Best Museums in Hamburg

From Art and Design to History in Hamburg

Kunsthalle Hamburg

Daniela Ziebell / Wikimedia Commons

Hamburg is home to some of the best museums in Germany. From modern art, and maritime history to exotic exhibitions at the Spice Museum, Hamburg has museums to enliven all your senses.

And if you're here in spring, check out Hamburg’s Long Night of Museums (Die lange Nacht der Museen) when Hamburg’s art galleries, museums and cultural institutions stay open past midnight and offer many special exhibitions, readings, concerts, and film screenings.

Here are the museums you shouldn’t miss on your next Hamburg trip.

01 of 07

Kunsthalle Hamburg

Exterior of the Hamburger Kunsthalle

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Hamburg is home to a trio of architectural gems that house one of the most impressive art collections in Germany. Kunsthalle Hamburg is dedicated to over 700 years of European art from medieval altars to modern paintings by German artists Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch. Highlights of the museum include Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century by Rembrandt, art from the Romantic Period in Germany by Caspar David Friedrich, as well as an excellent collection of the painters of the Bruecke art group.

Located in the Altstadt district between the Hauptbahnhof (central station) and Alster lakes, the name 'Kunsthalle' indicates the museum's history as an art hall when founded in 1850. It consists of three connected buildings which date all the way back to 1869.

02 of 07

International Maritime Museum

Hamburg International Maritime Museum
GettyImages / Axel Schmies

The International Maritime Museum, which opened in a historical warehouse in Hamburg’s Hafencity, celebrates the city’s nautical heritage and brings its 3,000 year old naval history to life.

Displayed over 10 sprawling floors, the museum showcases 26,000 ship models, 50,000 construction plans, 5,000 paintings and graphics, and many nautical devices. It provides a fascinating visit for visitors of all ages from landlubbers to established sailors.

03 of 07


Deichtorhallen Hamburg
GettyImages / Phil Clarke Hill

The Deichtorhallen is one of Germany’s largest centers for contemporary art. It unites the House of Photography as well as an exhibition hall for international art shows under its roof.

The two former market halls with their grand glass and steel architecture have been turned into an impressive backdrop, where art shows on Warhol, Chagall, or Baselitz are staged regularly.

04 of 07

Memorial del Campo de Concentración de Neuengamme

Neuengamme Holocaust Memorial in Hamburg


KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme is in a former brick factory in the outskirts of Hamburg. It was once the largest camp in the north of Germany, comprised of 80 satellite camps between 1938 and 1945.

In May 2005, on the 60th anniversary of Neuengamme’s liberation, a redesigned memorial site was opened on the grounds of the former camp. It includes several exhibitions that document the history of the site and remember the suffering of the over 100,000 people that were imprisoned here, including 20 children who were taken from Auschwitz and used for medical experiments. The children have their own memorial dedicated to their memory.

Fifteen historic concentration camp buildings on the site are preserved. If this has piqued your interest in Germany's darkest chapter in history, discover more Holocaust and Concentration Camp Memorial Sites in Germany.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Museum for Applied Arts

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

Thomas Fries

Hamburg’s Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Applied Arts) is dedicated to the fine, applied and decorative arts from antiquity to present day.

Founded in 1874 and following the example of London’s famous Victoria and Albert Museum, Hamburg’s Museum for Applied Arts features master pieces from design, photography, Hamburg in the 1980s, fashion, furniture, Islamic art and musical instruments...just to name a few.

06 of 07

Spice Museum

Inside the spice museum

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Hamburg is one of the most important harbor cities in Europe, and among the many goods that arrive here daily are spices from all around the globe. So it’s only fitting that the city has a fantastic spice museum (Spicy's Gewürzmuseum) – the only one of its kind.

Set in an old storehouse close to the harbor, you can see, smell, and - of course - taste your way through 500 years of exotic spices while learning about their cultivation, processing, and packaging.

Take home some spices as a souvenir to enjoy Hamburg's international flavor.

07 of 07

Emigration Museum Ballinstadt

Exterior of Ballinstadt

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

It wasn't just spices that traveled through Hamburg, Between 1850 and 1939, more than 5 million people from all over Europe emigrated from Hamburg to the New World.

The Deutsches Haus der Migration at Ballinstadt recreates this life-changing journey on historic grounds. You can visit the original emigration halls, and the extensive interactive exhibition (in English and German) offers a wealth of information about emigration in the 19th and 20th century. You can even trace back the journey of your own family by studying the original passenger lists and the largest genealogical database in the world.

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