In the sky above Lübeck



Today we are taking you on a balloon ride through the skies over Lübeck for Lübeck ZWISCHENZEILEN. The Hanseatic city not only impresses with its historic cityscape. Embedded in a varied landscape of forests, fields, meadows and moors and criss-crossed by waterways, Lübeck also cuts a very fine figure when viewed from above.

Fortunately, this is the home port of one of the few hot air balloon companies in northern Germany: Geo – Die Luftwerker . The Luftwerker have been operating excursions over Lübeck and the surrounding area since 1994. Balloon flights are possible on around 180 days of the year. Down on the ground, the Luftwerker staff around Managing Director Robert Meyknecht advise on the purchase of hot-air balloons, provide support with design and maintenance and offer the only “aviation MOT” in northern Germany. They also work in the event industry. Hot air balloon materials are also suitable for trade fair construction and as advertising media and have even been used in world-famous art projects. Do you remember Christo, who wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin, among other things? That’s right! Our Lübeck Luftwerkers were involced in Christo projects.

Admittedly, a balloon flight is not an inexpensive pleasure, but it is an unforgettable experience for the right occasion. Like my friend’s milestone birthday. On a golden spring evening in May, we cycled to the Geo headquarters at Hinter den Kirschkaten 10, where we were met by Felix Dickenberger – our pilot for the evening. It quickly became clear that Felix is passionate about his job. He had already worked for “Luftwerker” during his logistics studies in Hamburg, before joining the company as a project manager for exhibition stand construction and art projects after graduating. In 2021, he worked with Christo on his last project, the wrapping of the Arc du Triomphe in Paris. He also obtained his pilot’s license.

Lighter than air

After a short briefing, we drove to the Drägerpark. We were a small group of passengers divided between two balloons. The entire evening programme should take about five hours. “Ballooning is a team sport,” Felix taught us and showed us how we could help set up the balloon. Shortly afterwards, we took our places in the basket. Above us hung the mighty balloon, in whose gigantic body Felix let off volleys of gas. We lifted off gently and seemingly weightlessly.

Below us, the meadow of Drägerpark melted away and we quickly gained altitude. The evening sun broke free from a bank of clouds. Beams of light wandered over the seven towers of the Old Town churches and between the roofs of St. Gertrud’s the water surfaces flashed like molten metal. The sight seemed to be straight out of a painting. We drove silently southwards, following the course of the Wakenitz. A hot air balloon does not fly. Since, unlike an airplane, it does not need wings and its weight is lighter than that of the displaced ambient air, it is referred to as ballooning. Apart from the occasional burning of the gas, the balloon ride is completely quiet, which enhances the feeling of weightlessness.

A proverbially uplifting feeling. A mixture of peace, calm and euphoria spread through me. We had happy smiles on our faces, but our pilot was also beaming. Can you ever get tired of this job? Perhaps it was the reaction of his passengers that made Felix seem as happy as we felt.

Slowly rotating, we spiraled upwards until Lübeck spread out below us like a map. There was the Old Town surrounded by water, the Wall peninsula, the Castle Gate and the Holsten Gate. The waters of the Wakenitz and Trave appeared almost black in the soft evening light. The predominant colour, however, was the lush spring green of the many parks. A shadow passed over us as the second balloon passed us, briefly blocking out the evening sun. St. Jürgen’s terraced houses looked as well-planned as a toy town. Between them stretched rows of neat gardens and each of them, I thought, provided a home for a little family world of its own.

We passed the last housing estates and sailed across the meadows and fields south of the city. Organically curved tractor tracks in yellow rapeseed fields followed – interrupted only by green deciduous forests and water surfaces in which our hot-air balloon was reflected.

“Above the clouds, freedom must be limitless”

Reinhard Mey

What unique anecdotes might such a magical celestial journey conjure up? Felix reported on marriage proposals, but also on parachute jumps and last wishes. He has already ballooned in Germany, Finland, Saudi Arabia and Austria. He loves the snow-covered Alps. Nevertheless, Lübeck will always have a special place in his heart. The combination of a picturesque, medieval Old Town with its rivers and the nearby Baltic Sea makes our Hanseatic city unique.

Due to our unpredictable Nordic weather, not every hot air balloon flight can take place as planned. There is no launch guarantee and prospective balloonists must demonstrate flexibility if a launch is postponed. Felix recommends that guests from out of town make spontaneous enquiries in good weather and, if necessary, pay “at the basket” if the trip can actually take place.

The landing

After about 90 minutes, our adventure came to an end. In the last light of day, we landed in a field between Beidendorf and Krummesse. An amusing ritual followed, the roots of which go back to the historical beginnings of ballooning. With sparkling wine, a ceremonial speech and the awarding of certificates, we were elevated to the nobility without further ado. As if that wasn’t enough, we were given ownership of the land we flew over with a wink.

There are various stories surrounding this traditional balloon christening. The hot air balloon is the oldest aircraft in the world. In November 1783, the Montgolfier brothers launched their first “experimental balloon” over Paris. Not only the common people, but also the French King Louis XVI is said to have been so impressed by the sight that he quickly elevated both the engineers and the two balloon pilots Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François d’Arlandes to the nobility. He also bequeathed them the areas the balloon had flown over. This tradition has survived to this day.

At around 10 p.m., we freshly baked “sky aristocrats” drove home tired but extremely satisfied, grateful for an unforgettable experience.

Continue here

If you want to learn more about Geo – Die Luftwerker and hot air balloons, I recommend the HanseCast podcast from April 19, 2024. In this episode, host Julius Bülow talks to our pilot Felix Dickenberger about his work at Geo – Die Luftwerker and his cooperation with Christo: Der HanseCast – Felix Dickenberger (geo – Die Luftwerker) from Der HanseCast (

If you would like to book a balloon flight or buy a voucher or find out more about the company, please visit the website of Geo – Die Luftwerker: Hot air balloons, hot air ships, advertising banners and more: geo – Die Luftwerker

Would you like to see more? You can find great pictures from lofty heights on the social media of the “Luftwerker”:
Facebook: geo – Die Luftwerker
Instagram: @geodieluftwerker

We had just passed the Old Town island and the Wakenitz came into view, meandering into the city through the beautiful green districts of Eichholz and St. Jürgen. Thanks to this wild and romantic nature, Lübeck is also incredibly liveable outside the historic city center.

Meadows, fields, forests and extensive moorland lie to the south of the city limits. Lübeck’s surroundings offer a wealth of excursion possibilities, which we describe here .

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written by:

Stefan Gehrhardt