The Mercedes-Benz Museum is one of the largest tourist attractions in Stuttgart featuring 1500 car exhibits.
I’m not particularly interested in cars but was curious to see why the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany was such a popular tourist attraction. I know many people that haven’t visited many other museums in Stuttgart, except for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. I was intrigued to find out why and because I’m a big believer in exploring closer to home so that you feel like you’re always on vacation, even if you’re on a staycation.
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The History of the Automobile
The first thing I learned was that contrary to what many North Americans believe, the automobile was a German invention. No surprise to the Germans, but quite a shock to some Americans who may think that the automobile was invented by Ford. In 1886, Karl Benz (a German) was the first to receive the patent for the car, which is pictured above.
In 2011 Mercedes-Benz celebrates the 125th birthday of the automobile. I really enjoyed learning about the early “cars” and seeing how the car has evolved over 125 years. The Mercedes-Benz Museum is much slicker than the Stuttgart Tram Museum. I also enjoyed learning about Stuttgart’s 140-year tram history.
What to Expect When You Visit the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart
The second thing I learned is that it is busy. It is far busier than any other museum I have visited in Stuttgart. It is also huge – 9 stories and 1,500 sq m. That’s a lot of cars, especially for someone who isn’t all that interested in cars. Despite that, the Mercedes-Benz Museum does an excellent job of tying in history and what was happening at the time.
In addition to signs in both German and English, you get a headset, which you could customize to your interests. I really enjoyed this aspect of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. And chose the “Social Trends” section since. This was more interesting to me than hearing about cars. I really liked how the headset was customizable. However, I didn’t think the “For children” info was all that child-friendly and in some cases was downright boring.
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What You Probably Don’t Know About Mercedez-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart openly acknowledges that the company, Daimler-Benz (which produces Mercedes-Benz) cooperated with the Nazi Regime. This is a fact that surprised me.
Prior to the Nazi Regime, the company had government contracts and when the Nazi Regime came into power, the contracts continued, but increasingly the work shifted to arms production.
By the start of World War II, arms production was two-thirds of Daimler-Benz’s revenues. Furthermore, the company also employed forced labourers, hired from the Nazi Regime and by 1944, half of the Daimler-Benz workforce was forced, labourers.
Upon learning this, I felt sick to my stomach. How could such an esteemed brand have such a sordid history? Knowing that the arms factories were prime targets for the Allied bombers was little consolation. Especially when you think of all the forced prisoners that would have been killed as well.
My German friends were more pragmatic about it. If the management of Daimler-Benz hadn’t have cooperated they would have been put out of business by the Nazi Regime. Many (if not all of the top management and their families) would have been seen as enemies of the Nazi Regime. This would have resulted in them becoming at best prisoners. Or at worst tortured and killed along with their families.
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To Daimler-Benz’s credit, they did admit to their involvement with the Nazi Regime. The company apologized to the forced labourers and offered them financial aid. Daimler-Benz also went on to become a champion of human rights.
My visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum made me consider how businesses and business decisions were related to the Nazi Regime. I still feel repulsed by their history, but appreciate any museum that makes me think. A month after our visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, I am still thinking about it.
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Visitor Info for the Mercedes-Benz Museum
Entrance Price to the Museum
- Tickets are €10.00 and you can purchase them at the Mercedes-Benz Museum or Online. Click here to book your ticket online.
- Look out for a special discount at the Mercedes-Benz Museum Shop when you present your online ticket.
- The Museum’s opening hours are from Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am – 6 pm.
- To find out about opening hours on German Holidays it is best to contact the Museum before planning a visit.
How to Reach the Mercedes-Benz Museum
- You can contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can also call them on +49 711-17 30 000
I really enjoyed learning about the history of the first automobiles and liked the customizable headset as well as the sleek, modern building and amenities. A visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum is not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon. I openly admit I’m not that interested in cars. But then I didn’t think I was overly interested in pigs either, but thoroughly enjoyed the World’s Largest Pig Museum, also in Stuttgart.