How To Rejuvenate An Abandoned Amusement Park

Spreepark gets a new coat of paint

Lukas Drevenstedt, member of Enter The Void and advisory board member of Clubcommission Berlin, wants to revitalize the Spreepark, an abandoned theme park in the east of Berlin. Plans are to give new life to this post-apocalyptic public space through art, underground youth culture, free open – airs and informal music events. Creative development finds itself a new place in Berlin: Kulturpark.

© abandonedberlin.com

The Spreepark has quite some history. After going through a transition of communist utopia and bad management, the Berlin government decided to buy the park in 2014. Being founded during DDR times, the park was intended as the Soviet version of Disneyland. Back then, social norms and boundaries were elevated when you entered the park: even Berlin’s 80’s punk scene could move more freely within its premises. The park was successful. But after the wall fell, a private investor bought the theme park and tried to change it to Western standards.

This wasn’t such a good idea. The park went bankrupt and the investor was arrested after he tried to smuggle cocaine from Peru to Germany in the parks rides. The outcome was neglect, quickly followed by decay. All this resulted in a post – apocalyptic theme park, which over the years gained quite a status as a tourist attraction. Even though its strict off limits, the security has to throw out 130 people daily and the warning signs are in three languages. Spreepark stays popular and something has to be done.

© abandonedberlin.com

“We have to look at the park and create a sustainable infrastructure which also relates to the history of the park.”, says Lukas Drevenstedt, initiator of the project: “From the outside it has to look harmless but inside there are voids which enable creative development.” He regards the cultivation of the park as an informal space for culture and music as a process. Visitors can contribute with ideas and funding to transform it according to their wishes and interact with the environment in an inventive way.

© Kulturpark

The park will be divided into 5 sections: the Mouseion, Gaudium, Künstlerdorf, Biotop and Wald. The Mouseion will be the heart of everything, with the ferris wheel as the notorious icon of the park. Next to this will be an open space, the Gaudium, where anybody with a good idea can do whatever he wants: this will be the ideal space for informal open-airs and inventive musical concepts. In the west is the Künstlerdorf, or artist village, which will be a workspace, where sculptors, musicians and artists can create and collaborate together on projects. The Wald is similar. It will also be a creative space, but with a bigger focus on nature and ecology. Lastly, Biotop, will be left alone as it is, with the decaying water ride and all. “Let nature take it over. It will be interesting to see what animals will go there, to see what will happen.”, says Lukas Drevenstedt.

© Kulturpark - Gaudium

We can find similar cases in the Netherlands as well. Land van Ooit, roughly translated to ‘The land that once was’, used to be a children’s wonderland. A place where for once children were the bosses and the parents had to listen. But after a while, the children got older and quietly forgot about its existence. So now there is a beautiful and abandoned theme park in the middle of the Netherlands just waiting for some new energy. And the energy is definitely there. Recently people from Heusden started a petition where they demanded the right to renovate the park. Only time can tell what will happen, but we will definitely be keeping a close eye on this development.

Similarly, there is Tropicana, or as it is now known, BlueCity010 in Rotterdam. It used to be an abandoned subtropical swimming pool, but now it’s an innovation hub where people experiment and work together on several projects, focussing on the circular economy. Places like this can only serve as inspirational workspaces towards the new economy.

Recently, the energy of movements like Enter The Void have gained their ground in politics as well. The new Berlin government made the development of public spaces for non-commercial music events a core part of their new cultural policy. It’s a great example of how bottom-up initiatives can change the city and its policy towards the future. With this support, we are sure the Spreepark will have an interesting development and we will be following its process closely!

This article is based on Lukas Drevenstedts presentation “Berlin 06: Spreepark / Kulturpark”. You can find the video on Enter The Void’s Facebook page.

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