Hotel Alte Werft Restaurant Graf Goetzen
How a passenger steamer from Papenburg had its film career in Africa
Restaurant Graf Goetzen Schiffsmodell

The Graf Goetzen is a separate area in the Restaurant Schnürboden. You will find a selection of meals and beverages from the menu of the Restaurant Schnürboden.

How a passenger steamer from Papenburg had its film career in Africa: The world still seemed to be alright in 1914. The economy was booming. The Kaiser’s daughter was getting married and many German citizens were on their way to seek their fortunes in the African colonies.

Life in Papenburg also appeared to be going along normally. On the Meyer Werft , a new contract from the Federal Foreign Office had been received. The new construction, to be named the „Graf Goetzen“, was to be for passenger traffic on Lake Tanganyika. For years, the Meyer Werft had earned a reputation for building low draught ships, specifically developed for the shallow African rivers.

In order to transport the „Graf Goetzen“ to Africa, the ship first had to be assembled in Papenburg for a test run, then dismantled again into individual parts, packed into watertight crates and shipped to Africa. From Daressalam, the route continued overland to Lake Tanganyika. Several workers and overseers from the Meyer Werft took part in the same journey to assemble the ship on site. They achieved what seemed virtually impossible: in spite of adverse conditions and circumstances, the men under master builder Rüther managed to reassemble the ship.

The First World War broke out and in 1917 the English troops drew near. To prevent the „Graf Goetzen“ from falling into their hands, the Papenburg group scuttled the ship – but first, they carefully greased all the machinery. This is how the „Graf Goetzen“ remained undamaged. After the war, the ship was retrieved and returned to service under the name “Liemba”.

The ship gained its fame in 1951: along with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, the ship has a star role in the film “African Queen”. The steamer plays the part of the gunboat “Luisa”, which – like all evil things – must sink in the end. But only in the movies. Today, everyone knows the “Liemba” on Lake Tanganyika, because these days, the former „Graf Goetzen“ still makes its rounds, every day.

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