The first surprise is how you enter the museum. You’re guided through an entrance, where you pick up an audio guide so you can learn all about what you’re seeing in your own language. Once you’ve picked that up, it’s into an elevator unlike any elevator you’ve seen before. They’re designed to look like futuristic cars climbing up the sides of the walls and there’s even a film that’s displayed from the elevator o to the wall opposite. I was fascinated by the design of these and I’m sure I’m not the only visitor to say that.
The elevator is programmed to take you up to the top of the building and then you work your way back down to the bottom. As you do, you follow the Mercedes-Benz story, from the very first designs for motorised vehicles--on the ground, in the air and in the water. Then you learn how forces were combined to dazzle the European market at various industrial exhibitions and fairs.
Between World Wars I and II, the company thrived and it really was a glittering and golden era, both in terms of the volume of vehicles they produced and the designs, which still to this day look superb. My heart was stolen by one particular red sports car. I could easily see myself in it, hair flying behind me, negotiating some of the winding roads we’d encountered earlier in our trip in Switzerland. Of course, following the Second World War, things hit rock bottom for the company, as the country slowly revitalised following its defeat. The beauty about this museum is that you’re not just learning about cars as you go round. Each floor is devoted to a different period in history, from the late 19th century up to the present day. As well as explaining developments in the company the displays also highlight what was happening in the world outside and I learned a lot from that, more than I thought I would.
As you gradually come up to date and see all the vehicles produced over the years, there are also special exhibitions you can visit off to one side of each floor. These included the vehicles produced by Mercedes-Benz for the emergency services, for companies to use, such as vans and lorries and even celebrity cars. This section was particularly interesting, featuring the famous Pope-mobile, used to carry the Pontiff around his various engagements around the world, as well one previously owned by Diana, Princess of Wales and one owned by Ringo Starr from the Beatles.
As with all good attractions, the best is left until last and this was the section that immediately drew the many school parties in there that day. This tells the story of the company’s involvement in motor racing and particularly the Formula One Grand Prix. We were particularly intrigued to see the car that British driver Lewis Hamilton won the driver’s championship with a couple of years ago. You can even get into a racing car, and I think my husband, Mark, would agree that it wasn’t a comfortable fit!
This museum is about so much more than just cars. There are plenty of places to sit down and either learn more through your audio-guide or take in the unique architecture, which allows you to gradually descend through the building, completely with the use of slopes, or the beautiful selection of classic cars around you. I had suspected, before visiting, that I might be bored, but not a bit of it. This is one museum everyone in the family will love.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is open six days a week, from Tuesdays to Sundays and on public holidays (with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), although it’s closed on a Monday. It’s open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and costs €8 for adults, €4 for juveniles aged 15-17 and is free for anyone under the age of 15. To learn more about the museum, you can visit their web site.
Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz Museum
One of the first cars produced by Mercedes-Benz at their museum in Stuttgart, Germany. - photo by chezp
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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