Visitors Museums

Wasserkunst Elbinsel Kaltehofe

Industry meets ecology at Wasserkunst Elbinsel. Walk the trails, see the exhibits, and escape the city.

Wasserkunst Kaltehofe
Wasserkunst Kaltehofe

The Wasserkunst Elbinsel Kaltehofe combines recreation, ecological diversity, and exciting cultural history of an industrial monument. On offer are guided tours, workshops and special events, all of which make the Wasserkunstinsel (‘waterworks island’) in the neighbourhood of Rothenburgsort inspiring for big and small.

Flora and fauna on the nature trail

During the years between 1990 and 2011, Kaltehofe was inaccessible to the public, making it possible for a diverse array of flora and fauna to develop on the Elbe island. 44 species of birds come to breed on the island, while a variety of animals call Kaltehofe home year round, including seven species of bats. Visitors interested in the biodiversity on Kaltehofe can explore the island through a nature discovery trail. This free nature trail connects species-rich woodland, water and wetlands. Interactive information boards explain all about the diversity of animals and plants on the Elbe island and integrated sensory elements make walking the path a unique experience. For example, visitors of all ages can climb a bird watching platform and borrow binoculars at the museum shop to explore the birdlife on Kaltehofe. Other features include a nature classroom in a tepee, an insect hotel, a wild herb and butterfly meadow, and a 30 metre-long barefoot path. 

Recreation in the Heart of Hamburg

As soon as you enter the 44-hectare site of the former Kaltehofe waterworks, two things stand out. First, time must have stopped here — the 19th century revival architecture draws the eye, taking visitors back over one hundred years. Second, it’s almost impossible to believe that this spot exists in the middle of a bustling metropolis —  it's too quiet, too green and too idyllic. 

But the fact that this is indeed 21st century Hamburg becomes clear as one spots 
the modern white building that houses the ‘Workshop of Waterworks’, part of the permanent exhibition on Kaltehofe, in which the history of the Hamburg fountains and water games is presented. Of course, there is plenty to see in the historic buildings as well. The interior of the villa, once home to a branch office of Hamburg’s Hygienic Institute, now houses the first part of the Museum of Waterworks exhibition and the Café Kaltehofe, as well as rooms for meetings and festivities.

And there is plenty of child-friendly fun for tomorrow’s scientists. The in-house museum inspires adventurous children with games, workshops, special events and exciting tours on the history of waterworks. 

Studying Climate Change

In addition to providing numerous leisure activities for young and old, the Elbe Island also makes an important contribution to climate research. It houses one of 18 precipitation measuring stations in the Hamburg city area, providing data back to the beginning of the 20th century. This way, climate change, especially in Hamburg, can be precisely assessed and trends examined in more detail.


Kaltehofe Hauptdeich 6-7
20539 Hamburg

Getting there:

Because the island is not directly linked to the transit system, the easiest way to reach Wasserkunst Elbinsel Kaltehofe is by bicycle. However, those who don’t mind a bit of a walk can get within 2 kilometres of the site by SBahn or bus. 

S2 or S21 to Rothenburgsort station.

Buses 3, 120, 124 or 130 to stop Billhorner Deich.

For more information on ticket prices and tours, visit Hamburg Tourism.