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From: Volkswagen's Autostadt


ABOVE: "Exosphere" is one of 70 globes in Ingo Günther's "Field of Globes" installation. INSET BELOW: The world's largest revolving doors (left open on warm days), a robot carves a clay model in the AutoLab, and a rollover simulator shows the flip side of driver safety.

The Piazza

photoThe GroupForum and its Piazza are the starting point for your visit to the Autostadt. From the Wolfsburg railroad station, a footbridge leads across the Mittelland Canal to a glass building with an atrium that stands 20 meters or 66 feet high. The Autstadt claims that the tall, electrically-operated glass doors (each of which weighs as much as 32 VW Polo automobiles) are the largest revolving doors in the world.

Inside the GroupForum, you can buy tickets, pick up maps, etc. at the Welcome Desk. One- and two-day tickets are available; see the Autostadt's Visitor Information page for current prices. You can also buy a combined ticket for the Autostadt and Wolfsburg's outstanding Phæno science museum, which is just across a footbridge.

Autostadt attractions are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, with some restaurants staying open until 8 or 11 p.m. (Unfotunately, dogs and other pets aren't allowed in the Autostadt, which comes as a surprise in a country where Hunde are loved even more than cars.)

While you're in the atrium, spend a few minutes with Ingo Günther's "Field of Globes," a collection of 70 globes that range from a five-ton, 1:1,000,000 aluminum model of the Earth (see top photo) to illluminated globes beneath a glass floor that illustrate different aspects of ecology and world population. Nearby, "Red Blue Yellow" structures highlight the entrances to the GroupForum's movie theatres and the car-delivery center for VW buyers (see page 7).

photophotoOther attractions in the GroupForum include the hands-on AutoLab (where you can learn about mobility and car design), the Biosphere (where you can plant seeds for biofuel by computer), two Cinemas (one movie about car safety, the other a documentary about life in the world's largest auto plant), the MobiVersum (with several family-oriented attractions), and showroom-style displays of new or current VW cars (with representatives on hand to answer questions or demonstrate features).

Steps from the Groupforum lead down to the Mittelland Canal, where you can enjoy a one-hour Maritime Panorama Tour on the FGS Havelland from spring through fall.

Finally, the GroupForum has a children's drop-in center where you can leave your kids for up to 90 minutes while you enjoy the AutoStadt's exhibits or collect a new car.

Next page: ZeitHaus museum

What to see and do:
Volkswagen Autostadt
GroupForum - Piazza
ZeitHaus museum
Brand pavilions
VW factory tours
Driver training
Car towers, delivery center
Restaurants, shopping

Practical advice:
Getting to Wolfsburg
Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg (hotel)

Related article:
Phaeno - Wolfsburg's science museum

Top photo: Autostadt.