German Petroleum Museum

The birthplace of the German oil industry can be found in Wietze, a municipality on the edge of Lüneburg Heath and 18 kilometres west of Celle. Heavy oil was extracted here above ground in “tar wells” and traded as a lubricant and medicine from at least the 17th century. Starting in the 1830s, economic interest in the raw material grew and plans were developed as early as 1841 to expand oil extraction for the purposes of asphalt production. The first oil source was drilled in 1858/59 (before this occurred in the USA) and more than 2,000 drilling operations followed. By 1963, there was even an oil mine with a track length measuring 95 kilometres.

The museum’s grounds, which have an area of 18,000m2, cover part of the old oil field and include various functioning technical relics from the period before 1930 as well as drilling and extraction equipment and utility vehicles from the decades after that. A 54-metre-high drilling tower with a working platform which is to be made accessible for guided tours in future is just one of the special highlights. Visitors are able to set many of the objects in motion themselves. There is also a narrow-gauge railway covering a distance of 400 metres which visitors can ride if they book in advance. The permanent exhibition demonstrates how oil is formed and how it is searched, extracted and processed.

German Petroleum Museum
Schwarzer Weg 7-9
29323 Wietze
+49 (0) 5146 - 92340

Recommended duration of visit:2 Hours
Duration of a guided tour:90 Minutes
Access for persons with disabilities:Available
Infrastructure for children:
Gift and book shop on site:yes

March to June and September to November:
Tuesday - Sunday 10am-5pm

July to August:
daily 10am-6pm

  • Guided tours optional
  • Tours in other languages
  • Guided tours for children