miniature wonderland

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Miniatur Wunderland GmbH

legal form GmbH
founding 2000
Seat Hamburg , Germany
management Frederik and Gerrit Braun , Stephan Hertz
Number of employees 360
Branch Model railway

The Miniatur Wunderland (original spelling) in Hamburg is the largest model railway in the world. It is located in the historic Speicherstadt and is operated by Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg GmbH . On the 1,499  square meter layout area there are a total of 15.715 kilometers of tracks (as of August 2019) on a scale of 1:87 ( nominal size H0 ; in reality this would correspond to around 1,367 kilometers of track) on which around 1,040 digitally controlled trains run.


In the summer of 2000, Frederik Braun , one of the two founders of the Miniatur Wunderland, was on vacation in Zurich . There he came up with the idea for the largest model railway in the world in a model railway shop. Back in Hamburg, Frederik looked for e-mail addresses from the Internet and started a survey on the popularity of real and fictional sights in the city. The as yet non-existent Miniatur Wunderland was voted third by the 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 donor was the Hamburger Sparkasse , supported by guarantees from the owners and the Hamburg guarantee association . The plant was financed without public funds.

Development and expansion

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 areas have been added. With the completion of the Hamburg, German coast section in November 2002, the Wunderland became the largest model railway in Europe. Extensions in December 2003 with the US theme and July 2005 with Scandinavia followed. On September 10, 2015, Gerrit and Frederik Braun set the missing track section 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 after four years of construction with 180,000 working hours and costs of around four million euros on September 28, 2016. With the Monaco / Provence construction section, which began in August 2019 , another 315 meters are to be added. The total length of currently 15,715 m corresponds to 1,367.21 km in real length, so that this now also represents the largest model railway in the world across all scales.


number section completion size source
01 Central Germany / Harz August 2001( under construction) approx. 120 m²
02 Knuffingen August 2001( under construction) approx. 120 m²
03 Austria August 2001( under construction) approx. 060 m²
04th Hamburg November 2002( under construction) approx. 200 m²
05 America December 2003( under construction) approx. 100 m²
06th Scandinavia July 2005( under construction) approx. 300 m²
07th Switzerland November 2007( under construction) approx. 250 m²
08th Knuffingen Airport May 2011( under construction) approx. 150 m²
04 a Hamburg - section Hafencity
and Elbphilharmonie
November 2013( under construction) approx. 009 m² a
09 Italy September 2016( under construction) approx. 190 m²
09 a Italy - part of Venice February 2018( under construction) approx. 009 m²
10 Monaco / Provence probably November 2020 (under construction) approx. 036 m²
01 a Central Germany / Harz - Part of the fair probably 2020 (under construction) approx. 009 m² a
11 South America probably 2021 (under construction) approx. 220 m²
12 Central America and the Caribbean probably 2023 (planned)Template: future / in 3 years approx. 140 - 160 m²
13 Asia probably 2026 (planned)Template: future / in 5 years approx. 150 m²
a The area is already offset against the original section.

The next construction phase under construction is Monaco (with Formula 1 course) . After its completion, South America should be shown. The new section is to be built in a building on the other side of the canal by the end of 2021 . A bridge built on July 15, 2020 leads there.

Other projects are Central America / Caribbean and Asia.


The control center with around 70 screens, before its modernization
View of the Hamburg section

Visitors walk back and forth between different rooms in a long hallway. The trains run along the walls of the room and on peninsula-like bulges. The system consists (as of September 2016) of nine completed sections, each with a model area of ​​60 to 300 m²:

