Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen

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This article is about the museum in Friedrichshafen. For other Zeppelin museums, see Zeppelin Museum (disambiguation).
Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen
Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.jpg
Established 1996
Location Friedrichshafen, Germany
Website Zeppelin Museum
Rear view of the Zeppelin Museum. The glass wall and twin elevated walkways are later additions to the Hafenbahnhof.
Structure of the partial Hindenburg replica.

The Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen is a museum in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Germany, the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship. The museum houses the world's largest collection on aviation and chronicles the history of the Zeppelin airships. In addition, it is the only museum in Germany that combines technology and art. The museum has been in its current location at the Hafenbahnhof (harbour railway station) since it was reopened in 1996. The exhibition was designed by HG Merz.[1]

Museum concept[edit]

In keeping with the museum concept of "Technology and Art", visitors can see for themselves how closely these two areas are related. The work of art Zeppelin Swarms by Héctor Zamora on the second floor illustrates this particularly well. The focus is on man and his position in the interplay between technology, nature, and faith. The art collection also includes works by those identified as degenerate artists by Nazi Germany, such as Otto Dix.[2]

Technology collection[edit]

The centerpiece of the Zeppelin displays is a full-scale, partial model of the airship LZ 129 Hindenburg. The exhibition also includes an original engine nacelle of the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin airship and an impressive Maybach Zeppelin car. A great number of airship models, not only from German, but French, Italian, British, and American manufacturers are also on display in the technology department.[3]

LZ 129 Hindenburg[edit]

Recreated Cabin Lounge of Zeppelin Hindenburg in the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, Seestraße 22, Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Centrepiece of the Zeppelin airship displays is the full-scale, partial replica of the LZ 129 Hindenburg, which is reproduced true to the original and authentically furnished. It is 33 m in length – large enough to convey an idea of the enormous dimensions of the original airship.

The Hindenburg was 245 m long and had a maximum diameter of 41.2 m at its widest part around the midsection. It was propelled by four Daimler Benz diesel engines with a capacity of 772.3 kW (1050 hp) each, and reached a maximum speed of about 130 km/h.

After the impressive overview of the partial model from the outside, the folded-down retractable aluminium stepladder invites visitors to go on board. It leads into the lower deck, the B-deck, which has a bar, a smokers’ lounge, and toilets. The passenger cabins are arranged on two decks, stacked one on top of the other. In the cabins, visitors can experience the special inside ambience of a 1930s airship and get to know the technical aspects of this aircraft.

The beds inside the cabins are made of aluminium. Every cabin has a wall-hung wash basin (with running hot and cold water from a tap)—which are folded down for use—a mirror above it, a curtained wardrobe niche, folding table and stool, and a ladder for climbing into the upper bunk. The cabins also has electrical lighting, and are ventilated and heated.[4]

The Hindenburg travelled 18 times to North and South America. On 6 May 1937, while landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey, the airship burst into flames just before touch-down and crashed.[5]

Engine nacelle of the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin[edit]

The nacelle was built in 1928 by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH for the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Count Zeppelin). The propulsion system of this airship consisted of five nacelles fixed to the hull. Every nacelle contained a Maybach engine, type VL 2, which drove a propeller at the nacelle’s tail. A mechanic was stationed at each engine at all times.

The nacelles had aluminium skeletons, the bottom halves of which were clad with aluminium sheeting and the tops with cotton cloth. A hatch, fitted with a connecting ladder to the main body of the airship, enabled the mechanics to climb into or out of the nacelles when their shifts changed.[6]

Maybach Zeppelin[edit]

This Maybach Zeppelin was built in 1938 in Friedrichshafen. The car weighs 3.6 tons and can achieve a maximum speed of 170 km/h. Its engine has twelve cylinders with a total stroke volume of 8 litres and a capacity of 147 kW (200 hp). The engineering design for this car was based on the Maybach engines for the airships LZ 126 (1924) and LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (1928).[7]

Media room[edit]

The media room presents 3D historic photographs of Zeppelins. Here the giants of the air come back to life. In addition, history of the airships are explored on film using historical footage.[8]

Zeppelin Cabinet of Curiosities[edit]

The cabinet hosts many small pieces of the Zeppelin history: coins, porcelain, post documents, tin toys, and Zeppelin bibelot of all kinds. Numerous exhibits are presented in large display cases that reach up to the ceiling. Additional background information can be found on iPads showing 3D models of the exhibits.[9]

Uplift, Propulsion, Aerodynamics – Giants in Motion[edit]

This wing of the museum is specially designed for children and young-at-hearts. Numerous experiments, original exhibits, and touchable replicas invite visitors to interact with the displays and try them out on their own.[10]

Art collection[edit]

Einlaufen des Raddampfers ‘Kronprinz’ in den Hafen von Friedrichshafen, by Franz Seraph Stirnbrand, circa 1840. Exhibit in the Art Collection of the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, Seestraße 22, Friedrichshafen, Germany.

