Deutsches Schiffartsmuseum

Every time we go to the city centre of Bremerhaven, we pass by a large submarine in the harbor. And every time we pass, Mattis yells “I want to visit the submarine!” Visiting is actually straightforward, as it’s part of the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, but somehow we never made it – until now.

We had a date with one of Mattis’ friends to watch the new Cars movie, and afterwards Mattis looked at me very seriously: “Now we go see the submarine!” So we did. It was build right before the end of the second world war, and was actually sunk intentionally in the Fjord of Flensburg, where it stayed on the bottom for 12 years. We walked in and saw the tiny cabins where the crew shared the berths, and I couldn’t help but compare to our comparably large cabin on Polarstern. Mattis also found the kitchen really cool, and especially the engines, with the endless amount of handles. I mainly got a bit claustrophobic at the thought of diving in this metal coffin during war.


On my very first day at AWI, I was shown around in one of the buildings and offered a coffee from a professional espresso machine. Back then I was told that this machine was bought when a scientist from AWI had won some money for a kid’s book he had written about the Polar regions. Later, we bought the book, Paul und Napoleon, and when the maritime museum organized an event for kids to celebrate the newest Paul und Napoleon release, we were ready. In our book, Paul and Napoleon (a penguin and a polar bear) sneak on to Polarstern and catch a ride to the Arctic. And in the new book they travel in time and experience first hand how the climate is changing. When the author asked if any kids knew of Paul and Napoleon, Mattis jumped up and yelled “ICH!!!”. So he was put on the spot and had to try and remember who was who. Not so easy. Then an actor was reading parts of the book to us, and later there was cookies, brought by Der Nikolaus, and free play for everyone. Mattis and Runa immediately found the life raft to play in, and decided that we had to come back another day to experience the museum.

The maritime museum is a prominent feature of downtown Bremerhaven, with big boats laying in the inner harbour, so after seven years in Bremerhaven it was actually time to go and see what it was all about. Runa and Mattis were so excited to go that they ran around looking at everything. They showed Esben the life raft and found Polarstern on the aerial photo of Bremerhaven. We liked seeing the small submarine, and Runa especially loved steering little boats in a basin in the museum. Mattis was given a steering wheel and loved it – but didn’t realized that it was not connected to any boat. Unfortunately, they were rebuilding the Polar science section – but I guess the kids get fed enough of that stuff anyways. Next point on our list of things to do before we leave Bremerhaven is to do a horse trip to the island Neuwerk in the Wadden Sea.


Playing at the maritime museum


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