The Woermannhaus building is the most famous building in Swakopmund was designed by architect Mr. Friedrich Hoft. Built over 100 years ago in 1905 as the main offices of the Damara and Namaqua Trading Company, it was taken over four years later by the Woermann & Brock Trading Company, from which it gets its name. The tower was named ”Damara Tower” from where observers used to look for ships in the ocean and ox wagons in the desert. The Damara Tower also served as a water tower, landmark and navigation point for the ships of the Woermann line.
Mr. E. Wardesky who was the manager of Damara company had remained as the manager of Woermann Brock & Co., and his family stayed in the building on the ground floor in the front. At the arcades were the rooms of the employees and guests. Next to the tower was a small dining room, a kitchen and working rooms for employees. The stairs lead down to a wine cellar. In the northern part of the house was a room called ”Vorstekamer” which was used as a reception, music room and a dining room that could host up to sixty people, and boasts gracefully panelled walls and stucco ceiling which were manufactured in Germany at the end of nineteenth century.
In April 1907 Prince Albrecht of Prussia stayed in the Woermann House when he attended annual gathering in Fabersaal. The Woermann House was most of the time fully occupied by workers and students who attended schools in Swakopmund. Boers who travelled with ox wagons to Swakopmund to buy their groceries and other supplies also stayed in the House.
In the 1920s, the building was used as accommodation, a school dormitory, and later served as a merchant sailors’ hostel before it eventually fell into disrepair. The building was later declared a national monument and restored in 1976, and now serves as a military museum. The Swakopmund public library and art centre is housed in part of this building today.
There is not much to see in Swakaopmund itself, so it is worth to spend a few minutes going to see this historical building. It is a nice place to take photos from Damara tower as you look out over Swakopmund. The door to the Damara tower is locked, you need to get the key at the information desk in the curio shop below.