Located a 50-minute train ride north of Bremen at Bremerhaven, the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum or German Maritime Museum showcases the country’s rich seafaring history. It forms part of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community and consists of a building designed by Hans Scharoun and a number of museum ships moored in the Old Harbour of Bremerhaven.
The German Maritime Museum is dedicated to exploring the pre-industrial shipping of Central Europe and the impact of industrialization on German commercial shipping, as well as how man has used the sea’s resources throughout the centuries. Highlights include a World War II Mark XXI submarine and the Seute Deern tall ship, as well as an old paddle steamer known as the Meißen.
For the 25th anniversary of the museum in 2000, the Bremen Kogge was presented to the public after a lengthy conservation project. This 14th-century Hanseatic merchant ship was found in the Weser River during dredging in 1962, with kogges only known through medieval documents and seals until then.
In addition to its exhibits that are open to the public, the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum is equipped with a range of laboratories and technical facilities where historic watercraft and maritime artifacts are examined and restored. It boasts a dedicated archive and specialist library, with an adjacent reading room for those particularly interested in German maritime history.
If you’re visiting the German Maritime Museum, take time to explore the old port of Bremerhaven, which is also home to the German Emigration Centre.