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Liebherr mobile crane erects “Ottifant” artwork in Hamburg

Built with an LTM 1230-5.1 belonging to the crane rental company Knaack Krane: the Global Gate in Hamburg.
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Built with an LTM 1230-5.1 belonging to the crane rental company Knaack Krane: the Global Gate in Hamburg.

IMAGE SOURCE: Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH

  • Liebherr's LTM 1230-5.1 mobile crane, operated by Knaack Krane, was used to erect the Global Gate, the world's largest mobile work of art, in Hamburg.

  • The Global Gate, an installation made of 37 sea containers shaped like the Brandenburg Gate, serves as a large exhibition platform for artists, featuring works by comedian and artist Otto Waalkes.

  • Artist Otto Waalkes and art curator Marcus Schäfer attended the event, showcasing the "Ottifants" – cartoon elephants created by Waalkes – atop the installation.

  • The Global Gate has traveled from Dubai and Frankfurt to Hamburg, where it was displayed at the port from mid-October to mid-November 2023, under the theme "Hello Hamburg! – Hallo Otto!"

  • The installation process took four days, overcoming challenges such as proximity to water, uneven ground, and strong winds at the Cruise Center Altona location.

  • The Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 crane, equipped with 22 tonnes of ballast and a 48-metre extended boom, was chosen for its suitability for construction crane assembly and other complex tasks.

  • Stability measures for the Global Gate included filling containers with sand, ballasting them to 15 tonnes, welding supports with water tanks, and bolting the containers together, all covered with an aluminium frame for mounting Otto Waalkes' artworks.

  • LTM 1230-5.1 from Knaack Krane erects world’s largest mobile work of art

  • Crowned with “Ottifants”: numerous works by Otto Waalkes were exhibited on the Global Gate in Hamburg

  • Artist Otto Waalkes as well as art curator Marcus Schäfer were there in person

Covering an area of 2,000 square metres, the Global Gate offers an enormous exhibition platform for artists. Consisting of sea containers arranged in the shape of the Brandenburg Gate, the installation offers artists the opportunity to present their works in a public space. The Global Gate was erected and crowned with four “Ottifants” – cartoon elephants in the comic style of Otto Waalkes – with help from the latest addition to the fleet of Hanseatic crane rental company Knaack – a Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1.


A temporary attraction for Hamburg: The world’s largest mobile work of art – the Global Gate – has found its way to the Hanseatic city on the Elbe. The construction consisting of 37 sea containers has been on display in the port of Hamburg from mid-October until mid-November. With Global Gate, art curator Marcus Schäfer has created a platform to exhibit works beyond the traditional boundaries of galleries and museums. After stops in Dubai and Frankfurt, the containers were presented in the Hanseatic city, where, under the motto "Hello Hamburg! – Hallo Otto!", to accommodate numerous paintings by German comedian and artist Otto Waalkes. A Liebherr LTM 1230-5.1 mobile crane stacked the containers in the shape of the Brandenburg Gate and placed a quadriga of four “Ottifants”, designed in comic style by Otto Waalkes, on the 20-metre-high installation.

The entire construction, including the installation of the works, took four days. Proximity to the water, uneven ground and strong winds – due to the exposed location directly at the Cruise Center Altona, the construction of the Global Gate required precise logistics and technology. Equipped with 22 tonnes of ballast and a boom that was extended to 48 metres, the crane erected the work of art. The 5-axle crane had itself only been in use for four weeks: “The LTM 1230-5.1 is the perfect addition to our fleet of Liebherr cranes. The mobile crane with its long boom can be used for construction crane assembly in particular, says Uwe Schulze, crane operator at Knaack Krane.

Crowned with four Ottifants: The Global Gate is the world’s largest mobile work of art.<br>IMAGE SOURCE: Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH

Stacked, screwed and clad

To ensure the stability of the installation, each of the 3.9-tonne containers was filled with sand and ballasted to a weight of 15 tonnes. In addition, supports with attached water tanks were welded to the containers in the lower row – to ensure the installation would withstand a storm surge. The containers, stacked with centimetre precision, were finally bolted together, and covered with an aluminium frame with a total length of 980 metres, to which the banners with works by Otto Waalkes were mounted. The installation will be on view until mid-November 2023.

Source: Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH