a flashlight. There is scaffold in the Gesellschaftshaus and it looks like it’s going to be renovate so be hurry if you don’t want to meet any workers there. Cheers, Eva.
We were there last weekend and getting in was a breeze. There’s a little staircase on the streetside leading up to what must’ve been the entrance at one point, simply up and over and you’re in the yard. On the river-side of the Ballhaus we found a doorway covered in plywood, but of course someone had already made a fairly large opening in it. Bring a flashlight though because the basement is very very dark (beware of the holes in the floor there). Also tried getting into the smaller building which I assume to be the Gesellschaftshaus but didn’t manage (although admittedly we did not make a big effort out of that).
We went there today and we didn’t manage enter into the building. It seems that new locks were put on the doors allowing the access inside… But maybe we didn’t found entrances because of the snow… Anyway the outside was nice =)
We were there on 2nd of February and we couldnt find the way to get inside. I think thats it, locked forewer, and I was sooo looking forward to see the inside and take same pics. 🙁
Nothing’s locked forever. And until this place has either fallen down or been converted into a hotel or apartments it won’t stay locked for long.
Been there two days ago, it’s open but the main room (the red one) is full of scaffolding now 🙁
We have been there mid April 2015. Getting in was easy. The fence has large holes and the building is open, just hoped through a window. River in the back, it was the left building. You need a torch !
The large hall is still in a good condition. The large hall is empty except a grand piano (some keys still working ) no stuff lying around, pretty clean for the long time of decay. Some smaller rooms around the large hall are completely down (roof fell in) and do not allow to pass.
River in the back, the right building was not possible to enter. Completely shut. We were not able and willing break in. At the end we are photographer not criminals.
Neighbors are watching closely and are somewhat allergic, be careful.
Waren da letztes Wochenende. Haben geschafft, ins beide Häuse reinzukommen. War sehr interessant. Um ins älteres Haus reinzukommen,muss man durch Keller gehen, was ziemlich gefährlich war. Das haus bricht gleich zusammen,also aufpassen!
Thank you very much for your wonderful blog who gave me some life changing experiences, I am not kidding! Visited many of those wonderful places, some of them serveral times. I visited Ballhaus Grünau on the 26th for a photo session, everything was just fine. On the 29th, I came back with a friend and found the hole in the fence fixed (which was not a big deal as you can hop oder the fence directly at the street side). The worst thing was: The have also closed the only window leading into the ball room (picture on request) :-/.
My friend from Cologne was so dissappointed we could not get in, and I am lucky to be able to do a shooting there the sunday before.
We went there this morning: No holes in the fence, no problem. But unfortunately there is no way into any of these two buildings (except one deep and not inviting looking hatchway leading into a cellar), everything is barricaded and locked.
Went there yesterday, it was indeed barricaded and locked, but I found an easy access on the stair to the left. I had to hop over the metal balustrade. Fortunately, some previous explorer put some stone block which served as steps so it was not deep to go down or climb up back again. Going back towards the river, looking for a hole or gap to get in, I didn’t notice the partially opened window next to the stair leading to the dance hall, went to the other building and tried to find a gap in vain as all windows and openings were all sealed shut. Going back to the main building, I found the open window next to the stairs. Got in and explored (photographed) for a few minutes.
When I got back home, I was pleasantly surprised as the book “Abandoned Berlin” which I ordered late the previous night, was personally delivered at my doorstep by none other than the author. It only added value to the wonderful book. Truly appreciate it.
Went there today afternoon: While exploring the fence and sitting outside a group of four youngsters, and a couple just slipped through the fence next to the river without any problems that at least 4 public witnesses (2 of us, a guy with dog, old ladies) were around. We decided not to go in while exposed to other people, but I want to state that we were shocked that these people just did not care about being seen.
I went there yesterday and you can still go in both buildings, the small one pretty easily, the second is a bit harder but still doable if you’re not too afraid of height. But the thing is that all the windows etc have been sealed so once you’re in, you’d better have a flashlight because you won’t see anything if you don’t. Also, most of the floors of the little buildings have collapsed so there’s basically only a very few rooms that you can access.
does anyone know about the attic or have photos of the Ballhaus upper most floor?
