Fashion, Music, Art and Theatre

Permanent exhibition in the Museum of Hamburg History

This exhibition area focuses on cultural life in Hamburg from the 17th century until today. Elegant garments and accessories of wealthy Hamburg citizens from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as the colourful fashion of the 20th illustrate the changing fashion trends and social Zeitgeist in Hamburg.

During the 17th and 18th century, Hamburg was the centre of music and theatre in northern Germany. The city was home to many instrument makers and Germany‘s first public opera house. The people of Hamburg were able to listen to the leading composers of their time. Exhibits on the city’s theatres, paintings of Hamburg personalities, unique objects like the harpsichord by Carl Conrad Fleischer dating from 1716 and the world’s oldest preserved trombone of 1587 illustrate this part of Hamburg’s cultural history.

You can also see one of the most prestigious museum exhibits - the model of the Temple of Solomon. Made largely of wood, the model shows the first temple erected under King Solomon (ca. 965 – 926 BC) which was the most important sanctuary of the Jews in Jerusalem and already destroyed during antiquity.

Museum for Hamburg History

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Opening hours

Monday 10.00 - 17.00

Tuesday closed

Wednesday - Friday 10.00 - 17.00

Saturday and Sunday 10.00 - 18.00



Musical Company, Johannes Voorhout, 1674

The cembalist who gazes at the viewer from the painting and is presumably the person who commissioned it can be identified reliably by reference to a roughly contemporary portrait bearing his name. It is Johann Adam Reinken (1623 – 1722), organist at Hamburg’s Church of St. Catherine. The sheet of music resting on the knee of the gentleman beside the lute player in fact also includes a dedication to Reinken and to his friend Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 – 1707).

Buxtehude was the organist of St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck from 1668 to 1707 and one of the leading composers and musicians of the period. This suggests that one of the two gentlemen in the foreground may represent a Buxtehude portrait. But no comparable pictures exist. So, it seems more appropriate to regard the viol player as a depiction of Buxtehude, all the more so since he is playing the notes D and B, Buxtehude’s initials.

The sheet of music presents a canon on the psalm “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together”. It thereby refers to the friendship and cooperation among musicians who regarded themselves as “learned musicians”, i.e. scholars with deep knowledge of the spiritual content of music rather than mere technically trained instrumentalists. To date, the canon itself is not a known musical work, but according to the notes in the painting it can be sung.

Picture clock with Alster panorama

At first sight, the family scene before the river Alster with a view of the city is only a beautiful Biedermeier painting. However, actuation of the complex mechanism makes the picture begin to move and emit sound: The figures dance to the music, the mill turns, the boats travel on the Alster and the coaches, riders, soldiers and pedestrians move across Lombardsbrücke.

This exhibit is unique even internationally. With generous donations and great commitment from master clockmaker H. Tüxen, it was possible to repair the mechanics, too, after the painting was restored in 2012.

Demonstration of the Picture clock:

Sunday, 06.01.2019, 4pm

Sunda, 03.02.2019, 4pm

Sunday, 03.03.2019, 4pm