If you're planning a trip to Southern Germany, what about a visit to the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart?
Don't be too quick to shelf the idea because no one else seems enthusiastic when you first mention it. Because, while the Mercedes-Benz Museum is about the history of the company and its cars but it's also about a lot more. So much more that, that the Mercedes-Benz Museum was voted amongst the Top 50 tourist attractions in Germany - the only automobile museum in the list – in an international survey by the German Centre for Tourism.
The popularity of the Museum stems from the fact that the exhibits are designed to appeal to everyone, not just motoring enthusiasts. As a result, the Museum has proven to be a crowd pleaser for tour groups and school classes of every age group. The building itself is considered an architectural marvel and attracts visitors in its own right for the architectural guided tour. The Museum offers guided tours of its exhibits of which in 2012, over 3500 were conducted, in ten different languages. If being herded by a Tour Guide, is not your “thing”, electronic audio guides are also provided.
A matter of pride for Mercedes-Benz is that the Museum was designed to ensure equal access for everyone. Those with restricted mobility have special parking spaces and the building has numerous lifts to all floors. In line with it's barrier-free policy, the Museum also hosts open days for disabled visitors.
The Museum boasts a permanent exhibition of over 160 automotive icons with additional special exhibitions. In 2012, one of the highlights of the Museum's calendar was the special exhibition "Timeless – 60 Years of the Mercedes-Benz SL" which featured the full model series spanning six decades, together, in the same room, for the first time. The exhibition clocked over 200,000 visitors.
Road safety is an issue that concerns Mercedes-Benz and in 2012, as part of a summer holiday programme, the Museum offered a course called "RoadSense" about public road safety. Over 500 young people took part in the course included the 13 to 16 year-olds attendees driving a vehicle under supervision within an enclosed area.
In 2013, the event calendar will be no less exciting with the highlight, undoubtedly, the launch of the new S-class which the Museum will commemorate with a special exhibition from 4 June to 22 September about the long and illustrious history of the flagship model of Mercedes-Benz which has set standards for the brand in terms of luxury, comfort and safety.
Every year, Mercedes-Benz hosts Star Nights, a gastronomic event where some of the top chefs of the world like Martin Öxle and Mansour Memarian display their culinary skills with gourmet food paired with fine wines. 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the event. In 2013, the first Star Nights will be from 26 February to 10 March 2013. Top chefs Mario Corti of Restaurant Luce d'Oro at Schloss Elmau and Derry Clarke, chef-de-cuisine at the Dublin gourmet restaurant l'Ecrivain.
Ultimately, the Museum is not just an exhibition space. While the average visitor spends three hours looking at the exhibits (many return several times in order to fully cover the Museum), many also visit the Museum for it's food outlets. Befitting the hosts of Star Nights, The Mercedes-Benz Museum has a highly recommended restaurant on its premises as well as a popular cafe-bar and a casino on the top floor with sweeping views beyond the roof terrace to the surrounding vineyards and vintage Mercedes below. In the almost 7 years of the Museum's history, the Museum has become a very popular event location to hire for private parties which have been as diverse as children's birthday parties to corporate events.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays. To make enquiries or for more information about current events, go to www.mercedes-benz-classic.com/museum.