″Villa Ritz″ to Blur Line Between Day Care and Day Spa | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 14.03.2006
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"Villa Ritz" to Blur Line Between Day Care and Day Spa

In a wealthy neighborhood outside Berlin, the toddlers of the very rich are soon to be offered trilingual child care at exorbitant prices. Silver spoon included.


Tell me, how much do you pay your nanny?

When it comes to the new project for the Villa Ritz child care center soon to open in Potsdam, near Berlin, the adjective "super" seems hard to avoid. Press reports are gushing about the "super kindergarten" soon to open for children of the "super rich," even before the first sandbox has been dug -- though when it is it will no doubt be filled with "super-fine" sand.

According to plans, the new day care -- in a soon-to-be-renovated historic villa -- will have a few amenities not normally associated with the naptime set.

Rou n d the clock care

For instance, there are plans for a sauna, bodyguard and chauffeur service, and monthly-changing "theme parks" (desert, rain forest, etc.,) for the tykes to explore.

Kindergarten in Deutschland

Day care reflects society: Some kids will build housing blocks while others make villas

Not to mention exceptionally accommodating hours in a country where the vast majority of kids between the ages of three and six are only in care until lunchtime, and child-care options for under-threes are nearly nonexistent.

"The main opening hours will be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but we will also have six spots ready for overnight stays" at any given time, Stephan Knabe, an accountant who is one of the founders of Villa Ritz GmbH, said in an interview with dpa press agency.

Getti n g a jump o n Ma n dari n

The Villa will take in children up to six years old. The jet-set juniors will be taught in three languages, German, English, and either Spanish or Chinese, presumably the better to prepare them for life in the world economy.

The planned bodyguard service is meant to protect the children of the rich and famous -- after the Berlin Wall fell, Potsdam's villas became home to folks like designer Wolfgang Joop and the head of the Springer publishing house, Mathias Döpfner -- from prying eyes and potential harm.

High teacher-stude n t ratio

There will be one care-giver for every five children, as compared with a typical German Kindergarten, where the ratio is one to 13.

Das Schloss Sanssouci ist die touristische Hauptattraktion der Stadt Potsdam.

Only Potsdam's world famous Sanssouci Palace might be even more luxurious

A baseline rate for a slot in the in the pricey preschool is likely to be up to 1,000 euros ($1,200) per month, in a country where normal daycare is heavily subsidized and costs 300 euros per month.

"Our services are meant for people in all different fields, but it is easy to imagine that people like actors, investment bankers, diplomats, and even IT consultants would be interested -- anyone who earns a lot of money, but doesn't have much time for their children," Knabe said.

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