The SEUTE DEERN is one of the last surviving historic wooden cargo sailing vessels, not only in Germany, but in all of Europe. It is the flagship and outstanding attraction of the museum harbour of the German Maritime Museum (DSM) and has become the trademark of Bremerhaven. As a museum ship and floating restaurant, the windjammer has been berthed in the Old Harbour – the oldest harbour of Bremerhaven and the site of the city's origin – since 1966. The barque SEUTE DEERN was the inaugural object of Germany's first open-air maritime museum, from which the DSM developed. Furthermore, the wooden sailing ship represents the local shipbuilding tradition, within whose framework over 250 deep-water sailing vessels were built – initially of wood, later of steel – in the shipyards on the Geeste, particularly Rickmers and Tecklenborg. Finally, the present-day flagship of the DSM demonstrates the international character of sailship construction and navigation.
Originally the four-masted schooner ELIZABETH BANDI, this ship was built in 1919 in the American gulf port near the mouth of the Mississippi for the transport of wood. From 1931 she sailed under Finnish flag until being acquired by the Hamburg shipowner John T. Essberger in 1938. In 1939, Essberger had the schooner altered to a barque by the Hamburg shipyard Blohm & Voss; now she was to serve as a cargo-carrying training ship for junior nautical officers. By 1944 she had made many a journey on the Baltic Sea and the end of the war found her berthed in her winter quarters in Lübeck. Following alterations carried out in Travemünde (1946-47) the SEUTE DEERN operated until 1954 as a hotel ship in Hamburg. Subsequently, until 1964, she rode at anchor under Dutch flag in Delfzijl, now as the youth hostel ship PIETER A. KOERTS. Following a short stay in Emden, the ship reached Bremerhaven. The SEUTE DEERN has been at her present berth in the museum harbour in front of the main building of the DSM since 1975.
Due to severe damages to the main deck and hull, the floating cultural monument is being restored in 2001-2002. The DSM is undertaking every effort to preserve for posterity one of the last existing wooden cargo sailing ships in Europe as a living testimony to our maritime cultural heritage.