Abandoned since 1999 and falling into disrepair, the Chemiewerk Rüdersdorf resembles a post-apocalyptic world. Not just because of the neglect and seemingly rushed abandonment but also the small groups of antisocials tearing around the haunted grounds on dirt bikes and the occasional drone taking a look at your face before zooming off behind a building. After a long walk along the railway track over the river we were not prepared for the sheer vastness of this industrial site, it loomed before us surrounded in razor-sharp wire, like something out of a zombie movie.
The history of the factory dates back to 1899 starting its life with “CO Wegener” a company which built a cement plant at this location. This was a strategic choice given that the industrial processing of quicklime and cement was carried out in the nearby Rüdersdorf. During World War II the site was then used by the Nazis for the production of synthetic bauxite used in the process of aircraft production. Germany was almost entirely dependent on Hungary and Yugoslavia for bauxite during the war and the British attempted to stop the bauxite trade by sending undercover agents in, however, this did not go to plan. As with many buildings in East Berlin, the Soviets dismantled the plant after the war, then in 1950, it was used to make animal feed and other farming materials.
There are several buildings to explore and this site saw my urbex adventures taken to dizzying new heights. If you suffer from Vertigo or a fear of heights then this might not be the location for you. Climbing up the exposed concrete stairways to the top of the eight-story-high silo tanks is not for the faint-hearted – especially when there are large holes in the floor that would have you fall straight through to the bottom (not to mention the gap between the stairs and the floor that you have to jump over).
The roofing is quite unstable so I would not recommend walking on it, but if you fancy making across this rickety bridge then be my guest. Just remember if you are on German health insurance you most likely will not be covered…that is if you survive the fall.
Items are left in disarray as if there was a swift evacuation, chemical bottles fill rooms and meticulously handwritten documents are scattered throughout the ruins. The factory has been used for several movies including ‘Enemy at the Gates’ and ‘The Monuments Men’. I can see why – the beauty and epic presence of these buildings is nothing short of cinematic.
If you can make the tightrope walk up the plank of wood onto the next platform then it’s worth the climb to the top of the room pictured above. Again you will be climbing to some staggering heights on a thin slab of concrete, make sure you watch out for the cut out squares so as not to fall to your death. When I got to the top I saw that my favourite street artist ‘Tobo’ had made it up there, which is always comforting on my urbex adventures – plus he always has something say.
Plans to make something out of the location were rejected, and the thick reinforced concrete and enormous contaminated sites put many companies off furthering these proposals. Now it is just left to nature and the outcasts of society. As with any urban exploration, I urge you to not destroy or vandalise anything, it ruins the experience for others and often makes these places more off limits then they already are due to security.
The place is so vast that you may not even come across anyone but on a fine Sunday in October there was a lot going on. From photo shoots to people utilising the open space for activities we were by no means alone. With that being said we still felt the buzz of exploring, there were many spots with no one around due to the sheer size of the location.
Hop on the S3 (I got it from Ostkreuz) towards Erkner and stay on until you get to Erkner Station, the end of the line. Make your way out of the station and turn left and up the stairs towards the bus stops. Grab the 950 bus and then the 951 to Rüdersdorf Frachzentrum (DHL Paketzentrum, you can’t miss it). Ask the bus driver to tell you where to change buses, if you are lucky like us then he will let you get off mid-route to catch your other bus! Walk past the DHL Center on your left and continue to the steps down to the embankment. You can follow the train tracks until you see the chimneys then find a gap in the fence.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to have ever trespassed on this property nor do I condone doing so.
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