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“Comprehensive Maritime History in One Gorgeous Building - die maritime Geschichte in einem grossartigen Gebaeude”

International Maritime Museum
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Hamburg Card
Ranked #11 of 302 things to do in Hamburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Learn about the history and future of shipping, and Hamburg’s importance, at this tremendous museum. Artifacts include ship models, paintings, uniforms and nautical devices.
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Comprehensive Maritime History in One Gorgeous Building - die maritime Geschichte in einem grossartigen Gebaeude”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2014

Dieses Museum existierte in kleinerer Version in einem anderen Stadtteil, aber das jetzige Museum im aeltesten Speicher der Hafenstadt ist Weltklasse! Neun Stockwerke maritime Geschichte, mit einer Sammlung, die alles umfasst: Modelle, Uniformen, Fotos, Videos, Kunstwerke wie Buddelschiffe und Knochenschiffe, Bernsteinschliffe und viel mehr. Es ist unmoeglich, alles in einem Besuch zu sehen und erfassen, aber wir waren fasziniert und planen den naechsten Besuch!

This museum in the oldest preserved warehouse in Hamburg's Harbor City is truly world class! 9 stories of a collection touching on every aspect of maritime history, encompassing models, uniforms, photographs, videos, art works and more. A must see for any visitor interested in maritime history. The location is perfectly organic in this harbor city. The collection is so comprehensive that it is impossible to see it all in one visit but we were fascinated and plan on coming back.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank marionrr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
145 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Outstandingly good”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2014

This is a total gem. The collection was (and perhaps still is?) private and is displayed in an extremely beautiful building, in a far more innovative way than typical museums. It is worth going just to see the inside and how museums should do it. Some of the very best maritime models and artefacts I have ever seen.

Visited June 2014
Thank Adrian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria Virginia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“If Ships Are Your Thing, This Is Nirvana”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2014

A guidebook series that I like lists the Top 10 Attractions in each city but omitted the Maritime Museum of Hamburg. I was shocked, but on reflection, they are correct. Hamburg offers so much that the competition is tougher, and one’s interest in this particular museum will vary greatly from one visitor to the next. If you are interested in things maritime, this is one of the best museums in the world. If not, it must seem like drinking from a fire hose. For me personally, it was one of the highlights of my trip.

The museum is located in the port area in Kaispeicher B, or Quay Warehouse B, built in 1878. It is the oldest surviving port warehouse in Hamburg, and a fitting home for the museum. The building has retained its old exterior, but is thoroughly modern inside. There are ten stories (called decks by the museum) of displays. It is virtually impossible to see everything in a single visit, so planning is in order. Here are the broad topics for each deck: 0: Entrance, shop, and restaurants; 1: World exploration + children’s area; 2: The earliest days of ships and sail; 3: Shipbuilding and engineering; 4: Life on board + ships’ armaments; 5: Navies of the world; 6: Merchant and pleasure cruise shipping; 7: Ocean expeditions; 8: Art gallery and treasure chamber, 9: The big world of little ships (models); 10: special exhibits and event facilities.

I focused my four hour visit on the early history of ships, navigation, and maps, but no one should miss the model of the Queen Mary 2, built entirely of 780,00 Lego bricks. Another feature is a simulator which permits the visitor to function as a ship’s captain trying to enter a harbor. There is a choice of three vessels – a container ship, a cruise ship, and a catamaran – and three harbors to enter – Hamburg, Rotterdam, or Singapore. This feature operates only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday afternoons from 2 PM onward. In another section, you can watch museum technicians building or restoring old ship models. The quality of the displays is excellent and the lighting is good, not always a given in European museums.

One warning about ticket prices – they are not cheap. An adult ticket is 12.50 Euros. Families get a break; a small family group ticket is 14.50 and a family is 24.50. I have no idea where the line between small family and family is drawn. The museum is closed on Mondays.

One other note: I don’t have children, so I am a bit outside my comfort zone here, but I think small children could quickly become bored with this museum. There is a dedicated children’s area on Deck One, which I did not check out. Done right it might help, but that leaves a lot of museum that adults will want to see. There are, to be sure, things which kids might like (ref Lego Queen Mary above), but they are scattered throughout the museum. I can see a child quickly becoming bored while staring at maps or compasses or maritime art.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Olearius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
142 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Best maritime museum we have ever seen; spent 7 hours there spread over 2 days”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2014

We are keen on model ships and maritime paintings and rate this maritime museum the best we have ever seen, by a long way (comparing for example with Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Venice, Liverpool and Greenwich and not to denigrate those in any way - they are all fine museums).

This is a huge collection beautifully displayed. The quality of the larger models taking up most of the nine floors of the museum is unbelievable. Amongst the warships are all the usual suspects (Yamato, Tirpitz, Bismarck, Hood, Royal Oak...), passenger ships include Titanic of course, sailing ships such as Cutty Sark, Pamir, Preussen... and the collection of merchant ships, research vessels, tugs etc. is just stunning.

The top floor consists of tiny scale 1:1,250 models; every ship I have ever been on was here, Union Castle Line, Bergen Line, Belgian Marine, the much-missed Olau Line, even CalMac.

Other highlights for me - a stunning painting by Barry Mason called 'The White Ship', a replica of Shackleton's 'James Caird', a 1930's documentary in colour of Hamburg harbour and time-lapse films of the building of the Cosco Panama and a voyage from Hamburg to Shanghai.

We whizzed through the collection in 3 hours on day 1 and were so blown away we went back next day for another 4 hours. It was quiet even on a weekend so no problem just to stop and stare. Plenty of info in English as well as German and English audio-guides are available.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Trisha K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Brilliant !”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2014

This museum is just a piece of art ! 10 floors on the history of the differents boats all around the world ! From how it's made to where it went and for which reason...
Even the Queen Mary II all made of LEGO'S !!!!!
It took me 3 hours to see it all, and I rushed at the end just because I was hungry, I would have stayed the whole afternoon :)

Visited April 2014
Thank litlle_mari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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