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Hans Scharoun's architecture for the DSM

The German Maritime Museum (DSM) / Leibniz Institute of Maritime History offers a digital service on Hans Scharoun's architecture.

The Scharoun Building of the German Maritime Museum was one of the last major projects of the architect Hans Scharoun and has been a listed building since 2005. Contributions to the architecture look at one of his last buildings from different perspectives. At the moment, the building is not open to the public and is being renovated. Podcast contributions (in german) complement the text articles and photos on the historic building, which was opened in 1975 according to the design of architect Hans Scharoun.

Scharoun, who was born in Bremen in 1893, spent his childhood and youth in Bremerhaven. He was very familiar with the surroundings when he designed it. The organic architecture of the DSM has been an integral part of the city for 45 years. Today, the clever interlocking of the existing building around the medieval cog with the extension by Scharoun's design blends into the promenade of the Havenwelten. The web special presents its history of construction and use. For the perception of the building includes not only historical but also technical and aesthetic aspects.

The great challenge of renovating such a Gesamtkunstwerk with a view to museum use ties up many forces. In addition to historic preservation, thematic, content-focused as well as financial and urban planning elements must be taken into account. "On the one hand, we are restoring the building to its original state and, on the other, creating conditions for modern museum use," says Prof. Dr. Sunhild Kleingärtner, Director of the DSM.

Historical views and selected photo contributions complement the overview of the building's architecture. They offer insights into the history of the Scharoun Building, its creation and use. Aerial photographs, interior views and details provide virtual access to a monument that cannot currently be visited. The historical potential of the building becomes visible and gives anticipation for a reopening of the Scharoun Building.


History of the Scharoun Building in pictures




Hans Scharoun's design wins the tender and construction of the museum building begins.




Construction of the museum building is in full swing. A cold store from the 1920s can still be seen in the background.



Exterior view during construction



Interior view during construction




Federal President Dr. Walter Scheel opens the German Maritime Museum by striking the ship's bell of the former passenger steamer CAP POLONIO on September 5, 1975.




The transparent museum between the shipping of the present on the Weser and the shipping of the past in the museum harbor. Especially from above you can see this connection.



View of the former main entrance on the southeast side



View from the dike to the northwest side




Over the years, royal visitors also came to the house. The Spanish royal couple visited the DSM in 1977, followed a year later by Queen Elizabeth II.


1983 (presumably)


Helmut Schmidt strongly promoted the maritime city. A visit to the German Maritime Museum was therefore also not to be missed.



Interior with exhibition



View from the dike to the southwest side




Construction on the Maritime Museum continues. In 1995, the extension begins according to the design of Dietrich Bangert.




The Scharoun Building and the extension area will be listed.




View of the interior of the building during the renovation work



Fun Facts


Facts, figures & interesting facts about the Scharoun Building

Hans Scharoun's late work with its organic architecture offers many surprising and unexpected things. Here we have compiled information on the building and its history, ranging from the interesting to the trivial.

  Read more


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