In the art collection, the connection between art and the subject of Zeppelins is established. The present collection was started in 1948, as the old museum had been completely destroyed by bombs during World War II. Of particular importance are works of art by artists who went into Inner Emigration at the time of the Third Reich and retired to the Lake Constance region like Otto Dix, Max Ackermann, Willi Baumeister, Erich Heckel, Julius Bissier, and others.[11]

Héctor Zamora's Sciame de dirigibili – Zeppelin Swarms[edit]

A swarm of little hanging Zeppelins leads up to the art collection of the museum on the upper floors. First of the art exhibits to be encountered, these little Zeppelins are part of the art work Zeppelin Swarms by Héctor Zamora (1974 Mexico City, Mexico) which defines the connection between the technology and the art departments.

His project, first shown at the 53rd Venice Biennale, stimulates the viewer's imagination. The visitors become witnesses to an event in Venice that actually never happened—an invasion of Venice by a large number of Zeppelins. For this purpose Zamora shows the Zeppelin swarm in different art genres: post cards, drawings, paintings by venetian street artists, advertisement in the press, and an animated video which was spread on the internet. While actual swarm of zeppelins over Venice did not take place, the photographs are very realistic.

The only real and visible element that actually appeared in the cityscape of Venice was an airship, which was shown stuck between two houses. Now, its deflated hull covers the floor of the major exhibition space.[9] [12]

Man and Technology – Man and Nature[edit]

The section Man and Technology demonstrates the high level of creativity and innovation that humans are capable of when it comes to technology and art. The focus is on man and his position in the interplay between technology, nature, and faith.

In the section Man and Nature, it is shown that the relation between humans and nature is an emotional, aesthetic, and religious connection, which changed over the centuries. The term "natural landscape" developed because of the industrialization and its impact on nature and landscape.[10]

Archive and library[edit]

Museums generally operate based on the principle of collecting, preserving, researching, exhibiting, and imparting knowledge. So does the Zeppelin Museum, with research being one of the priorities. The Zeppelin Collection and LZ Archives form a competency centre on the history of German airship building, whilst the art department carries out research in the field of Lake Constance regional art and crafts.[13]

LZ archive[edit]

The corporate archive of the Zeppelin airship-building limited company in Friedrichshafen fills a depot in the Zeppelin Museum. The archive stores documents on every business transaction of the company—from the very beginnings through the 1960s—as well as Count Zeppelin’s correspondence from the time he conceived his airship-building project. In addition, the archives contain the estates of important personages of Zeppelin history such as Hugo Eckener, Hans von Schiller, or Wilhelm Ernst Dörr. Collections of construction drawings, posters, prints, newspaper cuttings, photographs, films, etc., complete the archive collections.[14]


The library holds and collects publications on the subjects of the museum’s two departments—airship aviation and art. The bulk and core of the collection comprise books and journals on the history and technology of regional, national, and international aviation; and on Zeppelin development; as well as biographies of the personages and the stories of the companies involved in these fields. The library collects a great number and variety of art books and journals. The library is an open-shelf, non-lending library. This means the books and journals are freely accessible on shelves in the reading room, but may only be read there.[15]

Museum shop[edit]

The museum shop offers books, watches and jewellery, model construction kits, calendars, collectible items, DVDs, and other items. Beside zeppelin souvenirs, all available publications on the collection themes and catalogues of the exhibits can also be acquired.[16]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  2. ^ Press release Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen GmbH
  3. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Technology Collection. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  4. ^ Zimmermann, Karl."Hindenburg partial replica is highlight of Zeppelin Museum in Germany" Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2014. http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/24/travel/la-tr-hindenberg-20140126
  5. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Technology Collection / Reproduction LZ 129 "Hindenburg". Zeppelin-museum.de (1937-05-06). Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  6. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Technology Collection / Engine nacelle of the LZ 127 ‘Count Zeppelin’. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  7. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Technology Collection / Maybach Zeppelin. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  8. ^ own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  9. ^ a b own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  10. ^ a b own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  11. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Art Collection. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  12. ^ Zeller, Ursula. "Hector Zamora's Zeppelin Swarms" 2011. http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/magazine/articles/2011/hector_zamora
  13. ^ Research. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  14. ^ Zeppelin Museum / Research / LZ Archive. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  15. ^ Zeppelin Museum / Research / Library. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  16. ^ Zeppelin Museum / Visitor Information / MuseumsShop. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.

Coordinates: 47°39′02.02″N 9°28′58.91″E / 47.6505611°N 9.4830306°E / 47.6505611; 9.4830306