Take a Ride Through Transport History

The German transport system is frequently used as a model for modern, quick and efficient transportation. However, the system was not built up in a fortnight; it is a result of systematic development that has taken centuries. The history of transport in Germany is on display in many museums across the country. For everyone interested in how the trains have changed in the last 150 years, how a highway is properly built or what is inside a tramway’s electric motor, the transport museums in Germany offer a variety of exhibitions, along with a tremendous collection of historic motor vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes. Here we present some of these unique museums.

Deutsches Museum – Transportation Centre, Munich

The Deutsches Museum – along with its branch museums – has outstanding scientific and technical exhibits, focussed on a constructive dialogue between science and society. Established in 1903, it is among the world’s oldest museums of science and technology and, with total exhibition space of 66,000 sq. m, one of the largest. Its unique collection of original exhibits makes Deutsches Museum a leading international venue for celebrating science and technology as a cultural endeavour. As a major German research museum, it is supported by the state of Bavaria, the federal government and the German states, and is a member of the Leibniz Association.

Photo by Wolfgang Manousek (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Wolfgang Manousek (CC BY 2.0)

With over 4,500 exhibits, the Land Transport Collections are among the largest, most valuable, and oldest of the Deutsches Museum collections. The collections are divided thematically into Railways, with many objects related to the history and development of the railway and urban rail traffic, and Transport, with a collection of motor vehicles and bicycles as well as pre-industrial modes of transport such as horse-drawn carriages. The collections boast 500 fully functioning vehicles, ranging from the large steam engine to a child’s scooter and numerous other pieces that display the infrastructure required for transport and traffic.

There is also a collection of mobile sports equipment, such as skis, ice skates and roller skates, in addition to carrying and transport aids of all kinds, including chests and baggage. Technical components, accessories, fittings, and various model collections round off the holdings. The Land Transport Collections are unique as they comprehensively present the development of transport on land as a connected story that goes beyond the history of individual vehicle types.

Opening times: daily 9 AM – 5 PM

Prices: adults €6; schoolchildren/students: €3


The Transport Collections are in a separate building from the main Deutsches Museum and are located in Am Bavariapark 5 and Theresienhöhe 15 (navigation systems), 80339 Munich.


Dresden Transport Museum

With a 50-year-old history, the Dresden Transport Museum (VMD) is one of Dresden’s newer museums. Its inception in 1952 as one of the first cultural institutions in the former GDR after the Second World War was tied to the establishment of the Hochschule für Verkehrswesen (College of Transport). The origin and tradition of the museum, however, can be dated to the year 1877, when the collection of the later Saxon Railway Museum began, which was housed in the Dresden-Neustadt railway station until the Second World War. This museum, therefore, traces back to one of Germany’s oldest technical collections.


Photo by Torsten Maue (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The western hall of the Johanneum, the former royal stable, houses the exhibition on the history of road transport, divided into six periods and spread over two levels. At five listening stations in between, you can learn more about key periods in the history of road transport and how people lived at certain times from a family’s perspective. The railway exhibition presents stages of Saxon and German railway history from the beginnings to 1993, showing valuable artefacts and models.

In the navigation section, enjoy the maritime atmosphere provided by replicas of significant parts of ships, such as an old hulk, a mast with sail, anchors, flags, a steering wheel etc., along with impressive model ships and extensive illustrations. In the air traffic exhibition, great attention is given to the aviation industry of the former GDR. From 1956 to 1961, aircraft were built at Dresden, including the “152” – the first German turbine jet passenger aircraft. Not only showcasing technology, remarkable humans take centre stage as inventor, builder and passenger.

Opening times: Tuesday through Sunday 10 AM – 6 PM (open on Monday if it is a bank Holiday)

Prices: full €9; reduced €4; family card €15; children of up to 5 years free; guided tour €50



Deutsche Bahn Museum, Nuremberg

The history of the DB Museum began as early as 1882, when the state railway of Bavaria opened a small exhibition. Initially available only to railway employees, it opened for the public three years later but was not formally constituted as a state museum until 1899. Constantly expanding, it moved to the present building in 1925. In 1985, to mark the 150th anniversary of the German railways’ existence, the museum created a new permanent exhibition chronicling the various eras of rail history. Deutsche Bahn AG assumed control of the museum in 1996. On 1 March 2012, the DB Museum opened a display rail depot in a renovated hall in the outdoor area of the museum site. In 2014, the DB Museum opened its new permanent exhibition exploring the recent history of Germany’s railway network. The following year, the “Modellarium” with over 2,000 models on display was presented to the public.


