Hamburg boasts a fascinating seafaring history and the best place to discover the maritime events and people that have shaped the city is at the International Maritime Museum. It’s housed in an immense red-brick heritage building in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg and traces more than 3,000 years of maritime history through artifacts, model ships and artworks.
The International Maritime Museum Hamburg is based around the private collection of Peter Tamm, which was begun in 1934 when he was just six years old. From a single model ship gifted by his mother, it has expanded into more than 40,000 items and over one million photographs.
Witness a 3,000-year-old dugout that was found in the River Elbe, model ships made from whale bones and ivory, as well as weapons, uniforms and decorations relating to international maritime history. There’s also a reproduction of the James Caird lifeboat used by German explorer Arved Fuchs during Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and original letters written by Lord Horatio Nelson who was famed for his Battle of Trafalgar victory.
Originally known as the Academic Institute of Shipping and Naval History, the museum was initially housed in a mansion on Elbchaussee street. It wasn’t until 2008 that it moved to its current location in one of HafenCity’s former warehouses and opened as the Internationales Maritimes Museum.
The Kaispeicher B warehouse that houses the museum is the oldest of its kind in Hamburg, having been built in 1878 in a neo-Gothic style. It was originally constructed for the storage of packages goods and used as a grain elevator, with it being listed as a cultural heritage building in 2000.