After I visited the Sinsheim sister museum in February, I have been very curious about visiting the Speyer Technology Museum as well. The “concept” is comparably similar: Both places offer huge exhibition spaces with countless exhibits on cars, planes and other machines. Speyer offers a certain focus on space flight, though.
The museum is located right at the river Rhine, close to the B39 state road and the Speyer-Ludwigshafen airfield. Depending from which direction you travel in, you should study the traffic announcements carefully – the area is quite traffic-jam prone. The motorway A61 is just some kilometres away. My rush-hour trip from the B&B Hotel Aschaffenburg was thus a close to two hours drive.
There is a massive contingent of parking lots for vehicles of all kinds, including RVs. The nominal parking fees are quite high, but they are reduced to 2 EUR with your admission. The adult admission is 16 EUR if you just want to see the museum sites. For 21 EUR you may also watch one 30 minute movie in the IMAX cinema. A combined 2 day ticket for Sinsheim and Speyer, including one IMAX visit each, is available for 38 EUR. A 50 EUR annual membership fee in the supporting club is entitling you to free entrance for both places.
Speyer Technology Museum – Liller Halle
The Liller Halle is the initial exhibition hall, with which the initial exhibits started. It offers a vast collection of cars and other vehicles as well as machines. I sorted the exhibits by kind of exhibit, not necessary by the way you will see them. The exibits are majorly not too sorted so that you will stroll between the different kids of items all the time.
There is a massive number of cars in the Liller Halle. Most of them are oldtimers or quite historic cars. However, there are also some very different exhibits like dragster cars.
Train and Railroad
There is a couple of old steam trains at one side of the hall. In addition, rail enthusiasts find a lot of rail memorabilia and a model train on an upper gallery.
A significant proportion of the car exhibition in this hall is about fire fighting – one of the few stringent exhibitions. There are are cars and other items from Europe and North America.
Though the indoor boat exhibition is comparably minor, there are some really interesting ships to watch. For fans of military ships, a manned torpedo and a submarine might be the most interesting parts. Personally, I liked the two boats Rüdiger Nehberg crossed the Atlantic with. One is a pedal boat, the other one, The Tree is a raft made of a fir tree. It is absolutely amazing to imagine his performance.
Other Utility Vehicles
There are some more, few, other vehicles around like a tractor or steamrollers.
The exhibition hall also covers a lot of musical machines. Most of them, you can activate by using museum coins or 1 Euro. The most impressive exhibit of this kind is definitely an old merry-go-round. Unfortunately, you are just allowed to watch it, you cannot board it. There is also a “nonsense machine” which moves after the requested donation.
Speyer Technology Museum – Space Collection Hall
The Space Collection Hall is right across the rear exit of Liller Halle. Despite the name suggests a one-topic exhibition, the space flight part is only the dominating part of the exibition in this hall.
For European Space Flight enthusiasts, Speyer is the place to go. It hosts Europe’s largest Space flight exhibition. The concept is just massive. For example, you can learn about any human space mission performed so far. Of course, there are also real exhibits like a Sojus capsule. Some of the things you can explore are replicas, though. The flagship of the whole museum, though, is the (original) BURAN, the Soviet equivalent to the Space Shuttle. A very interesting spacecraft next closely located to it is the BOR-5, which is a 1:8 model of the BURAN used for initial test flights.
While there are rarely any motorcycles in the other hall, the Space Hall hosts quite a lot of these. Some are nicely positioned on the ground floor, while additional ones are in upper gallery sections.
The Space Flight Hall comes with quite a vast variety of vehicles. First of all, there is a small bicycle exhibition at one of the galleries. There are also some trucks, including racing ones. An excess of firefighting cars is located in one corner of the space as well. To me, the most disappointing occurance was the German magnetic leviation train Transrapid, which is quite hidden in one corner of this part of the museum. There are also some planes, including my favourite one, the Junkers Ju-52.
Speyer Technology Museum – Outdoor Exhibitions
The two halls easily give you a great bad weather day – but in case you just go for the roof above you, you miss some of the key exhibits. The outdoor gallery is located between and around the two major exhibition halls. The largest volume of vehicles is definitely taken by civil and military aircrafts, but there are also some very interesting naval and rail samples.
