The town of Wolfsburg was established in 1938 by the Third Reich, and was originally called Stadt des Kdf-Wagens (town of the KdF [Kraft durch Freude – Strength through Joy] car). It was re-named after a nearby castle after the Second World War. The beetle-shaped people’s car – the Volkswagen – designed by Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), was built in large numbers, was exported to many countries, and was one of the foundations of Germany’s ‘economic miracle’ of the 1950s and 1960s. Before the unification of Germany in 1989, the city of Wolfsburg, close to the border with the former DDR, had few distinguishing features apart from its huge car factory, but the previous Volkswagen museum was transformed in 2000 into Autostadt, a partially open-air museum, with sections on the constituent motor car manufacturers that now comprise the Volkswagen group.
The city is also home to Phaeno, an innovative interactive science centre.