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Blohm+Voss B.V. & Co. KG
Company typeSubsidiary (KG)
PredecessorH. C. Stülcken Sohn Edit this on Wikidata
FoundersHermann Blohm
Ernst Voss
Area served
Key people
Klaus Borgschulte, Tim Wagner, Dirk Malgowski, Lena Ströbele[2]
ProductsShips and yachts
ServicesRepair, refit and new construction
Number of employees
447 (2021)[3][4]

Blohm+Voss (B+V), also written historically as Blohm & Voss, Blohm und Voß etc., is a German shipbuilding and engineering company. Founded in Hamburg in 1877 to specialise in steel-hulled ships, its most famous product was the World War II battleship Bismarck. In the 1930s, its owners established the Hamburger Flugzeugbau aircraft manufacturer which, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, adopted the name of its parent company. Following a difficult period after the war, B+V was revived, changing ownership among several owners, as Thyssen Group and Star Capital. In 2016, it became a subsidiary of Lürssen and continues to supply both the military and civilian markets. It serves two areas – new construction of warships as NVL B.V. & Co. KG, and new construction and refitting of megayachts.[1] The company has been in operation, building ships and other large machinery, almost continuously for 147 years.


Early years[edit]

Blohm & Voss 1877

Blohm & Voss was founded on 5 April 1877 by Hermann Blohm and Ernst Voss (or Voß) as a general partnership, to build steel-hulled ships. It established a shipyard on the island of Kuhwerder, near the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, covering 15,000 m2 (160,000 sq ft) with 250 m (820 ft) of water frontage and three building berths, two suitable for ships of up to 100 m (330 ft) length. The company name was shown with the ampersand, as B&V, until 1955.

Shipbuilding was at that time dominated by the British, with even German customers preferring to buy from them. Initial business was confined to ship repairs, although B&V managed to build and later sell the three-masted barque National. Eventually the first new-build order arrived for the small cargo paddle-steamer Burg, and the business took off. By 1882, the company had gained a reputation for quality and punctuality and was prospering.[5]

Initially, their products were steel-hulled sailing ships designed for long sea voyages. At that time steamships had a relatively short range, while many of the advantages of steel construction still applied to sailing ships as much as to steam. The company built its first steamship in 1900, while still continuing to build sailing ships until the late 1930s.[6]

The Nazi era, 1933–1945[edit]

German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper at Blohm & Voss shipyards in 1939

When Hermann Blohm died, his two sons Rudolf Blohm [de] and Walther Blohm [de] took over. Ernst Voss left soon afterwards. By this time the company was in financial crisis, so the Blohm brothers diversified into aircraft, setting up the Hamburger Flugzeugbau (see below) in the summer of 1933.[7]

With the rise of the Nazi Party to power in 1933, Germany began to rearm and both companies became increasingly involved in the programme. The shipyard built both civilian craft and warships for the government, including the battleship Bismarck, before manufacturing U-boats in quantity.

In 1944 a subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp was set up at the company's shipyard in Hamburg-Steinwerder.[8] It supplied labour to the company from July 1944 to April 1945. A report dated 29 August states:

500 foreign female concentration camp prisoners, political, and criminal. Adjacent barracks camp, 11 guards, 17,000 m barbed wire, 380 Volts, tripwire. . . . The German foremen should be replaced by prisoners because the inmate overseers take a tougher line. Work performance is highly satisfactory. Productivity is higher than with the same number of German workers because work hours are longer and absenteeism is lower. . . . The gentlemen are of the opinion that the conditions sound harsher than they actually are.[9]

Rudolf Blohm was present during this visit.[9]

A memorial stands on the site of the camp and the company continues to pay an undisclosed amount to the Fund for Compensation of Forced Laborers.[10] Steinwerder was badly damaged during the bombing of Hamburg in World War II and at the end of it, shipbuilding was forbidden.[11]

Hamburger Flugzeugbau[edit]

Ha 139
BV 238, largest Axis aircraft design to fly

In 1933 Blohm & Voss was suffering a financial crisis from lack of work. Its owners, brothers Rudolf and Walther Blohm, decided to diversify into aircraft manufacture, believing that there would soon be a market for all-metal, long-range flying boats, especially with the German state airline Deutsche Luft Hansa. They also felt that their experience with all-metal marine construction would prove an advantage. They formed the Hamburger Flugzeugbau that summer.[12][7]

Most of the aircraft built by HFB/B&V would in fact be other companies' designs and major subassemblies, contracted under license, including tens of thousands of aircraft each for Dornier, Heinkel, Junkers and Messerschmitt.[7] Alongside its volume manufacturing the company also maintained its own design office and workshops which continued to develop and build new types throughout the company's life. The first planes it produced were designated with the official RLM company code "Ha".

