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Miniatur Wunderland

Coordinates: 53°32′38″N 9°59′20″E / 53.54389°N 9.98889°E / 53.54389; 9.98889
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Miniatur Wunderland
Company typeLimited liability company
(Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung)
IndustryModel railway
Founded2000; 24 years ago (2000)
Key people
Frederik & Gerrit Braun, Stephan Hertz
Number of employees

The Miniatur Wunderland (German for: "Miniature Wonderland") is, according to Guinness World Records, the largest model railway system in the world.[2] It is located at the historic Speicherstadt in Hamburg and is one of the most popular and most visited sights in Germany.[3][4]

The exhibition includes around 1,120 digitally controlled trains with more than 10,000 wagons. The Wonderland is also designed with around 4,300 houses and bridges, more than 10,000 vehicles – of which around 350 drive independently on the installation – 52 airplanes and around 290,000 figures. The system features a recurring day-night lighting cycle and almost 500,000 built-in LED lights.[5] Of the 7,000 m2 (75,347 sq ft) of floorspace, the models occupies 1,545 m2 (16,630 sq ft).[5]

As of December 2021, the railway consisted of 16,138 m (52,946 ft) of track in H0 scale, divided into nine sections: Harz mountains, the fictitious town of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, the United States, Scandinavia, Switzerland, a replica of Hamburg Airport, Italy and South America. Planning is also in progress for the construction of sections for Central America and the Caribbean, Asia, England, Africa and The Netherlands.[6]


In the summer of 2000, Frederik Braun, one of the two founders of Miniatur Wunderland, was on vacation in Zurich. In a local model train store he came up with the idea for the world's largest model railway.[7] Back in Hamburg, he searched for email addresses online and started a survey on the popularity of real and fictional sights of the city. In the process, the Miniatur Wunderland, which did not yet exist, was ranked 3 by male respondents.[clarification needed]

According to Braun and his twin brother Gerrit, the initial idea and business plan for Miniatur Wunderland fit on just two pages.[8] The financial backer was Hamburger Sparkasse.[9][10]

Construction and expansion[edit]

After construction began in December 2000, the first three sections (Knuffingen, Central Germany and Austria) opened on 16 August 2001. Since then, several sections have been added. With the completion of the Hamburg, German Coast section in November 2002, Wunderland became the largest model railroad in Europe. The United States was added in December 2003, followed by Scandinavia in July 2005. On 10 September 2015, the Brauns added the final piece of track between the Switzerland section and a new Italy section, extending the track length from 13,000 to 15,400 meters. An observing Guinness judge presented the certificate for the newly established world record.[11]

The 190 sq. m. Bella Italia section was opened on 28 September 2016 after four years under construction, involving 180,000 man hours and costing around €4 million.[12] Work on the Monaco / Provence section started in August 2019 and, when completed, will add another 315 meters. The total length of currently 15,715 meters therefore corresponds to 1,367.21 km in real length, making Miniatur Wunderland the largest model railway layout in the world by all measures.[13]

In 2020, a bridge connected the original Wunderland to a building across the canal.[14] The new space features depictions of Antarctica and South America, including Rio de Janeiro.[15] Construction on Monaco and Provence, featuring a Formula One circuit, was concluded in 2024.[16] [17]

Other future projects include Central America/Caribbean and Asia. The creators say construction on Great Britain will begin in 2028.[18]


