Berlin is incredibly careless with its swimming pools. More are abandoned than not. Pankow Schwimmhalle is just one of many. It’s probably not even the most exciting one.
I always wanted to have a look at the Stadtbad Oderberger Straße – a wonderful building adorned by fantastic sculptures – but I never managed to get in before the construction workers did. In the end they “sanifyied” it. I feared the worst, but at least you can still visit if you can pay. No one gives a damn about the Pankow Schwimmhalle though. No fear of that being “saniert” or rehabilitated. It’s not even a Schwimmhalle anymore but a Schwimmha le, according to the sign outside.
“Where’s the water?” my young sidekick asked. He was incredibly disappointed, devastated. I guess he wanted to go swimming. I certainly didn’t. It was far too cold for swimming. There was snow on the ground at the time.
You’re still not allowed smoke inside. “Rauchen verboten” is written in big unmistakable letters as soon as you walk in. How the Germans managed to smoke when they were swimming is beyond me, but I guess these are Berliners we’re talking about. Berliners like nothing more than suffocating themselves in small poorly ventilated smoke-filled rooms illuminated by candles. I guess they swam with candles too – they weren’t verboten.
It’s always 9:22 here, no matter what other clocks say. Time stopped the moment the pool ran dry. (It’s 10:18 on the other side of the same clock, but both of them have to be right twice a day.)
The Schwimmhalle or “swim hall” was built in 1971 as part of Freibad Pankow, which still operates to this day. I went there once. Never again.
The architect, Gunther Derdau, saw it as a prototype for “swim halls” all over Berlin. He must be turning in his grave if he’s dead, or merely pissed off if he’s alive.
It had a 25-meter swimming pool for the athletes, and another 12 x 8.5-meter pool. There was also a sauna where things got steamy, as if they weren’t steamy enough already among the good people of the DDR.
Well, like many endeavors in the German Democratic Republic, it came to a sorry end once commercial aspects, costs and profits were taken into account.
In 1996, it was taken over by the Berliner Bäderbetrieben, who did it up and reopened it in 2001, all to no avail. It was closed the following year when income failed to meet costs.
There was also a sauna where things got steamy, as if they weren’t steamy enough already among the good people of the DDR.
There are plans now to knock it down and replace it with a multifunctional complex comprising two swimming pools – one for casual swimmers, the other for sporting types – as well as a sauna with sauna garden.
Hold on, I hear you say. Isn’t that what they had there already? Well, indeed you’re right, but the Pankow Bezirksamt and Berliner Bäder-Betriebe also want to construct a whole new primary school campus with sports halls and facilities on the premises, thus supplying ready-made customers for the new pool complex.
LOCATION AND ACCESS (HOW TO FIND GUIDE)
- What: Pankow Schwimmhalle, an indoor swimming pool complex with one big pool, one little, a sauna and all the changing rooms, showers and swim-related accessories you’d expect. It’s fucked now.
- Where: Wolfshagener Straße 91-93, 13187 Berlin, Germany.
- How to get there: Well, there are many ways. You can get the No. 50 tram to Mendelstraße and walk from there, or get one of the U2, S8, S2 or S9 to Pankow and walk a little further from there. It ain’t far. Here’s a map to assist you.
- Getting in: There’s a fence outside but it might as well not be there. There’s also some red and white murder scene tape around the place, as if someone was murdered. Maybe they were. None of them put off the young fella as he barged through. If a three-year-old can do it, so can you.
- When to go: Daytime if you want to see stuff, nighttime if you want to party. I don’t know what the neighbors are like so cannot advise in advance if it’s a safe place to party. Only one way to find out. Let me know!
- Difficulty rating: 1/10 Very easy. A three-year-old can do it.
- Who to bring: You can bring your kid but there is a fair bit of broken glass around, and parts of it are quite dangerous for little people. Maybe it’s better to bring someone you don’t care so much about. Bring your girlfriend/boyfriend instead, your “friends” if you want to have a party.
- What to bring: Don’t bring your togs or bikini unless you simply want to pose around 1980s style. There ain’t no water no never no more so forget about actually swimming. Bring some beer if you want to go drinking, some food if you want to go eating, and some camera if you want to go snapping.
