Back in the early 2000s, German entrepreneur Carl von Gablenz, evidently a huge steampunk fan, was determined to make airships a thing. It was a dream that was destined to go the way of the Hindenburg, but not before his company constructed an unfathomably ginormous airship hangar just south of Berlin. Thanks to less-than-buoyant financials, the company was forced to sell off the hangar in 2002.
So why does an assumably airship-less company purchase the "world's largest free-standing building"? Why, to recreate the tropics -- indoors -- right smack-dab in the middle of Europe, of course.
"We keep an abandoned plane out front for you to sit in for 11 hours -- if you want the real vacation experience."
Tropical Islands is "Europe's largest tropical holiday world." So, just how much stuff can fit inside a structure built to house a floating metal whale? Well, they could put the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower or Berlin's Potsdamer Platz in there if they wanted to, but, instead, they stuffed it full with an indoor beach, a lagoon, a 100,000-square-foot rain forest, a mini-golf course, two flavors of accommodation lodges ("adventure" and "premium"), a 450-foot screen to simulate sunrises and sunsets, and an apparent lack of proper security measures.
It even has its own theme song, disappointingly not performed by David Hasselhoff:
The shopping boulevard (because of course there's a shopping boulevard) features a hair salon, tanning beds (just because you're indoors shouldn't mean you can't work on that nice melanoma you've been developing), an airbrush tattoo parlor and Europe's biggest spa. The "tropical sea," which is the size of three Olympic swimming pools, hosted the first German Bathtub Racing Championship, which we never knew existed but are now desperate to see.
Staying somewhat true to the building's original purpose, you can even go hot air ballooning. Again, indoors.
Because how else are you supposed to get from one end to the other?
Laura H compulsively buys notebooks the way some women buy shoes. Follow her on Twitter.
For more incredible creations, check out 7 Awesome Buildings That Look Like They're Designed by Kids and 4 Buildings That Defy the Laws of Gravity.
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