It’s Ferdinand again – and I particularly like this stop. Because here, we’re standing at a monument…for me! I’m actually quite famous in this city even though I lived here over 100 years ago. Why is that? Very simple. At that time, I actually wanted to build a ship. Not just a normal ship on the water – there were enough of those. No, I wanted to be able to fly in the air on my ship.
“But how, that’s impossible?”, you’re thinking. That’s what everyone said then, too. They called me “the mad Count Zeppelin”. But I built it anyway – and it worked!
It looked like an enormously long balloon in which people could travel underneath. The Zeppelin was invented! And that’s why, on this monument, a 13m high bronze column, it reads: One must only want and believe in it, then it will succeed.
But until it was a success, a number of things went wrong. The first models crashed and broke, but I didn’t give up, I tried again and again. It cost quite a lot of money to build such an airship that was over 100m long. So at one point, I was simply bankrupt. I thought I’d have to give up on my dream of an airship after all – but I’d done my calculations without considering the Swabians. They liked their crazy Count and believed in my mad invention and collected donations for me. They collected 6 million (still Reichsmark in those days)! The future of my project had been saved. Little by little the Zeppelins became more stable and no longer crashed. Whether you believe it or not, they were better and safer than the first aircrafts at that time! For a while, there were even scheduled flights with Zeppelins – through all of Germany and even as far as America and Brazil! The Swabians, and particularly the people of Friedrichshafen, were rather proud of their mad Count Zeppelin, and they still are today – that’s why they built this monument.
By the way, there’s a big museum here in Friedrichshafen where you can find out a lot about me and my Zeppelins. You should definitely take a look.
And look up in the sky – even today two Zeppelins are flying. Maybe you’ll even spot one yourself?
Very near by, you’ll see the Zeppelin fountain. There is a boy siting on a globe on the fountain, holding a Zeppelin in his hand. Luckily, this figure survived the Second World War intact and could be put back on the fountain.
To honour the highly regarded Count Ferdinand of Zeppelin.
"One must only want and believe in it, then it will succeed", so reads the inscription on the 13 m tall bronze column.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes