Heidelberg sauna aims to put end to frolicking by taking lovers to court

The Badewelt in southern Germany took a couple to court on Monday after they refused to pay a hefty penalty for frolicking in the changing rooms. It is the first in a series of cases involving alleged steamy activity at the wellness centre.

Heidelberg sauna aims to put end to frolicking by taking lovers to court
Photo: DPA

The court case at the district court in Sinsheim about 30 kilometres from Heidelberg was settled within minutes of starting, according to Stern Online.

The Badewelt and the couple in question agreed that the couple would not visit the sauna for five years, while both sides agreed not to divulge details about what took place in the changing rooms.


Originally Badewelt, a spa complex which claims to be home to the largest sauna in the world, had demanded from the couple that they pay a €600 fine for breaching the house rules, which clearly state that two people are not allowed to enter a changing room cabin at the same time.

The case from December last year is just the first of several which are set to appear before the district court. In all the cases, the sauna complex accuses couples of frolicking in its changing rooms and then refusing to pay a €600 fine for breaking the house rules.

Many of the couples have denied that hey had sex in the changing rooms, accusing the sauna of spying on them and treating them in a rough and aggressive manner.

“There was a knock on the door and we were told to come out immediately, even though I was undressed,” one female guest told the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung.

“They treated us like we were serious criminals,” another man told the newspaper.

A further nine cases are awaiting trial.

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Germany’s Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’

Germany's Scheffelbrücke might not seem like much to look at, but by some accounts it is the most expensive bridge in the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Germany's Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’
The Scheffelbrücke in Baden-Württemburg isn't known for its astounding beauty or engineering prowess - but it is known for its price tag. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

If you’re travelling near the Swiss border, you might come across the Scheffelbrücke – a quiet, two-lane bridge over the Radolfzeller Aach in Baden-Württemburg. 

By bridge standards, the 20-metre concrete construction seems relatively unremarkable – until you take a look at the engraved sign on the side which quotes the price tag. 

A sign on the bridge references the incredible price of the bridge: 1,520,940,901,926,024 Deutschmarks. 

That’s 1,500 trillion marks. 

Why is the Scheffelbrücke Germany’s most expensive bridge – and why is it so drab?

While Germany has the money and the landscape to have some expensive bridges, that over the Aach hardly rivals the Golden Gate, London Bridge or Sydney Harbour for elegance or ingenuity. 

The bridge, completed in 1923, takes the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel, a German writer who will forever be associated with the glorified concrete slab. 

While one might suspect pork barrelling or crafty accounting as a reason for the astonishing cost – or perhaps a trick to reel in the tourists to the otherwise unassuming village of Singen – the cost is in fact real.

The high price is a consequence of the out of control post-World War One inflation which hit Germany, where money almost completely lost its value. 

A sign for the bridge reveals its extortionate building costs. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

Local authorities, wanting to boost the economy, signed off on the bridge as an infrastructure project. 

As a consequence, some local workers presumably became millionaires as a consequence – although there was perhaps little meaning to the idea of being a millionaire when a billion would only buy you a concrete bridge. 

Fortunately, Germany was able to bring inflation under control and wheelbarrows full of money were no longer required to purchase basic things.

And almost a century later, when not taking wacky inflation into account, Germany’s ‘most expensive bridge in the world’ no longer has that title. 

That goes to the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco (no, not the Golden Gate but the other one), which cost 6.3 billion US dollars – or roughly 5.2 billion euro  – to build. 

The Oakland Bay Bridge however goes for eight kilometres and possesses some of the aesthetic qualities which one would expect from the most expensive bridge in the world.