Number Section Completion Size Source
01 Central Germany / Harz August 2001 ca. 120 m2
02 Knuffingen (Fictional town) August 2001 ca. 120 m2
03 Austria August 2001 ca. 60 m2
04 Hamburg November 2002 ca. 200 m2
05 United States December 2003 ca. 100 m2
06 Scandinavia July 2005 ca. 300 m2
07 Switzerland November 2007 ca. 250 m2
08 Knuffingen Airport May 2011 ca. 150 m2
04 a Hamburg – subsection Hafencity
and Elbphilharmonie
November 2013 ca. 9 m2
09 Italy September 2016 ca. 190 m2
09 a Italy – Subsection Venice February 2018 ca. 9 m2 [19]
01 a Central Germany / Harz – Subsection Kirmes June 2020 ca. 9 m2 [20]
10 The World From Above (Bridge crossing to South America) December 2021 ca. 10 m2 [5]
11 Rio de Janeiro December 2021 ca. 220 m2 [5]
13 Patagonia May 2023 ca. 150 m2 [5][21]
12 Monaco / Provence April 2024 ca. 63 m2 [5][22]
14 Central America & The Caribbean 2025 (under construction) ca. 150 m2 [23]
15 Asia 2026/2027 (planned) ca. 150 m2 [23]
16 Great Britain 2028/29 (planned) [23]


The control room

Visitors explore different rooms throughout a long corridor. Trains run along the walls of the rooms and on peninsula-like protrusions. The layout consists (as of September 2016) of nine completed sections of 60[24] to 300 m2.[24]

  • The first three sections were created simultaneously, showing central and southern Germany with the Harz mountains and featuring a long ICE-high speed train track.
  • The fictional town of Knuffingen features a road system with moving cars.
  • The Austria section involved the implementation of the Alps theme, including a multi-level helix from which trains from the other sections change corridor sides above the heads of visitors.
  • The next stage of expansion includes the section with the theme Hamburg, German Coast.
  • The United States section includes Las Vegas, Miami, some Wild West, another system with moving cars and a spaceport.
  • The Scandinavia section has a real water area: in the future, computer-controlled ships will operate in the 30,000 liter "North Sea" sea tub. At present, they are still controlled manually. Tides are also simulated here.
  • The Swiss Alps, extending over two floors, are modeled on the landscapes of the cantons of Ticino, Grisons and Wallis and were completed in November 2007. Through a hole in the ceiling on a total area of 100 m2 the mountains reach almost six meters in height. Visitors reach this new level via stairs, while trains negotiate the height differences in concealed switchbacks and in a locomotive lift.
  • The Knuffingen Airport section was opened in May 2011 after around six years in construction and development and an investment of 3.5 million euros. On display is a 150 m2 airport with a globally unique airport control system.
  • A small section forms the Hamburg HafenCity with the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Planning began in May 2012 and construction began in August the same year. A total of nine square meters (m2) were available, and 10 selected houses were built on this area. The opening was on 13 November 2013.[25]
  • In 2014, a trip was made to Italy to gain lots of impressions of the country. These were brought into the 9th construction section Italy. In this section, some sights of Rome as well as landscapes like Tuscany or the lava-spewing Vesuvius can be seen. The construction section was presented in a specially created blog and opened in September 2016.[26]
  • In February 2018, the Venice section was opened at only 9 m2 in size. Involving around 35,000 man hours, it is the most elaborate section in relation to its size.

Special features[edit]

Part of the factory

Special features include a simulated daily routine where twilight, night and day repeat every 15 minutes. This includes an automatic lighting control system that activates more than 300,000 lights to match the time of day.

The 120-square-meter fantasy town of Knuffingen, with a population of about 6,000, is equipped with more than 100 moving model cars, including numerous fire engines, which are used to simulate a firefighting operation in Knuffingen every 15 minutes on average. Traffic simulation is made possible by a modified car system that is also used in the USA, Scandinavia and Knuffingen Airport sections. In the America section, an Interstate Highway is equipped with a dynamic Traffic Control System, which uses variable-message signs with 2x16 characters, lane use control lights, and 4 different speed limits to control traffic.[27]

Intricate details include a changing scoreboard in the Volkspark Stadium, speeding cameras and a crashed cheese wheel truck. There is also a Jet gas station displaying the real current gasoline prices of its prototype in Hamburg's Amsinck street.[28]