  • The first three sections were created in parallel. They show central and southern Germany with the resin , it also has a long ICE - high-speed rail .
  • The fictional town of Knuffingen was given a street system with moving cars as a special feature.
  • In the Austria section, the focus was on the implementation of the Alps theme , including a multi-storey spiral from which trains from the other sections change the corridor side above the heads of the visitors.
  • The next expansion stage includes the section on Hamburg, German coast .
  • The USA section contains, among other things, Las Vegas , Miami , a bit of the Wild West , again a system with moving cars and a spaceport .
Las Vegas in Miniature Wonderland
  • The Scandinavia section focuses on a real body of water: In the future, computer-controlled ships will operate in the 30,000 liter “North Baltic Sea” sea basin. At the moment it is still controlled manually. Also tides are simulated here. A miniature Storebelt bridge crosses the "sea". A mine is reminiscent of Kiruna .
  • The Swiss Alps , which extend over two floors, are modeled on the landscapes of the cantons of Ticino , Graubünden and Valais and were completed in November 2007. Through a ceiling breakthrough on a total area of ​​100 m², the mountains reach almost six meters in height. Visitors reach this new level via stairs, while the trains overcome the differences in height in hidden turns and in a locomotive lift.
  • The “Knuffingen Airport” section was opened in May 2011 after around six years of construction and development and 3.5 million euros in investments. You can see a 150 m² airport with an airport control system that is unique in the world.
  • Hamburg's HafenCity with the Elbphilharmonie forms a small section . Planning began in May 2012 and construction began in August of the same year. A total of nine square meters (m²) were available, on this area 10 selected houses were built. The opening was on November 13, 2013 and was broadcast live.
  • In 2014 an excursion to Italy was made to gather many impressions of the country. These were brought into the 9th construction phase in Italy . In this section you can see some of Rome's sights as well as landscapes such as Tuscany or the lava-spewing Vesuvius . The construction phase was presented in a specially created blog and opened in September 2016.
  • In February 2018, the Venice section was opened with just 9 m². With around 35,000 working hours, it is - in relation to its size - the most complex section.


It was getting dark at the fair

One of the special features is a simulated daily routine in which twilight, night and day are repeated every 15 minutes. This includes an automatic light control that switches over 300,000 lamps to match the time of day.

The 120 square meter fantasy city of Knuffingen with around 6,000 inhabitants is equipped with over 100 movable model cars, including numerous fire engines with which a fire service is simulated every 15 minutes on average. The traffic simulation is made possible by a modified car system that is also used in the US , Scandinavia and Knuffingen Airport sections . In the America section, even an interstate highway is equipped with a dynamic traffic control system, which regulates the traffic by means of four different speed limits as well as continuous light signals and a variable text display.

The plant is considered to be rich in detail, as examples of a changing scoreboard in apply Volksparkstadion and a magnetically controlled cow in a bovine bingo game , a abortive cheese wheel-truck and a miniature Blinkenlights in Hamburg part. There is also a jet filling station there that shows the real current gasoline prices of its model in Hamburg's Amsinckstrasse.

With around 200 buttons, visitors can control processes on the system. These so-called push-button actions are a highlight for many visitors. For example, a mine train starts, wind turbines turn, the next gate falls in the Volksparkstadion, a space shuttle starts, a helicopter takes off or Pinocchio's nose begins to grow. A push button even enables visitors to watch the simulated production of a small bar of chocolate in a factory and to try the real product for themselves.

On certain tours, it is also possible to take a look behind the scenes, where there are also detailed figures that cannot be seen from the normal public area.

Knuffingen Airport

View over Knuffingen Airport

After six years of planning and construction, the “Knuffingen Airport” model airport was officially put into operation for visitors on May 4, 2011 as a special facility section. Its buildings are similar to Hamburg Airport . As in the fictional main town of Knuffingen, there is also a simulation of a fire brigade with a large fleet of vehicles, including four airfield fire engines . On the 14-meter-long runway, aircraft models can be realistically accelerated on an invisible sledge and, by means of two guide rods, appear to lift off the ground and disappear into a (cloud) wall. Depending on the starting phase, the guide rods allow the aircraft to tilt horizontally to approximate reality.

A wide variety of commercial aircraft can be found here, including the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 , in the livery of many airlines around the world. Even models of the relatively new Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft take off and land in Knuffingen. There is also a Concorde in British Airways livery, a space shuttle , a bee and the Star WarsMillennium Falcon ” spaceship .

The movement of the aircraft on the ground is implemented using a 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.

In contrast to the other landscapes, the railway is barely visible at the airport. Only underground is there an airport train station, at whose platforms not only S-Bahn but also long-distance trains stop.

According to the operator, there are 150,000 working hours in the 150 square meters and around 3.5 million euros in costs. The area is not only equipped with many rolling airplane models, but also with hundreds of cars, passenger boarding bridges , parking garage , airport hotel, subway and individual figures.