- Dangers: Drowning can be safely written off as a danger. Instead, there are just the usual: watch out for nosy neighbors and the Polizei, who may or may not be in cahoots together. Neither can resist frolicking in a good comfortable cahoot together.
The Sporthotel und Kongresszentrum des Sportforums Hohenschönhausen is in a sorry state, beyond salvation, thrashed and abused. Not even drugs can help.
Blub was a swimming and leisure center with pools, slides and crazy stuff that was very popular before the rats noticed it too. Then it was a blubbering mess.
The abandoned status of Strandbad Tegel looks secure. Campaigners are trying so hard to reopen it that you can be sure it won’t be opening anytime soon.
Nope, nobody wants to sell the Schwimmbad. Both Pankow and the state of Berlin want to keep it as a place for swimming. But it wasn’t first priority as there is a depth of 63 billion Euros. There are now discussions how to realize a new building on that spot. So if you want to party hurry up.
You didn’t like the experience of having a bath among aggressive birdbrained east-Berliners? Well 😀 Such neighbourhood slob have done their best to devastate the building even more after your visit… They didn’t care of “Rauchen verboten” when they burnt the wood-panelled anteroom of the Sauna in the basement. And the two-sided clock is gone. With some luck may recognize it in in an upcoming museum of GDR history…
There’s such an eerie feel to this place. At sundown the graffiti takes on a very ominous mood and if you’re doing drugs it can be extremely scary. Best to take a friend.
At the weekend we were on tour and were also in this pool hall. I learned to swim in this pool hall. It was very touching. I have me sitting on the edge with my classmates see as I stood there. Unfortunately, it was dark, we will go next time in the bright there to make a few pictures.
great place, nobody was there
We were there some weeks ago in October and there were some kids hanging around but nothing else.
It was very easy to enter and the place is very cool. It even got more colourful (some new and quite nice grafftis are in the pool now)!
If you like to see some pictures of how it looked this autumn, check out this article last-paradise.com/lost-place-in-berlin/
Went today,the place is totally fucked but worth a look if you are in the area.
….and here is a rather crap vid i made of the pool vimeo.com/116410314
I was there a few days ago. Getting in was quite easy, as the construction fence was pulled down and i could just walk into the bath, the door was wide open. it was my first visit of an abandoned place so i was quite nervous, also because i was on my own. but it was very fun. i took a few pictures and walked around to see the place. when i went to the basement it was a bit scary since it was hella dark. i had a flashlight but still was kinda scared as i have seen enough horror movies. but it was a nice experience and i’ll definitely explore more abandoned places. thanks for the inspiration, i love this site.
we were there yesterday and when we approached the building we noticed that people were already in there (loud music!) we entered the area (quite easy) and stayed for a while, when suddenly the police appeared. luckily they let us go without any further questions. so beware, it’s easy to get in, but not that easy without getting noticed by neighbours.
So we went there today, quite easy to get there thanks to the great directions here. There were a few others there, but not crowds. Within 10 minutes the Police arrived and asked us to leave. They were quite friendly and didnt’t charge us, though.
here’s a video of my visit of this place
Went to visit this place past Thursday. There is a fence set up but you can just walk right past it. You will be fully visible for people walking on the street when you enter. But we didnt see any signs saying access was Verboten so chances of being fined or getting in trouble will be very small. We ran into 3 other explorers. The swimming pool basement is also interesting to explore. Quite spooky. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight if you go down there.
I have been some wek agos, still opening and still easy to get inside 🙂
I was there two years ago, and I guess it’s still there! Just go to Wolfshagener Straße and walk. The pool that came up on your google search is the one still in use
We visited this place last week and this is my reportage:
Was a very interesting experience.
Beside us, we met briefly two other visitors.
Did not have problems at all.
I went there this morning with no problems but it is in a right old state. Does anyone have any photos of it as it was when it opened in 1971 and during the 80s? Any archive material on it?
Here a video I shot there:
We went there yesterday. The access was very easy, one just has to find a gap in the fence and then walk through the open doors, it couldn’t be much easier. The building on the opposite streetside doesn’t seem to be inhabited, so there are few people who could see you entering the pool.
Enjoy your visit!
I was there today. Pretty easy to enter, nice place.
