Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany after Berlin and 8th largest city in the European Union with a population of over 1.84 million. One of Germany’s 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south. Hamburg lies on the River Elbe and two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille. Hamburg is Europe’s third-largest port. Major regional broadcaster NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city. Hamburg is the seat of Germany’s oldest stock exchange and the world’s oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. The city hosts specialists in world economics and international law, including consular and diplomatic missions as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, multipartite international political conferences and summits such as Europe and China and the G20. Both former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Angela Merkel, German chancellor since 2005, were born in Hamburg.
The city is a major international and domestic tourist destination. The Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015. Hamburg is a major European science, research, and education hub, with several universities and institutions. Among its most notable cultural venues are the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle concert halls. It is also known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli’s Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts.
Towering above the Elbe and HafenCity is the city’s newest landmark — the impressive concert venue Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
The enormous WWII bunker on Feldstrasse hosts all kinds of music events, and there are plans for a massive rooftop garden.
Standing proudly in the centre of the Stadtpark, the planetarium has been shining new light since its grand reopening in 2016! Built between 1912 and 1915, the 70-metre-tall Art-Deco planetarium in Hamburg’s Stadtpark City Park was originally a water tower designed to be a highly visible, representative landmark. After a twelve-month transformation over a decade later, the building reopened its doors in 1930 as Planetarium Hamburg, making it one of the oldest observatories in the world. Mostly unscathed during WWII, it has been an official part of the city’s cultural heritage since 1981.
Boasting a broad and extensive cultural programme, Planetarium Hamburg offers multiple ‘tours through space’ as well as numerous concerts, presentations and film screenings, all of which draw an average of 300,000 annual visitors. Thanks to the recent renovations finished in early 2017, the planetarium now has refurbished exhibition space and preshow areas, as well as a new café. Finally, no Planetarium Hamburg visit is complete without heading up to the rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the city and Stadtpark. Even the cranes of the port are visible on a clear day!
St. Michael’s Church
The ‘Michel’ is Hamburg’s largest church and one of the city’s must-see sights. Its bell tower offers a stunning view over the city.
Hamburg’s oldest church also has the city’s highest accessible viewing platform. At 123 metres, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view.
Heinrich Hertz TV Tower
You can see the TV tower from almost anywhere in Hamburg. Come 2023, you will also be able to see Hamburg from up there again.
Experience Hamburg’s diverse culture and community spirit. The tour runs on a pay-what-you-like basis.
The Alternative Hamburg walking tours showcase Hamburg’s cultural diversity and community spirit. It run on a pay-what-you-like basis, ensuring that everyone can join regardless of budget. Besides showing you some of the city’s best street art by local, national and international artists, you’ll be introduced to the bohemian spirit of Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel, Karolinenviertel and St. Pauli districts. From community protests and urban art movements to pirate legends, you’ll hear about it all as you visit squats, repurposed bunkers and the most popular graffiti spots in the city.
For beer-enthusiasts, there’s the recently added Craft Beer Tour. Discover the local craft beer scene in Hamburg and gain some local insight into this beer-loving city.
The tours take about 2 hours each and start near the Sternschanze S-Bahn station. To reserve a spot, visit the website of Alternative Hamburg Tours.
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The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is both a municipality and a city-state within the Federal Republic of Germany. There is no distinction between these administrative levels, meaning that city-wide government is organised on state-level through the Hamburg State Parliament (‘Bürgerschaft‘ in German).
- Hamburg is a city-state within the Federal Republic of Germany
- Government is separated into legislative, executive and judicial powers
- The President of the state parliament is Carola Veit and the First Mayor is Peter Tschentscher