Miniatur Wonderland

“Let’s go Keith!”, my Mum said sternly as she pulled on my shoulder.

“Wait! There’s a plane approaching! There! Can you see its lights?”, I retorted, determined to see the plane land. “Just a few more minutes!”, I pleaded.

My Mum sighed. “Ok, then. One more. And after it lands, we’re going home!”

This happened every time we went to the airport to send my Dad off or pick him up. I was about seven-years-old and my fascination for airplanes was immense. As soon as we arrived at the airport, I would make a beeline for the observation deck and wouldn’t budge until my Mum came to get me.

I’d not thought of those memories for a long time until my recent visit to the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. The Miniatur Wunderland miniature museum boasts the largest model railway and model airport in the world. As soon as I entered, I was greeted by a variety of landscapes, from Hamburg city and port to snow-covered mountains and green rolling hills dotted with quaint villages and towns… all in miniature size!

Miniatur Wunderland – a wondrous miniature museum

Hills, viaducts, canals and towns in miniature!
City scenes at Miniatur Wonderland.

Trains whizzed past the towns, over bridges and through mountain tunnels. It was an absolutely incredible sight. The lights in the exhibition space changed gradually – from daytime to the reddish hues of sunset to the darkness of night – whilst the lights in the cities and towns sprang to life.

Lights sparkle as the night falls.

I’d heard about the miniature airport that Miniature Wunderland Hamburg is so famous for, so that was my first priority and I found it soon enough. Located in a separate hall, the airport was massive! Airlines from around the world landed at and took off from the single runway or taxied to/from the large terminal building.

The airport at Miniatur Wonderland.

My plane-spotting childhood memories flooded my mind in an instant and I couldn’t help but shed a tear – those were some of the best memories I had with my Mum and Dad; all of us on the observation deck, sharing an ice-cream and watching the planes. I stood there for at least 30 minutes watching the model planes land and take-off. I’d never seen a model airport look this realistic in my life!


Miniatur Wonderland is truly a wondrous place. Look closely and you’ll be amazed by the attention to detail. My favourite is the outdoor concert, with thousands of tiny figurines. Zoom in and you’ll see all sorts of hilarious theatrics in the crowd and backstage. I could spend hours here just looking at the details and imagining the stories being told through each figurine or scene.

The concert!
Looks like they’re having a fab time at the concert!

Another section that is absolutely worthwhile is the series of scenes depicting the history of Berlin from the end of World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The detail and emotion captured in these scenes are simply astonishing.

Scenes of the division and reunification of Berlin at Miniatur Wunderland. Notice the detail. In the top-left, spot the man painting the white stripe on the road, what was to become the Berlin Wall. The two lower photos depict the fall of the Wall. Notice the people hacking at the wall and selling pieces of it at makeshift stalls.
East Berliners scrambling to freedom, assisted by their Western counterparts.

The trains, planes, cars, ships, trams and even carts are in constant motion – there must be thousands of moving components in Miniatur Wunderland – and are monitored from a Control Centre. It’s an impressive sight to see the staff at work!

The Miniatur Wonderland Control Centre.

If you’re visiting Hamburg, don’t miss the Miniatur Wunderland (tickets via GetYourGuide). This miniature museum certainly brought back so many fond childhood memories for me but above all, it truly is a remarkable place!

Read about how I re-lived my childhood fascination with planes and trains at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

13 Responses

  • This year I was for the first time in Miniatur Wunderland and I loved it. I am curious how it will look like in a few years, when there will be more scenery 🙂

  • […] A week later, I was in Hamburg, Germany, for the iambassador conference: The Social Travel Summit. The Summit, a gathering of professional travel bloggers and marketing executives from around the world, was a big success and I couldn’t be more proud of this achievement. There were many highlights during my time in Hamburg; one of them was my visit to the Miniatur Wunderland. […]

  • Dear Mum,
    I remember those days vividly, even the sounds and the smell of kerosine. The miniature airport at Miniatur Wunderland brought back all those wonderful memories.

    Love you Mum!
    Keith xoxoxo

  • I luv this article Keith! bringing us to your childhood..also good job done by Hamburg! amazing…especially the way the history is captured this way 🙂 (and the party people dancing in line, wow!)

  • Yes Keith, those were the days. You were young, care-free with no worries. You were always excited when we were going to the airport and it was always so difficult to get you to go home. Reading your article brought all those memories back and tears welled up in my eyes too. Yes those were fun days for all of us. Miniatur Wunderland must have been really exciting for you.


  • Hi Janice,

    It sure is a fun place for small and big kids! 😉 I loved it! The attention to detail is quite staggering. That museum in San Miguel de Allende looks pretty special too. Thanks for sharing!


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Appeared In