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 at Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Germany. It houses the world's largest collection on aviation and chronicles the history of the Zeppelin airships in the city where they were born. In addition, it is the only museum in Germany which combines technology and art. The museum was (re)opened in 1996 in its new home, the Hafenbahnhof (harbour railway station), with exhibition design by HG Merz.[1]

Museum concept[edit]

In keeping with the museum concept “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 includes works by Otto Dix.[2]

Technology collection[edit]

The partial 1:1 model of the airship LZ 129 ‘Hindenburg’ is reproduced true to the original and authentically furnished. It forms the centrepiece of the Zeppelin airship displays. Inside the cabins visitors experience the special atmosphere inside a 1930s airship and get to know the technical aspects of this aircraft.

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 models not only from German, but also French, Italian, British and American manufacturers is shown in the technology department.[3]

Maybach Zeppelin[edit]

This Maybach Zeppelin was built in 1938 in Friedrichshafen. The car weighs 3.6 tons and achieved 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 h.p.). The engineering design for this car was based on the Maybach engines for the airships LZ 126 (1924) and LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (1928).[4]

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 partial model of the LZ 129 ‘Hindenburg’ which is reproduced true to the original and authentically furnished. It is 33 m long – long enough to get an idea of the enormous dimensions of the entire original airship.

The ‘Hindenburg’ was 245 m long and had a maximum diameter of 41.2 m roughly in the middle. It was propelled by four Daimler Benz diesel engines with a capacity of 772.3 kW (1050 h.p.) each and reached a maximum speed of about 130 km/h.

After the impressive overview of the partial model the folded-down retractable aluminium stepladder invites to go on board. It leads into the lower deck, the B-deck with a bar, smokers’ lounge and the toilets. The passenger cabins were arranged on two decks, stacked one on top of the other.

The beds were made of aluminium. Every cabin had a wall-hung wash basin (with running hot and cold water from a tap), which was 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 had electrical lighting and were ventilated and heated.

The LZ 129 ‘Hindenburg’ travelled 18 times to North and South America. On landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937, the airship burst into flames just before touch-down and crashed.[5]

Engine nacelle of the LZ 127 ‘Count Zeppelin’[edit]

The nacelle was built in 1928 by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH for the ‘Graf 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 and had to be operated by a machinist.

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 machinists to climb into or out of the nacelles when their shifts changed.[6]

Media room[edit]

The media room presents 3D historic photographs of Zeppelins. The giants of the air come back to life. An other film (in 2D) discovers the history of the airships, using historical footage.[7]

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 display cases up to the ceiling. Additional background information can be found on iPads, showing 3D models of the exhibits.[8]

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 you to play and try by your own.[9]

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 department a linking between art and the Zeppelin topics was realized. 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.[10]

Héctor Zamoras "Sciame de dirigibili" – Zeppelin Swarms[edit]

If you follow a swarm of little Zeppelins, you enter the art collection of the museum in the upper floors. First to see is the art work "Zeppelin Swarms" by Héctor Zamora (* 1974 Mexico City, Mexico) which should define the connection between the technology and the art department.

His project, first shown at 53rd Biennale, stimulates your imagination. You become a witness of an event in Venice, that actually never happened – an invasion in Venice by a large number of Zeppelins. For this purpose Zamora shows the Zeppelin swarm in different art genres: post cards, drawings, paintings of venecian street artists, advertisement in the press and an animated video which was spreaded in the internet. It seems to be real.

The only visible element in the cityscape of venice was an airship, which was stuck between two houses. Now, its hull covers the major exhibition space.[8]

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.[9]

Archive and library[edit]

Museums generally operate based on the principle of ‘collecting, preserving, researching, exhibiting, passing on knowledge’. So does the Zeppelin Museum, with research being one of the priorities. The Zeppelin Collection and LZ Archives form a competence 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.[11]

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 to 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.[12]


The library holds and collects publications on the subjects of the museum’s two departments of 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 persons 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 be read only there.[13]

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 be also acquired.[14]

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. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Technology Collection / Maybach Zeppelin. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  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. ^ own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  8. ^ a b own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  9. ^ a b own translation. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  10. ^ Zeppelin Museum / The Museum / The Collections / Art Collection. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  11. ^ Research. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  12. ^ Zeppelin Museum / Research / LZ Archive. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  13. ^ Zeppelin Museum / Research / Library. Zeppelin-museum.de. Retrieved on 2014-04-25.
  14. ^ 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