True to scale

Behind the scenes: Passage under the Alps

Some of the buildings that are fully or partially based on reality do not correspond to the general scale on which the system is based, the nominal size H0 of 1:87 used , but are in some cases shown significantly reduced. The airport runway measures around 14 meters in length instead of the 30 to 45 meters shown to scale, and is significantly less than the 50 to 70 cm wide. The replicas of the Heinrich Hertz Tower and Michaeliskirche are each significantly lower than the required heights of 3.20 meters and 1.50 m respectively. With a length of 70 cm corresponding to the scale 1: 150, the soccer field in the arena is also shorter than the 1.20 meters corresponding to the track width and also correspondingly narrower. The rise angles of the dykes are significantly exaggerated compared to reality, in order to require a smaller width. The Neuschwanstein Castle is at a scale of 1: built 120th In the new "Hafencity and Elbphilharmonie section " a different scale was also used. The buildings are all on a ground plan of 1: 120, so they had to be compressed and some floors even left out completely so that the figures (which are also there on a scale of 1:87) fit into the building. The Elbphilharmonie itself will be a little smaller on a scale of 1: 130. When you look at buildings from the bottom up, they look much larger than when you look down from above.

Visitor numbers

On December 5, 2012 the ten millionth visitor came to the Miniatur Wunderland, on December 2, 2016 the fifteen millionth. Around three quarters of the visitors come from Germany, the remaining quarter from abroad, mainly from Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, England, the USA and China.


In 2010 the company founders Frederik and Gerrit Braun and Stephan Hertz received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for their social commitment . In 2012 the Miniatur Wunderland was nominated for the Michelleti Award in the category “Best Technology and Industry Museum in Europe”.

Presence in the media

The Alps - Switzerland
Real water with moving ships in Scandinavia

The 106-minute Spiegel TV documentary film Miniatur Wunderland - Behind the Scenes of the Largest Digital Model Railway in the World from 2004 gives an insight into the planning, structure and everyday life of the Miniatur Wunderland.

After the completion of the various expansion stages, the Hamburg-based company was visited several times by a reporter team from the Eisenbahn-Romantik from SWR . They were also given a look behind the scenes. Numerous television channels, magazines and newspapers have already reported on the Miniatur Wunderland.

In May 2009 the rapper Samy Deluxe shot the video clip for his socially critical song Stumm im Miniatur Wunderland. Within just one night, around 100 sequences were recorded in which a miniature figure “walks” through the system ( stop motion ).

On December 5, 2009, the TV show Wetten dass ..? in the Miniatur Wunderland.

The plot of several episodes of the Hamburg crime series Großstadtrevier took place in the Miniatur Wunderland.

With lively media interest, a model of the Elbphilharmonie was opened in 2013 after a year of construction before the completion of the original structure. The distinctive wave roof over the large concert hall can be opened along the longitudinal axis at the push of a button, after which a movable miniature orchestra can be seen.

In May 2014, a music video was shot in cooperation with the rapper Das Bo for the 2014 World Cup .

In 2015, a campaign for Ein Herz für Kinder was started together with the singer Helene Fischer , which raised over 450,000 euros (as of 01/2016). The campaign was presented in the Ein Herz für Kinder Gala , among others .

In January 2016, Miniatur Wunderland brought out MiniView together with Google - a miniature version of Google Street View . The campaign was well received worldwide.

At the end of April 2018, the entertainer and comic artist Otto Waalkes visited the new "push of a button" system of his stage appearance with moving figures, an original Otto video on a miniature large screen and jumping Ottifanten in the audience.

Once a year there is the “I can't afford it” campaign. Anyone who says at the cash register during these days that they cannot afford admission can visit the facility free of charge without asking. There may be longer waiting times during this campaign. According to the founders, the campaign is not being used financially by free riders, as the catering sales are unchanged in the same period.

See also


  • Miniature wonderland. Behind the scenes of the largest digital model railway in the world . GeraNova 2004, ISBN 3-89724-590-6 .
  • Frederik and Gerrit Braun: Small world, big dream. The success story of the founders of the Miniatur Wunderland . Atlantik Verlag, Hamburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-455-00167-9 .
  • The miniature wonderland special issue series, up to now in nine parts . Eisenbahn-Kurier (EK), Freiburg im Breisgau.
    • Miniatur Wunderland 0 - idea, planning, construction. A dream came true. A journey through wonderland. The attraction in Hamburg's warehouse district. 2002
    • Miniatur Wunderland 2 - The new construction phase. Car system and fire department. From the port to the North Sea coast. Big city with Hamburg motifs. The second journey through wonderland. 2003
    • Miniatur Wunderland 3 - In the sea of ​​lights in the big city. The third trip to wonderland. 2004
    • Miniatur Wunderland 4 - Scandinavia. The fourth trip to wonderland. 2005
    • Miniatur Wunderland 5 - a look behind the scenes. 2006
    • Miniatur Wunderland 6 - The Swiss Alps in the Miniatur Wunderland. 2008
    • Miniatur Wunderland 7 - airport and aircraft technology, Knuffingen Airport ... 2011
    • Miniatur Wunderland 8 - technology, construction and operation. 2012
    • Miniatur Wunderland 9 - construction phase Italy. 2017

Films (selection)

  • Miniature wonderland. Part 1. Documentary, 28:37 min., Germany, 2002, book and moderation: Hagen von Ortloff , production: SWR , series: Eisenbahn-Romantik, episode 475, first broadcast: December 22, 2002 on SWR television , online video with synopsis from SWR.
  • Miniatur Wunderland - behind the scenes of the largest digital model railway in the world. Documentary, Germany, 2003, 106 min., Written and directed: Mate Spörl, production: Spiegel TV , first broadcast: April 2, 2004 on SpOn , synopsis by Spiegel TV.
    Short version: 30 min., First broadcast: December 22, 2003 on Sat.1 .
  • Las Vegas in the Speicherstadt - miniature wonderland. Part 2. Documentary, Germany, 2004, 29:15 min., Book and moderation: Hagen von Ortloff, production: SWR, series: Eisenbahn-Romantik, episode 540, first broadcast: October 31, 2004 on SWR television, online video with synopsis from SWR.
  • Scandinavia in the Speicherstadt - miniature wonderland. Part 3. Documentary, Germany, 2006, 29:10 min., Book and moderation: Hagen von Ortloff, camera: Andreas Stirl, production: SWR, series: Eisenbahn-Romantik, episode 622, first broadcast: November 26, 2006 on SWR television, online video with synopsis from SWR.
  • Alpenglow in Wonderland - Miniature Wonderland. Part 4. Documentary, Germany, 2008, 29:03 min., Book and moderation: Hagen von Ortloff, camera: Andreas Stirl, production: SWR, series: Eisenbahn-Romantik, episode 675, first broadcast: May 4th, 2008 on SWR television, online video with synopsis from SWR.
  • The world on a scale of 1:87. Miniature wonderland. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 42:06 min., Script and direction: Anne Mensing and Steffen Vogel, production: Spiegel TV , series: Will ich know! , First broadcast: January 10, 2012 on SpOn , table of contents and online video .
  • The fascination of mini-earth. The world in model format. Documentary, Germany, 2014, 13:57 min., Script and director: Michael Petsch, production: ZDF , first broadcast: April 21, 2014 on ZDF, summary from ZDF, with online video available until June 28, 2020.
  • 24 hours in wonderland - Die Nordreportage Dokumentarfilm, Germany, 2018, 28:30 min., Production NDR, book: Ralph Alexowitz, first broadcast: April 30, 2018 on NDR television, YouTube video , synopsis from NDR, online video in the ARD media library available until June 8, 2021.

