Lovely open air backyard with numerous different items
Very friendly staff
A bit out of nowhere (but at the place where it all happened...)
If you think about oil producing countries, you may think about the USA or the United Arab Emirates. In fact, Germany did have a quite nice crude oil production with a major focus on the region between Hanover and Hamburg. One key city related to the German oil boom, which was around 1900, is Wietze. It is not only the place of one of the first successful drillings for oil, it also hosts the Deutsche Erdöl Museum, the German (Crude) Oil Museum. I was really happy to be able to visit this place in summer 2021.
German Oil Museum – Location & Admission
Wietze is located in Lower Saxony in Northern Germany. It is more or less located right between the A7 autobahn between Hamburg and Hanover and the city of Celle. The museum feels to be rather in a residential area, but there is sufficient parking around. There are sings in Wietze to lead the way to the German Oil Museum, but a GPS is still recommended.
The museum is opening daily, from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. Adult admission is seven Euro. If you want to explore the machines and learn about the German history in crude oil production, you should at least take 90 minutes, better two hours.
German Oil Museum – Museum (Indoor Exhibition)
You museum visit splits into two parts. The first one is the classic museum with indoor exhibits. You typically start with a short documentation movie about oil production in and around Wietze. The city is regarded to be the beginning of the German oil industry. After the movie, you walk through the exhibition space. Despite not too much of space, the German Oil Museum really does a very good job to explain oil drilling techniques to you. There are numerous models, but also original items like different heads used for drilling, which also illustrate the evolution of the oil industry. Of course, there is also a lot of local information. For example, you learn how oil has been introduced to Wietze and how it changed the area. Partially, oil was won by mining, i.e. by extracting rocks which hold cruide oil.
German Oil Museum – Outdoor Exhibits
The heart of the museum, however, is the outdoor exhibition space. Behind the museum, there is an open air space of some 18,000 square meters. There are numerous original machines. The good news is that a vast majority of the items is documented by a tilting sign. Typically, you read the German explanation – but if you turn the metal plates around, the museum also offers all information in English. A lot of exhibitions like former pumps or power transmissions have a “magic green button”, which allow you to make the exhibit move and to explore how these items did work in the past.
The rear of the open air space also feature a couple of original rigs and old vehicles. There is a lot to see and to explore. Kids may enjoy having a ride through the park-alike area with a former mining train. I rather went to find all the green buttons. Some of the exhibits are still linked to each other, so than in some cases you really cause a major chain of movements.
German Oil Museum – Services
The staff was amazing. You felt how much they are proud about promoting their city and its history to visitors.You may get some literature or one of a few souvenirs at the shop at the cashier.
Hunäus Drilling Site
The museum also lead to drive a small memorial about the original Hunäus drilling site. Actually the place, which is a short drive South of the museum, is quite informative. This shows how motivated and engaged the museum staff actually is about promoting the topic.
German Oil Museum – My View
Wow – I thought that this place might be a 30 minute visit – but I never expected the Deutsches Erdölmuseum in Wietze to be that huge. The place is driven with a lot of love, the indoor exhibition is the right start to walk through all the machines and facilities collected in the large backyard of the museum. I have been absolutely amazed about this place. If are interested in technological history and you are in the Major Hanover region, you just have two plan 90 minutes to two hours for this place.