I fell down a rabbit hole in Hamburg and I landed in a magical mini universe known as the Miniatur Wunderland!
The Miniatur Wunderland is most famous for being the largest model railway in the world and it was immense. It had eight different sections based on Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria, Hamburg, Middle Germany, Scandinavia, America and Knuffingen Airport. The different regions all overlapped into one another and the model trains and cars would seamlessly travel through them all; even going under stairs or through the walls!
The Miniatur Wunderland was located in the Speicherstadt, which was a part of Hamburg’s historic warehouse district. The whole facility took up three floors of the building and it included a gift shop, restaurant, workshop, special exhibition areas and of course, the miniature wonderland.
The attention to detail in the Wunderland was just mind-blowing. There were replicas of famous landmarks like Neuschwanstein Castle, Imtech Arena, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, but what was even more mind-boggling was the miniature figurines of people carefully placed in all of these areas – over 215,000 figurines, in fact.
Every figurine was unique and every single one was doing something different. You really felt like God as you towered over their miniature world and looked at all of their individual lives. There were so many things going on and so many fine details in the dioramas that it was hard to take it all in – it was almost too much for my eyes!
You could tell the creators had a sense of humour through some of the scenes depicted by the mini people. If you looked really closely, you could spot hidden things far from reality like unicorns, fairies, superman, Pipi Longstockings and aliens in Area 51.
It wasn’t all a perfect world though, because I spotted multiple road accident scenes, a house on fire with fire engines extinguishing the flames, police arresting party goers, injured skiers on the slopes and much, much more.
Another amazing area of the Wunderland was the Knuffingen Airport. It had a sophisticated flight simulation with over 40 aeroplanes which could take off, land and park at the airport. The cars and trucks of the airport ground crew all moved around the planes on their own accord; it was crazy how much it resembled a real life airport.
A day in the Wunderland would only last 15 minutes, as the lights would glow red and dim at ‘sunset’ and darkness would fall, showing all of the 335,ooo LED lights of the buildings, roads, trains and cars in action. It really looked like you were looking over real cities and I could only imagine at the amount of time, money and effort that went into creating this miniature universe.
When you’re in the Wunderland, you also have a chance to see the computer room where the staff are working. Over 64 computers power the place, and staff are constantly looking at multiple screens and controlling various aspects of the Wunderland. If I was working there, I would definitely want to be a part of the team that makes the miniatures!
Now, look at that Imtech Arena photo above and tell me it doesn’t look like a real stadium full of people!
The Wunderland is an ever expanding project, with plans to construct Italy, France, Great Britain and parts of Africa already underway. This place is an amazing piece of art and I am so glad I got to visit it! Photos really don’t do this place justice, so if you’re ever in Hamburg, you really need to go and see the Wunderland for yourself!
If you want to see the planes, cars and trains in action, here is a video introducing the Miniatur Wunderland:
Did you enjoy the Miniatur Wunderland? Is it a place that you would want to see?