The Africa Collection in the ?berseemuseum today contains approximately of 17.000 ethnological items. The start of the collection is closely associated with the activities of Bremen's overseas traders in Africa. A pair of women?s shoes, bought in Northern Africa in 1865 by Gerhard Rohlfs, a merchant salesman from Bremen, started off the collection.
Import products of Africa, decorating the commercial hall during the "Trading- and Commercial Exhibition" carried out in Bremen in 1890, belong to the earlier items of the collection. But even in 1955 an extensive collection was donated to the ?bersee-Museum by Bremen?s coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius. Like many other Africa collections in Germany, the main topics of the collection in Bremen refer to the former German colonies in Africa.