Urbex Photography by Jan Bommes

Urbex photography at an abandoned distillery (Image: Jan Bommes. Urban exploration at an abandoned distillery)

Photographer Jan Bommes has visited an impressive number of locations in the pursuit of his craft. Primarily documenting the modern ruins of Germany, from 19th century hospitals to the forgotten structures of the Cold War and much more in between, his website and Flickr stream are a fascinating repository of the abandoned, the derelict and the decayed. This small selection highlights the sheer variety of ruins across the landscape of Western Europe alone.

Abandoned Socialist Recreation Home

Abandoned Socialist Recreation Home

Abandoned Socialist Recreation Home 2 (Images: Jan Bommes)

With its distinctive circular facade and sweeping stairway, this abandoned Socialist recreation facility is a sight to behold. According to photographer Jan Bommes: “This used to be the most modern recreation home in East Germany during the 1950s. Now only a skeleton remains…” Find out more about this modern ruin here.

Motor Technica Museum, Bad Oeynhausen

Inside the abandoned Motor Technica Museum at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany

Inside the abandoned Motor Technica Museum at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany 2

Inside the abandoned Motor Technica Museum at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany 3

Inside the abandoned Motor Technica Museum at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany 4

Inside the abandoned Motor Technica Museum at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany 5 (Image: Jan Bommes)

The ill-fated Motor Technica Museum in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, closed its gates in 2007. Since then, most of the external exhibits have been abandoned to the elements, slowly corroding away amid the changeable weather of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the derelict MiG-21, helicopter and tanks pictured above, the site is also home to an abandoned MiG-23 Flogger.

Abandoned Nazi Educational Institution

Abandoned Nazi educational institution

Abandoned Nazi educational institution 2

Abandoned Nazi educational institution 3

Abandoned Nazi educational institution 4

Abandoned Nazi educational institution 5

Abandoned Nazi educational institution 6 (Images: Jan Bommes)

Bommes describes this abandoned auditorium, rather ominously, as part of a Nazi educational institution. Its precise location has been kept secret by the photographer, but perhaps it’s due to this dark history that site remains practically derelict today.

Abandoned Nuclear Weapons Depot in Northern Germany

Abandoned nuclear weapons depot in Germany

Abandoned nuclear weapons depot in Germany 2

Abandoned nuclear weapons depot in Germany 3

Abandoned nuclear weapons depot in Germany 4 (Image: Jan Bommes)

Urban Ghosts is no stranger to Cold War ruins. Among other places we’ve documented the abandoned airfields of RAF Germany and numerous lost places of the former Soviet Union. Photographer Jan Bommes writes on his website: “This is one of three SAS (Special Ammunition Sites) in the northernmost state of Germany that were active during the cold war and were closed and abandoned in the early 1990s.” Now decommissioned, part of the site has been converted into a wind farm and the abandoned bunkers have found a new use with local farmers.

Abandoned School of Navigation

Abandoned school of navigation

Abandoned school of navigation 2

Abandoned school of navigation 3 (Images: Jan Bommes)

This abandoned navigation school, which opened in the mid-19th century, once played a key role in the training of generations of professional German sailors. As Bommes writes on his website: “In May of 1949, the school reopened under the motto “Every sailor is a guarantor of peace” under new management… A year later, the first officers for maritime radio were trained. Some were given special training that prepared them for espionage activities or the work underground. Nautical training in this place ended in the early 1990s.”

Abandoned Hospital in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein

Urban exploration of an abandoned hospital at Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein 2

Urban exploration of an abandoned hospital at Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein 3

Urban exploration of an abandoned hospital at Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein 4

Urban exploration of an abandoned hospital at Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein 5

Urban exploration of an abandoned hospital at Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein (Image: Jan Bommes)

We’ve documented dozens of abandoned hospitals, sanatoriums and asylums to date on Urban Ghosts. Jan Bommes documented this modern ruin from top to bottom (literally), covering crumbling wards, corridors and lecture halls to the gloomy, derelict basement levels below. Interestingly, he also labels the facility in the German city of Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, an “abandoned clinic of neurosurgery”, perhaps indicating the specialist treatment that was once undertaken there.

Abandoned Neo-Renaissance Mansion

The haunting interior of an abandoned Neo-Renaissance mansion

The haunting interior of an abandoned Neo-Renaissance mansion 2

The haunting interior of an abandoned Neo-Renaissance mansion 3 (Image: Jan Bommes)

With its grand ceiling and decorative staircase, this abandoned Neo-Renaissance mansion is an urbex gem. The opulent residence was reportedly built for Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and remained part of the Duchal estate until 1945. It later became a training school for forest rangers and managers before falling out of use around 1995. Even today, the grandeur of this abandoned mansion is impossible to miss.

Abandoned Distilleries

Urbex photography at an abandoned distillery 2

Urbex photography at an abandoned distillery 3

Urbex photography at an abandoned distillery 4

Urbex photography at an abandoned distillery 5 (Images: Jan Bommes)

These photographs actually show two abandoned distilleries; one of them filled with the relics of its past life; the other an empty, imposing hulk of a building. You can check out more photographs of “Distillery H”, which reportedly operated from the early 19th century until the 1980s, here.

Abandoned Photochemical Factory

Exploring an abandoned photochemical factory 2

Exploring an abandoned photochemical factory

Exploring an abandoned photochemical factory 3

Exploring an abandoned photochemical factory 4

Exploring an abandoned photochemical factory 5 (Images: Jan Bommes)

In this series, urban explorer Bommes documented an abandoned photochemical factory complete with its own classroom. Elsewhere in the derelict building, the machines of production stand silently awaiting a reactivation that will likely never come.

Abandoned Rubber Factory

Urban explorer documents an abandoned rubber factory

Urban explorer documents an abandoned rubber factory 2

Urban explorer documents an abandoned rubber factory 3

Urban explorer documents an abandoned rubber factory 4

Urban explorer documents an abandoned rubber factory 5 (Images: Jan Bommes)

Last but not least, this abandoned rubber factory captured the explorer’s attention. Combining an aesthetic that’s at once functional and architecturally appealing, this modern ruin reflects an era where factories, grim and forbidding as they often were, incorporated a certain flair into their design that is seldom seen in more modern industrial construction.

Related – Rurex: 10 Abandoned Ruins Documented by Rural Explorers

 

About the author: Alex Williams

 

 
 
 


 
 

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