Having read about the SpreePark Berlin already some time ago, I finally managed to pass by. What an interesting place ! The remains of this entertainment park are raising their noses up through overgrown wild nature.
Here is, what Wikipedia knows about this place :
The Spreepark was an entertainment park in the north of the Plänterwald in the Berlin district Treptow-Köpenick. It was well-known also under its earlier name Cultural Park Plänterwald.
The entertainment park was opened in 1969 as Cultural Park Plänterwald, covering an area of 29.5 hectares. The area is situated in the north of the Plänterwald, next to the river Spree. It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR and after the reunification of the two German states also the only one in all of Berlin.
A special attraction was the Ferris Wheel of Berlin, which was replaced in 1989 with a new, larger version of 36 cars and rising to a height of 45 metres. For many years this was a landmark in the surrounding area. In GDR times the park attracted up to 1.7 million visitors per year.
The VEB cultural park Berlin was completed in 1991 by mixed municipal authorities in Berlin. From seven applicants altogether the Spreepark Berlin GmbH company received the contract. Crucially, the references of Norbert Witte of the company were not properly checked.
Under the Spreepark GmbH some new attractions were added and visitor numbers reached 1.5 million per annum. Later the concept was changed. The park was transformed gradually to a recreational park on a more western model. From now on an overall fee (adult 29 DM, children 27 DM) for admission and for all attractions was charged, instead of visitors paying an individual price at each ride, as had previously been the case.
The asphalted surface around the Ferris wheel was taken up and converted into a water landscape. Roller coasters, two game water courses, a stage, a Western town and an English village were later added to the park.
Since 1999 the park has had to cope with large debts. The increase in the admission fee to 30DM per person and a lack of parking space contributed to a drop in visitor numbers until in 2001 only 400,000 visitors entered the park.
In 2001 Spreepark GmbH announced that they were insolvent.
On 18 January 2002 Norbert Witte, together with his family and closest coworkers left for Lima in Peru. They shipped six attractions (“flying carpet”, “Butterfly”, “Spider”, “baby flight”, “game River” and “jet star”) in 20 ship containers, having been allowed to do so by the authorities who believed they were being sent for repair.
Since 2002 the park has not opened for visitors. In August 2002 the park was declared completely insolvent. Debts at a level of 11 million Euro remained and the area was allowed to fall into disrepair. The Ferris wheel still stands on the area as a reminder of the old days.
Norbert Witte failed in his attempt to run a “Lunapark” in Lima. On 19 May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to smuggle 180 kg of cocaine with a value of 14 million Pounds from Peru to Germany in the masts of the “flying carpet” ride. In October 2006 a Peruvian court sentenced Wittes’ son, Marcel Witte, to 20 years for drug smuggling.
So better check out your business partners carefully ….
Stay tuned …