Zurich in the summer of 2000: Frederik Braun, one of the founders of the Miniatur Wunderland, visited a model railway shop, when an idea struck him like lightning. He wanted to build the world’s largest model railway. Together with his brother, he drew up a business plan and details of funding on two sheets of paper. To the surprise of both, Hamburg’s largest savings institute Hamburgische Sparkasse agreed to finance the ambitious project. With construction starting in December, the “Miniaturwunderland”, short MiWuLa, started operations on 16 August 2001 with three installations: Knuffingen, central Germany and Austria. Since then, the giant model railway in the heart of Hamburg’s warehouse district has been continuously expanded.
Visitor Attraction in the Historic Warehouse District
By late 2014, more than twelve million people visited the model railway in XXL that now boasts eight areas: Central Germany (2001, 120 square metres), Knuffingen (2001, 120 square metres), Austria (2001, 60 square metres), Hamburg (2002, 200 square metres), the Americas (2003, 100 square metres), Scandinavia (2005, 300 square metres), Switzerland (2007, 250 square metres) and Knuffingen Airport (2011, 150 square metres). As a tribute to their Hamburg, HafenCity has been completed in 2013 with the landmark Elbe Phlharmonic Hall on nine square meters as a special area. And with a very special atmosphere: The presentation of landscapes and locations includes a simulated daily light routine, in which dusk, night and day are being repeated every 15 minutes by an automatic light control linked to 300,000 lights.
Supporters of Hamburg’s Olympic Bid
With a first model of Hamburg’s Olympic stadium displayed at the Europa Passage shopping arcade in December 2014, the MiWuLa started campaigning for Hamburg as host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. At Europa Passage, enthusiasts were able to demonstrate their support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Hamburg by placing a small figurine on the seats of the stadium added. By late January, the stadium was fully filled. 75,000 people participated in the challenge. “By displaying the Olympic stadium, we like to show that the Olympic bid is supported by the city and its citizens”, said Frederik Braun, CEO Miniatur Wunderland, who has been sent the stadium touring after the Hamburg kick-off event.
Gateway to the World in Miniature
Like the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, also the Miniatur Wunderland is a gateway to the world, which continues to grow behind the brick walls of the warehouse district memory – and soon wants to grow even by bridging a harbour canal. This summer, the construction of Bella Italia will begin in Hamburg on 170 square meters. In 2017, France will follow, with 130 square metres allocated to the Grande Nation. In Mid-2019, MiWuLa plans to leap across a Hamburg harbour canal, pardon me, the English Channel to set up England in a neighbouring building. And then, the brothers allow themselves to dream, they will venture on and head to Africa.
source and further details: