Spreepark was an entertainment park in the north
of the Plänterwald in the Berlin district
It was well-known also under its earlier
name Cultural Park Plänterwald
The entertainment park was opened in 1969 as Cultural Park
, 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
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
, 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
was taken up and converted into a water landscape.
, 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.
January 2002 Norbert Witte, together with his family and closest
coworkers left for Lima in
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
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 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
- Recent photos of the abandoned park