Visitors can control operations on the system through about 200 push-buttons, including options to start a mine train, turn wind turbines, trigger a goal in the football stadium, launch a helicopter or the Space Shuttle, or elongate Pinocchio's nose. One button allows visitors to watch the simulated production of a small chocolate bar in a factory, resulting in a block of Lindt chocolate dispensed for the visitor to sample.[29]

Certain tours also include a behind-the-scenes look at detailed figures that cannot be seen from the normal public area.[citation needed]

Knuffingen Airport[edit]

After six years in planning and under construction, Knuffingen airport was officially opened to visitors on 4 May 2011 as a special section of the facility. Its buildings resemble Hamburg Airport. As in the fictional main town of Knuffingen, there is also a simulation of a fire department with a large fleet of vehicles, including four airfield fire engines. On the 14-meter runway, aircraft models accelerate to scale on an invisible sled, and by means of two guide rods can lift off the ground and disappear into a wall. Depending on the launch phase, the guide rods allow a horizontal tilt of the aircraft that approximates reality.

The section features a wide variety of standard commercial aircraft, including Boeing 747, Boeing 787, Airbus A350 and Airbus A380, in the liveries of active and defunct airlines from around the world. There is also a Concorde in British Airways livery, a Space Shuttle, a bee and a model of the Millennium Falcon spaceship from Star Wars.

The movement of the aircraft on the ground is realized with the help of technology based on the car system. The vehicles in the airport tell their own little stories with coordinated refueling, loading and unloading before and after landing starting from the aircraft parking positions.

Unlike the other landscapes, the railroad at the airport is hardly visible. There is only an airport station underground.

According to the operators, the 150-square meter space cost around 3.5 million euros, in addition to 150,000 man hours. The area is equipped not only with many rolling aircraft models, but also with hundreds of cars, passenger boarding bridges, parking garages, airport hotels, a subway and individual figures.


On 5 December 2012 the ten-millionth visitor came to Miniatur Wunderland[13] and on 2 December 2016 the fifteen-millionth.[30] Around three quarters of visitors come from Germany, while the remaining quarter hail mainly from Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, England, the US and China.[31]


In 2010, founders Frederik and Gerrit Braun and Stephan Hertz were awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for their social commitment.[32] The Miniatur Wunderland also holds the Guinness World Record for "longest melody played by a model train."[33]

Presence in the media[edit]

Several times following completion of the various expansion stages, the Hamburg section was visited by a team of reporters from Eisenbahn-Romantik from SWR. Numerous television stations, magazines and newspapers have reported on Miniatur Wunderland.[34]

In May 2009, rapper Samy Deluxe filmed a portion of the music video for the song "Stumm" in Miniatur Wunderland. About 100 sequences were recorded in which a miniature figure "runs" (stop-motion) through the layout.[35]

On 5 December 2009 the outdoor betting section of the German television show Wetten, dass..? took place at Miniatur Wunderland.[36]

The plot of several episodes of the Hamburg crime series Großstadtrevier takes place at Miniatur Wunderland.[10]

In 2015, together with singer Helene Fischer, a campaign for Ein Herz für Kinder was launched in which over 450,000 euros (as of 01/2016) were collected. The campaign was presented, among others, in the Ein Herz für Kinder Gala.[37]

In January 2016, Miniatur Wunderland partnered with Google MiniView – a miniature version of Google Street View.[38]


