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Die lange Nacht Der Museen

Translation: the long night of museums

rain 8 °C

I didn't know it was such a big deal at first, so I accidently missed the TUHH registration for this event. By the time I realised I really wanted to attend, the TUHH registration was full and I had to buy a ticket separately for 10 eur instead of the 3 eur subsidised ticket. Drat. Oh well haha.

This annual event is a pretty big deal. There are versions of this all over Europe, I'm not sure where it started. The Hamburg one is from 6pm to 2am, with free entry to 54 participating museums offering some special activities, tours, live music and food throughout the evening. 6 bus lines were also set up, shuttling people between museums.

I went off to buy my ticket at about 3pm, after another big satisfying home cooked meal : ) bought my ticket at the HBF (central station) then went off to Sternschanze for my first Hamburg expedition. According to some other exchange students, it's a really nice place and they wished they could live there, but there's no way they ever could.


And yeah, it's a nice place. At first all I saw were the somewhat Parisian styles as seen also in Barcelona and many other parts of Europe. This is in contrast to the staid traditional brick buildings seen in Harburg. But it was nice because it was a very good mix of Parisian, Georgian, neo-gothic and modern buildings. I'm sure I got most of the names of those styles wrong, haha, but just illustrating how non-homogenous it was. So it was quite a relaxed atmosphere. The gorgeousness of the older styles but the open simplicity of the newer ones. Nonetheless, perhaps due to the close proximity to St Pauli's? (red light district), there was a lot of ugly graffiti (vs pretty graffiti) and paper ads all over. Marred the prettiness somewhat.


Walked around through Schanzenpark, found a Flohmarkt! (flea market) Wanted to buy a 2nd hand leather bag but even those were too expensive for me (I had 25 eur on hand). Was aiming to get over to Planten und Blomen or St Pauli's, but ended up at Dom! It's a theme park that sets up only three times a year for only 1 or 2 months at a go. I'd heard about it but didn't know where it was so yay to serendipity. Went inside, it's a typical theme park with games, rides, food, sweets. The only thing I actually did was buy a currywurst (which is a big deal in Germany) cos I hadn't had one before. Tasted nothing like curry, he sprinkled the tiniest amount of curry powder on top. Sauce was supposed to be hot sauce I think but I only realised that halfway through when I saw the sign lol. Tasted more like Macs bbq sauce, but less bbq taste and more flour-y. Okay, I shan't compare and complain. On its own it was quite nice. Took the U-bahn back over to HBF to meet the rest.


Despite poor reception over whatsapp at the beginning, 3 of the NUS guys came, and S came too. (where S is a Chinese bachelor student here doing her thesis. I met her at one of my lectures which she attended because she has nothing to do besides type out her thesis in her office) (yes she gets her own office!) After a long draggy false start (walk far far to find currywurst, discuss here and there, attempt to find the way) we finally set off for our first stop: Museum fuer Hamburgische Geschichtchen (museum for Hamburger stories) (and yes they do call themselves Hamburgers haha)

My initial choice of 4 museums was dashed. 2 of the museums (Spicy's and the Hamburg Dungeon) weren't offered in the 54. The third, a concentration camp (largest in North Germany) was an hour away. That left only the Ballinstadt. Upon that realisation I added the Geschichtchen and the Speicherstadt (to do with the coffee and spices trade). However, after discussion and compromise with the others, this was our final route map:

1. Museum fuer Hamburgische Geschichtchen
2. Internationales Maritimes Museum
3. Automuseum Prototyp
4. Ballinstadt

I protested against an additional technology museum because we were already going to the automuseum haha. Despite reasoning that Germany is a technological nation. I don't care, I want social history haha. Besides, Speicherstadt had been out-voted.

Turns out that the Geschichtchen was a tiny room with no displays. It's a place where people can come and tell their stories! Most of it gets videoed and put up on the web. Very interesting concept, but we had no time for that yet, especially because a lot of it was in German. So we went round to the Hamburg Museum just next door, didn't manage to see everything (eg. I didn’t get to see the Jewish section sigh). It was a general museum of Hamburg's history. Lots of maps and models of Hamburg at various points in its history, and some history that later gets repeated in the 3rd and 4th museums. One thing I learnt was that the Elbe is really polluted lol. This first one was very rushed because we weren't sure if we had enough time.

