general news

05.01.2017, 15:28 hrs
Age: 322 Day(s)

Annual Review 2016

2016 was a year full of highlights: Google Street View, the video about emergency corridors, Italy and a lot more.

A truly special year lies behind us. It started out with moving scenes when in January, for the second time, we granted free admission to people who couldn't have afforded to visit the Wunderland. Soon after that, on January 13, we were able to present the results of a project that had kept us busy for months in the second half of 2015: Miniature Wunderland Google Street View! Together with Google Street View we captured fascinating 360°-panoramas with specifically designed vehicles that roamed our premises in order to digitalize tracks and streets from a brand new perspective. The collection grants insights that sometimes can't even been seen "life" upon visiting. Have a look at them on or get more information about the project in this fine video:

Speaking of videos: In summer, just in time for traffic peak season, we created a video on how to act in traffic jams on multi-lane roads. The German term "Rettungsgasse" can roughly be translated into "emergency corridor". Rescue workers confirm that such a corridor is essential for emergency vehicles to get through. But here's the thing: It only works if everyone sticks to the rule. Hence we aimed at reaching as many people as possible with our video and raise their awareness for this potentially life saving measure. This action fortunately was successful thanks to more than 10 million followers who saw and shared the video on different platforms and the media who supported us with reports. We sincerely hope that it will make more people think ahead and create space for a corridor between the left lane and the right lane(s) when entering a stop-and-go traffic situation. If you'd like to watch the video (again) just click on

At the same time, the model makers were working extremely hard in order to keep the opening date of our Italy section, scheduled for end of September. Italy really was the main subject in 2016: Apart from constructing a sheer innumerable amount of buildings (most of them completely self-made) and designing the landscape, the maybe biggest issue was how to make Italy come alive. Consequently, we let countless figures "move in", thus reaching a level of detail unknown heretofore. Some impressions of our newest section can be found in this video:

It wasn't just the modelers who had to break the mold, but our technicians were faced with immense challenges, too. Complex push button actions were installed, i.e. a carnivorous plant, a high-bay storage and even the daily routine of the Pope. The most sophisticated assignment though was the Vesuvius, built with true volcanic rock. With every nightfall, you can hear the volcano bubble and the earth quake from as far as Rome and Liguria on the other side of the Italian section. The crater's edges can be seen over the Swiss landscape. A multitude of LEDs make the volcano come alive and all our visitors are transfixed whenever it erupts. It sure was a long way to make this work: First, we had planned to simulate the eruption with kinetic sand, but experiments proved that it lost its ability to flow in continuous operation. The solution was found basically at the last minute: Illuminated lava elements on moving industrial conveyor belts make our lava flow now.

Thanks to many night shifts we were able to meet the deadline and proudly celebrated the grand opening of our Italy on September 28th. Together with Hamburg's mayor, Olaf Scholz, and the Italian ambassador in Germany, Alessandro Gaudiano, Frederik and Gerrit presented the new section to the public. In the following days and weeks, we were overwhelmed with the rush of visitors and the positive feedback from everywhere. In consequence, we are happy to announce a new visitor record for the 16th time in a row: 1.3 million people came to see the Wunderland in 2016! We are awed and thankful at the same time for this enormous popularity.

The culmination came a couple of days later when the German National Tourist Board announced the results of a survey among more than 40,000 visitors from other countries who appointed the Wunderland as Germany's tourist attraction no 1, thus overtaking Neuschwanstein Castle, the Cologne Cathedral and the Brandenburg Gate. The Top 100 sights and attractions in Germany can be found here.

In addition, the 15th anniversary of the Miniatur Wunderland came up in August! On this special occasion we issued the big book "15 Years of Wunderland" which you can order conveniently in our online shop. Appropriately, we were able to welcome our 15,000,000th visitor on December 2nd: Oliver first didn't know what hit him but eventually he was very happy to be granted his own palazzo in the Venice section to come. On the same day, which was the International Day of Model Railroad, our first "Mobalympics" took place. Children up to 15 years could get to know model railroading in a playful manner and the winners were presented with a Märklin starter kit.

Of course, our modelers didn't laze around after the opening of Italy. The Hamburg section looked every day it's age... 14 years and millions of visitors sure have left their marks! Therefore, all green areas are being renewed now and many buildings are replaced or restored with our usual love for detail. Besides, preparations for our next section, a miniature Venice, are progressing at full blast. The blueprints are almost ready and the first buildings are drawn already.

2016 was a special year for the Miniatur Wunderland, full of highlights that will stick in our memory. All of us at the Wunderland wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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