German Customs Museum

The thrilling history of the customs office in the Speicherstadt: Pirated articles, smugglers' hiding places, historic uniforms... over 1000 exhibits vividly convey the work of the customs, past and present. This exhibition introduces you to some things about customs that you may have been unaware of.

A highly unusual museum in the Hanseatic city is the German Customs Museum Hamburg. Some people may ask themselves whether something such as the customs office could be of any interest at all - but this definitely is interesting. The German Customs Museum is located in the Speicherstadt and has a number of curious things to offer. The history of the duty systems is a very old one, which is also why there is so much to discover; on the one side from those who impose customs duty, and on the other those who wished to avoid exactly that, and smuggled. A case in point: several hundred years ago, the wealthy princes of the region came up with the idea of levying a tax on beards and wigs.

The Customs Office presents itself to the public and conveys a vivid and authentic picture of the varied – and indeed thrilling – work of customs officers. In the upper storey of the building, you get an overview of the development of customs duties, from ancient Roman times up to the present. In a tour of these rooms, those interested can discover everything that involves customs, in the past as well as the present. An important archive of customs history came into being over the years and it is actively used for research. Famous crime novelist Petra Oelker, for example, conducted research here for her historical novels; other museums – such as the "Haus der Geschichte" in Bonn – have been advised for their various exhibitions, and postgraduates use the library for their scientific work.

Discover the history of the Customs Office
Even back then, smugglers wanted to transport banned goods over the borders: The most bizarre exhibits, from artificial legs to baskets made from marijuana, can be admired in the museum today. Also on display are old receipts, counterfeited brands, hiding places and historic uniforms. There are also modern-day exhibits, such as a high-tech testing system for containers. The German Customs Museum has been located in the offices of the former Kornhausbrücke Customs Office since 1992. The customs cruiser Oldenburg is anchored in front of the museum. This can be visited and conveys to visitors a vivid picture of the multifaceted work of customs officers.

Opening hours

Open every day besides monday, from 10:00 a.m. - 05.00 p.m.

More information at:
Hotline: 040 - 42 820 3911


Tickets: Starting at 2,00 €
Free admission for children up to the age of 17.

Show map

Address: Alter Wandrahm 16, 20457 Hamburg

Do you need help or want to
book by phone?

+49 (0) 40 - 300 51 701

Mon-Sat: 09.00 h - 19.00 h

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Your Hamburg Tourismus Team