The Technik Museum Sinsheim is one of the largest and most popular technology exhibitions in Germany with a top collection of planes and cars.
The hugely popular Technik Museum Sinsheim is one of the most-popular private museums in Europe. Its collection covers anything technology related from user manuals to complete supersonic aircraft. The museum is famous for the largest permanent display of classical cars in Germany, military vehicles from the Second World War era, and aircraft mounted on its roof. The Sinsheim Museum of Technology is the only place in the world where Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic planes may be seen at the same time (and entered for that matter). The museum is family-friendly and popular with children of all ages. Plan to spend several hours to a full day here.
Sinsheim Museum of Technology
The collection of the Sinsheim Museum of Technology in Germany ranges from complete retired supersonic aircraft to the smallest of models. The main aims of this privately run museum are the preservation of technologically innovative items and to increase the general interest in the history and development of technology.
The museum covers technology in the widest sense of the concept and the collection is thus as eclectic as it is vast. It is sometimes criticized for lacking a concept, which many may find an advantage. The museum tends to pile the exhibits high — not all items are fully described or necessarily displayed according to a specific classification. For such order, the German Technology Museum in Berlin or the Deutsches Museum in Munich may be a better choice.
It is impossible to see all this museum has to offer in a single day. It may be sensible on a first visit to concentrate on the highlights which include the large collection of classic cars, military vehicles and equipment (a rarity in Germany), and complete aircraft.
Exhibitions in the Technik Museum Sinsheim
The exhibitions of the Sinsheim museum are spread through three main buildings, open-air areas, and the aircraft on the roof:
Hall 1 has the main entrance with the ticket office and IMAX-theater. The main exhibits here are the military collection including many vehicles and aircraft, agricultural equipment including around 150 tractors, and American “dream cars”. A further number of military vehicles, especially tanks, is in an open-air area behind the hall.
Hall 2 is home to the museum’s huge collection of cars, including many classic Mercedes Benz and Formula 1 cars, models, engines, and locomotives. Aircraft, accessible to visitors, are mounted on the roof.
Hall 3 is a recent addition used for temporary exhibitions.
Top Tip: If arriving early in the morning, head straight up to the roof of hall 2 to visit the aircraft. This not only avoids queues for the Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic planes but also avoids heat, as these planes get warm inside very quickly on a sunny day.
Military History in the Sinsheim Museum of Technology
The Sinsheim Museum has a large military history collection from mostly the 20th century from all nations. The main focus is the motorization of armed forces in the Second World War with the emphasis on tanks, aircraft, tractors, and other military vehicles. German military technology was very advanced but often too expensive and too complex for sensible use in the field.
Military museums and displays in Germany are invariably controversial, especially when the exhibitions include German military equipment from the Second World War era and models showing swastikas. The museum is sometimes criticized for not displaying condemning information about the Nazi era prominently.
German Second World War Planes and Vehicles
German Second World War planes on display include amongst others a Heinkel He-111, Messerschmitt ME 109, Focke Wulf FW190, and several by Junkers including two Ju 52/3m (the interior of the civilian version on the roof is accessible), a Ju-88 bomber (rescued from a Swedish lake in 1986), and a Ju-87 Stuka. The Stuka was fished from a depth of 90 m in the Mediterranean Sea near St Tropez in 1989 and is naturally not in a very good condition. (The only two complete Stukas in the world are in museums in Chicago and in the UK.)
A few further interesting items from this era include a 1943 Jung Kriegslokomotive (war locomotive) complete in zebra camouflage paint, a Jagdpanzer Hetzer, a Panther tank left as it was after being blown up by its own crew in 1944, VW Kübelwagen but also a very rare VW Beetle finished as a passenger car for military use.
Military aircraft from other nations include a 1966 Kamov Ka-26 helicopter and a MIG15 from the Soviet Union.
