Help build 55m cultural house-boat in the centre of Berlin, Germany

  • Favourited 376 times
  • Last activity: 16 Jul 2024



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    ***Currently from Summer 2024 until Mid October 2024 ... and onwards:

    **also always looking for a person to be happy to cook lunch meals for the crew (10-15 pers.) and do some house hold stuff. - would be like 80% cooking/houshold and 20% working with us on the construction side building the houseboat **

    final projects on the houseboat, room finishes and making it pretty! But oooops there is also more boat projects in the pipeline.. so we can offer a very diverse working experience on different boats and in summer now we even have an old fishing boat (with cabins) to go on trips outside of Berlin. Otherwise on weekends we do events or enjoy the fun of Berlin summer. Sleeping situation is on the boats, and mostly dormitory kind of situations - we try our best to make you stay comfortable, at the same time we like to invite many workaways cause it just makes the athmosphere much more lively and fun!! :-)
    Mostly it would be nice if you have some handcrafting/ experience with power tools - if not it’s not a big deal but check in with yourself if that really is tasks that you would like to do, and think you want to learn about - then we gonna have an amazing time :-)
    We are more than happy to give introduction into different tools and give you a chance to learn new skills while we work on the boats! At the same time it’s often very helpful if you bring some experience in building thinks.
    Looking forward for your messages -> and please read the description below :-) ***

    All the information:

    Hello world :-)

    As there is obviously no text limitation I will just keep the old descriptions from the last work - away projects below. The first one was from 2012 about building the catamaran "Esperantos" in the region of Braunschweig and the second one was from 2016 about renovating a ruin in Berlin to the house-project that is now called the "Wartenburg". Things have gone forward. The Esperantos (Catamaran) is actually floating since summer 2014 and was built with the help of about 120 helpers via workaway/helpx. We went after two trips to the Baltic Sea in 2018 on the real trip: from Berlin to Budapest, in 2019 from Budapest until Sulina at the mouth of the Danube at the Black Sea. In 2020 we finally could put up the mast and set sails from there to Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and finally Greece where it is now. The run down building at Ostkreuz in Berlin we renovated with about 70 helpers workaway/helpx between 2016 and 2018 including roof/ windows/ heating/ electricity/ pipework/ doors with a lot of building material recycling from trade fares and buildings that got tared down. We got it that far that we are now living with 18 people from 6 different countries together as an open house project. We have to fight against the building administration of Berlin for not being send out of our house as it stands on the area of a future highway construction plan. But that's another story that we can tell when you are around :-)

    Since April 2021 (and still ongoing in 2024) the third project goes online on workaway:

    As a group of eight people we bought the 55 x 6m boat "Hanseat" that was built in 1907 to transport building materials into Berlin. In these early years boats of this size were built without engine. They were moved on the slow waterways of Berlin and Brandenburg by a hand full of people with sticks and on lakes where the water was too deep with a huge sail. We got it from one of the old boatsmen of Berlin who is like a living history book.

    He is the last son of a family of boatmen from the region of Berlin. His family had bought the boat already in 1969 when it was on its way to the scrap-yard the first time. After using it as storage space and as a terrace in front of a restaurant the boat was passed on to us while Rainer is still helping us a lot in the project. He had to find help with the boat as it is built with a wooden floor that after 114 years urgently needs to be replaced.

    Nowadays this happens with steel as no shipyard is still able to work the with old way of wood-boat-building. Now it is upon us to save the old wooden floor of the boat and to make it the new inside floor when the steelworks in the shipyard are finished. This is already a big part of the project for this summer as its about 280m² of 9 cm thick and about 40 cm wide boards. The boat currently only consists of the hull with 1.9m inside height and a steel-structure for a terrace on top with a layer of some old tropical "Bongossi" wood.

    We want to develop it as a cultural space with individual cabins and a deck for guests and some urban gardening. The next work-step is to take of the current deck layer together with the steel structure, build an additional side wall with space for windows and put the deck layer back on the side walls with one meter more inside height. This work is also still planned in the coming two months while the boat is still in the shipyard. Afterwards we need to put about 240m² of roof, install about 60 windows, two toilets, a wastewater treatment system, a kitchen, a communal space and about 8 cabins. So we wont run out of jobs for the next two years ;-)

    Old/ finished! workaway offers:

    Offer from 2016: 120 years old house renovation and Catamaran building in Berlin, Germany

    Now I am writing this update as we are looking for more helpers from spring 2017 on. Together with some friends we bought a ruin/house in Berlin close to the station Ostkreuz in Friedrichshain / Lichtenberg. The house was built in 1893. Luckily it survived the war and became property of the German Democatric Republic as its former owner moved to West Germany. After the wall came down the house was returned to the son of the former owner who left it mostly unused for years until we found the house. Fascinated by the history and the fact that since the early nineties some squatting skinheads sprayed their graffiti nobody has changed anything we started working together. We already finished a kitchen and a bathroom with hot shower and a solar light network in the house as new living comfort for us and the helpers that start moving in the house. As there are six rooms in the house that were still in good shape, we cleaned them, repaired the broken windows and brought a lot of beds and couches from friends to start living there. The maximum till now was 6 helpers at once which was a funny time with a lot of live in the house and on the Esperantos that floats in a walking distance on anchor.

    For the next months it is planned to continue with a lot of tasks on the house and some projects on the boat. It has its place now in Moabit. We are still looking for motivated Pirates that like getting something done during the day as well as living on the water or in our ruin with continuously increasing comfort. So if you are interested to travel to Berlin or just to escape from the normal Berlin city-life please write with some buffer time until you would like to come. Sometimes it takes a week or two until I check the account but you will usually always get an answer.

