Carl Gustav Carus, Brandung bei Rügen (Ausschnitt), 1819 © bpk, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Elke Estel

Europe and the Sea

13 June 2018 to 6 January 2019

An exhibition by the Deutsches Historisches Museum in partnership with the Jean Monnet Chair for European History at the University of Cologne

Europe is a maritime continent in geographical terms. Taking the length of the coastline relative to the total land area, Europe has more contact with the sea than any of the other continents. Nevertheless, the sea can seem very remote to people living in central and eastern Europe. In many countries, the sea is part of people’s daily reality only when they go there on holiday, or if they live on the coast.

"Europe and the Sea" reveals just how fundamentally the sea has shaped the development of Europe, exploring the roles it has played and continues to play. The exhibition covers the centuries from the Age of Antiquity to the present. It examines the sea’s significance as a facilitator of European expansionism and trade, as a bridge and barrier, as a resource, and as a focus of yearning and imagination. In addition to the historical dimension, it casts a spotlight on many aspects that are of ever greater importance to us today. In view of the millions of refugees crossing to Europe, the role of the sea as a bridge and barrier to the continent has acquired new relevance. Environmental concerns, climate-related issues, and the use or overuse of marine resources are also subjects of growing public debate.

Flyer to the exhibition
Download (PDF)

View into the exhibition

Audio guide

in German, English or for children

€ 3, Family package € 6 (up to 4 devices, 2 adults and 2 children) plus admission

Milestones in the history of European shipbuilding

The digital media station `Milestones in the history of European shipbuilding´ looks at twenty significantly different ‘types’ of ship as examples to illustrate major developments in shipbuilding between the ninth and the twentieth century.

Opening hours

daily 10 am to 6 pm


Free up to 18 years
€ 8, reduced € 4
More information

Tour booking

Permanent exhibition
Tel.  +49 30 20304-751

Special exhibitions
Tel. +49 30 20304-750

Museum shop


In the museum

Buchhandlung Walther König
Tel. +49 30 206 24 5 24


All entrances are wheelchair accessible

Public transport

Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße

Französische Straße, Friedrichstraße, Hausvogteiplatz

100, 200, TXL Staatoper or Lustgarten

Underground car park below Bebelplatz
City Quartier Dom Aquarée


Deutsches Historisches Museum

Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 20304-0