Volksbad Nürnberg

Germany | Documentary | January 2015

  • DateJanuary 2015
  • LocationNürnberg, Germany
  • CategoryDocumentary
  • ObjectAbandoned Art Nouveau public bath
  • TextJonathan Danko Kielkowski
  • ImagesJonathan Danko Kielkowski
  • HistoryBuilt from 1911 to 1913, partially destroyed during World War II, rebuilt and reopened 1959, closed and abandoned 1994 due to unprofitability

Located right at »Plärrer« at one of the most important traffic hubs of Nuremberg, there is one of the biggest and most beautiful public baths in Germany: »Volksbad Nürnberg«

»Volksbad« was built from 1911 to 1913 and after three decades of use partially destroyed during World War II. After a long rebuilding process it reopened in 1959. In 1994 finally closed due to unprofitability and since then the once so noble art nouveau public bath is slowly decaying with an uncertain future ahead.

The city of Nuremberg is lacking of ideas and willpower to change something about the situation. Refurbish, rebuild, transform into a department store or a museum – or even demolish it? I has been very quiet around the building during the last years. Tangible plans are not in the not in sight and so the Volksbad has to be content with serving as a scenery for photographers film makers.

It evolved from a secret spot for urban explorers and photographers to a frequently visited location attracting numerous people each year. A vast number of photo series and music videos that were recorded here are evidence of its rising popularity.

Though I visited the building frequently over the last years it has not been losing its allure for me neither. In a city district that is constantly covered in noise this place is a oasis of calm where time seems to stand still.

Pre-war state

In addition to three big indoor swimming baths (two for men, one for women) there was a sauna area, a steam bath, washing rooms for the public with tubs, showers, beauty salons, refreshment rooms and a bathroom for dogs.

War damage

During World War II the »Volksbad« was hit six times by bombs and was partially destroyed. The rebuilding followed swiftly but many architectural elements were simplified. Many details like the stately water tower were removed.

Since the history of the bath is documented quite extensive over the web I will not elaborate on that. Instead I want to present the diverse building and even show some unknown places.

At my last visit in early 2015 I had the opportunity to work from the basement through the numerous rooms to the cellar and capture everything on camera.

Entrance hall

Indoor swimming bath

Wellness area


Cellar, basement and hidden spots


This article was initially published in German in September 2015 at www.gesichterderstadt.wordpress.com

Veröffentlicht am 20.12.2016 von Jonathan Danko


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