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Historical context

Berlin would not exist if it weren’t for the Spree River. There is a reason the city was founded at the very spot where the river could serve as both a main transport route and a source of energy.

For centuries, the Spree was more important than any street. Flussbad Berlin takes up this historical tradition and spotlights the Spree Canal, which was one of Berlin’s most important waterways until the construction of the lock at Mühlendamm in 1894. After that, shipping traffic was transferred to the main Spree River, which runs parallel to the canal. Even small sporting boats have not been allowed to pass through the canal since 2000. With the help of the Flussbad, the canal will be brought back into Berliners’ minds as the historical lifeline of the city. The project will also reactivate an old tradition; in fact, even in Berlin, there were many historical bathing complexes, one of which was located directly at the City Palace and closed as late as 1924 due to hygienic concerns, when the river finally became too dirty.
Historical bathing complex at the Mühlengraben: view from the Kleine Jungfernbrücke

Here, too, in the courtyard garden of the former Staatsratsgebäude (State Council Building) of the GDR, there was a historical swimming complex from 1897 to 1925. The area of this swimming complex lies today within a historical garden monument belonging to the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin).

For how history changed the appearence of the canal and its urban neighbourhood around Fishermen Island (Fischerinsel) we colected images over here. For the swimming are and the Museum Island we collected historical images here.

River bathing worldwide

Flussbad Berlin is, of course, not the only contemporary ‘river pool’ in the world. It’s also far from being the first river bathing facility in the world. There are many pioneers in the field and at least as many contemporaries active today.

Please find our (growing) collection of international river and lake-pools here.

Founders of the Flussbad Berlin Association 2012
The Flussbad Berlin Association is active across Germany in the form of academic collaborations with different universities and technical colleges. Students participate in the joint project in different disciplines; they examine the status and development potential of the Spree and its adjacent areas, investigate filter systems and other aspects of the project in seminars, excursions, designs and graduating theses. Among the diverse disciplines cooperating in this endeavour are architecture, memorial conservation, European ethnology and landscape architecture.