Photo by InterCityImpress (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Besides “Modellarium”, the museum’s collection comprises a number of vehicles representing the technological changes of the 19th and 20th century. Especially interesting is the replica of the 1835 “Adler”, the first German locomotive, reconstructed in the 1930s. The historic exhibition guides the visitors through the beginnings of the German railway, its boom during the “century of steam” as well as the darker side of its history when it served the Third Reich during WWII and later divided by the Iron Curtain. Additionally, there is an outside depot devoted to the railway infrastructure and a series of full-scale installations depicting the transformation of train stations throughout the centuries.

Opening times: Tuesday through Friday 9 AM – 5 PM; Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays (including holiday Mondays and every Monday during Advent) 10 AM – 6 PM

Prices: full €10; reduced and family €4; children and teenagers 6-17 years €2.50; schoolchildren in groups €2; children up to 6 years and DB staff free



Temporary Exhibition: Self-propelled - Or how the bicycle moves us

From 30 April through 1 November, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Dresden hosts a temporary exhibition entitled “Self-Propelled – or how the bicycle moves us”. The collection presented in the Pillnitz Palace focuses on bicycle design and the role cycling played in the culture throughout the last two centuries. With digital scenarios and rideable bicycle installations, the exhibition shows the bicycle as a cultural achievement and as a sustainable, contemporary means of transport and sport apparatus. Several activities are planned during the exhibition time, e.g. guided tours, children’s workshops and a bicycle collection campaign for refugees.


German Road Museum, Germersheim

The German Road Museum in Germersheim is the only of its kind in Germany to focus on streets and roads in such an extensive way, and is one of three such museums in Europe. The museum presents the specific cultural history that developed with, through or near the roads throughout the centuries. Initiated by several passionate road construction engineers, the museum was launched in 1989.


Photo by Norbert Schnitzler (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The collection comprises numerous exhibits related to road and bridge construction engineering, such as machines, vehicles and tools used to build roads. Some of these artefacts date back as far as 800 BC when the Romans built the first road network in what is now south Germany. To guide visitors through road construction history from its early beginning to present state-of-the-art engineering, additional exhibits chronologically outline advances in road development, including the general construction technology, roads use and maintenance, and architecture, planning, environmental and landscape protection issues.

Opening times: Tuesday through Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Prices: full €5; reduced €3; schoolchildren in a group €2; family ticket €8; guided tour €35.

http://deutsches-strassenmuseum.de (only German)


Technic Museum Speyer

At the Technic Museum Speyer you can wander around inside an original jumbo jet, or inspect the inner workings of a submarine and a sea rescue cruiser. You will find the largest space flight exhibition in Europe, offering the Russian space shuttle BURAN, an original Moonstone, space suits, a Soyuz landing capsule, as well as locomotives, vintage cars, fire trucks, motorcycles, and thousands of other exhibits. The Museum Wilhelmsbau houses mechanical musical instruments, fashions, and dolls. Unique in Germany, the IMAX®-DOME cinema presents exclusive films on a giant dome screen.

Photo by Michael Gottwald (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Michael Gottwald (CC BY 2.0)

Opening times: Monday through Friday 9 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 7 PM; on some bank holidays shorter opening times

Prices: adults €19; children 5-14 years €15; children up to 4 years free; for other offers see



Technic Museum Sinsheim

The Technic Museum Sinsheim boasts two fully accessible supersonic jets, the Concorde and Tupolev TU-144, located on the museum roof. There is something for everyone to discover in the exhibition halls, including hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles from all eras, huge steam engines, formula 1 legends, classy sports cars, record-breaking vehicles like the Blue Flame and Brutus, farming machines, giant engines, a military history exhibition, and much more. A visit to the IMAX 3D movie theatre is an unforgettable experience, featuring exclusive 3D films on a screen as high as a house.

Photo by Technik Museum Sinsheim und Speyer (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Technik Museum Sinsheim und Speyer (CC BY 2.0)

Opening times: Monday through Friday 9 AM – 6 PM; Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 7 PM; on some bank holidays shorter opening times

Prices: adults €19; children 5-14 years €15; children up to 4 years free; for other offers see



Location of the Museums


Location of the museums



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Compiled by Pawel Komendzinski based on:




DB Museum Nürnberg



Deutsches Museum





Deutsches Straßenmuseum






Technik Museum Sinsheim





Technik Museum Speyer





Verkehrsmuseum Dresden