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Ships transport people and goods. Learn more about their development and about ships as a living and working environment. In the Oceanography area, we travel into the deepest depths of the ocean.

Exhibition closed

The second half of the museum is currently being renovated, which is why this area has been closed since July 2022. The modernisation of the exhibition is scheduled to be completed in 2028, the 125th anniversary of the museum's founding.
“Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world, and consequently the world itself.”
Sir Walter Raleigh, seafarer

Boats and ships have connected people and cultures for thousands of years. For a long time, they were the only way of interacting across continents. It is easier to transport goods and people by water than by land.
Built for transport, pursuit or conquest, moved by muscle power, wind or engines, boats and ships navigate rivers, lakes and seas and open up the world.

In the large Marine Navigation Hall and in the basement of the Deutsches Museum, there is a lot for you to discover about marine navigation. The exhibition shows the development of ships, presents the ship as a space for living and working and features diving technology as well as themes such as ship theory, shipbuilding and navigation.

Around 90%of global cargo traffic is transported by sea-going vessels.

More than 400,000Filipino sailors work on merchant vessels and cruise ships throughout the world.

Over 300 tonnesof heavy fuel oil is consumed by a single large container ship each day.

Marine Navigation – Exhibition Themes

With wind, steam and muscle power

Ships are full of stories.

Wind, steam and muscle power

Toward new shores

A series of models on Level 0 provides a glimpse into the past.

Toward new shores

Reliable technology and safe navigation

The technical progress in the field of navigation made voyages increasingly safe.

Technology and navigation

Power and prestige

Its great significance for trade also made the sea an arena for demonstrations of power.

Power and prestige

Yearning and danger: voyages across the sea

Land ahoy! In the basement, you can experience the view from a ship’s promenade deck or a ship’s wheelhouse on the journey into the port of Hamburg, Germany.

Yearning and danger


In order to move on the water, people initially had to build a suitable vehicle out of the materials that they found in their vicinity.

Detailaufnahme des Fischer-Ewers "Maria" HF 31.

Sailing ships

The development of sailing ships is presented in the exhibition.

Sailing ships


Until the 19th century, shipbuilding was still governed by the artisan tradition of wooden shipbuilding.



This area features a collection of warships from various eras and the replica of a gun deck.


Passenger ships

The passenger ships at the end of the nineteenth century/beginning of the twentieth century represented the prestige of the industrialised nations in terms of their performance and their design.

Passenger ships
View of a diving suit in the Oceanography exhibition.


Here, everything revolves around the exploration of the oceans. Oceanography is in the Marine Navigation area and is regarded as a separate exhibition.

Oceanography exhibition


From our app with an audio guide

Der Fischer-Ewer "Maria" HF 31.

One of the largest exhibits in the museum awaits you at the entrance to the Marine Navigat

The fishing ewer "Maria” was launched in Hamburg in the early 1880s and remained in use until the 1950s. Find out more.

One ship changes the world

Sabine Rohjan, Chair of the Freundes- und Förderkreis Deutsches Museum e. V. (Friends and Sponsors of the Deutsches Museum), explains the "Dutch fluyt" – and how this sailing ship changed the world. The film is currently only available in German.


  • around 3,700 sqm
  • Dioramas: 7 dioramas
  • Exhibits: 1500

Arts and Crafts in the Maritime Collection - Treasures from the Seas

Nocturnal mit ewigem Kalender

From: unbekannt

Date: um 1745

Skulptur Allegorie "Handel"

From: Haverkamp, Wilhelm; Hamburg-Amerika Linie

Date: ca. 1900

Pinnkompass, Nachbildung

From: Deutsches Museum <München>; unbekannt

Date: 1910

Flaschenschiff Linienschiff "Victory"

From: Hörning; Royal Dockyard Chatham

Date: 1990

Do you have organizational questions?

Further Exhibitions

View of a diving suit in the Oceanography exhibition.


With the help of the submersible GEO exhibited here, the primitive deep-sea creatures called coelacanths were filmed for the first time ever in their natural environment! The exhibition offers insights into fascinating underwater worlds and the history of diving.

Wings of the Lilienthal glider.

Historic Aviation

Be inspired by an original plane from the Wright brothers and a faithful replica of Otto Lilienthal’s glider. Learn all about mankind’s dream of flight and how it became reality.

Power Machinery exhibition.

Power Machinery

Step into what feels like an old machine hall, with spinning water wheels and steam engines – many of which look like works of art and can still be set in motion today!

Demonstration of a high-voltage current with a lightning discharge.

Electric Power

One of the Deutsches Museum’s most popular attractions is the high-voltage demonstration. With heart-stopping flashing and crackling, the show takes place three times daily and features the famous Faraday cage in action!