knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland
knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland
may 10, 2011

knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland

‘knuffingen’ miniature airport, newly opened at miniatur wunderland in hamburg, germany

hamburg’s ‘miniatur wunderland‘, the world’s largest model railway exhibit, has just officially opened ‘knuffingen airport’, a computer-controlled miniature airport replete with moving cars and trains, working lights, and airplanes that continually take off and land in the space.

measuring 150 square meters (1615 square feet), the airport has been under development since may 2004, at a cost of approximately 150,000 working hours and 3.5 million euros (4.8 million USD). the results feature the realistic taxiing and flight of a fleet of 40 airplanes, alongside trains, cargo vehicles that navigate the runway-lit environs of the control center and airport. the planes are run on two metal rods, propelled by a cable drag chain. as with the rest of ‘miniatur wunderland’, navigation on land is accomplished through a system of magnets.

video footage of ‘knuffingen airport’

modeled after hamburg’s airport, ‘knuffingen’ is not without miniature traffic of its own image courtesy of gawker

to date, ‘miniatur wunderland’ as a whole features eight zones: the landscapes of harz and austria, the fantasy city of knuffingen, hamburg and the german coast, america, scandinavia, switzerland, and now the airport. over 500,000 working hours have produced an elaborately detailed model, where approximately 890 trains (the largest measuring 14.5 meters, or 47.5 feet, in length) travel several hundred kilometers each day, traversing the snowy alps, verdant countryside, and well-known landmarks.

the 5500 cars in the display are controlled by a computerized ‘carsystem’. 200,000 stationary human figures go about their daily lives in the space, which features moving chairlifts along the slopes, a carnival, emergency vehicles with blinking lights, a homicide investigation, and hundreds of other small scenes and features. ‘america’ includes recreations of the grand canyon, las vegas (with over 30,000 lights), the rocky mountains, native pueblo villages, miami, and the purported UFO hub of area 51; while the miniaturized hamburg is complete with st. michaels church, the imtec arena, hagenbecks zoo, and the harbour and st. pauli piers. all scenes are designed for both day and night lighting.

the fire service of the fictitious city of knuffingen

continually in construction, ‘miniatur wunderland’ plans to next feature france and italy, expecting by 2020 to double its current size, with a final model area that includes twelve sections over 2300 square meters (24,757 square feet). for more detailed information regarding the exhibit and its individual sections, please see ‘wunderland facts‘ on their website.  currently employing a staff of 185, the project was founded in 2000 by twin brothers frederick and gerrit braun.

video overview of ‘miniatur wunderland’

video footage of the construction of ‘knuffingen airport’

behind-the-scenes footage and interview about the technical specs behind ‘knuffingen airport’ open in youtube and click the ‘interactive transcript’ button below the video to see english translation

‘night’ footage of the airport

  • So awesome.

    Ana Rampim says:
  • I like the thick people, and the very strong famous children ! And the not so alive people !

    Moi says:
  • I watch Miniatur Wunderland from afar. Congrats on the latest development. A visit is on the bucket list d;-)

    Jetwax says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
501,537 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample