Hamburg was the 'Gateway to the World' for about five million European emigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. They left their homes at the port of Hamburg to head off to the New World in the hopes of a better life. The Ballinstadt museum is dedicated to those emigrants.
The adventure of emigration
The history of Ballinstadt starts more than a century ago, when Albert Ballin, director-general of the HAPAG shipping company, built the largest guest house in the world: the legendary Emigration Halls (Auswandererhallen). Dormitories and living areas, dining rooms, bathrooms, a church, a synagogue, a music venue and a room for medical examinations added up to more than 30 buildings.
Millions of people from all over Europe arrived here every week, awaiting the departure of their ship. Between 1850 and 1934, Hamburg was the gateway to a new life for more than five million emigrants already. Ballinstadt Emigration museum is dedicated to all of them.
The lives of the emigrants
Visitors can relive the emigrants' lives – from their socioeconomic and political backgrounds to their departure to the New World — both North and South America. Interactive displays, historical documents and exhibits open up a very personalised view of the historical events that took place at this location many years ago. By joining the multimedia game 'Simmigrant' visitors slip into the role of an emigrant and experience all the different stages of emigration themselves.
Finding your roots
For those who are interested in doing some research about the emigration of their ancestors, Ballinstadt offers access to their database ─ US census lists and passenger's lists from 1850 to 1934.
Veddeler Bogen 1, 20539 Hamburg
+49 (0)40 319 79160
S3 or S31 from Hauptbahnhof to Veddel/Ballinstadt; or ferry no. 10 from Landungsbrücken (Maritime Circle Line, including a harbour discovery tour).
Apr – Oct, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Nov – Mar, 10 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
(Note: final admittance an hour before closing time.)