Web links

Commons : Miniatur Wunderland  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Worlds Largest Miniature Railway / On The Road (Ep. 20). In: Guinness World Records YouTube channel : OMG! , March 17, 2013, accessed April 16, 2013, (English).
  2. Short video: Miniature masterpiece opened - Italy section in the Miniatur Wunderland - first impressions. In: YouTube channel, Miniatur Wunderland TV. September 28, 2016, accessed August 6, 2018 .
  3. The Miniatur Wunderland breaks its own world record. In: Miniatur Wunderland. August 14, 2019, accessed September 7, 2019 .
  4. How did the idea come about? In: Miniatur Wunderland , accessed on August 6, 2018.
  5. Simone Meyer : A fairy tale on a scale of 1:87. Hanseatic way of life: Frederik and Gerrit Braun created Hamburg's miniature wonderland. In: The world . February 18, 2006, accessed on January 31, 2016 (article on the foundation of the Miniatur Wunderland).
  6. Customer portrait: Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg GmbH. In: Hamburg guarantee association. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009 ; accessed on January 31, 2016 .
  7. ^ Statement by F. Braun in the Miniatur Wunderland forum , March 25, 2003.
  8. Johannes Ritter: Delays at Knuffingen Airport: The twin brothers Frederick and Gerrit Braun built the largest model railway in the world in Hamburg. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 30, 2012, page 16: “You did not receive any subsidies from the City of Hamburg. 'We didn't apply for one either,' emphasizes Frederick Braun with some pride. " (Online copy.)
  9. Broken our own world record: Now we are even bigger model railways in the world. ( Memento from January 1, 2018 in the Internet Archive ). In: , September 10, 2015.
  10. Bella Italia in Wonderland. Our 9th section was officially opened today. ( Memento from January 6, 2018 in the Internet Archive ). In: , September 28, 2016.
  11. NDR: Miniatur Wunderland continues to grow. In: Norddeutscher Rundfunk . Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
  12. dpa / lno: Venice in the miniature wonderland. In: , February 21, 2018.
  13. ^ Monaco and Provence. In: , accessed on September 8, 2019.
  14. Fair. In: Miniatur Wunderland. Retrieved January 15, 2020 .
  15. South America. In: , accessed on August 16, 2019.
  16. Why the world cultural heritage gets a new bridge
  17. The future of the wonderland. Looking ahead. In: , accessed on August 6, 2018.
  18. Future of the model railway system in the Speicherstadt. In: , accessed on June 21, 2020.
  19. Austria / Facts & Figures on Austria. In: , accessed on August 6, 2018.
  20. Scandinavia / Facts & Figures on Scandinavia. In: , accessed on August 6, 2018.
  21. Video: The small Elbphilharmonie: The day of the opening. In: YouTube channel from Miniatur Wunderland , November 25, 2013, 4:16 min.
  22. Bella Italia 2.1 • The 9th construction phase of the Miniatur Wunderland. In: , accessed on August 6, 2018.
  23. Weekly report: Monday, June 21. - Sunday, June 27th, 2004. In: Miniatur Wunderland , weekly report no.191, accessed on June 21, 2020.
  24. The smallest JET filling station in the world. In: , accessed on June 21, 2020.
  25. ↑ Push button actions. In: Miniatur Wunderland. Retrieved August 4, 2019 .
  26. Ten millionth visitor to the Miniatur Wunderland. ( Memento from January 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: , December 5, 2012.
  27. dpa / let / josi: Miniaturwunderland celebrates the 15 millionth visitor. ( Memento from August 6, 2018 in the web archive ). In: Hamburger Abendblatt , December 2, 2016.
  28. Press release: Miniatur Wunderland expects 15 millionth visitors. In: , December 1, 2016.
  29. Miniatur Wunderland maker honored for social commitment. In: City of Hamburg , March 26, 2010.
  30. online video , registration required , DVD: ISBN 3-937901-00-0 .
  31. ^ Stephan Hertz : Model railroad meets hip-hop: Samy Deluxe. July 7, 2009, video.
  32. Martina Goy: Model railway spectacle in "Wetten, dass ...?" In: Die Welt , December 6, 2009.
  33. TV tip: “Lost in Paradise” - the metropolitan area in the Miniatur Wunderland on December 30th. at 6:50 p.m. on ARD. In: , September 10, 2013, accessed on August 6, 2018.
  34. TV tip: The metropolitan area in the wonderland! on July 24, 2013 from 10:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on NDR. In: , July 12, 2013, accessed on August 6, 2018.
  35. Elbphilharmonie. In: , accessed on June 21, 2020.
  36. Short video: The Bo presents World Cup song. In: YouTube , May 30, 2014.
  37. ↑ Play of colors in wonderland - the benefit concert on a scale of 1:87. In: Miniatur Wunderland. November 11, 2015, accessed January 31, 2016 (press release).
  38. Miniview: Miniature Wonderland. In: Google Maps .
  39. Video: Madness! Otto Waalkes in Wonderland. In: YouTube channel from Miniatur Wunderland, 4:41 min., April 27, 2018.
  40. Merle Wilkening: Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg: Everything you need to know for a visit. In: Focus Online . January 16, 2020, accessed May 11, 2020 .
  41. radio Bremen: Frederik and Gerrit Braun about the miniature wonderland Hamburg. 3 to 9, July 24, 2020, accessed July 30, 2020 .

Coordinates: 53 ° 32 ′ 38 "  N , 9 ° 59 ′ 20"  E