Bel Ami (Berlin) - Bel Ami (Berlin)

Exterior view of the Bel Ami, 2009
Lounge area, 2009

The Bel Ami was a night club in Berlin . The establishment, which was located in a villa near the Olympic Stadium in the Westend district, was known nationwide as “Germany's finest club” ( Playboy ) and was considered a “Berlin institution”. The Bel Ami was mainly operated as a brothel from the 1970s until its closure in 2011 , after a " brothel " had existed at the same location since the end of the Second World War .


The Bel Ami was located near the former Reichssportfeld (today officially: Olympiapark Berlin ) on Flatowallee (until 1997: Reichssportfeldstraße ). [1]


Post war to 1970s

In the building used as a night club and brothel, a former manufacturer's villa from the 1920s, a brothel was set up and operated after the end of the war, which was initially frequented by Allied soldiers . Whether there was a so-called " Wehrmacht brothel " or an SS officer brothel, as residents claim, has not yet been established there during the National Socialist era .

When the demand from the Allied soldiers fell as a result of the reduction in troop strengths in what was then West Berlin , it was continued as a “brothel for high demands”.

1970s to late 2000s

Terrazzo tile with a star in the house access - with date of establishment, name of the owner and his handprints, 2009

The establishment was taken over at the end of the 1970s by Detlef Uhlmann, who founded the Bel Ami on October 3, 1979 and subsequently established and developed the club, according to his own statements, "in the luxury class as a noble brothel with nightclub operation". Initially, extensive renovation and interior design work was carried out under the direction of Uhlmann. A based on the " Walk of Fame " in Hollywood designed "Star", which was embedded in the pavement of the Hauszuwegung on the property, documented the founding date and the name of the owner.

Uhlmann later carried out additions and renovations to the villa building several times, the most recent being extensive renovation work in 2006 . [2]

Disputes about the operating license

From spring 2007, there were disputes in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf about the official tolerance and the granting of operating permits for brothels. The district councilor responsible for construction, the CDU politician Klaus-Dieter Gröhler , had commercial brothels in residential areas in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district closed , citing building planning law . [3] [4]

Strong criticism of this closure practice, which was exercised in the Berlin district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg as well as in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf , came from the ranks of the Federal Association of Sexual Services. V. and the Hydra e. V. , who saw the "introduction of restricted areas through the back door" only in commercial areas by closing the residential brothels and simultaneously issuing operating permits. [5]

The Bel Ami, which was located in a residential area in Westend determined by planning law , was threatened with immediate closure. [6] In November 2007, an extrajudicial been compared closed, after which the Bel Ami was allowed to continue its operations until the end of March 2011th After that, no more sexual services should have been offered. [7]

City planning officer Gröhler stated that his authority was ready for this compromise "because legal proceedings by all instances would presumably have taken a similar length". The Bel-Ami operator Uhlmann announced at a press conference that he would “outsource the pension with the rooms on the first floor” after the agreed date. "The sex club on the ground floor [...] should definitely be retained." There are considerations to maintain the use of the rooms in the villa as an accommodation facility in a different form; a hotel in the luxury segment is also conceivable. [8th]

Change of operator

In the spring of 2009 Uhlmann sold the Bel Ami to a Swiss investor group, Patrizier Beteiligungs AG , which from then on operated the Bel Ami through a subsidiary - Baldua Betriebs GmbH , based in Berlin. After the takeover by Baldua Betriebs GmbH, the agreement with the district office of Charlottenburg to cease business operations at the end of March 2011 was canceled in 2010. As a result, the Bel Ami could initially continue to exist as a nightclub and brothel, but was closed by the operators in the course of 2011.

In December 2009, Uhlmann was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment before the Berlin Regional Court for tax evasion. [9] Uhlmann has been running a new brothel at another location in Berlin since 2011; He has taken over the homepage address (URI) of the Bel Ami.

Establishment and operation

As an "erotic nightclub", the Bel Ami operated a bar with a lounge and a wellness area with a steam sauna and indoor pool . There was also a VIP lounge with a separate entrance and separate access to the pool area and the sauna. These rooms were on the ground floor of the former villa and the later extensions. The total of 13 rooms on the upper floor were equipped with whirlpools and were used for sexual services. The Bel Ami had around 400 square meters of floor space.

