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International Maritime Museum Hamburg

Admire this vast collection of maritime treasures, and learn all about life at sea through the ages.

The International Maritime Museum Hamburg traces over 3,000 years of nautical history, exploring our ever-changing relationship with the world’s oceans. You’ll discover priceless exhibits and artefacts, from ancient dugout canoes to the first navigational instruments and maps, all housed in this enormous 11,000-square-metre space.

This museum owes its existence to Professor Peter Tamm, a journalist and former CEO of the Axel-Springer company, who, from the age of six, dedicated himself to building up the largest private maritime collection in the world. Since June 2008, the museum has occupied the vast Kaispeicher B building, the oldest of the warehouses to be conserved in the city.

The exhibition spans ten floors, or “decks”, each dedicated to a different aspect of maritime history. Discover how shipbuilding techniques illustrate the technical capabilities and advances of each century, from the hollowed-out tree trunk canoe recovered from the bed of the River Elbe, to the sketches and models made by 17th-century craftsmen, and the detailed technical blueprints required for modern-day vessels.

Learn about how our view of the world has changed, thanks to the collection of historical charts and maps, including the “Atlantis Majoris” of 1657, and marvel at the precision of the sextants and compasses that enabled ships to stay on their course.

The museum also holds an extensive collection of memorabilia from around the world, including uniforms, weapons and medals from the navy, and documents and photographs from the major commercial lines. Whilst much is on display, the museum’s archives also hold over 15,000 paper copies of cruise ship restaurant menus, as well as 47 of the original letters written by Admiral Lord Nelson.

Some of the information panels provide details in English, but for more in-depth descriptions, you may want to pay for an audio guide, available at the entrance.

The International Maritime Museum is open every day except Mondays. An entrance fee is payable, but family tickets are available. The closest U-Bahn station is Überseequartier.

Guide to Exploring International Maritime Museum


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