Ships have many facets: They are places of longing, destroyers of the environment, preservers of knowledge and much more. They keep our world moving. People and goods, ideologies and information are, and were, on the move on board ships. The German Maritime Museum (GMM) / Leibniz Institute for Maritime History researches these exciting vessels and shows the varied relationships between human beings and the sea, in the past and today, through its exhibitions.

As part of the Aktionsplan of the Leibniz Research Museums, the DSM deepened its activities in digital communication and also focused on visibility in the outdoor area. The family show "Cog meets Playmobil" retold the story of the main exhibition, the Cog from 1380, using the colorful play figures.

The traveling exhibition “Maps: Knowledge of the Sea” uses maritime maps to demonstrate how shipping became the driving force for world conquest and globalization.

The open-air show "Seeing the Other – The Colonialist View" examines the travel albums of the former sailors of the German Imperial Fleet and deals with the encounter between cultures. All exhibitions can also be controlled virtually via web specials and online presentations.

After the successful media installation “Screening Northern Lights”, which projected motifs about the subject of marine and climate change onto the museum‘s facade, the light installation FRAME was installed as a permanent outdoor display. The FRAME illuminates the museum every evening after sunset and shows the water level of the Weser River. It also functions selectively as a heart rate monitor and lights up on certain occasions, such as the “Day of the Oceans”, in different color-and-light shows.

The German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven is currently combining building renovation with a comprehensive redesign of all of its exhibition and research areas.

All activities at the DSM

  1. Space for Assumptions

    A special exhibition of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    The show 'Space for Assumptions' shows eleven mysterious artefacts with a maritime or regional connection. Authors approached the exhibits literarily and wrote texts that give the objects a new identity. The special exhibition will be on display at the DSM in Bremerhaven from October 14, 2021 to April 17, 2022.

    Click here for the exhibition

  2. Open Histories – Enigmatic Objects from the DSM Collection

    A digital exhibition of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    The new digital exhibition 'Open Histories' invites interested viewers to rewrite the history of exhibits with a colonial context.It can be accessed at any time on a PC or on digital devices.

    Click here for the exhibition

  3. Seeing the Other? The Colonialist Gaze

    An Open-Air Exhibition of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    Travel photos from the end of the 19th century show soldiers of the German Empire in the former German colonies. This exhibition and its accompanying audio clips will be the first time the Museum has shown the connections between war, merchant shipping, and Germany’s colonial history.

    Click here for the exhibition

  4. Maps Knowledge Sea - Globalization from the water

    An exhibition of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    Immerse yourself in sea charts of the past, stories of sailors, scientists and shipowners of the 19th century, flip through the ship's diary or create your own itineraries.

    Click here for the exhibition

  5. Cog meets Playmobil - the story of a ship told anew

    A special exhibition of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    Get the story of a ship told anew with Oliver Schaffer's Playmobil collection.

    Click here for the exhibition

    Click here for the web special

  6. FRAME

    A light installation of the German Maritime Museum, Bremerhaven

    The FRAME light installation has bathes the extension building in shades of blue in the evening hours and sent light signals into the city. The illuminated stage is already becoming a selfie and social media hit. On special occasions, the FRAME sends colorful light spectacles into the night.

    Click here for the light installation

  7. Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum, Bremerhaven

    Leibniz-Institut für Maritime Geschichte (DSM)

    More on the Aktionsplan at the DSM

    Plan your visit


Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum
– Leibniz-Institut für Maritime Geschichte
Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1
27568 Bremerhaven
T 0471 482 07 - 0


Managing Director:
Prof. Dr. Ruth Schilling

Commercial Director:
Katharina Horn

Press and Public Relations:
Thomas Joppig