With over fifty Hamburg museums, there’s plenty of unusual and interesting places to explore. Many of Hamburg’s museums and galleries are connected to its identity as a harbor city.
International Maritime Museum
Hamburg is unique among German cities because of its long maritime history. The International Maritime Museum (Koreastraße 1) explores this past. Its perfect location along the water allows you to peer out onto the Elbe as you view the world’s largest (private) collection of shipping history.
Over 1,000 model ships are on display, from Greek triremes to Viking boats to Hanseatic frigates. This ten-floor museum is a unique experience.
Another unusual Hamburg museum, Miniature Wonderland (Kehrwieder 2-4) features model railways, trains and scenery. It made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest computerized model railway.
This impressive display boasts 250,000 miniature trees, 15,000 m (almost 50,000 ft) of tracks with 15,000 carriages and 5,000 houses and bridges. The whole complex encompasses an area of 4,000 square meters (13,000 square feet)!
It is open 365 days a year, so be sure not to miss this attraction.
The Hamburg Dungeon (Kehrwieder 2) is open year-round but makes a great Halloween attraction. If you love horror, then this is a must-see. These old catacombs feature chilling and bloody presentations of the Black Death, the Great Fire of 1842, the death of an infamous pirate and torture displays.
The Panoptikum (Spielbudenplatz 3) is Hamburg’s answer to Madame Tussauds. This collection of wax figures dates back to 1879. There are more than 100 figures on display, varying from Egyptian Queen Cleopatra to the King of Rock Elvis to the beloved boy wizard Harry Potter.
The Speicherstadt (St. Annenufer 2) provides a detailed view of the life of an old dock worker. The historical photos, old tools and recreations are showcased here.
That infamous machine of the Second World War wreaked havoc on the high seas, but today it’s just a cool tourist attraction at this Hamburg museum. The U-Boat Museum (Versmannstraße 24) contains the post-WW2 U-434 espionage submarine built in Russia in 1974. A tour will tell you all about life in the sub and the difficult lives of its crew.
The Kunsthalle (Glockengießerwall) is a wonderful Hamburg art gallery and one of Germany’s largest. With its focus on European art, you’ll find Gothic paintings, antique coins, Renaissance medallions and 20th century sculpture. But its true specialty is German art of the 19th century. Hans von Marées and Anselm Feuerbach are two highlighted artists.
Museum of Art and Craft
This art museum (Steintorplatz) is another great place for art lovers. Its collection is truly international with its showcase of applied art works from Germany, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.