die Sturmflut als mediales Ereignis | Foto: © Museumsdienst / Michael Zapf
die Sturmflut als mediales Ereignis | Foto: © Museumsdienst / Michael Zapf

The Great Flood – Catastrophe, Challenge, Perspectives

Special exhibition at the Hamburg Museum

In the night of 16th to 17th February 1962, the most powerful storm front for over 100 years swept over Hamburg. Numerous dykes burst; 315 people died.

Based on this traumatic event in the city’s history, this exhibition links historical events with modern-day knowledge and outlooks on the topic of flood prevention, spanning a timeline from the Middle Ages through to the present day and ending on the discussion of prospects for the future.

  • Client: Museumsdienst Hamburg (Hamburg Museums Service)
  • Display space: approx. 500 m2
  • Held: February–September 2012
  • Detailed thematic exhibition concept for the display areas “Catastrophe” and “Survival”
  • Object research
  • Interviews with contemporary witnesses
  • Exhibition and catalogue texts
  • Design concept
  • Implementation planning
  •  Construction management

Many of those affected have kept objects that hold the memory of the flood: items that could be saved or salvaged from the mud; things that symbolise the arduous days and weeks that followed the natural catastrophe.

A huge dyke installation illustrates the dimensions of coastal protection needed at present, with a cross section showing the internal structure of the dyke.

The storm front of 1962 was the first natural disaster covered on television. The images projected in television newscasts and cinema newsreels and those published in the daily press have become iconic in our collective memory.

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Ika Gerrard
Nina Holsten
Arne Petersen
Michael Teßmer
Simone Wörner


gwf-ausstellungen develops
and designs exhibitions
and museum spaces.


concept & design
Feldstraße 48
20357 Hamburg / GERMANY
Phone +49 40 432 27 36