Four nations and four premieres: This year saw guests from Benin, Botswana, Papua New Guinea and Suriname visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum for the first time. This is the response so far to the invitation which the museum sent out in February 2017 to citizens of the seven countries which were still missing from its statistics on international visitors. No replies have been forthcoming from Guyana or St. Kitts and Nevis to date. The museum is hoping to change this situation in 2018.

Abdoul-Kawihi Ibrahima Issaka from Benin, Nick Thabiso Mmopele from Botswana, Kenneth Seeto Port Moresby from Papua New Guinea and Farida Gallinat from Suriname made a special contribution to the international character of the Mercedes-Benz Museum this year, as the first officially registered visitors to the museum from their respective countries. Further first-timers are also set to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum: Naeem Yazdani from Samoa will be coming with his family on Saturday, 16 December 2017.

The invitations for the first-time visitors from the outstanding nations included a VIP programme featuring an individual guided tour of the museum and a trip on board the Benz Patent Motor Car or a Mercedes-Benz Classic. Additional highlights were added as opportunities arose: Nick Thabiso Mmopele came during the Mercedes-Benz Concert Summer 2017, for example, and was able to round off his visit by taking in the Teesy & Vona concert.

“Our invitation went out all over the world. We’re proud of the good response,” says Monja Büdke, director of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Regular customer surveys keep the museum informed at all times as to where its guests come from. An assessment of this information at the beginning of 2017 showed that the surveyed visitors came from 186 nations in all – meaning that almost all 193 member-states of the United Nations (UN) were represented in its statistics.

The museum’s internationality has grown continually since it opened in 2006, with international visitors currently accounting for an almost 60 percent share of its total public.The international make-up is also reflected in the country of origin of Mr Dingding, who came to the Mercedes-Benz Museums as its eight millionth visitor in February 2017: around one in every ten foreign guests now comes from China.

The museum is well prepared for its international public. The audioguide and brochures are all available in eight languages. The museum also has flags of all the countries in the world at its disposal. The corresponding national banner is usually raised when high-ranking foreign guests of state visit – and in 2017 they were additionally unfurled to welcome the first-time representatives of the specially sought nations.

Meanwhile, one of the Mercedes-Benz Museum’s aims for 2018 has already been set: it is seeking to add visitors from the remaining two countries of Guyana and St. Kitts and Nevis to its colourful map of the world.

Guyana lies in the north of South America and has a population of around 735,000.St. Kitts and Nevis is among the smallest countries in the world. Some 56,000 people live in its territories covering just under 270 square kilometres. By way of comparison, the city of Stuttgart covers an area of 207 square kilometres and has a population of just under 620,000.