Things are about to get real creepy.
Hospitals are creepy, right? Well how about Weissensee’s decrepit children’s hospital, transformed by graffiti artists, arsonists and the power of nature into one of Berlin’s most notorious abandoned sites? Looking for adventure, Alice and I eschewed lake-swimming and rooftop-sunbathing to spend a summery Saturday afternoon “urban exploring” at the ehemaliges Kinderkrankenhaus.
Let’s see how it got its ‘zombie hospital’ nickname now, shall we?
Located in Berlin’s Weissensee, just beyond the reaches of the underground network in the city’s north east, the abandoned children’s hospital is a complex of buildings in varying states of ruin. Opened in 1909 as a proposed solution to rising infant mortality rates, the site closed for business less than nine decades later in 1997. The investors who purchased the hospital failed to follow through with their development promises (a cancer treatment centre) and the building has been left to rot, ruin and serve as a highly unsafe playground for adventurous, troublesome and homeless Berliners.
From the gaudy paintwork, with abandoned rooms dedicated to hearts, cheese, bananas and cupcakes, to glass-less window frames and webs of electrics raining from the ceiling, the children’s hospital’s former glory has been well and truly lost. With eery corridors of [what I can only assume were] bedrooms, a winding vertigo-inducing bannister-less staircase, and caved-in roofs bringing the unrelenting outside indoors, watch your step: It’s a photographer’s paradise and health and safety’s worst nightmare.
Apparently the children’s hospital at Weissensee had a great reputation at the time of opening, with modern and hygienic practices. It even started out with its own cow shed and dairy plant, of sorts, which I can only assume is the above. As the years went by, milk-producing operations were halted and the square footage was extended, even as late as 1987 when an extra hospital wing was added to the main building.
However, the hospital’s buildings today are very much disfigured beyond recognition and beyond repair. The evidence of arson attacks is plain to see, with 17 incidents in 2013 alone (according to Abandoned Berlin). No wall has been left un[spray]painted, no room is safe from crumbling floors or caved-in ceilings and very few original features or pieces of furniture remain. Saying that, if you’re looking to get the serious creeps, a trip to the abandoned children’s hospital in Weissensee is an absolute must.
After all, “urban exploring” wouldn’t be the same without an element of danger, would it?
The ehemaliges KInderkrankenhaus Weissensee is on a large site, taking around two hours to wander in, around and through, once you’ve scaled the 5ft fence. It’s not too far from the actual Weissensee (a lake) and several tram and bus stops are within easy peasy walking distance. Alice and I visited in late July 2015 and it doesn’t seem like anything’s going to be ‘done’ with the site anytime soon.