Behind the hall, a large number of military vehicles from the Second World War era to more recent times may be seen in an open-air display. These are mostly tanks and military transportation vehicles and include amongst other a T55, Leopard 1, T34, and an M7B2. In accordance with German law, all tanks must be demilitarized — next to some of these vehicles are the sections of the armor-plate that were cut out to comply with the law.
Also on display are solo and two-man reinforced concrete emergency bunkers from the Second World War and Pershing missiles from the Cold War era.
The largest collection of tanks in Germany is on display in the German Tank Museum (Deutsches Panzermuseum) near Lüneburg and Soltau somewhat to the south of Hamburg and Lübeck. As a museum run by the German Army, many of the historical tanks here are operational and occasionally driven in show displays.
The Sinsheim museum is sometimes criticized for the inclusion of many military equipment and cars from the Nazi era without elaborated criticism of the period. However, the museum in no way supports or encourages thinking from the Third Reich period and this is one of very few museums in Germany where it is actually possible to see German equipment from the Second World War era. The Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin has very limited small items while the German Technology Museum in Berlin, the Military History Museum in Dresden, and the German Tank Museum have larger items on display.
Cars in the Sinsheim Museum of Technology
Over 300 cars are on display in the Sinsheim Technology Museum making it the largest permanent exhibition of classic cars in Germany — “Auto” used to be part of the museum name. Cars range from a copy of the first Benz — the original is in the Deutsches Museum in Munich — to modern supercars cars.
Highlights of the automobiles collection include amongst others:
Mercedes-Benz Collection Sinsheim
The Mercedes-Benz Collection includes amongst others the largest private collection of Mercedes-Benz supercharged cars from the 1920s and 1930s. The names of classic models on display are enough to make any car lover drool: Simplex, Nürburg, 22/50, S, SS, SSK, 500 K, 540 K Spezial Roadster, 540 K Cabriolet B, 540 K limousine (!), 400 K, 710 SS, 630 with Saoutchik coachwork, 770 K, 300 SL — Gullwings and Roadsters.
A few of the large Mercedes-Benz models are technological masterpieces that the Mercedes-Benz Museum could never display, as these cars were delivered to the German government for used by top Third Reich officials:
The more interesting is the totally ridiculous bullet-proof cabriolet (1938 Mercedes W150/770K) that was used by Adolf Hitler as a parade vehicle — it had a bomb-proof underbody and chassis, armored-plated glass and panels, but of course, only thin air when the roof was opened and Hitler stood up, which he loved to do. More sensible was the similar plated limousine. Only 10 were made of which only 3 survived. Two are on display in this museum. The 1943 Mercedes-Benz 770K was used by amongst others Heinrich Himmler. These 770K cars were powered by a straight 8-cylinder 7,600 cc compressor engine good for 230 PS and a top speed of 140 km/h, which was limited to 80 km/h as the weight was too much for the tires.
Maybach Collection Sinsheim
The museum is also home to the largest Maybach Collection in the world — only around 1,800 Maybach cars where built between 1921 and 1941. The cars displayed here include a highly original unrestored DSH but also a similar DSH converted into a mobile wood saw machine, a Zeppelin DS7, and Maybach “special racing car” dragsters with a 19.5 and a 23-liter engine.
Racing Cars in Sinsheim
The historical racing cars collection includes the largest Formula 1 racing car collection on permanent display on continental Europe and many racing cars from the pre-Second World War era. The Formula 1 collection includes amongst others a 1989 McLaren-Honda driven by Alain Prost en route to his third world championship, a 1994 Sauber Mercedes that marked the German company’s return to F1 for the first time since the tragedy of Le Mans four decades earlier, a Benetton-Renault B195 driven by Michael Schumacher, and a six-wheel 1976 Tyrrell P34.
Historical racing cars include amongst others the Brutus — fitted with a 47 liter, 12 cylinder BMW First World War plane engine, a similarly motorized Packard-Bentley, a Blitzen-Benz, an American La France, Mercedes Benz SSK, a Rabag Bugatti, and the Maybach dragsters.
The American Dream Cars displayed in hall 1 are mostly large cruisers from the 1950s and Corvettes from the 1960s.
