|Type||Limited liability company |
(Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung)
|Frederik & Gerrit Braun, Stephan Hertz|
Number of employees
Miniatur Wunderland (German for 'miniature wonderland') is a model railway and miniature airport attraction in Hamburg, Germany, the largest of its kind in the world. The railway is located in the historic Speicherstadt district of the city.
In October 2016 the railway consisted of 15,715 m (51,558 ft) of track in H0 scale, divided into nine sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland, a replica of the Hamburg Airport and Italy. Of the 7,000 m2 (75,347 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,499 m2 (16,135 sq ft).
The exhibit includes 1,300 trains made up of over 10,000 carriages, over 100,000 moving vehicles, ca. 500,000 lights, 130,000 trees, and 400,000 human figurines. Planning is also in progress for the construction of sections for Central America and the Caribbean, Asia, England, Africa and The Netherlands.
In the summer of 2000, Frederik Braun, one of the two founders of Miniatur Wunderland, was on vacation in Zurich. There, in a model train store, he came up with the idea for the world's largest model railroad. Back in Hamburg, he searched for email addresses from the Internet and started a survey on the popularity of real and fictional sights of the city. In the process, the Miniatur Wunderland, which did not yet exist, was ranked 3 by male respondents.
According to the brothers Gerrit and Frederik Braun, the idea for the Miniatur Wunderland, including the financing plan, fit on just two pages. The financial backer was the Hamburger Sparkasse.
After construction began in December 2000, the first three sections (Knuffingen, Central Germany and Austria) went into operation on August 16, 2001. Since then, new sections have been added. With the completion of the Hamburg, German Coast section in November 2002, Wunderland became the largest model railroad in Europe. Expansions in December 2003 with the theme USA and July 2005 with Scandinavia followed. On September 10, 2015, Gerrit and Frederik Braun placed the missing piece of track between the Switzerland section and a new Italy section. In doing so, they extended the track length from 13,000 to 15,400 meters. This was recorded by a Guinness judge, who then presented the certificate for the newly established world record. The 190 square meter section Bella Italia was opened on 28. September 2016 after four years of construction with 180,000 working hours and costs of around four million euros. With the construction section Monaco / Provence started in August 2019, another 315 meters will be added. The total length of currently 15,715 m thus corresponds to 1,367.21 km in real length, so this is now also the largest model railway layout in the world across all scales.
|1||Central Germany / Harz||August 2001||ca. 120 m2|
|2||Knuffingen||August 2001||ca. 120 m2|
|3||Austria||August 2001||ca. 60 m2|
|4||Hamburg||November 2002||ca. 200 m2|
|5||America||December 2003||ca. 100 m2|
|6||Scandinavia||July 2005||ca. 300 m2|
|7||Switzerland||November 2007||ca. 250 m2|
|8||Knuffingen Airport||May 2011||ca. 150 m2|
|4 a||Hamburg - subsection Hafencity
|November 2013||ca. 9 m2|
|9||Italy||September 2016||ca. 190 m2|
|9 a||Italy - Subsection Venice||February 2018||ca. 9 m2|||
|1 a||Central Germany / Harz - Subsection Kirmes||June 2020||ca. 9 m2|||
|10||Monaco / Provence||2021 (under construction)||ca. 63 m2|||
|11||South America||2022 (under construction)||ca. 220 m2|||
|12||The World From Above||2022 (under construction)||ca. 10m2|||
|13||Central America & The Caribbean||2024 (planned)||ca. 150m2|||
The next stage under construction is Monaco (with Formula 1 circuit). After its completion, South America is to be represented. The new section is to be built by the end of 2021 in a neighboring building. A bridge installed on July 15, 2020 will lead to it.
Other projects include Central America/Caribbean and Asia.
Visitors walk back and forth between different rooms in a long corridor. Trains run along the walls of the rooms and on peninsula-like protrusions. The layout consists (as of September 2016) of nine completed sections of 60 to 300 m2 Model area:
Special features include a simulated daily routine where twilight, night and day repeat every 15 minutes. This includes an automatic lighting control system that switches more than 300,000 lights to match the time of day.
