Ludwig Nissen Ludwig Nissen
The building
which houses the museum
The building
American art
from Ludwig Nissen´s collection
American art


The Nordsee Museum in the Nissen house, formerly known as the North Friesian museum, concentrates on the diverse aspects of the cultural and natural region of the North Sea coast.

The museum was founded by Ludwig Nissen (1855-1924), who left Husum in 1872 at the age of 16 and emigrated to New York where he lived the American dream. He advanced from being a shoe shiner and a dishwasher to become a millionaire, achieving social standing and influence. After various professional flops, he became established as a jewel dealer and made his fortune. He married Kathrin Quick in 1882, but the couple had no children.

Ludwig Nissen´s career flourished. In 1895 he became president of the Union of Jewel Merchants in New York. In 1900 he was a member and treasurer of the New York State Commission for the World Exhibition in Paris. His economic farsightedness was the reason for his being an advisor to the American presidents Roosevelt, Taft and Coolidge. He also devoted himself to charitable and humanitarian activities.

Nissen wanted his home town to have a share in his success. He bequeathed his fortune and his collections so that a museum could be set up in Husum.

Nissen didn´t live to see his dream come true. He died in 1924, but not before having stipulated his wishes in his testament.

The museum building was constructed according to the designs of the architect Georg Rieve (1888-1966). The sculptures on the façade – oxen, phoenix and triton – were created by the sculptor Alwin Blaue (1896-1958).
The museum opened in 1937. In 1986 the building was extended and this extension now houses the town library.

After radical remodeling and refurbishment in 2006, the museum opened again in 2007. A modern exhibition, which appeals to both children and adults alike, brings the diversity of the North Sea coast to life.