The aircraft produced by Hamburger Flugzeugbau were still commonly associated with Blohm & Voss and this was causing confusion, so in September 1937 Hamburger Flugzeugbau was renamed Abteilung Flugzeugbau der Schiffswerft Blohm & Voss and the RLM changed its company code to "BV".[13]

Its most significant designs were flying boats, mainly used by the Luftwaffe for maritime patrol and reconnaissance. Most numerous was the BV 138 Seedrache (initiated as the Ha 138), a twin-boom trimotor, while the BV 222 Wiking was much larger. Largest of all was the BV 238 prototype, the largest aircraft built by any of the Axis forces. Other notable types include the asymmetric BV 141, which was built in moderate numbers but did not enter production.

At the end of the war, aircraft production was shut down. Hamburger Flugzeugbau GmBH (HFB) re-emerged in 1956, still under the ownership of Walther Blohm but no longer connected to B+V. It reopened the former B+V aircraft factory at Finkenwerder and subsequently underwent various further changes of ownership and company name,[14] eventually becoming part of Airbus.


Administrative building
Blohm+Voss, between Kuhwerder Port, Nordelbe and Norderloch

After the Second World War, the British continued to demolish the shipyards of Steinwerder. B&V, unable to restart shipbuilding work, all but ceased to exist for several years.

In 1950, B&V created a new subsidiary company, Steinwerder Industrie AG, to manufacture machinery and boilers on the site. Its shipyard fortunes began to revive in 1952 when the new company was allowed to restart ship repair work and the City of Hamburg subsequently guaranteed it credit. By 1953 some 900 workers were back in employment.[11] The building of new ships would later also be allowed again. During this period of resurrection the level of investment required meant that B&V moved out of private hands and became a publicly quoted company, 50% owned by Phoenix-Rheinrohr AG, itself soon to be consolidated into the Thyssen Group.[15] Even so, B&V would never regain its former size. In 1966 it took over neighbouring shipbuilder H. C. Stülcken Sohn.[16]

During the postwar years, B+V built oil rigs and developed a market for other offshore products such as support ships and pipelines.[17][18][19] The company has also built ships for numerous commercial customers, including luxury yachts. Eclipse, built for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is 162 metres (531 ft 6 in) in length making it the second longest private yacht in the world. B+V still administers the Elbe 17 dry dock at Hamburg. The semi-submersible drilling rig "Chris Chenery" was constructed in 1974 for The Offshore Co. of Houston, USA. When Thyssen AG and Krupp merged in 1999, B+V became a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

In December 2001, Blohm+Voss, Nordseewerke and Friedrich Lurssen Werft were awarded the contract to build the first five K130 fregatte MEKO. The first of them, Braunschweig, was built at Blohm+Voss, launched in April 2006 and commissioned in April 2008.[20] Several problems with the equipment fit delayed commissioning, and the last was commissioned in 2013.[21][22]

In 2011 ThyssenKrupp agreed the sale of the Blohm+Voss civil shipbuilding division to British investment company STAR Capital Partners.[23][24] The military division remained with ThyssenKrupp.[25]

In October 2016, regulatory approval was given for Lürssen to acquire Blohm+Voss from STAR Capital Partners.[26][27] In April 2017 the company dismissed 300 employees from which were 1000.[28]

In September 2017, the German Navy commissioned the construction of five K130 corvettes by a consortium of North German shipyards including ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Blohm+Voss, and the German Naval Yards in Kiel. The Lürssen Group, which would be the main contractor in the production of the vessels, distributed its work between the two sites at Wolgast and B+V Hamburg to build only two, the F265 in 2021 and F266 in 2022. The contract was worth around 2 billion euros.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38]

On 25 July 2019, Peter Lürßen invested €20 million in Yard. The Dock 10 was covered with a 200-m-long and 50-m-high roof by a cost of €13 million.[39] The mount of Steel Pillar above Dock's Walls started in October 2020. On 29 April 2021 the Yacht construction hull Project Opera, also called Coral Ocean, was transferred from Dock 17 to Dock 10 and both were tug to Berne, Germany to stay at least 2 years. The previous 146-m Project Sassi, which burned, remained only the engine section block, was part of the new Yacht Project Opera. Lürßen Dock 3 was transferred to Wilhelmshaven at Jade Yard. In Berne a Hall was extended. Mein Schiff 3 dock then in Dock 17, following by Aidacara and Aidamar, lasts cruise ships visiting the dock.[40][41]

