When was the last time you visited a museum devoted to pigs? Or wine? Or chocolate, for that matter? For visitors to Stuttgart, these unusual opportunities are just a taste of the wide variety of cultural offerings available in the city.
Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg and the state’s largest city, boasts five of the 11 state museums. It is a city of contrasts: an industrial hub, surrounded by verdant hills, vineyards and parks. Known as the ‘cradle of the automobile’, Stuttgart celebrates this heritage at the world-famous Porsche Museum on Porscheplatz and the Mercedes-Benz Museum on Mercedesstrasse.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is one of the top visitor attractions in Stuttgart. It has nine levels and covers a floor space of 16,500 square metres, home to 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits that trace the 130-year timeline of automotive history from its beginnings to the present day. Over the course of a two-hour tour, visitors journey through the company’s history, starting at the uppermost level of the museum in the year 1886. Tours make their way gradually down spiral ramps through the extensive collection and back to the museum exit.
Once you have marvelled at the impressive selection of performance vehicles on display, head to the museum shop for items that range from model cars to high-end watches and a range of accessories emblazoned with the brand’s instantly recognisable logo. If you’re feeling adventurous, motorsports equipment is also available to buy.
The Porsche Museum was designed by Viennese architecture firm Delugan Meissl with flowing lines and very few right angles, to ensure that nothing detracts from the beauty of the 911s, coupes, Panameras and Spyders housed within. It is an extraordinary building, as modern and innovative as one would expect from one of the pioneers of automotive design.
Stuttgart Museum of Viniculture
Stuttgart is not all fast cars and elegant architecture, however. The Stuttgart Museum of Viniculture is located in the Alte Kelter, a former wine-press building in the picturesque village of Stuttgart-Uhlbach. This region has a wine-making history that stretches back over 2,000 years, which visitors can discover through the exhibits on display. A multi-sensory experience, the tour also includes the chance to sample some of the wine produced in the area.
From wine to swine, this city has it all. SchweineMuseum Stuttgart, the largest pig museum in the world, presents over 50,000 globally sourced exhibits from around the world in 29 themed rooms. Exploring the history and mythology of pigs, this is an experience like no other.
The Ritter Museum
The Ritter Sport chocolate bar is a famous Stuttgart invention. Travellers to Europe will be familiar with the colourful squares, and may even have noted with approval how well they fit into a pocket. In 1932 Alfred Ritter, owner of a Stuttgart chocolate factory, took the advice of his wife Clara, who suggested making a square bar of chocolate that would fit neatly into every sport jacket pocket without breaking. The rest is confectionery history.
The Ritter Museum was founded in 2005 by art collector Marli Hoppe-Ritter, Alfred Ritter’s granddaughter. Her extraordinary art collection, on display at the museum, celebrates the square through nearly 1,000 paintings, objects, sculptures and graphic works by diverse artists. The museum also regularly hosts guided tours and events themed around art and music. Children are welcomed with a special art puzzle that guides them round the exhibits – and will enjoy the regular hands-on workshops which allow them to discover art by making their own creations.
And when you’ve had your fill of culture and history, you can indulge your sweet tooth at the Ritter Sport chocolate shop next door