city in space - berlin - locations

Schwimmhalle Zingerstrasse

Public Pools

With over sixty open-air, summer and indoor pools and over forty protected swimming areas, Berlin is a paradise for those who love swimming and bathing. The diversity of options available is not least due to the fact that the city is on water: approximately 6.5 percent of its area is made up of lakes and waterways.  The first public indoor pools in Berlin were opened in the imperial era. Although these  "people’s baths" also served to promote swimming, they were primarily for hygiene purposes. It was not until swimming became increasingly widespread as an association and competitive sport in the twenties that indoor pools were designed for sport first and foremost.  After the Second World War and division of the city, the pool facilities developed differently in East and West. In East Berlin the construction of sports venues was mainly geared towards competitive sport to begin with. It was not until the beginning of the seventies that popular sport began to be promoted more. In order to improve swimming facilities, prototype buildings for indoor pools were developed then. Twelve of these buildings with a 25-metre pool and sauna had been constructed by 1988 and they enriched leisure facilities particularly in new housing estates.  The first new indoor pools were built in West Berlin in the early sixties. They were used  for school and association swimming, as well as being amenities for the leisure and health of the general population. The "seven pools programme" improved the swimming facilities located right on people’s doorsteps as of 1972. The pools built within the framework of this programme are of a uniform design with facilities geared towards all facets of swimming. Three of them are swimming complexes with outdoor pools that are open in the summer.  Up until the post-war era, outdoor swimming had primarily been enjoyed in lakes and rivers. It was not until the fifties that, in addition to these "outdoor pools", including the well-known Wannsee bathing resort, "summer pools" also became popular. In Berlin, the expression "summer pool" denotes artificial open-air swimming pools. As oases in the middle of the city, embedded in spacious green areas, the complexes were an extension of other leisure facilities available and also often where Berliners spent their summer holidays.