Dock 10 covered

Since October 2021[edit]

According to Hamburger Morgen Post Newspaper Interview and Meeting on 30 September 2021 and repeated at Hamburger Abendblatt,[42] Peter Lürßen (61) personally presented himself to the workforce with news, saying Lürssen wouldn't make refit to cruise ships, except the Hapag-Lloyd and P&O ones, an also company of Hamburg, and merchant ships like tankers and container ships in Hamburg anymore. The new building department was dissolved. All six floating docks were in review. The repair division was not a success. Despite the around 20 million euros invested in modern shipyard technology, the subletting of many halls and the shrinkage to only around a third of the used shipyard area, the costs were still too high and is not yet fit for the future. The location is too expensive compared to other shipyards, so structural measures and cost adjustments were necessary. The Business were split in two, construction of naval ships like Corvette in one called NVL and mega-yachts as Lürßen itself.

Ships built[edit]

SMS Scharnhorst
Wilhelm Gustloff
FPSO EnQuest Producer under Star Capital
F224 of the German Navy

Blohm & Voss was established in the days of sail and, although it built ships with steel hulls from the very first, it did not produce a significant steamship until 1900. Of the many hundreds of ships built by B+V, notable examples include:

Tall ships[edit]

Ocean liners and other passenger ships[edit]

Private yachts[edit]


Pre-dreadnought warships[edit]

Warships of World War I[edit]

Warships of World War II[edit]

Modern warships[edit]

Ships built using the MEKO system are listed at MEKO.

Other modern warships designed and built by B&V include:



