Kaispeicher B: From storehouse to museum

Internatinales Maritimes Museum

The Kaispeicher B at the Magdeburger and Brooktor Hafen of Hamburg’s Speicherstadt (Storehouse Town) was built in 1878/79 by the order of the Silospeicher Kommandit-Gesellschaft J.W. Boutin and according to the plans drawn by Bernhard Georg Jacob Hanssen and Wilhelm Emil Meerwein. Thus the ten story building is approximately ten years older than the buildings in the Storehouse Town – and today is the oldest remaining storehouse in Hamburg. The facade with its gables, cornices and lancet arches already shows the neo-Gothic style which became typical for the whole district. Just like the other buildings in the Storehouse Town, it was a functional building – but a prestigious one.

Kaispeicher B is surrounded by water on two flanks. Barges and ships from the river Elbe entered the Magdeburger harbour and were discharged with the aid of hoists via hatchways. Smaller vessels then transported the goods from the Brooktor harbour. In addition, train tracks connected the bottom floor to the railway system on the south side.

In 1890, the City of Hamburg acquired the building. To this date the building is owned by the city and was rented out by the city-owned Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) until the year 2003 for storage purposes. The last occupant was the Gebr. Heinemann KG; their administrative building abuts against the storehouse.

On 14 June 2005 Hamburg’s First Mayor Ole von Beust and the founder of the museum, Peter Tamm, laid the second cornerstone in the not yet renovated storehouse.

© Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg

Kaispeicher B Internationales Maritimes Museum

A few days later, the remodelling started to which the City of Hamburg contributed 30 million euro.

Plans for the refurbishment and the – careful – remodelling were provided by the Ham-burg architect Mirjana Markovic. She envisioned four corresponding “air spaces”, each would connect three stories of the warehouse. The heritage protected building required sensitivity and a special touch. More than 150 builders removed 50000 bricks by hand, checked and reworked them and then put them back into place. Even during the installation of stairways and elevators essential to a modern museum, the workers forwent heavy equipment for the most part.

A second topping out ceremony took place for the Peter Tamm Senior Foundation on the 12th of May 2006 and on the 21st of December 2006 the acceptance of the finished building took place. The International Maritime Museum Hamburg could now move in.

A pedestrian bridge on the north side and a public passageway through the building, the shop, and bistro turn the museum into a connection point for the Storehouse Town and harbour district. Since 2015 the museum is gateaway to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site Speicherstadt.


Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg
Kaispeicher B
Koreastraße 1
D-20457 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 300 92 30 0

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