I went there on the 19th of april 2018. I didn’t had much time, but I took a few pictures. There is a fence, but at the end of it there is enough space to enter. Better to not get caught and make no noise. Nice place 🙂
Went there today. Main fence and the doors were wide open. Nobody seemed to really care. Inside you can see that there was a fire or two. There is nothing really left there to see except for the sauna in the basement, control rooms and the two pools on the main floor. We walked around for an hour before heading to the next location. Still we really think it was a nice addition to our day and worth it if you are close by.
Went there today, it’s still an awesome place to explore especially if it’s your first time there. Difficulty is still 1/10 it’s dead easy to get in!
We went there on Aug 28,easy to get in but totally trashed. But kinda nice if you want to take some Pics.
Went today. Still very easy to get in. (There is a big hole in the fence)
Everything is trashed and smashed as other people said already but it is still worth a visit. The pool room is very cool. And while many abandoned places feel kind of spooky, it is bright and sunny and nice up there. I could hear children playing from the nearby school and a school band practicing their music. Nice atmosphere.
You can also go down in the basement which is very dark and trashed. The sauna room is sort of interesting.
There is even a ladder outside that can get you on the roof. But I was too scared for that.
Go check it out!
Visited on the 6th of October. Fence in front was wide open. Door of the pool also 🙂 Place was completely trashed but still great place to take photo’s. People walking by waved at us and didn’t mind us going in.
Visited here today. We had to jump the fence but no one was around and it was pretty easy.
Once in we were the only people there. Pretty smashed up but the main pool area is still in tact. Take a torch if you plan on going down stairs into the spa and sauna area.
The only way we could see to go in was where one point of the fence was busted so you could open it like a door. However, we were being watched by someone in the building nearby and the whole area is very exposed, so decided not to bother! (see Colossus, we’d already been on the run once that day – sometimes wise not to push your luck!)
Na tym basenie nauczyłam się pływać. Było to 40 lat temu.
visited today. the basement is quite great
Visited today, super easy to get in. Pretty smashed up but still quite cool! 🙂
Visited today. In pretty rough condition, windows are all smashed in, so watch out for broken glass. Cool view from the roof, make sure the ladder is stable though.
Went there today – it’s good. Definitely take a torch for the basement. The ladder up to the roof felt pretty safe (go up it at your own risk), but I don’t know about the roof. Saw two pairs of other people looking around with cameras seems to be a popular spot
If you are planning to come by during fr,sa,su keep in mind that the swimming pool next door is still open. This means that around 8pm a load of people will pass by. Go to bar close to it and wait for a bit, walk around the block and go in
went there yesterday, super easy to get in, but there are three different fences that you need to squeeze through (but they all had holes in them big enough for a person so no problem) and there is so much broken glass everywhere that you should make sure to wear shoes with a proper sole — i was wearing old-ish sneakers and needed to watch out to not have the glass cut through my sole. deffi nice for someone who isn’t too much of an adrenaline junkie:D
It s really easy to get in worths a visit but not something super special. If you visit it take your trash. People that were there before forgetted it.
Still super easy to just walk in to this place. Difficulty 1/10.
Not loads to explore but pretty cool anyway. The best part is the basement i think, so bring a light. Decent shoes preferable as there’s endless broken glass.
Gueterbahnhof is a 20min walk away so good combined visit https://abandonedberlin.com/gueterbahnhof-pankow/
Was there last October to record some music in the pool: https://youtu.be/nRfU9Xt_hgk
The roof is also quite nice!
Mieszkałam kiedyś na Kleine Homayer Strasse i chodziłąm w pobliżu do podstawówki. Uczyłam się kiedyś pływać na tym basenie.
w którym roku to było? dlaczego wtedy mieszkałaś w Berlinie?
I was there today. The place is very different from your photos. All the wall glasses are now broken.
boarded up with metal plates, but there MIGHT be a new small hole on the backside of the building that you can crawl through. beware of the drop behind the hole. just jump the one fence to the back to get to it. enjoy:)
Went there today. Not as easy as it used to be to get in, it’s almost completely closed but there is an opening in the back (left) and it was easy once we found it. Still possible to see the swimming pool and the basement.
Thanks for the update!
Still true on 16.10.2022
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