You Must See Germany's Top "Miniatur" Tourist Attraction
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
1,300 trains, 100,000 moving vehicles, 500,000 lights, and 400,000 human figurines.
You'd think Germany's top tourist attraction would be the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, or Neuschwanstein Castle (which, by the way, are all must see's)! The country's top attraction is actually Miniatur Wunderland, a Guinness World Record-holding museum in Hamburg that features the world's largest model railway, a miniature airport, 500,000 lights, and 400,000 human figurines.
The museum is the brainchild of brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun, who took a childhood dream of building a model railway station and making it a reality. Frederick came across a model shop during holiday in Zurich, Switzerland, called his twin brother, and said, “We are going to build the world’s largest model railway."
The brothers approached model maker Gerhard Dauscher and hired other craftsmen to get to work, and in 2001, Miniatur Wunderland opened with three model sections: Central Germany, Knuffingen, and Austria. The space started with just 1,500 square meters of miniature creations and has grown into 7,000 square meters of models and counting.
Walking through the museum, you'll be awed by model creations of Hamburg, USA, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Knuffingen Airport, Italy, and Monaco/Provence. A model of South America and "The World From Above" are expected in 2022, Central America & The Caribbean in 2024, and Asia by 2027.
Within the USA theme, you can find detailed models of the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Mount Rushmore, Christmas Village, and Area 51. The Scandinavia theme features a real water basin with falling and rising tide every 25 minutes, a ship control system, Egeskov Castle, a massive snow landscape, and Storebælt Bridge, Wunderland's biggest structure.
Just check out the level of detail I captured throughout the exhibit in the gallery above. Police investigators at the scene of a body in a creek, and a music festival! We've even got some realistic "dad bods" at the beach, a massive cruise ship, and fire trucks at the scene of a car wreck. The incredible Knuffingen Airport that push back from the gate with push-back vehicles, taxi to the runway, and take off!
The miniature fun fair theme in Central Germany is extraordinary, with fairground rides that defy the laws of gravity and 150 attractions, rides, and food stands. There are 100,000 total LEDs in this theme, with between 1,200 and 2,000 per ride that light up when the museum simulation switches the scenery from day to night every 15 minutes.
Ridiculous, right?! I know this blog post is video heavy, but with creativity like this, how could words suffice? And if you're blown away as you watch a video, trust me - it's even more impressive in person. When I visited, I walked through the entire space taking photos and videos of each model, and I really could have spent an entire day admiring the detail.
Here are some more figures that really encompass the amount of ingenuity and detail put into Miniatur Wunderland models:
15,715 m track length
10,000+ rail cars
250 flights per day
947,500 working hours
36,000,000 Euros of construction costs
Does the Miniatur Wunderland seem like a place you'd definitely visit on a trip to Germany, and if you're shaking your head yes, why? Comment in the box below!
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