  1. ^ a b Meyer, Kristian, "Erste Bilanz nach Übernahme Alles neu bei Traditionswerft Blohm+Voss", Hamburger Morgenpost, 27 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Legal notice – NVL".
  3. ^ "Blohm+Voss: 133 Arbeitsplätze fallen weg".
  4. ^ "Jobverlust droht bei Traditionswerft Blohm+Voss in Hamburg -". Archived from the original on 2021-10-04. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  5. ^ "End of an era for Germany's most famous shipyard". The Motorship. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  6. ^ "Blohm+Voss – More Than Just A Shipyard". Innovations Of The World. 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  7. ^ a b c Pohlmann (1979).
  8. ^ The camp Blohm & Voss is listed as No. 550 Hamburg in the official German list Archived April 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine (List in German)
  9. ^ a b Buggeln, Marc (2015). Slave Labor in Nazi Concentration Camps. Oxford University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-19-870797-4.
  10. ^ Herbert Diercks, Der Hamburger Hafen im Nationalsozialismus, 2008
  11. ^ a b Henry Burke Wend; Recovery and Restoration: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Politics of Reconstruction of West Germany's Shipbuilding Industry, Praeger, 2001, pp.196–198.
  12. ^ Amtmann (1998)
  13. ^ "Kapitel 2.2.: B + V Geschichte v. 1933 – 1938".
  14. ^ Pohlmann (1979), 1982 edition, Page 242.
  15. ^ Hamburg Journal, Part 2.
  16. ^ Mauerblümchen ist jetzt die Regierung ("Wallflower is Now the Boss"), Der Spiegel, 21 February 1966, pp.25–26.
  17. ^ Cape Town shipyard busy with Scarabeo 3 upgrades, MarineLog (retrieved 26 April 2017)
  18. ^ Semi submersible drill rig Chris Chenery Archived 2017-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, Oil Rig Photos (retrieved 26 April 2017)
  19. ^ Offshore Units Archived 2017-04-27 at the Wayback Machine, Blohm+Voss (retrieved 26 April 2017)
  20. ^ "K130 Braunschweig Class Corvette". Naval Technology. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  21. ^ "K130 Braunschweig class". Navy Recognition. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Milliardenprojekt Korvette 130: Pannenserie reißt nicht ab – Marineinspekteur fordert schärfere Kontrolle". Norddeutcher Rundfunk via PressPortal (in German). 20 June 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  23. ^ Bryant, Chris (12 December 2011). "ThyssenKrupp sells 'mega-yacht' division". Financial Times Limited. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  24. ^ "STAR Capital Partners buys Blohm & Voss' civil business". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  25. ^ Conrad Waters (Ed.); Seaforth World Naval Review 2013, Seaforth, 2012, p.134.
  26. ^ "Breaking news: Lürssen acquires Blohm + Voss". 28 September 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  27. ^ German Fair Trade Commission approves Blohm+Voss Acquisition Archived 2015-02-17 at the Wayback Machine, B+V web site, 31 October 2016. (Retrieved 17 April 2017).
  28. ^ "Dramatic year for German shipbuilding". The Motorship. 20 April 2017.
  29. ^ "Germany awards € 2.4 bln contract for five new K130 corvettes". Naval Today.
  30. ^ "Riesenauftrag von Bundeswehr: Blohm+Voss auf Jahre gerettet" (in German). Abendblatt. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  31. ^ "Four Shipyards Agree to Build New German Corvettes". April 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "Wie Blohm+Voss vom Bau neuer Korvetten profitiert". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). 6 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Thyssenkrupp könnte seine Werften verkaufen". Handelsblatt (in German). 8 June 2018. Archived from the original on 29 July 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  34. ^ "ThyssenKrupp blocked from warship tender". Handelsblatt Global Edition. 2 March 2018.
  35. ^ Behling, Frank (1 March 2018). "TKMS und Lürssen sind bei MKS180 raus". Kieler Nachrichten (in German).
  36. ^ "Germany: the MKS-180 decision, an earthquake in naval yards!". DefenceChronicles (in French). 5 March 2018.
  37. ^ "Germany returns lead F125 frigate to builder, report". Naval Today. 22 December 2017.
  38. ^ Sprenger, Sebastian (23 March 2018). "Emerging German-Dutch naval tie-up has industry abuzz". Defense News.
  39. ^ "Dock 10 erhält spektakuläres Riesen-Dach". Abendblatt (in German). 25 July 2019.
  40. ^ "Schwimmdock kommt für zwei Jahre an die Weser". Weser Kurier (in German). 10 October 2019.
  41. ^ "PROJECT OPERA".
  42. ^ "Hamburger Hafen: Blohm+Voss droht massiver Stellenabbau". 30 September 2021.
  43. ^ "Lady Moura". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  44. ^ Gröner, Erich (1990). German warships, 1815–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-87021-790-6.
  45. ^ Hildebrand, Hans H; Röhr, Albert & Steinmetz, Hans-Otto (1993). Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe. Vol. 5. Ratingen, Germany: Mundus Verlag. p. 39.
  46. ^ Brassey, Earl Thomas Allnutt (1947). Brassey's Annual: The Armed Forces Year-book. Vol. 58. Praeger Publishers. p. 259.


  • Amtmann, Hans; The Vanishing Paperclips, Monogram, 1988.
  • Meyhoff, Andreas. Blohm & Voss im »Dritten Reich«, Eine Hamburger Großwerft zwischen Geschäft und Politik (Hamburger Beiträge zur Sozial- und Zeitgeschichte, Band 38) (in German). Hamburg, Germany: Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, 2001. ISBN 3-89244-916-3.
  • Pohlmann, Hermann. 'Chronik Eines Flugzeugwerkes 1932–1945. B&V – Blohm & Voss Hamburg – HFB Hamburger Flugzeugbau (in German). Motor Buch Verlag, 1979 ISBN 3-87943-624-X.
  • Prager, Hans Georg and Bishop, Frederick A.(Transl.). Blohm + Voss: Ships and Machinery for the World. London: Brassey's Publishers Limited, 1977. ISBN 0-904609-14-6.
  • Witthöft, Hans J. Tradition und Fortschritt – 125 Jahre Blohm + Voss (in German). Koehlers Verlag, 2002. ISBN 3-7822-0847-1.
  • "Geschichte der Hamburger Werft Blohm + Voss", Hamburg Journal, 1 Part 2 (In German)
  • Eiber, Ludwig (1996). "Das KZ-Außenlager Blohm & Voss im Hamburger Hafen". Konzentrationslager und deutsche Wirtschaft 1939–1945 (in German). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. pp. 227–238. ISBN 978-3-322-97342-9.
  • Wixey, Ken (July–August 1999). "Flugboots from Hamburg: An Outline History of Blohm und Voss Flying-boats". Air Enthusiast (82): 42–48. ISSN 0143-5450.

External links[edit]