You’ve probably seen an abandoned boat in the Spree river. It lays quiet between the Molecule Man sculpture and Badeschiff, and it has been there since 1996, when German bureaucracy showed Franz Günther Van de Lücht, the boat owner, that his dreams of cruising through the waters wouldn’t become a reality. But there is a lot more to this story than I thought it would be.
The abandoned boat in the Spree River has a name, even though I couldn’t find one when Fotostrasse visited the place back in July 2016. The boat is called MS Dr Ingrid Wengler. It was named after the owner’s true love, a surgeon at the Dreifaltigkeits-Hospital in Lippstadt. She died in 1979, and she left a hole that never closed. This is what Franz Günther van de Lücht, the owner of the abandoned boat, says about his loss. But the fact that the boat that carries her name is stuck between the Molecule Man sculpture and Badeschiff leaves another one.
The History behind the Abandoned Boat in the Spree River
The boat known as MS Dr. Ingrid Wengler was a fine one, built by the Sander brothers in the small city of Delfzijl in the Netherlands all the way back in 1959. First, it was used a shipping cargo in the Dutch coastal water but something it would go to inland waterways in Germany. In the early 1980s, it was converted to a passenger ship, and it started being used in the Lake Müritz and Schwerin here in Germany.
The boat was a big one. It had three decks with cabins below, a gallery and a bar with a deck saloon. It must have been a beautiful thing, but today it’s filled with trash and debris from the past. There were eight suites on the lower deck, and I couldn’t even find my way to where the stairs used to be. That is how destroyed the boat is.
The story says that Franz Günther Van de Lücht repurchased the boat in 1975 and he was the one that converted it into a passenger boat. In 1984, the boat was ready in its home port of Höchst, in Frankfurt-am-Main. This is where Van de Lücht started offering trips to France via the Rhine river. Then, the Berlin Wall was gone, and the DDR waterways were open once again. This was when Van de Lücht realized that his dream of the Mecklenburg waterways could become a reality.
Last summer we paid a visit to this magnificent boat, and you can see it all in the video linked here.
MS Dr. Ingrid Wengler first trip on new waters was in June 1990, from the Palast der Republik to the Müritz Lake and I can only imagine how amazing that trip was. A couple of years later, some financial problems ended up making Franz Günther Van de Lücht declare bankruptcy. This was 1992 and the boat was seized and taken to the Stralau Peninsula in the Spree river here in Berlin. But Van de Lücht didn’t give up his dream and he lived on the boat until October 1996 when everything that could go wrong became even worse.
Van de Lücht had an appointment with the Berlin Office for business and they were suppose to discuss his bankruptcy and his boat. When he got back to the boat it wasn’t there anymore. Yeah, the Berlin Waterway and Shipping Authority towed the boat away with everything he had inside.
The Berlin Waterway and Shipping Authority said that the boat was in Stralau without permission and the owner never removed it from there so they had to do it themselves. Van de Lücht appealed to the decision but he lost it. The boat was brought to where it lays today, between the Molecule Man sculpture and Badeschiff. Twenty years later, the boat is still there and it seems it won’t go anywhere soon.
How can you get to the Abandoned Boat in the Spree River?
The only problem about this place is how tricky it’s to get there. You have two options: you can jump into the water and swim there or you can arrive there with some sort of boat. We did the boat way.
There is a place in Treptow Park, close to the Insel der Jugend, that rents boats. It’s called Rent-a-Boat and we two pedal boats there and went all the way to the abandoned boat. It was hard to get there but it was a great short trip. The view is amazing and we even went under the Molecule Man with some beers.
It took us something like 30 minutes of pedaling to get to the boat. Once we were there, we opened some beers and had a small party with our friends Rodrigo and Elissa, from Canal Alemanizando, who brought us there.
What can you see and do at Abandoned Boat in the Spree River?
This is tricky. As you can see from the pictures here, that is not much left inside it. But, you can do like we did and bring some friends and beers and enjoy the view from it. We were there on a beautiful summer afternoon and it was really cool to see the city from that angle. Maybe you need to do the same.
Every information that you read here was kindly stolen from our friend Ciarán from Abandoned Berlin who couldn’t wait for us and decided to go to the boat a few days before us.
On the map above you can see where we rented our boats and where the abandoned boat is. Visit the MS Dr. Ingrid Wengler with some class and don’t destroy it even further. This boat is too cool to be ruined by assholes. Don’t be one.