    What else ...
    Now I am 32 and currently working on these contract stuff that comes up when you want buy things. I am still having this job that makes me work in Egypt from October till March. I am writing from Egypt now where I will continue my research work about capacity increase of overloaded water purification plants in developing countries. Loving the water topic I plan to start my own small business in the house for water treatment units for urban agriculture in facade greening.
    When I write “we”, it includes Dorothea, Carlotta and Christoph that are also living on the catamaran for the warmer 7 months of the year. And we means Ina, Christoph, Ruwen, Micha and Ralf that bought the house together with me.

    Offer from 2012; Building an 12.5 x 6.2 m wooden catamaran

    We're building a boat in a barn in north Germany and are looking for help. We means about 30 helpers since may 2011 from the USA, Canada, France, Argentina, Israel, Iran, Korea, England, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, Hungary, Austria, some friends from the neighborhood who come around to help for a couple of hours and me.

    In Schoeppenstedt between Braunschweig and Berlin in the Niedersachsen-Region lies the former farm of my grandparents. Today the farmhouse is rent to a family and most of the other buildings are unused. During the last years I started to use them for various projects like building a raft/houseboat, a handcar, a two person diving bell and a small sailing Trimaran.

    The biggest project so far is to build a wooden 12,5 m Catamaran. Since 2008 this plan has constantly evolved and is now about 80% through the process of realization. While I was terminating my studies as an engineer I had the possibility to work on the construction as an university-task. Thereby I received all the relevant engineer standards and learned a lot about the recommended practices to build a safe boat.

    The project has evolved during the last year. Now there are the two Hulls with the right side up in the barn and would float if the deluge would come. During this summer we glued all the plywood-parts to the Hull that we prepared last year before the winter-break. To work with Epoxy (the glue) it needs to be at least 15°C and there is no heating in the workshop. That is why the next winter-break is getting closer.

    What else ...
    Oh ok, and who I am: My name is Carsten , 28, currently working on the six doors for the cabins / toilets. I studied bioengineering and environmental technology in Germany, France, Czech Republic and Marocco were I finished my Diploma about a project in Casablanca for wastewater purification and agricultural reuse in May 2011. In 2012 I found a job at the Technische Universität Berlin’ branch Campus-El Gouna in Egypt. During the winter semester I am giving lessons in water-engineering. Luckily my course runs in Berlin during the summer semester, so there is still time to work on the boat.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Travelers will meet a group of other workawayers and friends that have been motivated to start the described projects in the German capital. We like to actually do things and see how from our hand’s work a place gets better and better. What you could learn is partly described in the section about the ongoing projects. Beside the work there are boat-parties together with all the other self-made boats and rafts on the Spree river, open-air parties in the parks and festivals around the city that becomes more and more a world capital for the spirit of life with little money but good ideas how to live. As the German songwriter Dota Kehr wrote about the world mainstream: “They are buying things that they don’t need, from money that they don’t have, to impress people that they don’t like”. I feel like Berlin is a city were luckily a lot of people realized that this is nonsense and that it is much more important how much you like the things that you are doing rather than which things you buy or own.

  • Help


    What we need are people that come for an actual hand-helping experience. There will mostly be people of us doing the same jobs that we ask helpers to do. Moving material, using a cutting or drilling machine for steel profiles, cutting wood, cleaning the old wood of the former bottom of the boat, painting steel structures, making food for the group. We intend to be always a hand full of people helping together.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Arabic: Beginner
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    We already live in the house-project that we set up between 2016 and 2019 as my second workaway project. We are people form Argentina, Poland, Italy, USA, Netherlands, England and Germany. So mostly we speak English and German. But of course I happily try to stay speaking German when someone learns it and tries to not always fall back into English. I would be also happy when someone likes to exchange Egyptian Arabic with German.

  • Accommodation


    The accommodation will be either in the house-project "Wartenburg" where we finished all the infrastructure between beginning of 2016 and end of 2018. Now we have two kitchens, two toilets, a bathroom with hot shower and an attic with a lot of space for people to sleep. Alternatively there is an Ateliers of Dorothea on Eiswerder that is close to the shipyard in Spandau. Depending on the progress also on the Hanseat we will arrange places to sleep during the warm months. After the time in the shipyard in Spandau will end around mid of June the boat construction side will move to "Märkisches Ufer" in Mitte where the Hanseat usually spends the summers.

    As you will be either in the Wartenburg between the two stations of the Berlin city ring Ostkreuz and Frankfurter Allee or next to the station Jannowitzbrücke it will be easy to find things to do during the free time. Usually there are also some bikes that can be used to explore the city without having to pay a public transportation ticket. As a comment from people living in Berlin: besides these lovely distractions offered by the German capital it also gets increasingly interesting to hang out with the people around and the friends visiting the house for a wine on the roof or a barbecue in the garden.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are a group of 8 people:
    Yoshi from Gent, Belgium who actually came as a carpenter via workaway for the catamaran project,
    Linus from Kiel as media pedagogue
    Dorothea from Braunschweig as theater manager
    Cathrin from Neumünster as film producer
    Christoph from Rostock as building supply engineer
    Meinhard as Landscaping engineer and carpenter
    Julia as sail maker and film editor
    and me, Carsten, as environmental engineer for water purification

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    In the street in front of our house we have often people living in campervans. In the house we have all the rest of the facilities.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    4-5 according the project there might be more days off and some with more work during the week. But the average shall be ~4-5 hours on 5 days per week.

Host ref number: 6274235224e6

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