According to the owner of the company, Uhlmann , the prostitutes employed at the Bel Ami were honored as people beyond the usual behavior in the industry, and their presentation on the company's website was based on professional portraits and their own photo series. [2] [10]

The Bel Ami's further range of services included an “erotic party service ”, an “worldwide bookable” escort service and a limousine service “around the clock with luxury limousines” within Berlin. In addition, there was also an estate near Berlin available for parties and celebrations for up to 100 people , to which the guests could also be flown in by helicopter .

The Bel Ami was temporarily used as a recording location for music productions and as a location (" location ") for non-pornographic films ; among others, the Bielefeld jazz band Dr. In 2003, lip force released their CD Bel Ami - Tuten and bubbles at its finest, partly live in Berlin's Bel Ami. [11] In addition to the bar and brothel operation, the Bel Ami also hosted club concerts and parties as well as events, for example so-called " cuddle parties " were held there from September 2007 [12] and in September 2009 a burlesque took placeShow with Tara La Luna . [13]

Under the name “Belami-Bonjour”, the club also offered “wellness and eroticism”. Among other things, the rooms were rented out to interested parties as “loverooms” during the day, and classic massages and erotic massages from Tantra to “massages with an erotic conclusion” were offered. In addition, the hotel's wellness area with steam sauna and indoor pool was available for individuals, couples and groups from Monday to Friday. The club also arranges appointments for sexual counseling . Day-to-day business was discontinued in September 2010 because this offer was not accepted to the desired extent or the high-priced night-time business concept was undermined and turned out to be counterproductive.

"Belami-Bonjour" offered "noble and unusual" gift items in its own online shop , from house wine , cigars and bed linen and other items to the Wittera Spyder S sports car , a replica of the "legendary" Porsche 550 Spyder .

Room "with a tree trunk", 2009

A special feature was a room in the basement; Here an existing mature tree , a pine, was built around an extension to the villa , so that the lower part of the tree trunk stood in the middle of the room.

public perception

According to the former owner, Detlef Uhlmann, a “luxurious interior” was installed in the former villa for the Bel Ami and “an ambience was created that went beyond the usual standard of night clubs”. The interior furnishings and fittings of the club were partly perceived as such; For example, the company was referred to in a Berlin dossier in 2006 in the French-language Swiss daily Le Temps as “Le Bel-Ami, un établissement de luxe”. [14]

The photographer Helmut Newton portrayed the Bel Ami in 1991 for the German magazine Männer Vogue and also featured it on the cover. [15] The American photographer Nan Goldin created in the same year at the Bel Ami is a series of photographs, which subsequently at an exhibition on the subject of prostitution 'in Los Angeles in the United States was shown. In 1997 she dealt again with the Bel Ami in an article (in English ) for the international art magazine Artforum and characterized it as follows: [16]

„Though the setting was a German villa, the props were familiar: patterned wallpaper, heart-shaped velvet pillows, mirrors, chandeliers, gilded Turkish figurines holding red lamps, pink fleshy faux-Baroque nude paintings. One could imagine the same prevalence of gold and red in the brothels of Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans in the early part of the century.“

Among other things, the Berliner Kurier wrote about the Bel Ami in 1996 and stated: “A term for taxi drivers and insiders - and not only in Berlin”, [17] and in 2001 a report about the Bel Ami appeared in the German Playboy magazine , in which it was referred to as “Germany's finest club” and “Berlin luxury brothel”. [18]

In a report on “Prostitution in the 'Berlin brothel scene'” in the city magazine tip Berlin in 2005, the Bel Ami was described as “the most exclusive club in Germany”. [19] In 2006, the Tagesspiegel reported on the Bel Ami as a "nightclub that has made a name for itself across Europe", and figuratively counted the "Bel Ami" nightclub at the Olympic Stadium during the 2006 soccer World Cup in Germany [...] to the winners of the World Cup ”. [2]

At the end of 2007, a former prostitute who worked at Bel Ami from 1983 to 1998 caused a sensation when she announced the publication of a “revelation book” and a list of her prominent customers as a book author with Jewish roots under the pseudonym “Anna W.” . In her autobiography , the 46-year-old wrote about “sex with 170 celebrities”, but did not disclose their identity in the book, but offered the list with the names of “personalities from business, sport and show business” for 1.5 million euros one-time sale. The ex-call girl's “business idea” caused media coverage, especially in tabloids such as the Berlin BZand the picture , as well as on private television , such as TV Berlin , the former private broadcaster TV from Berlin and rheinmaintv . [20] [21] "Anna W." reported, among other things, on the photos taken in 1991 by Helmut Newton, for whom she had posed at the time with colleagues, and called her book a " homage to the exclusive club 'Bel Ami '".

