Monaco in miniature: Princely family unveil model of the Principality in Germany

miniature monaco

A project to recreate the Principality of Monaco in exquisite and minute detail has been unveiled at Hamburg’s Miniatur Wunderland museum by Prince Albert II, Princess Charlene and their children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.  

Taking some 150,000 working hours and €5 million of investment to complete, Miniatur Wunderland’s faithful reproduction of the Principality truly is a wonder to behold.  

Every landmark feature of the Monegasque landscape is here, from the Palais Princier on the Rock to the Casino de Monte-Carlo and 175 glamourous scaled down superyachts bobbing in Port Hercule. It is a masterpiece of creativity and ingenuity; a carefully crafted and intricately detailed realm to explore and enjoy up close. 

The incredible achievements of the Miniatur Wunderland team were reflected in the joy that lit up the faces of the Princely family, who were invited to the specialist museum in Germany on Thursday 25th April to get a sneak peek of the new exhibit before it was opened to the public.  

Princess Charlene, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella explore the miniature Monaco model as Prince Albert II looks on. Photo credit: Eric Mathon / Palais Princier de Monaco

Among the highlights of the 70m2 model, which a spokesperson from the museum has described as the “most engaged and ambitious project” ever to be attempted by Miniatur Wunderland, is the 22m-long Formula 1 track that winds through Monaco’s famous streets.  

This section required the most planning – 11 years of development and 100,000 lines of programming code went into it – and the result is simply stunning.

A fleet of autonomous vehicles zip along the circuit, which features a pitstop, the paddock, the grandstands, the big screens, fans cheering on from balconies, 85,000 sensors and 200 circuit boards. With real-time overtakes, collisions and high-speed racing by versions of today’s top drivers, including Monaco’s own Charles Leclerc, it is believed to be the world’s first autonomously driven Formula 1 simulation.  

The creation of the miniature Monaco Grand Prix track took 11 years of development and required its designers to write 100,000 lines of programming code. Photo credit: Miniatur Wunderland

Another special scene is that of Princess Grace and Rainier III’s wedding day in 1956. It is genuinely captivating, depicting the moment that the newlyweds left the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée de Monaco in a monochrome palette that evokes the video footage recorded by TV crews from around the world at the time.  

The Musée Océanographique de Monaco has also been given particular attention, with a façade that opens up to display moving exhibits. 

Prince Albert was photographed inspecting the reproduction of his family’s home, the Palais Princier, and a scene that includes the Carabiniers du Prince and visiting tourists admiring the ancestral seat of the Grimaldis.  

Prince Albert II of Monaco takes in the miniature scene of the Grimaldis’ ancestral family home, the Palais Princier. Photo credit: Miniatur Wunderland

More than 300 iconic Monaco buildings and historic sites have been built into the landscape, from the Hôtel de Paris and the Café de Paris across the Carré d’Or to the Yacht Club de Monaco and the Principality’s array of skyscrapers.  

It is a 24-hour experience too. When night falls on the micro-nation, it is illuminated by the glow of more than 20,000 LEDs, including disco lights strung up above 35 different party hotspots across the Principality.  

Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and their nine-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, were clearly awed by the model, with each smiling in delight as members of the museum’s team took them on a tour of the exhibit.  

The public has been able to explore this mini Monaco as of Friday 26th April. Next time you find yourself in Hamburg, be sure to add a visit to the Miniatur Wunderland museum to your list of sights to see.  

Click on the images below to see more of the miniature Monaco exhibit:

Read related:

Prince Albert celebrates 66th birthday with Princess Charlene, twins and loyal Monegasques at Place du Palais


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Photo credits: Miniatur Wunderland / Eric Mathon / Palais Princier de Monaco