For centuries the city of Hamburg prided itsel fon being the major German port and “gate to the world.”
Vessels of all kinds have been built in its shipya rds and goods from all over the world have landed on its wharves.
With this in mind, the German collector Peter Tamm chose Hamburg to showcase the thousands of maritime artifacts he has assembled during his lifetime.
Peter Tamm was born in Hamburg in 1928 and began his professional career as a journalist in his native city at age rwenty.
Two decades later, he was the CEO of Germany’s Springer newspaper group, then the leading media house in West Germany.
Today, at eighty, Tamm is still a publisher and owner of a publishing group.
Peter Tamm was given his first model ship when he was just six, but his real love for the sea was kindled during his few weeks of service in the German navy at the end of the Second World War.
While working as a journalist as a young man, he began coll ecting model ships and maritime items such as paintings, maps, and weapo ns.
Thanks to his personal fortune, he was able to assemble an impressive and voluminous collection within a relatively short time.
Today it is the largest private collection of shipping and marine historic artifacts in the world.
When he ran out of storage space in his stately home, he purchased a spacious villa on the banks of the river Elbe, where, in 1991 ,
the fo unded the Institute of Navigation and Marine History.
In 2002 Tamm established a fo undation to provide an enduring legal framework for his venture,
a prerequisite for the establishment of a public museum.
Since the 1990s, the old warehouses along Hamburg’s wha rves became obsolete. Similarly to what happened to London’s dockyards,
the brick buildings with their solid vaults were partly converted into posh lofts for an affiuent dientele.
Peter Tamm espied the oldest and largest storehouse, a neogothic building completed in 1879, choosing it for a new museum,
and he persuaded the Hamburg city council to lease the edifice to him for ninety-nine years, rent-free.
Ashrewd negotiator, Tamm also convinced Hamburg’s mayor to grant thirty million euros (nearly US$50 million ) for the renovation and conversion of the warehouse into the International Maritime Museum (IMM).
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