TV emigrants Caro and Andreas Robens are forging plans with a university professor for a “muscle beach” on Playa de Palma

When a German bodybuilder comes up Mallorca dreams of having one Muscle-Strand to build up like it once was Arnold Schwarzenegger found in California, that’s not uncommon. It gets exciting when this muscular dream falls on fertile ground with a rather top-heavy Mallorcan university professor and suddenly reveals unexpected synergies. This is the story of an idea that could suddenly get a lot of tailwind due to the special corona situation on the island.

The strong dreamers

The weird bodybuilder couple Caro and Andreas Robens is well known to many German television viewers – as an emigrant in the Vox program “Goodbye Germany”, as the winner of the RTL contest “The Stars’ Summer House” and, last but not least, as a successful operator of fitness studios and restaurants on Mallorca. In contrast, few people know their long-cherished dream of a bodybuilder’s beach on Playa de Palma: “We need something like Muscle Beach in California here. I’ve been dreaming of it since I’ve been here for twelve years, ”enthuses the muscular Andreas Robens.

Muscle Beach Venice in Los Angeles, where tanned bodies train their muscles in public and admired by many onlookers, is considered the place of origin of the Bodybuilding and fitness booms. He was particularly well-known through Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is still idolized there as an idol. “And we don’t have anything like that in Europe,” explains Andreas. “People are just waiting for something like this to happen here. That would flood the island with bodybuilders ”, Andreas is sure.

. l Good ideas also need good pictures. This graphic was made by the illustrator Joanna Hegemann, who herself likes to be in Mallorca. | ILLUSTRATION: JOANNA HEGEMANN

Andreas and his wife Caro have everything ready to start: “About 15 to 20 outdoor machines for the whole body, plus a couple of dumbbells and benches, a small fence around it and a night watch for safety. ”The sponsors Gorillasports (fitness equipment) and Engel (sports nutrition) would advertise. The TV channels Vox and RTL would immediately bring the topic into the media. And even the actor and bodybuilder star Ralf Moeller has agreed to come over whenever he is in Europe.

“We have already spoken to the authorities. The mayor of Llucmajor municipality thinks the idea is great“, Explains Caro. Even with the port authority in Palma one could probably agree on an unused property. Only the coast authority in Madrid, which is responsible for the necessary special permit, has so far been persistent. “We have already tried everything.”

The matchmakers

Two Germans from the MZ environment were inspired by the enthusiasm of the likeable couple. Initially, it was the ad seller Miguel Caowho listened carefully to the dreams of Caro and Andreas and suddenly got sharp ears. Cao brooded himself: What if it wasn’t just bodybuilders who came to Mallorca? What if a different outdoor activity were offered at every balneario? Together with his friend Sebastián Terrassa, a former MZ photographer, he continued the idea. Yoga and mindfulness at the balnearios at Can Pastilla. Dance courses at the level of the large discos at Balnearios 5 and 6, skate parks in the areas towards Llucmajor. “We took a close look at the area and found that there are rather neglected green areas in the vicinity of the Balnearios that could be used ideally,” says Terrassa.

The two friends quickly realized what potential lay dormant behind this crazy-sounding brainstorming session. Especially at a moment when drinking tourism in Playa de Palma was already on a break. “And now that the world has realized that there needs to be a lot more outdoor activity,” explains Cao. However, the two were also aware that neither the bodybuilder couple Robens nor they themselves were allowed to penetrate to the ultimately politically responsible. They decided to contact a man from the Balearic University (UIB) whom they had read about in the newspaper “Diario de Mallorca”.

The ideas professional from the university

From the first conversation it became clear that the ideas were with Julio Batle fell on fertile ground. At first glance, one might think that the university professor would have little to do with the bodybuilders on Playa de Palma. But in the desire to finally cast off the booze image on Ballermann and instead prepare the bay of the Balearic capital for contemporary tourism, the fitness studio operators, the MZ employees and the business administration professor agree. And many more people, as it soon turned out to be.

But let’s stay with Batle for now, who is anything but a typical academic. Many of his business administration students at the Balearic University despair while taking notes in the lectures because Batle likes to jump from one concept to another and new ideas keep bubbling out of him. It’s not for nothing that Batle is at the UIB alongside his teaching activities Head of the Laboratory for Business Creation and Social Innovation at UIB, Head of New Projects at the Observatory for Startups in Spain and Co-Founder of GlobalCEN, a Mallorcan company that offers applied research to better deal with nature. Batle’s brain is constantly working at full speed and immediately links the ideas that others put forward with the knowledge he has accumulated from the field of business start-ups.