eel with cauliflower growth : /

Bussed over to the Maritime Museum. Not the most interesting museum, mainly because I guess it wasn't really my interest. I was talking to one of the guys working there though. He's one of the volunteers who makes and upkeeps the model ships! Was telling us about the history of two of the ships they were working on, it was great to see the history come alive from those little model ships. They really have to do their research. The guys were bored haha but I love this stuff. Did you know that Dutch shipbuilders (the most reputed builders during the 15-1700s) never had physical plans? They directed the entire ship building operation just like that. Wow. There was a Dutch shipbuilder who died halfway, then his brother and sister-in-law continued. But they had no plans to follow, and I suppose they weren't experienced. They built the ship too high and didn't weight it adequately in the hull, so it sank and killed its passengers on its first journey. Besides that, we made badges! And saw military uniforms and weapons. Didn't go to all the decks (they call it decks!)


In the workshop. It says "Daily flogging will continue until the crew's morale improves"!
James Cook, Columbus, and Erikson the Red (personal favourite). There was also Zheng He but I couldn't be bothered hahahaha.

Walked 5min over to the Automuseum in the cold. M for some reason thought it wouldn't be cold so he only wore two layers. I lent him my goretex (extra layer in case it was cold) but it was hilarious cos it was too small for him and he just put his arms in backwards. Throughout the night he switched jackets a few times with T, who could just about wear my jacket although it was tight. (T's jacket was the thick kind) Automuseum wasn't very interesting for me, a bunch of pretty cool cars, mostly Porsches. But I got to play a racing game! Haha yay.


By that time everyone was famished. I'd already had a cereal bar at the Maritime Museum. Food was not forthcoming, so D and T shared my second bar. And we all had some of S's Rittersports.

Bus to Ballinstadt. I'd been looking forward to the promised Irish stew, but when I went to order I was disappointed. Kitchen was closed, it was 12am. Sigh. So everyone continued to be hungry. Also we missed the live Irish music noooo I think I'm doomed to never hear live Irish music sigh.

I think I enjoyed Ballinstadt the most, because it had the most English text! Even more than the Hamburg Museum. Seriously there was a lot to read, it was like reading an article on the net but better because I could walk around and see stuff too.

Ballinstadt is about the emigration of people, focusing particularly on the passage of people through Hamburg to the USA. I like how they displayed everything, reminding us that emigration is not just a word. It's people's hopes and dreams, it's running away from persecution and in fear, it's the looking forward to a better life and the leaving of home. What dreams do you bring with you? they ask. What do you leave behind?


Hamburg, being a port city (I have some things to say on this topic. Maybe another time), saw a great number of people at its harbour. Major emigration began in the 16/1700s when the US began to be populated. At this time the principal forces of famine, persecution, poverty, and general desire for a better life caused a huge outflow of Europeans to the New World via Hamburg and several other port cities.

For a hundred years or so, living conditions on board transport to Hamburg, waiting accommodation in Hamburg, and on ships out of Hamburg were pretty terrible. Very cramped, cold and unsanitary. Emigrants weren't treated very well especially on ships out where many 3rd class passengers were treated as 'mixed goods', staying one or two weeks without break in cargo holds crudely retro-fitted with bunk beds. On top of that, the entire journey was also generally expensive, usually costing a year's wages, or two, for an entire family. Emigrants in Hamburg were subjected to health checks, unreasonable and lengthy detainment, random 'administrative costs', and often weren't given adequate food and water.

Things changed for the better with the introduction of steam ships. This was particularly so with the company Hapag, the owner wanting to treat emigrants more like people and less like mixed goods. His business idea was to bring in customers through word of mouth of the good or acceptable conditions. He sounds like a nice guy.


Everyone else was very very tired by this time so I skipped a few info panels even though I was still interested haha and then we rested at the entrance for a while. Some of them even fell asleep haha. In the end we decided not to go to Lueneburg the next day (Sunday) because it was already 1.30am. So set it for Monday instead, when no one else had lessons except for M. Then we headed over to HBF for Macs supper, ending around 3? Then we went home our separate ways. (Hamburg trains run 24h every weekend, albeit less frequently. And there is usually a fair number of people aboard, although the proportion of drunk people increases through the night)


Immigrants, aliens in a foreign land. Locals don't often like immigrants for various reasons. It tends to be lonely, I'm guessing, trying to etch out a living some place where you don't have family to rely on. Did you know that God has a heart for foreigners? A year or two ago, I was very touched when I saw the decree to be especially kind to foreigners, among a few other social groups. I appreciate it even more now. It appears a few times, but check out Leviticus 19 and 22.

Posted by seaskimmer 05:30 Archived in Germany Tagged history museum hamburg

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