Stab Magazine | Berlin Olympiapark, A Third Reich Relic, May Be Turned To A Surf Park
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Berlin Olympiapark, A Third Reich Relic, May Be Turned To A Surf Park

Berlin’s city politicians will debate a plan to turn ‘Hitler’s show grounds’ into a surf and skate park for future Olympics. 

news // Jun 21, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Whether to remove or re-use buildings and monuments built during Hitler’s reign has long been a discussion within Germany. Now, with statues been torn down and defaced the world over, Berlin’s city politicians will debate an idea on how to use the Berlin Olympiapark without idolising the regime which built the monument. 

As reported by The Guardianthe park has barely been used since been overtaken by the British military in 1945 and later listed as a protected structure since 1966. A few areas were repurposed into a ‘country club’ and a ‘casino’, with the outdoor space – previously used for Nazi rallies – being used for polo tournaments and festivals celebrating the Queen’s birthday. The new plans however are more far-reaching, and relevant to surfing.

It was only at the start of this year that discussions began as to what to do with the show grounds formerly used for the 1936 ‘Nazi Olympics’ and several pro-Aryan ideology rallies. Previous discussions of demolition and complete removal have prompted criticism, the new proposal however plans to retain most of the buildings’ features. 

These plans, put forward by the ‘Vision 2030′ commission of Berlin, envision the site being a hotbed for Olympic training and possibly events. The most interesting aspect however is the plan’s inclusion of both skating and surfing as possible additions – with the committee wanting to incorporate sports recently added to the Olympics repertoire. There isn’t any talk as to the technology which would be employed at the pool (i.e, the Kelly Slater train, American Wave Machines’ Perfect Swell system, or the URBNSURF Cove set-up), but it’ll be Germany’s first non-river wave if successful. 

The proposals have not yet been approved – they’re only being heard by Berlin’s city politicians this week – but the plan’s proponents are hopeful. This doesn’t mean that the plans will be without detractors. One example is the tearing down of particular sections, for example the old aquatics stadium. “It has a historical significance, and I don’t think it should be torn down.” One of the monument’s officers told The Guardian.

The other barrier is cost. The city of Berlin is reportedly a little cash strapped, and early estimates price the renovation upwards of 150-million Euros. 

While details are still scarce, we’ll keep you posted what the outcome is when the city officials vote on the proposal as the Northern Hemisphere’s summer ceases. 

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