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From Jeep to Jeepney

It was on a Sunday afternoon in June 2016: a small delegation from the Hamburg German Seamen’s Mission was participating in a conference in Manila. An hour-long tropical deluge had drenched the city. From the balustrade of the National Museum, DUCKDALBEN director Jan Oltmanns looked down on the busy… Weiter lesen

One Ship, Two “Treasures”

I never thought that there could be a connection between these two pictures. One hangs to the left of the entrance to our billiard room, the other hangs on the opposite side.

On April 7th 2015, while Marco had duty, he told me that years ago the crew… Weiter lesen

A Weighty Present

On 13 August 1999 a reach-stacker drove up the entrance to our property and deposited a dock anchor that had been buried for years in the Elbe mud. After Blohm + Voss had salvaged it from the muddy ground, the directors decided to give DUCKDALBEN this heavyweight and its massive… Weiter lesen

The Duckdalben at DUCKDALBEN

When our club opened on August 13th 1986 the “Amt für Strom- und Hafenbau” (today the HPA: Hamburg Port Authority) erected a structure bearing the name of our club, namely, a Duckdalben (English: dolphin). The dolphin had formerly seen service in the Billwerder Bucht. The ends of the wooden posts… Weiter lesen
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Ocean Twelve

The seamen of the MV Ocean Cosmos inscribed their names and “Ocean Twelve” on the present they gave us when saying goodbye. It resembles a life raft because fittingly, DUCKDALBEN and the ITF had helped rescue the crew from an emotional trauma. For before they came to us, they had… Weiter lesen

A Historical Treasure

October 7th 1891: The English steamer Athabasca is sailing up the Elbe in the darkness and under poor visibility. Coming from Rangoon, her cargo consists of rice and a large number of apes who were destined for the Citizens’ Zoological Gardens in Dammtor, Hamburg. The ship runs aground in the… Weiter lesen

A Round Goodbye Present

A panoply of bright orange lifebuoys hangs from the ceiling of the DUCKDALBEN clubroom. In fact, over the years they have become so numerous that they’ve now taken over the large entry hall as well. Every lifebuoy has its own story, but representative for the many others, here’s the story… Weiter lesen

Merry Shark-Mas

Some of the most fascinating treasures are those that tell how our volunteers first discovered DUCKDALBEN.

Charlotte Schulz-Wolfgramm, for example, had studied ethnology and met our colleague and ethnologist Dirk (Diego). Through Diego, she joined DUCKDALBEN as one of our earliest volunteers. Charlotte had travelled the world and could… Weiter lesen

The Cross on the Globe

DUCKDALBEN director Jan Oltmanns could hardly believe his eyes. It was around the year 2000 while he was paying a visit to the Hamburg Harbour Police School. On the school grounds was a buoy that he’d never seen before. The buoy’s top showed a globe surmounted by a cross.… Weiter lesen
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A Treasure from Switzerland

“Switzerland” and “boating”– for me those had been terms from two widely differing areas. But the pennant hanging in DUCKDALBEN shows that a special relationship does indeed exist.

Members of the SSK-CSE (Schweizerischer Schleusenschiffer Klub – Club Suisse des Ecluseurs) presented the pennant to us in the fall of… Weiter lesen

The Benevolent Devil

Most seamen enter DUCKDALBEN through the doors leading to our large entry hall. But if they happen to look up, what might the seafarers possibly think when they discover a scary-looking mask staring down at them from the gallery? Is he friendly or frightful? Is he really sticking out… Weiter lesen

Hats Off

Whoever sits at the bar enjoying his beer in the DUCKDALBEN clubroom probably isn’t aware that he’s sitting in the “hats off” section of the club. Most visitors never take notice of the colourful collection of headgear fastened to the walls above – easy to overlook because they’re out of… Weiter lesen

Recycling a Lifeboat

It’s frankly impossible to imagine a DUCKDALBEN garden birthday party without this lifeboat! One enters through an opening in the side, and is surrounded by piles of buffet delicacies spread out on the planks.

The boat originally had an entirely different purpose. It was one of the… Weiter lesen

Fascinating Reading

While poking through the glass showcase next to “Office A” I discovered a true treasure: unremarkable, darkened brown, dog-eared and covered in dust. Several small and smaller ship models were perched on them, high and dry as it were. I only discovered them by accident and felt a bit like… Weiter lesen

The Cross on the Globe

DUCKDALBEN director Jan Oltmanns could hardly believe his eyes. It was around the year 2000 while he was paying a visit to the Hamburg Harbour Police School. On the school grounds was a buoy that he’d never seen before. The buoy’s top showed a globe surmounted by a cross.… Weiter lesen

An Artist as Ship’s Cook

There’s an illustration hanging above the comfortable corner seating area in our billiard room that shows DUCKDALBEN from a very special perspective. A drawing with a strong symbolic power. In the foreground, the huge dock anchor proclaims that here, one can “drop anchor” and find diversion and relaxation from a… Weiter lesen

A Real Group Photo

One spring evening in 2015, some crewmembers from the MV Trust Star came to DUCKDALBEN. Several of them had never been to the club before but they soon felt right at home, enjoying the atmosphere and admiring the many “treasures’” in all our rooms. When it came time to go… Weiter lesen

Nine Long Months

For nine long months in 2009 the MV Jaco Triumph lay immobile, moored to the MAN quay, located near the Hachmann wharf. The diagnosis: severe motor damage. On board: a purely Filipino crew.

Thanks to our volunteer ships’ visitor Werner, contact to the seamen’s mission was quickly established. For… Weiter lesen

A long-lost treasure

One day he was vanished without a trace from the DUCKDALBEN.
For days everyone looked for him. Did he become a victim of poisoning? Or did his life found a sudden end below the wheels of a big truck? The worst was expected by everyone.

But someday – well… Weiter lesen

The Boat of Don Berto

There it is, the little catamaran called „M/V Christopher“, ceiling-mounted at the cozy place in the pool room in DUCKDALBEN.

It was presented to us by two seamen who were part of the crew on M/V „Christopher“ in December 2014. Some time ago we have learned from Vianni Amador… Weiter lesen

The time has come!

Here it is, the 100th lifebuoy! We've been waiting in suspense for a few weeks now. On March 8th, the 100th lifebuoy has finally been carried over the threshold of the club by Vadym and was a present from the crew of CMA CGM Rigoletto Marseille. Thank you… Weiter lesen


'Colourful' doesn't even begin to describe it!

Our great advantage is the abundance of different talents that are joined in our team. This is why we can successfully take care of the support of seafarers' dignity. Become part of it!

In the heart of the port of Hamburg exists a place where the three fields of… Weiter lesen