The museum has around 300 motorcycles, including many by German manufacturers including not only BMW but also NSA and Zündapp.
The museum used to be called the Auto – Technik Museum due to the large collection of notable cars. In addition to the classics and racing cars, the displays also include sports cars, exotics, and experimental vehicles from any brand, designer (in the broadest sense possible), and era imaginable including many Bugattis (Type 41 Royale, 57, 37), Ferraris, a DeLorean, and a Vector.
The Technology Museum Sinsheim not only has a larger number of cars on permanent display than the Porsche Museum and Mercedes Benz Museum in nearby Stuttgart but of course have automobiles from a large number of different brands and countries.
Planes in the Technik Museum Sinsheim
More than 60 planes and helicopters of all sizes are on display at the Technik Museum Sinsheim ranging from military planes to supersonic aircraft.
The Sinsheim Museum of Technology in Germany is famously the only place in the world where the only two supersonic commercial planes ever produced may be seen at the same time: the Soviet Union Tupolev Tu-144 and an Air France Concorde are not only mounted in take-off position on top of the roof of Hall 2 but visitors may climb into the fuselage and have a peek at the cockpit. At take-off angle, it is a steep walk from the rear to the front of the plane. Most seats were removed but it still possible to get an impression of the original cabin fittings.
Other planes open for exploring inside include a civilian Ju 52, Canadair CL-215, a Douglas DC-3, and a Tu-134. (At the nearby Technik Museum Speyer visitors may get into a Lufthansa Boeing 747 and an Antonov AN-22.)
Historically the most important planes on display here are probably those in the military history section in Hall 1.
Other interesting aircraft displays in Germany include amongst others the German Technology Museum in Berlin, the Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow, and the Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim to the north of Munich.
Technik Museum Sinsheim Visitors Information
Opening Hours and Tickets
The Technik Museum Sinsheim is open every day of the year including Christmas Day. Opening hours are 9:00 to 18:00, closing at 19:00 on weekends and most national holidays. Expect early closing on December 24 and 31.
Admission is €17 for 15 years or older and €13 for children 5 to 14. Special combination tickets are available to include the IMAX theater and the Technik Museum Speyer. Although not cheap, it is easy to spend the whole day here.
Admission is free on exact birthdays — official proof required.
Restaurants are available on-site with typical German food and cakes.
Special deals are often available with the adjacent Hotel Sinsheim and the Thermen & Badewelt Sinsheim spa waterpark — the hotel gets good reviews on Tripadvisor.
Transportation to the Technik Museum Sinsheim
Driving to the Technik Museum Sinsheim is a great option as it is basically next to the Autobahn A6 (use exit 33b Sinsheim-Süd) near Heilbronn and not too far from Speyer, Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Stuttgart. Parking is free — on days when the adjacent football stadium is in use, the parking charge of €5 is refunded in full when buying a museum ticket.
Public transportation is also a good option for getting to the Technik Museum. The train station “Sinsheim – Museum/Arena” is almost next to the museum. A great deal for those arriving by bus or train from within the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (e.g. from Heidelberg, Mannheim, Kaiserslautern, Tauberbischofsheim, Wertheim, Würzburg, Creglingen) is the VRN-Erlebnisticket, which includes local train or bus transportation for hardly more than the price of the museum admission ticket. Direct trains from Heidelberg (S5) take around 40 minutes.
Other Automobile and Technology Museums in Germany
Germany has many technology museums ranging from private displays to factory museums and national collections. The largest and most-impressive by far is the Deutsches Museum in Munich (with special separate sections for aircraft and cars). The German Technology Museum in Berlin is also very impressive and often overlooked in a city blessed with important history, cultural and fine art collections.
Nearer to Sinsheim, and under the same management, is the Technik Museum Speyer that also has several aircraft, as well as boats and trains in its collection. A blast down the Autobahn takes visitors to Stuttgart with the slick Mercedes-Benz Museum and Porsche Museum.
More photos of the Sinsheim Technology Museum on Flickr.