The 120-square-meter fantasy town of Knuffingen, with a population of about 6,000, is equipped with more than 100 moving model cars, including numerous fire engines, which are used to simulate a firefighting operation in Knuffingen every 15 minutes on average. Traffic simulation is made possible by a modified car system that is also used in the USA, Scandinavia and Knuffingen Airport sections. In the America section, even an Interstate Highway is equipped with a dynamic Traffic Control System, which controls traffic through four different speed limits as well as permanent light signs and a variable text display.
The layout is considered to be rich in detail, examples include a changing scoreboard in the Volkspark Stadium or a crashed cheese wheel truck. There is also a Jet gas station there, displaying the real current gasoline prices of its prototype in Hamburg's Amsinck street.
Visitors can control operations on the system through ca. 200 pushbuttons. These button actions are a highlight for many visitors. For example, a mine train starts, wind turbines turn, the next goal falls in the football stadium, a space shuttle takes off, a helicopter takes off or Pinocchio's Nose begins to grow. A push button even allows visitors to watch the simulated production of a small bar of chocolate in a factory and taste the real product for themselves.
Certain tours also include a behind-the-scenes look at detailed figures that cannot be seen from the normal public area.
After six years of planning and construction, the model airport "Knuffingen Airport" was officially opened to visitors on May 4, 2011 as a special section of the facility. Its buildings resemble the Hamburg Airport. As in the fictional main town of Knuffingen, there is also a simulation of a fire department with a large fleet of vehicles, including four airfield fire engines. On the 14 meter long runway, aircraft models can be accelerated to scale realistically on an invisible sled, and by means of two guide rods can also seemingly lift off the ground and disappear into a (cloud) wall. Depending on the launch phase, the guide rods allow a horizontal tilt of the aircraft that approximates reality.
To be found here are a wide variety of common commercial aircraft including Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, in the liveries of many airlines around the world. Even models of the still relatively new Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" aircraft take off and land at Knuffingen. There is also a Concorde in British Airways livery, a Space Shuttle, a bee and the "Millennium Falcon" spaceship known from Star Wars.
The movement of the aircraft on the ground is realized with the help of technology based on the Car system. The vehicles in the airport tell their own little stories with coordinated refueling, loading and unloading before and after landing starting from the aircraft parking positions.
Unlike the other landscapes, the railroad at the airport is hardly visible. There is only an airport station underground.
According to the operators, the 150-square-meter space has cost around 3.5 million euros, in addition to 150,000 man-hours. The area is equipped not only with many rolling aircraft models, but also with hundreds of cars, passenger boarding bridges, parking garages, airport hotels, a subway and individual figures.
On December 5, 2012, the ten millionth visitor came to Miniatur Wunderland, on December 2, 2016 the fifteen millionth. Around three quarters of visitors come from Germany, the remaining quarter from abroad, mainly from Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, England, the US and China.
In 2010, company founders Frederik and Gerrit Braun and Stephan Hertz were awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for their social commitment. The Miniatur Wunderland also holds the Guinness World Record for "Longest melody played by a model train."
Several times after completion of the various expansion stages, the Hamburg were visited by a team of reporters of the Eisenbahn-Romantik from SWR. They were also granted a look behind the scenes. Numerous television stations, magazines and newspapers have already reported on the Miniatur Wunderland.
In May 2009, rapper Samy Deluxe filmed the video clip for his socially critical song Stumm in Miniatur Wunderland. Within just one night, about 100 sequences were recorded in which a miniature figure "runs" (stop-motion) through the layout.
In 2015, together with the singer Helene Fischer, a campaign for Ein Herz für Kinder was launched, in which over 450,000 euros (as of 01/2016) were collected. The campaign was presented, among others, in the Ein Herz für Kinder Gala.