Ferry Königin Louise

Ferry Königin Louise. This model by the company Wiking in a scale of 1:100 is quite a rarity.

The second touristic ferry of the company HAPAG named Königin Louise was built in 1934 at the Howaldtswerke shipyard in Hamburg and commissioned that same year. She belonged to the efforts of the company to expand the profitable business of transporting tourists between Hamburg and the North Sea island of Heligoland. The intention was for her to take the place of her namesake, a ferry built in 1913 that was transformed into a minelayer and became the first German ship sunk in World War I. The new Königin Louise was a large ferry (2400 GRT, a length of 93,5m) that could transport up to 2000 passengers in high end interiors. She was also the first ship built for the HAPAG with a fully welded hull. Her trips between Hamburg and the North Sea were a success. In 1938, to make the ship profitable during the idle winter months, the company decided to send her to ferry between Florida and Havana. This trips met numerous booking cancellations related to the news of the institutionalized antisemitic pogroms in Germany on the night of November the 9th of that year. Plans to continue that winter business in further years were abandoned, but the start of World War II made this irrelevant anyway.

The Königin Louise was then also transformed into a minelayer. She was active in both the North and the Baltic Sea. On September the 25th 1941 she hit a soviet mine off of Helsinki and sunk rapidly. The explosion damaged her radio equipment, so no help could be called. 40 members of her crew died.

This model in a scale of 1:100 is quite a rarity. It was produced by the modelling company Wiking in 1937 and represents an unsuccessful attempt of the company to popularize the purchasing of larger models among its customers. The catalogue of that year uses the term “museum quality” to describe the model. The company still exists nowadays but no longer produces ship miniatures. They were founded in 1932 in Berlin and were very successful building miniatures in a scale of 1:1250 both for the military and as toys. One of this toys, a quite simple miniature of a coastal freighter, was a present to our founder Prof. Peter Tamm (1928-2016) from his mother and had him starting his maritime collection as a child.