The special exhibition “Hamburg Süd – 150 Years on the World’s Oceans” will open at the International Maritime Museum Hamburg on the 150th anniversary of the company’s founding, namely on Thursday, November the 4th 2021. The eventful and exciting history of the Hamburg shipping company exemplifies all the developments of the modern merchant navy. The Maritime Museum presents the history of Hamburg Süd after processing the shipping company’s historical archives. Unique exhibits from all over the world have travelled to the Maritime Museum for the exhibition. The project is sponsored by Dr. August Oetker KG.
“Hamburg Süd – 150 Years on the World’s Oceans”
The History of Hamburg Süd
Here, the success story of Hamburg Süd as Germany’s second largest liner shipping company is told from its foundation on November the 4th 1871 to the present day. The shipping company has written global maritime history. The exhibition looks at the most important international events of the last 150 years. Hamburg Süd launched a commercial and human connection between Europe and South America that has endured to this day. The spheres of influence and the branches of the logistics chain served by the shipping company have been continuously expanded over the decades. In passenger shipping, Hamburg Süd was the protagonist of the waves of emigration from Europe to South America via the South Atlantic Line during the Golden Age of Ocean Liners.
The two world wars resulted in two total losses of her fleet, with a successful reconstruction in each case. In the second half of the 20th century, Hamburg Süd owned a sophisticated fleet of general cargo vessels with ships such as the “Cap San Diego” – today preserved as a museum ship in the Port of Hamburg – before later successfully switching to container shipping.
But Hamburg Süd’s history is far from over. In the last 20 years, the shipping company has ranked among the ten largest container shipping companies in the world, not only due to acquisitions, such as the Brazilian Aliança, the liner services of Kien Hung from Taiwan or the liner activities of Costa Container Lines, but also through targeted, organic growth. Hamburg Süd is regarded as one of the leading providers in the North-South trades with a very special expertise in the transport of sensitive goods, especially in the area of refrigerated cargo. In 1936, Dr August Oetker acquired a 25 per cent stake in Hamburg Süd, and in 1955 the Oetker Group took over the entire company. At the end of 2017, the company was sold to the Danish A.P. Møller – Mærsk Group.
A special exhibition of superlatives
The special exhibition “Hamburg Süd – 150 Years on the World’s Oceans” tells the story through a multitude of unique exhibits, some of which were shipped to the Maritime Museum from all over the world. The exhibits are presented within the framework of a spectacular exhibition architecture to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the shipping company in a worthy manner.
The museum team has completed a project that we can all be proud of. We can hardly wait to present it to our museum visitors. The spectrum of exhibits ranges from Hamburg Süd’s founding charter and the special treaty with the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II from 1888 to posters of the most diverse passenger ship voyages from four decades. Also on display are paintings never before shown in public, including those of Hamburg Süd’s first ships from 1873, as well as photographs and ship models from the various eras. The exhibits are enriched by, among other things, photo albums with voyage narratives by various passengers and contemporary witnesses, audio and video material.
To coincide with the company’s anniversary and the opening of the exhibition, Koehler Verlag is publishing the book “Hamburg Süd – 150 Jahre auf den Weltmeeren / Die Geschichte einer großen Reederei” (Hamburg Süd – 150 years on the seven seas / The history of a great shipping company) for all those who would like to delve deeper into the history of the shipping company. We are also working on organising an extensive accompanying programme of guided tours and events.
The exhibition will be shown for ten months on deck 1 in the International Maritime Museum. After that, the exhibition will go on a journey to South America. Here it will be on display at Hamburg Süd’s historic locations in Argentina and Brazil.
Cooperation with the International Maritime Museum Hamburg
The exhibition on the 150th anniversary of Hamburg Süd is the preliminary highlight of an extensive cooperation between the shipping company and the museum. In 2019, a cooperation with the Hamburg shipping company was agreed for this purpose. The aim is to make the history accessible to the general public in the form of a permanent exhibition.
The financing of several years of preparatory work and the exhibitions has been secured by a significant donation from the Oetker family, who owned the Hamburg Süd for over eight decades. The partners’ collaboration already left visible traces at the end of 2019. At that time, two “heavyweights” of Hamburg Süd’s historic ship model collection dropped anchor at the museum. The “Cap Arcona” from 1927 and the “Cap Polonio” from 1914 are among the most important historical ship models worldwide. Due to their size of 5.40 and 4.00 metres in length, elaborate crane work over the outer façade of the museum was necessary to move these extraordinary exhibits into the Maritime Museum.
Another new addition is the original shipyard model of the “San Nicolas” by Blohm & Voss from 1897, which, like the other models, fascinates visitors on deck 6. From the end of September, there will also be an installation there that explains the history of refrigerated shipping using different ship models. The installation was also created in the course of this cooperation between the museum and the shipping company.
The special exhibition “Hamburg Süd – 150 Years on the World’s Oceans” will be on display on Deck 1 of the International Maritime Museum from November 4th 2021 to September 11th 2022. The visit is included in the museum admission price.