Panoptikum in Hamburg is Germany's oldest wax museum, and looks back on a long tradition. First opened in St. Pauli in 1879, it is still family-run. Their motto: likeness is no coincidence, but art. Visitors enter a fascinating world made of wax, where reality and fantasy coalesce.
Celebrities and Curious Personalities
At Panoptikum you can meet more than 120 characters from history, art politics as well as celebrities and mega stars, all of them true to life and up close - replicated with wax. Whether it is Formula 1 hero Michael Schumacher, superstar Robbie Williams, or important political figures such as Angela Merkel you're after - all of them are available to take souvenir photos with.
Besides famous greats like Karl Lagerfeld and Angelina Jolie you also come across a range of curious personalities, such as the over 7 feet tall giantess Mariedl or a man with three eyes. A scary corner as well as a medical-anatomical cabinet complete the exhibition.
A walk through Panoptikum takes around 30 to 60 minutes. The visit becomes even more interesting if you borrow an audio guide. In German or English, you get insightful information, music and fun facts for the different figures.
You can find many exciting riddles and fun tasks to solve inside the 'PanoptikumNews'. Younger visitors of up to 12 years will enjoy Pauli P. Tour for Kids. Both puzzlehunts are free of charge and available from the staff.
Friedrich Hermann Faerber opened one of the first wax works in Germany at Spielbudenplatz square in Hamburg in 1879. He showed everyone who was of interest at the time: kings and emperors, giants and dwarfs, but also criminals and assassins. This was often the first time the public got to see those people, as press reports were seldomly printed with photos in the 19th century.
When film became popular at the beginning of the 20th century, many wax museums were inable to assert themselves in the fight for attention and currency. Hamburg Panoptikum is the only German wax works from that time which still exists today. Though the house was destroyed by firebombs in 1943, and only few figures could be salvaged, a small exhibition was re-opened a short time later. It is since 1959 that Panoptikum is located in today's typcial 50s style building.
Today, Panoptikum is led by Dr. hayo Faerber, the founders great-grandson, making it a family buisiness in its fourth generation, which continues the old tradition of wax arts with much devotion. The exhibition is continuously extended, and new faces find their way into the museum on a regular basis.
- Panoptikum is among the 3 best rated Tourist Attractions in Hamburg.
- The day pass at Panoptikum is €8.90 making it one of the 3 cheapest tourist Attractions in Hamburg.
How to get there
On public transport:
The easiest way to get here is on public transportation. The stations U St. Pauli (line U3) and S Reeperbahn (lines S1 and S3) are only a few minutes' walk away.
Car parks are available around Spielbudenplatz square. Enter in front of the Operetta House, the Dancing Towers, or Millerntorhochhaus.