  1. ^ "Facts & Figures | Press page Miniatur Wunderland". 12 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  2. ^ "Largest model train set". guinnessworldrecords.com. Guinness World Records Limited. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  3. ^ "The TOP 100 sights and attractions in Germany". germany.travel. Germany Travel. Retrieved 2024-06-06.
  4. ^ "Germany's 10 most visited attractions". dw.com. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2024-06-06.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Facts & Figures about Miniatur Wunderland". Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  6. ^ "The Future of Wunderland – Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg". Archived from the original on 2020-07-05. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  7. ^ "Die Idee" [The Idea] (in German). Archived from the original on 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  8. ^ Meyer, Simone (February 17, 2006). "Ein Märchen im Maßstab 1:87" [A fairy tale in 1:87th scale] (in German). Archived from the original on March 10, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2020 – via www.welt.de.
  9. ^ "Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg GmbH" (in German). Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  10. ^ a b "Über das Wunderland" [About the wonderland]. Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg (in German). Archived from the original on 2020-11-07. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  11. ^ "Newsmeldung Anlage - Modellbau Modelleisenbahn Hamburg". Archived from the original on 2018-01-01. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  12. ^ "Newsmeldung Anlage - Modellbau Modelleisenbahn Hamburg". Archived from the original on 2018-01-06. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  13. ^ a b "Nachrichten aus Hamburg". www.ndr.de. Archived from the original on 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  14. ^ "Speicherstadt: Warum das Hamburger Weltkulturerbe eine neue Brücke bekommt". July 15, 2020. Archived from the original on September 23, 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2023 – via www.welt.de.
  15. ^ "Rio de Janeiro". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  16. ^ "Monaco Highlights - 2024 Miniature Grand Prix - Miniatur Wunderland". Youtube (in German). Retrieved 2024-04-26.
  17. ^ "Monaco & die Provence". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  18. ^ "Die Zukunft des Wunderlandes". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Archived from the original on 2020-10-24. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  19. ^ "Venedig im Miniatur Wunderland". February 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 20, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2020 – via www.welt.de.
  20. ^ "Kirmes". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Archived from the original on 2020-11-04. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  21. ^ "Patagonien". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  22. ^ "Monaco & die Provence". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg (in German). Retrieved 2023-04-15.
  23. ^ a b c "The Future of Wunderland". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  24. ^ a b "Welten". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  25. ^ "MiWuLa TV Report - Die kleine Elbphilharmonie: Der Tag der Eröffnung - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  26. ^ "Bella Italia 2.1 | der 9. Bauabschnitt des Miniatur Wunderlandes". Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  27. ^ "Wochenbericht Nr. 191". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Archived from the original on 2019-08-04. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  28. ^ "JET Tankstellen : Schlauer ist das". www.jet-tankstellen.de. Archived from the original on 2020-12-18. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  29. ^ "Knopfdruckaktionen". Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. Archived from the original on 2020-09-27. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  30. ^ Hamburg, Hamburger Abendblatt- (December 2, 2016). "Miniaturwunderland feiert den 15-millionsten Besucher". www.abendblatt.de. Archived from the original on August 7, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  31. ^ "Miniatur Wunderland erwartet 15. Millionsten Besucher | Miniatur Wunderland". December 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  32. ^ "Miniatur Wunderland-Macher für soziales Engagement ausgezeichnet - hamburg.de". Archived from the original on 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  33. ^ "Longest melody played by a model train". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  34. ^ TINY WONDERS ; BIG IMPACT: Miniatur Wunderland Unveiled | WELT Documentary. Retrieved 2024-03-30 – via www.youtube.com.
  35. ^ "Modelleisenbahn meets Hip-Hop: Samy Deluxe | | Hertz-lich gebloggt..." www.stephan-hertz.de. 7 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  36. ^ Goy, Martina (December 6, 2009). "Miniatur Wunderland: Modellbahn-Spektakel bei "Wetten dass...?"". Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2020 – via www.welt.de.
  37. ^ "Presse Mitteilungen anzeigen - Modellbau Modelleisenbahn Hamburg". Archived from the original on 2016-07-24. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  38. ^ "Google Maps: Miniatur Wunderland Street View". Google Maps: Miniatur Wunderland Street View. Archived from the original on 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2020-12-20.

External links[edit]

53°32′38″N 9°59′20″E / 53.54389°N 9.98889°E / 53.54389; 9.98889