I’m very interested in any photos of either interior or exterior of the top floor /attic. so grateful to have found your blog.
Humans will be humans whereever and in whatever way they want to. Some of them are good and careful. Others aren’t. One persons idea of ‘good’ isn’t the same as the next. I don’t think a blog like this should receive so much flack for sharing addresses/info on these places. If your greatest concern is for the preservation of these buildings, then I recommend putting more energy into trying to help that, rather than telling others off for being interested in them.
I was there last Saturday at 10 am. There is a hole in the fence behind a bush. You can easily access the small building. The door is open. However, there is not much to see. The entire hall is supported by a scaffold and all ceilings look like they could fall any minute. The big building, in contrast, is still worth a visit. You will have to climb through a window, in order to get in, as explained above. The hall looks very impressive and there is a cool-looking piano in the middle of the hall.
Been there today with a friend, met 4 other people chilling in the ballroom building, later another one extra. Had nice conversations. No police, no guards, no neighbors.
Hello I have found this while searching my old neighborhood for my upcoming visit …I am 49 living in the states since 25 years ..when I was 16 17 and 18 I used to go dancing at the Riviera..disco ..it is one of my favorite things to remember we all loved it ..had my first drink there 🙂 and danced a lot .upstairs was a bar very fancy with comfy chairs …under 18 I had to sneak in ..but the bouncer let me …it was sad to see it in such a state …very sad ..memories crumbling like bricks ..but still thank you for sharing it .tschuess liebe riviera Seh dich in meinen erinnerungen deine dini
Went there today, unfortunately Ballhaus seems to need some extra support. They put inside scaffhold, preventing the whole thing to fall apart and making any exploration impossible… The beatiful red ceiling is also gone, seems like they boarded it up to prevent the roof from falling on your head. Seems like Ballhaus will never witness any dance anymore, just som scaffhold climbing. However, the Gesellschafthaus seems to be (sort of) safe and fine… For now
I had no luck to get in. The fence is repaired and found no other way.
It’s to bad about the nice lost place.
I see from these posts that the Ballhaus is no longer inaccessible. Was anyone ever able to get upstairs to the small room on the top floor? It can be seen in a little bit on one of the exterior shots I have seen. If yes I would be very interested in seeing pictures of that room and the staircase, hallway leading up to it. Any pictures close up of the exterior of that part of the building would be meaningful to me too. I wish I had know about the location when I was in Berlin in the 1990’s. Thank you. Please email me if you have any photos you can share. rommbomm[at]gmail.com Thanks in advance.
Only one person says the fence is fixed, my friend was there on August 6 and was fine. Could be missinformation, or even if they fixed it someone will cut it before too long. You really have to explore and climb through weird holes to find things. I can’t remember the way to the small room but the main room with stage you need to go up a small stairs outside and climb across the wall and through a window (about 2m high). Not the easiest place to get in but not impossible.
Went there today. In order to get in you have to jump the fence or use the stairs and jump down (this one was easier but it’s right on the main street – some people might not be happyu to see you getting there).
Once inside, you can easily get into the smaller building. To the main one, you still need to go through the small window. All the other windows/doors are well locked. Inside there is absolutely nothing left but the piano. Walking to the upper floors not recommended. Bring a torch/phone even when going there during the day.
Hey there, I tried to go there couple of days ago. There is a poster on the building saying that it’s protected by a security service “City Control GmbH” so I didn’t there to enter. Do you have any experience with that? I didn’t see any watchman but is it possible that there is one inside, or that there are alarms and such?
Nearly every abandoned building in Berlin has a sign saying it’s protected by someone or other. Usually they’re not, you can’t take these signs seriously at all. Just be vigilant. I haven’t been to the Ballhaus recently but I’d be extremely surprised if there was a watchman or alarms, or indeed anything but time itself looking after it.
Went here a few days ago, it definitely looks worse for wear and the rain was not helping. Only bumped into some fellow explorers though!
