Berlin’s Deutsches Technikmuseum

My wife and I visited the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin in late 2021. OK, fine, I visited it, and my wife agreed to come along. You all knew that.

We were in Berlin to visit the German Christmas markets, but that’s a nocturnal activity, so we went to the Technikmuseum in the morning.

In English it’s the “German Museum of Technology” and it “collects and preserves objects touching on all aspects of the cultural history of technology“. I was there for the trains but the museum is much more than that.

The exterior of the Deutsches Technikmuseum
Heck of a landing

The museum is located on the grounds of the former Anhalter Bahnhof, a train station and terminus that was heavily damaged in WW2 and closed in 1952. A portion of the station facade survives nearby, and two sculptures from the facade are displayed inside the museum. The museum was originally all about trains but has expanded to include aviation and maritime displays as well as a science section.

The Trains

The trains are located in two historic roundhouses. There is a turntable outside one of them.

You proceed in more or less chronological order. I found the start very interesting with locomotives from the early to mid 1800s like this 1912 replica of the Schnellzug-Dampflok Beuth (Beuth express steam locomotive), originally built in 1844.

Schnellzug-Dampflok Beuth
Schnellzug-Dampflok Beuth

I’m not a steam locomotive fan, but I liked these early locomotives. They are very different than later steam locomotives with their exposed boilers and primitive cabs – or no cabs at all!

Preubische Omnibuslokomotive T 0 von 1883
Preußische Omnibuslokomotive T 0 von 1883

This locomotive “T 0 Hannover” bears the number 1907 but was built in 1883 by Henschel & Sohn, an important German locomotive manufacturer.

Leaving the first section, you enter a larger roundhouse that houses quite a few locomotives.

Many locomotives on display
Many locomotives on display

The large beast below (#50 001) was one of more than 3,000 DRB Class 50 locomotives built starting in 1939. It’s a 2-10-0 locomotive and features prominent smoke deflectors on the front. These were called “elephant ears” in the USA and “blinkers” in the UK.

Steam locomotive 50 001 in the Berlin train museum

The sign below was on a steam locomotive’s tender. Don’t drink the water!

Vorsicht Kein Trinkwasser

There were so many locomotives and passenger cars in the museum. I could have spent a lot more time here, and my wife was very patient, but there’s only so much you can see before you become overwhelmed.

Diesel-hydraulic locomotive V 200 018
Diesel-hydraulic locomotive V 200 018

I liked the very bulbous look of this Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulic locomotive. Powered by two V12 diesel engines, these locomotives saw service in the Deutsche Bundesbahn (West Germany’s railway) from 1956 to 1984. Afterward, many were sold to other European countries and a few even worked in Saudi Arabia.

The roundhouse also features a large model railway display of the Anhalter Bahnhof.

A model version of the Anhalter Bahnhof
A model version of the Anhalter Bahnhof

The Planes

Airplane D-AZAW, "Hans Kirschstein"
D-AZAW, “Hans Kirschstein”

There are a lot of aircraft in the Deutsches Technikmuseum… too many to list here. Quite a few civilian and warplanes are on display, in various conditions, and I’ll feature a few.

The Junkers Ju-52 above is named for Hans Kirschstein, a WW1 German ace who had 27 confirmed kills. The Ju-52 is a very well-known tri-motor German passenger aircraft, and almost five thousand were manufactured between 1932 and 1952.

Heinkel He 162
Heinkel He 162

I really liked this little Heinkel He 162.

The photo below shows three different German missiles from WW2. The one in the foreground is one of the notorious V1 flying bombs (Fieseler Fi 103 flying bomb). About 32,000 of these weapons were produced. They are called V1 from their name “Vergeltungswaffe 1” (Vengeance Weapon 1), named in response to massed Allied attacks on German cities.

Three German missiles
Three German missiles

The little missile above the V1 is a Ruhrstahl X-4, a wire-guided missile intended to attack bombers. It wasn’t used much because it required the operator to actively fly it into the target, which meant you needed a two-seater fighter.

The larger, vertical missile in the left of the photo is a R1 “Rheintochter”, the world’s first two-stage missile. It was intended to attack bombers, and the second stage was guided by radio. There were about 90 test launches, but it was never used in combat as the guidance system wasn’t wholly effective.

They have most of a Ju-88 bomber, a portion of a Super Constellation, fragments of a Ju-87, and many other planes.

The Boats

Boats in the German technical museum

There weren’t a lot of boats in the museum as far as I can see. I decided to bypass that section and concentrate on the planes. I grabbed a quick photo on the way by.

The Rest of the Museum

This is the Museum of Technology, so it definitely has more than trains and planes and boats. There was an extensive display between the two roundhouses that showcased suitcase manufacturing. We saw exhibits on the different types of handles, different techniques for making suitcases… it looked very interesting but I was there for the trains.

There’s a pretty extensive car section, and many other permanent exhibitions. Maybe we’ll visit it again the next time we visit Berlin!

Visit the Deutsches Technikmuseum web site!

2 thoughts on “Berlin’s Deutsches Technikmuseum”

  1. I like the look of the diesel hydraulic locomotive. It’s so different from what we have in North America, but it’s styling really seems in tune with our F units over here. It makes me wonder where that type of design sensibility went with the F40s and the P42s.

    • Hi Michael, I think design sensibility left the railways about the same time that passengers did. You can look at the streamlined steam engines to see how hard the railways worked to make trains sexy, but once the cars and free roads won, the railways didn’t see any point in spending any extra money to make trains pretty. That’s my opinion, anyway.

Comments are closed.