The freighter Antonov An-22 is just massive. It is impressive to walk though the cargo area. On the civil aviation side, the An-22 was the most impressive exhibit to me.
The Jumbo Jet is one of the key exhibits of the museums. Similar to the Concorde in the SInsheim museum, the plane is quite high in the air and can be seen from quite a distance already. The Schleswig-Holstein, has been built at 1978 and was in service until 2001. One year later, it was brought to Speyer. It is quite an interesting exhibit as you see how First and Business Class flying was less than twenty years ago. I also loved the spiral stair, which was the standard staircase in the 747-100 and 747-200. You may even walk out on one of the wings and enjoy a great view of Speyer.
Other Civil Aviation
Right next to the Jumbo Jet, there is another Lufthansa exhibit: The Vickers Viscont 814 was on duty between 1962 and 1972.
At the opposite edge of the outdoof exhibition area, two other interesting planes are elevated up in the air. Air Inter was the only airline using the Dassault Mercure. The plane in display, F-BTTB, is thereby the last plane taken out of service by the airline. Right opposite, there is an Antonov AN-26 plane used for politic operations – it even holds a car in its back.
Another interesting exhibit is the firefighting plane Canadair CL-215. Unfortunately, it feels quite hidden compared to the planes which are shown on high platforms.
Other Military Aviation
There are a lot of military jetplanes like the Starfighter or the F-15. There is even a Transall miltary transport plane, which is located outside the museum area, at one of the parking lots.
Maybe the most interesting naval sample is the U-9 submarine, which I could not visit due to mental reasons (narrow rooms). I absolutely liked visiting the SAR ship “John T. Essberger”. A very interesting ship from a German perspective is the Sean O’Kelly, in which the popular Irish songwriting Kelly family lived in.
Trains and Railroads
The Chinese Qian Jin is definitely the top outdoor exhibit on tracks and a very rare opportunity to explore in Europe. There are also some other interesting trains and wagons.
In the outdoor exhibits, there is also a number of utility vehicles like the Caterpillar truck or airport service vehicles. However, they play a subordinate role compared to the other kinds of vehicles.
Speyer Technology Museum – Minor Exhibitions
It is really a challenge to make all exhibits on the Speyer Technology Museum grounds. I skipped two ones: One area I completely skipped is the designated Maritime Museum building. In addition, there is the quite major Museum Wilhelmsbau right next to the technical exhibits, which hosts musical instruments and machines as well as a lot of other items.
Speyer Technology Museum – Services
Similar to the Sinsheim sister museum, the Speyer Technology Museum features two places where you can have a snack or a meal. The Restaurant im Hangar 10 features local German kitchen like schnitzel, Swabian noodles (Spätzle) or pasta. Regarding it is a museum restaurant, the food is good (not as good as in Sinsheim, though) and the prices are absolutely fine. The meal size is quite large, so that you stand a full day running around the area.
After your visit, you mayof course spent your remaining money in the gift shop. It is quite large and offers a wide variety – nevertheless, I did not feel too happy when I for example looked for civil aviation exhibits. Sanitary facilities are located at multiple places around the area. I felt they were absolutely reasonable.
Speyer Technology Museum – My View
The Speyer Technology Museum is just massive. The collection gives a wide spread over all kinds of vehicles. Before my visit, I read some internet reviews. There was some critics, for example, that there is no storyline in the museum. Speyer is definitely not the Emirates National Auto Museum. It is a somehow chaotic bunch of exhibits. You have tp find your own story about any individual exhibit – or recall your memories with the old cars, trains and more. If you don’t get to this point, I do understand that you are disappointed. I absolutely like that place, though I would personally rate Sinsheim above it.
One thing, which really annoyed me, though, is the poor quality of the plastic glass which protects the exhibits. You may have explored a poor picture quality, especially inside the planes. This is due to the fact that the transparent plastic walls are full of scratches. They significantly decrease the experience – though I do understand that with the massive number of visitors, you need to have facilities like them. Being free to walk through a Convair Metropolitan like in the Finnish Aviation Museum would just destroy the experience quickly. Nevertheless, I felt that a Top Pick five star rating is fair.
Speyer Technology Museum – Full Gallery
The more I worked on this posting, the more I felt I want to share that many pictures with you in here. Especially on a mobile phone, this could be quite bothering. Thus, I decided to share my full 458 picture gallery with you: