DGermany, land of non-swimmers – the German lifesaving society DLRG alarmed the hearing on the situation of the swimming pools on Wednesday in the sports committee of the German Bundestag. We are not far from this situation, warned DLRG President Achim Haag. Without hesitation, he called for the Golden Plan, which Interior Minister Horst Seehofer promised to sport in December, to save the baths, swimming and the growing number of non-swimmers in childhood.
All other experts were in the same horn as to whether they had come to describe the effective use of water areas and bathing times, such as the Stuttgart swimming school and the Berlin school swimming network. Or whether they wanted to counter the concept of bathing death, like the German Association of Cities.
Swimming as a general interest
In allusion to the fifteen billion euros that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has just booked as a surplus, Klaus Hebborn asked the city council: If not now, when then? The experts praised, of course and rightly so, that bathing culture and the cultural asset of swimming as a general interest, for which government grants are more than just. A lot of money will be needed, as the reaction to the 750 million euro federal government program for the rehabilitation of municipal sports, youth and cultural institutions showed: Twenty times as many applications were received as could be considered.
It was always clear what would become an issue when Seehofer and the chairman of the sports committee, the SPD deputy Dagmar Freitag, prevailed with their joint plan of billions in aid for sport. When it comes to numbers, swimming and swimming experts. There is not even an inventory. The experts agreed on six and a half thousand swimming pools in Germany; the Society for Bathing is giving this number. The need for renovation is estimated at five billion euros. The renovation of the other sports facilities in cities and municipalities, which will be the subject of the Golden Plan, will cost twenty billion euros. Or thirty?
Everyone in the room knew that the discussion they had just started in room 3101 of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus on the Spree will sooner or later also raise the question of how actually hopelessly indebted municipalities, possibly under forced administration, the Should receive funding for their dilapidated sports facilities if they themselves cannot make a contribution to them. And how to deal with facilities that belong to clubs and are therefore privately owned. All of this should still lead to painful arguments. But first and foremost, the sports committee and experts have made it clear that expectations are no less than requirements.