It quickly became clear to Batle that the bodybuilder crush is a serious idea with revolutionary potential for Playa de Palma, which has wanted to get away from the image of drinking tourism for decades and has already devoured millions without a goal really achievable. Batle drafted a concept.

From the mouth of a university scholar, of course, the ideas sound very different and are embellished with a few English technical terms. The outdoor gym quickly turns into one GymHubthat fits into a landscape of various themed SportHubs. The idea grows. Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands could come to terms with these plans – as it is literally in Batle’s project draft – “to Avant-garde in post-Covid tourism“Swing up. “The moment is right and the desire to reinvent and adapt the sector has never been so great. A golden era of tourism innovation could be in store for the Balearic Islands, ”says the preface to the“ Leisure Hubs on Playa de Palma ”project.

With regard to the resistance of the authorities so far – especially the stonewalling Coastal Authority the Spanish central government in Madrid – Julio Batle writes: “The private use of the beaches is a priori problematic. But not if it is a project that is supported by the key public and private institutions. It could develop into a model project in which many participants pull together. ”


And further: “The responsibility of the coastal authority prevents the Balearic Government from taking the initiative itself. But we assume that a clearly defined and mature innovative project that is supported by social and entrepreneurial collectives (ideally by entrepreneurial associations of Playa de Palma, the Impulsa Foundation, the industry associations, the Balearic University UIB and the state government) cannot be stopped would be. ”Suddenly that doesn’t sound like unrealistic bodybuilders’ daydreams at all. “Unstoppable” – so it says in the document of the business administration professor.

In an interview with the MZ, Batle explains his assessment in more detail. It’s about combining the conventional concept of sun and beach with sport and emerging youth culture. “The division into subject areas of the Playa de Palma is also for reasons of Branding necessary, ”said Batle. “It’s not about simply attracting athletes. It’s about addressing certain segments of athletes, ”he explains and names next to them Strength athletes, cyclists, yoga practitioners or people who want to combine fitness with mindfulness. There needs to be concrete, visible offers on the beach that act like hubs and incorporate the island’s existing offers and entrepreneurial structures. Caro and Andreas Robens are good examples of this. They already have a gym and a restaurant serving healthy fast food for athletes. Behind it are other companies, brands, services. In the field of cycle tourism, for example, well-known entrepreneurs such as Max Hürzeler are already active, who can address their own target groups.

In the end, it is also about modern “urban tribes“To attract digital nomads to settle anywhere in the world, Batle said. Mallorca must become more attractive for such target groups. A real sport offer on the Playa de Palma is a good advertisement.

A dream needs pictures

A project idea formulated professionally in this way opens many doors. But to convey ideas you also need pictures. The illustrator who commutes between Mallorca and Germany Joanna Hegemann agreed to make at least a first drawing that would give the viewer an immediate impression of the GymHub in Palma. “In general, I think the idea is good,” says Hegemann. “But I don’t know to what extent this is planned. And to what extent it doesn’t get a little voyeuristic is not quite clear to me either, ”she says, referring to the open-air bodybuilder studio on Playa de Palma. She still likes the first draft. As soon as financial resources were available in the matter, she would be happy to receive a paid assignment.

Lots of open doors

On the subject of money: Batle also considers the current situation to be extremely favorable with regard to this question. The He has submitted an application for the SportHubs within the framework of the EU funding from the Next Generation fund submitted – the money that will be made available from Brussels to overcome the Corona crisis. “However, the project still has to overcome many hurdles in order to really be selected,” admits Batle.

He also received positive feedback on the suggestions from the hoteliers in Playa de Palma, said the university professor. “Nobody is satisfied with the current situation.” And adds instructively: “You have to fight for ideas without clinging to them.” You have to open them up to others and see what develops from them.

Plans for more exchanges in Playa de Palma

For the first time, there will be regular meetings at Playa de Palma at which the companies involved can agree on common interests and settle disputes. Resident representatives of hoteliers, retailers, restaurants and operators of discos and nightclubs want to exchange ideas on a new platform within the CAEB business association. Common concerns are the fight against drug trafficking as well as drinking bouts and loud music on the street. And the round could soon also discuss the SportHubs’ proposal.

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