A brothel was officially operated in the former villa from the end of the Second World War until 2011, making it the oldest brothel location in Berlin until then ("Bel Ami" [...] the oldest brothel in Berlin "). [22] The location of the brothel near the former Reichssportfeld and on the Reichssportfeldstrasse , which was so named until 1997, had repeatedly given rise to lewd "comments" in the Berlin vernacular . [23]

In August 2012 Detlef Uhlmann published his memories of his time as the operator of the brothel under the title Bel Ami in Munich's riva Verlag . My life as the boss of Germany's finest brothel . The book was described by the publisher as an “insider report from the celebrity red-light district” and announced by the tabloids as the “revelation book of the noble brothel king from Bel Ami”. [24]



Commons : Berlin Bel ami - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Brigitte Schmiemann: Trouble about "Reichssportfeldstrasse" . In: Berliner Morgenpost , June 19, 2006.
  2. a b c André Görke: “Do you want company?” . In: Tagesspiegel , June 26, 2006.
  3. Topic of the Month April 2007: Should brothels be allowed in residential buildings in the future? District Assembly of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf; see statement of the CDU parliamentary group (accessed on September 29, 2009).
  4. Katrin Aue, Jana Goebel: Prostitution: Customers are undesirable in residential buildings . In the television magazine Klartext from May 2, 2007 in the rbb .
  5. Waltraud Schwab: Districts lay brothels flat . In: taz , March 15, 2007.
  6. ^ Brigitte Schmiemann: City councilor on a crusade against brothels . In: Berliner Morgenpost , September 7, 2007.
  7. ↑ The luxury brothel will remain until 2011 . In: BZ , November 3, 2007, p. 10.
  8. Brigitte Schmiemann: Luxury sex club before the end . In: Berliner Morgenpost , November 3, 2007.
  9. Brothel boss cries in front of the judge . In: BZ , December 23, 2009.
  10. See interview with Detlef Uhlmann by B. Strohmaier in the Berliner Zeitung on April 27, 2005 (see web links).
  11. See the homepage of Dr. Lip strength >> Music… - Jazz from Bielefeld (accessed on September 29, 2009).
  12. First brothel with a sex ban . In: BZ , August 6, 2007.
  13. An evening at Bel Ami - Germany's finest nightclub , report from September 13, 2009 on Sheila Wolf's Queer'lesque Magazine (accessed on September 29, 2009).
  14. ^ Report in the Dossiers section in the French-language daily Le Temps , Switzerland, dated June 26, 2006. (Note: the dossier is no longer available online. Former link: ? ID = 183753))
  15. Internet presence of the Bel Ami >> Reports: Helmut Newton , brief description of the report in the men's Vogue , issue 12/1991; see also example pages in the upper drop-down window (accessed on September 29, 2009).
  16. Nan Goldin: Bellocq Epoque - photographer EJ Bellocq . In: Artforum International Magazine , May 1997 issue, pp. 1–4 ( English ; accessed September 29, 2009).
  17. Rolf Kremming: "Bel Ami" - A sheikh son stayed for four days . In: Berliner Kurier , September 6, 1996
  18. Bel Ami website >> Reports: Playboy , short presentation of the report “A night in Germany's noblest club” in Playboy magazine , issue 3/2001; See also the sample pages in the lower drop-down window (accessed on September 29, 2009).
  19. Article on the subject of prostitution in the “Berlin noble brothel scene” in the magazine tip Berlin , issue 22/2005.
  20. The Whore's Threat . In: BZ , December 22, 2009.
  21. I had sex with 170 celebrities . In: Picture , January 23, 2008.
  22. Article at from April 29, 2005.
  23. ^ Horst Bosetzky : West Berlin: Memories of an island child . 1st edition, Jaron-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89773-531-6 , p. 86 ff.
  24. (PDE): Detlef Uhlmann over 30 years of red light. The revelation book of the noble brothel king from Bel Ami. In: Berliner Kurier , August 8, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.

Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 33.8 ″ N , 13 ° 14 ′ 31 ″ E