A weekend trip to Stuttgart, Germany to visit its Christmas markets introduced me to my favorite attraction of the city: the Mercedes-Benz museum.
Before I highly recommend this museum, I should start off by saying that cars have never particularly interested me. I can appreciate sleek designs and smooth rides, but sometimes the details get lost on me. Case in point, back in high school one of my friend's fathers often gave me a ride to school. One Friday I found myself looking at the analog clock in the middle of the dashboard that was surely a digital clock the week prior, so I decided to comment on the decision to change clocks. My friend and his dad had a good chuckle and they told me it was a brand new car I had been riding in all week. That either classifies me as not observant or not a "car person" - let's go with the latter option.
Back to Stuttgart, outside of the old section of town there are two museums dedicated to car brands: Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. I decided to visit the Mercedes-Benz museum after reading that even people who were not particularly interested in cars would enjoy the site.
As you might expect, the design of the museum itself was as cool as the cars showcased inside. I was reminded of the Guggenheim museum in New York City as we were whisked up 34 meters (111.5 feet) in an elevator and slowly walked down the spirals of the double helix-like construction of the building until we made our way to the bottom. Emphasis on the slowly part - there is a ton to see here!
We started at the beginning of the story, going back to 1886 when Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz independently created the first automobiles.
From here we followed hallways downward as we read about more of the story of the two companies that emerged. The stories were told alongside reminders of what was happening in history and how the development of cars fit into the big picture.
Then we would get to the best parts - getting to see those beautiful cars.
After World War I, the two companies were doing very poorly financially and merged in order to keep afloat.
Thankfully the consolidated company did manage to continue forward so vehicles like this could exist:
I left the museum reminded of how much an invention like the automobile has shaped my life, an invention I take for granted.
I highly recommend checking out this museum! Here's some information:
PLAN YOUR TRIP:
70372 Stuttgart, Germany
Open Tuesdays to Sundays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m (closed Mondays)
Price: Adults 8 euros, reduced price 4 euros (prices as of December 2013) - audioguide included in the entry fee
To get to the museum by train from the city center, take the S-Bahn from the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) two stops on the S1 line going towards Kirchheim (Teck) and get off at the Neckarpark (Mercedes-Benz) stop. A ticket costs 2.60 euros each way (as of Dec 2013). From there, follow signs to the museum.