German Emigration Center

Deutsches Auswandererhaus

The German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven is situated on a historic site in the New Harbor, which opened in 1852 and was the departure point for approximately 1.2 million emigrants to the New World by 1890. The New Harbor was adjacent to the Old Harbor (Alter Hafen), the Imperial Harbors (Kaiserhäfen) and the Columbus Wharf, all departure points for the 7.2 million emigrants who sailed for the New World from Bremerhaven.

The German Emigration Center opened on 8 August 2005. For more than 20 years people from the cultural, economic and political spheres of Bremerhaven have been working towards the building of an emigration museum in what was once Germany’s largest port of emigration. The Freundeskreis Deutsches Auswandererhaus (Society of Friends of the German Emigration Center), founded formerly as the Förderverein Deutsches Auswanderermuseum (German Emigration Museum Development Association) in 1985, and the Initiativkreis Deutsches Auswandererhaus (German Emigration Center Initiative), founded formerly as the Initiativkreis Erlebniswelt Auswanderung (Emigration Museum Initiative) in 1998, particularly supported the museum project. Thanks to their commitment it was finally possible to realize the building of a museum unique in Europe dedicated to the German and European history of emigration and immigration.

The concept and design of the new museum wing were carried out by Studio Andreas Heller Architects & Designers in Hamburg. The German Emigration Center is a private-public partnership project financed by funds from the federal state of Bremen and the city of Bremerhaven. After its opening in 2005 the museum was operated by the private operating company Paysage House 1 – Gesellschaft für Kultur und Freizeit mbH & Co. KG. In this regard the German Emigration Center also occupies a special place in the cultural history museum landscape of Germany.

On April 22, 2012 the German Emigration Center opened its new extension wing, which focuses on the history of Germany as a country of immigration. Both the new wing and the partial modification of the main building were funded by the federal government, the federal state of Bremen with funds from the European Regional Development Funds program (EFRE Program Bremen) and the private operating company.

By relating emigration and immigration in the past and the present the German Emigration Center has become the first migration museum in Germany. In 2007 the German Emigration Center won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award for its innovative exhibition concept.

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