Recent pictures below:
Been there today (21/07/17) with a friend of mine(our first urban exploring), after we arrived we realized that the place around the building was pretty crowded. We read on this site that the best spot to sneak in is on the left side of the building. We saw the torn down fence as mentioned in a comment here, that was supposed to make it easy to sneak in. It was’t very clear to us that this is a park where families go to hang out though. This was also a docking place for a tourist ferry. The fact that there were duck feeding family’s with small children and “citizens surveillance” signs on every fence make us crawl back a bit.
After walking 3 times across the fence of the building we decided to take a take a beer at a bar across the street. (with a view on the left side of the building)
While sipping our beer we saw some guy walking with a women from the side/garden of the building towards an entree point of the fence and opened if with a key. After the women left he closed and locked the fence.
Our thoughts: WTF just happend!!??
My friend was wondering what was going on here, so he talked to the lady behind the bar. Her English wasn’t very good, so he tried to talk to her in German (our German vocabulary is about 10 words). At first she tried to tell him that it’s closed forever and there’s no way of getting in. After that she told him that it’s going to be a senior home, so we were a bit confused at that point. Is she telling us it’s gonna be torn down or what? After we finished our beer we decided to walk past it one more time. When we walked past the stairs on the front of the building, two girls ran/climbed out of the premises of the ballroom. After they got out we asked them if they got sent away by the guy with the keys from the fence. They told us they went in for an hour or so, but heard voices very close by, so that’s why they ran. After talking to them we basically decided: fuck it, we have to try now. Keep in mind that this is our first urbex-experience ever. We climbed the stairs/fence at the front and sneaked across the building knowing there were some people there (we had no idea if they were explorers, but one of them had the keys to the fence, so we were cautious just to be sure). The only way in was at the top of the stairs (through a window) on the backside of the building. We didn’t hear any voices at first, but after a few minutes inside I heard some tweaks snapping on the outside. I decided to take a look and I saw the guy we saw earlier with the keys playing with his dog.
We saw he was distracted with his dog and the music he was playing, so we decided to go deeper in to the building but stayed quiet and vigilant the entire time. It was amazing to see the hall, the ceiling and the cellar itself, but I’m not going to tell about everything we saw because I hope the opportunity presents itself to see it for yourself. After walking for about an half an hour (as quiet as possible) we got back to the main hall (which was VERY close to the window where we got in) we heard voices very close by. I decided to take a look and saw a second person there, throwing a ball for the dog. He threw it in my direction, so I thought I made eye contact with him. After being frozen for a minute I signed my friend that we were not alone. We both knew that this was the time to leave. After a few minutes without any response we realized that they hadn’t noticed us yet, and we decided to get the fuck out. Their music was playing a little bit louder and they were facing the water, so they weren’t looking in our direction. We sneaked out of the window from which we came in and silently walked back to where we came from.
When we were back on the streets we felt very relieved.
Palms sweaty, never forgetti, moms spaghetti
The place is going to become a seniors resident home soon and will be completely renovated and the inner structure of the building unortunately will be removed completely. Go there as soon as you can because it will be gone forever the way it is now. Source: berliner-kurier.de/berlin/kiez—stadt/ost-baudenkmaeler-bagger-frei-fuer-die-plattmacher-28990420
We went there yesterday,but no chance to get in.There is a big Hole in the Fence on the Site of the Seaside,only a Woman around (because there is a Park near Ballhaus). Best Time to go there is around 18h,because the last Entrance for the Ship is at16:30.
Hole Builing is sealed,no Chance to get in.
We went here today and sadly they start to demolish it…
We cycled by yesterday. Only the outer-walls are still standing. The rest is probably gone in a couple weeks
It is over! they are demolishing it… The funkhaus (10min away by bike) is still standing and it is a beautiful place to see!
Pass by it yesterday, sadly it’s half demolished and they are building a luxury seniorenheim. They are claiming they will somehow protect the historical parts, but we know how it is always happening in Berlin, a bit of concrete, paint over one of those pastel colour, go heavy on stucco and here you go, historical 100%.