Stuttgart. Yet another year has ended successfully for the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which had 722,000 visitors in 2012. This means that the number of visitors has once again increased. More than one third of visitors came from abroad. Highlights in 2012 were the special exhibition "Timeless – 60 Years of the Mercedes-Benz SL" and the numerous Museum events during the summer. The S-Class will feature prominently in 2013.
"Achieving such good visitor numbers in 2012 after a very successful anniversary year in 2011 makes us very proud," says Michael Bock, General Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. "In the six and a half years since the opening, around 4.9 million people have experienced the fascination of the automobile in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. I am very pleased that last year we were able to welcome even more international visitors than in 2011. This shows that our concept is working. In 2013 we will supplement our permanent exhibition of 160 automotive icons with special exhibitions on fascinating vehicles and – for a museum – unusual events such as the open-air cinema or an open day for disabled visitors."
Visitors from 171 countries
"The Mercedes-Benz Museum has long been a fixture for German tourists," Michael Bock continues. In recent years the number of international visitors has steadily increased: while only 15% of visitors in 2009 came from other countries, this figure has now more than doubled to 35%. In 2011 it stood at 27%. "In an international survey by the German Centre for Tourism, the Mercedes-Benz Museum was the only automobile museum to be voted amongst the Top 50 tourist attractions in Germany." The visitor statistics certainly reflect this.
In 2012 as a whole, China, the USA and France have again established themselves in the leading positions after German visitors. As in 2011, there has been a strong upward trend in visitors from China. There has also been a large increase in the number of Russian visitors. For the first time these have relegated visitors from Switzerland to fourth place in the Top Ten. The total of 171 countries of origin include surprising ones such as the Cocos Islands, Nepal or Qatar. In the record-breaking holiday month of July (easily the most busy month in 2012, with over 67,000 visitors), most of the visitors came from Germany, China, the USA, France and Spain.
"Whereas most visitors from other countries are usually visiting the Mercedes-Benz Museum for the first time, we benefit from a large proportion of repeat visitors," says Michael Bock. "The visitors tour the exhibition for an average of three hours. With our free audio-guide and extensive multimedia content we offer visitors up to 42 hours of information material in eight languages during the tour, therefore many return to quench their thirst for knowledge still further. Naturally many visitors come several times to attend events and special exhibitions, or repeatedly bring house guests to the Museum. Visiting Stuttgart without the automobile museum is hardly thinkable nowadays."
In 2012 the Museum was also able to match the results of the visitor survey in the anniversary year 2011, with visitors assessing the Museum with an average score of 1.5 (where 1 is the highest score possible). Precisely 98 % of respondents said that they would recommend the museum to others, and just under 90 % thought that their expectations had been exceeded.
Popular with tour groups and school classes
3500 guided tours were conducted in ten different languages in 2012. Apart from the classic tour of the automotive exhibits, the architectural tours, evening and children's tours were also particularly popular.
More than 6500 groups with just under 160,000 participants enjoyed the Museum as a shared experience, among them 1600 school classes with more than 50,000 students. More than 10,000 of these and their teachers took advantage of the "School in a Museum" feature in the GeniusCampus area for children and students. Many young visitors also found their way to the Museum in their free time: over 100 birthday celebrations were held for children, and well over 500 young people took part in the summer holiday programme "RoadSense". During this, 13 to 16 year-olds were, for example, able to drive a vehicle under supervision on an enclosed area.
Exhibition and event highlights in 2012
The year commenced with the special exhibition "Timeless – 60 Years of the Mercedes-Benz SL". During this, the Museum exhibited the full model series spanning six decades in the same room for the first time. This exhibition was attended by over 200,000 enthusiastic visitors during its course. This display covering the legendary SL sports car was succeeded by the special exhibition "Mille Miglia – Passion and Rivalry".
More than 140,000 visitors attended this special exhibition covering the Italian 1000-mile road race. For the first time the Museum showed models by competitors in addition to Mercedes-Benz models.
Special events such as the 6th anniversary of the Museum in May, World Children's Day in September or the Collector's Forum in November regularly ensured peak visitor numbers of up to 4800 per day. Last year more than 170,000 visitors experienced the Museum's summer programme, which included the jazzopen stuttgart, the Bertha Benz Days, the open-air Mercedes-Benz Lounge and the Social Media Nights Stuttgart. With more than 9000 spectators on 14 evenings, the open-air cinema also proved particularly successful as one of the major highlights in Stuttgart's event calendar.
The Museum also celebrated a minor anniversary in the autumn, with the tenth Mercedes-Benz Star Nights. The well-known chefs invited to this series of culinary events in the last four years have included regional stars such as Martin Öxle, Armin Karrer, Claudio Urru and Harald Derfuß, and the internationally active star-rated chefs Mansour Memarian (United Arab Emirates), Ludwig Heer (USA), Gerhard Schwaiger (Spain) and Dieter Koschina (Portugal).
With unusual facilities such as the Casino restaurant with its view of the local vineyards, between Silver Arrows and racing trucks, or the extravagant roof terrace, the Museum has for years been a very popular event location in southern Germany. In addition to the numerous public events, 180 customer events were also held on the premises of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
Exhibition and event highlights for 2013
"Visitors can also look forward to an exciting event calendar for 2013. We have various new programmes in preparation aimed particularly at families and children – for example we will be holding a special workshop to mark the International Cartoon Film Festival, says Michael Bock. "Just how much young people are interested in our brand is, for example, evident from the 74,000 people around the world who follow us on Facebook, where we are one of Germany's most active museums."
The Mercedes-Benz Museum will be holding its first Star Nights in the New Year from 26 February to 10 March 2013 – with the top-chefs Mario Corti of Restaurant Luce d'Oro at Schloss Elmau and Derry Clarke, chef-de-cuisine at the Dublin gourmet restaurant l'Ecrivain.
"Coinciding with the market launch of the new S-Class, we will be illustrating the long history of this model series with a special exhibition from 4 June to 22 September 2013. For decades the flagship Mercedes-Benz model has set standards for the brand in terms of luxury, comfort and safety. And with the Week of Helpers (25 to 30 June 2013), one of the many highlights for the coming Museum summer in 2013 is already scheduled."