Hamburg, meine Perle – City Guide
Hamburg, my pearl – that’s how the locals or newcomers call their home. Hamburg is also one of the three city-states in Germany. This means the city has the same rights and the same responsibilities as the rest of the states in Germany. After moving to Hamburg and going through a difficult initial period, expats living in Hamburg will be rewarded for their perseverance for sure! The architecture, the sights, the restaurants, the harbour, the small city beaches, and last but not least, the people, make the second-largest city in Germany something very special!
City and Sightseeing
The cityscape of Hamburg is characterized by the two rivers and the port. Add to these the impressive architecture that makes Hamburg unique. The Elbe and Alster rivers have a positive influence on life in the city. Both the rivers invite you to linger as well as to indulge in water sports.
But this city has much more to offer: In addition to the numerous cultural offerings and the opera that hosts the most diverse selection of musicals, Hamburg also impresses with its modern architecture. The Elbphilharmonie is not only the new concert hall of Hamburg, but also a new landmark of the city, just like the Michel. The nave including the five organs, the vaulted cellar, and the mesmerising view from the church tower, are especially remarkable. In its nearly 400-year history, this church had to be completely rebuilt twice.
The Speicherstadt and the Harbour
The Speicherstadt also characterizes the cityscape. By far, one of the most celebrated photo motifs in the Speicherstadt is the moated castle at the end of the Holländischer Brook, which is now used as a tea office with gastronomy. It forms the centre of the third construction phase of the Speicherstadt and was built between 1905 and 1907. At that time, it was the solitary place in the Speicherstadt that was allowed to be inhabited.
An absolute must for tourists and expats living in Hamburg is a harbour tour. The Port of Hamburg, or the “Gateway to the World” as the locals call it, has something to offer for everyone and is truly impressive. There, you will also find museums and historic ships that remind you of the respective eras of the city’s history. If you want, you can end the day in the Strandperle, a famous restaurant.
Nightlife and the Kiez
Two highlights besides those already mentioned, however, are of course the world-famous Reeperbahn and the Hamburg fish market. Once considered wicked, the Reeperbahn is now an entertainment mile for everyone. Numerous bars characterize the streetscape. In contrast to the linguistic usage in Berlin, for Hamburgers, there is only one Kiez: the entertainment district in the St. Pauli district around the most sinful mile in the world. Roughly speaking, Hamburg’s Kiez consists of the Reeperbahn, the Grosse Freiheit, Hamburger Berg, and Hans-Albers-Platz – at least in terms of going out in the evening. During the day, the Kiez seems rather quiet and inviting to one or the other. But as dusk falls, the Reeperbahn and the adjacent streets and squares come to life. Locals and tourists alike then visit the city’s most famous nightlife district.
In the Grosse Freiheit, a side street to the Reeperbahn, music history was made in the 1960s, as the Beatles had their first performances there. First, they performed in the club Indra, which is still open today after some renovations, followed by the still existing Kaiserkeller at Große Freiheit 36, and in the famous Star Club, which is only remembered by a memorial plaque.
St. Pauli also offers a lot of culture and art besides the Reeperbahn. You should take your time to discover the individual galleries and small museums, which will surely be a rewarding experience.
The Fish Market and the Canals
The Hamburg fish market is also a Hamburg institution. Every Sunday morning, this fish market attracts thousands of visitors from Hamburg and all over the world to the Elbe. If you want to be there, you have to get up early – but it’s worth it. With its long tradition, maritime charm, and quick-witted market criers, the Hamburg fish market in Altona makes weekly shopping an experience for the young and old. However, besides all these sights, which actually cannot be overlooked, it is worth taking a second look at the city.
If you want it a little quieter, retreat to the small canals and enjoy the peace and quiet in the big city. The canals run through the entire city and shape the cityscape just like the architecture. All these aspects make Hamburg an interesting city, which is an attraction for immigrants and expats due to its internationality.
Likewise, the connection through the airport, the port, and the location should be noted. The Helmut Schmidt airport is the fifth-largest in Germany. Hamburg’s main train station is one of the most important railroad hubs in Germany. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks are also excellently developed, which simplifies daily life enormously. Four subways and six suburban trains crisscross the entire city, which helps you to get from point A to B quickly. This way, expats living in Hamburg are well connected both locally and globally !
Food and Restaurants
In addition to all these cultural and practical aspects that make Hamburg attractive, physical well-being will also be catered for. The restaurant scene is determined by regionality as well as internationality. There is, so to speak, the right choice and variety for everyone. The Schoppenhauer, right next to the Speicherstadt, stands for modern Hamburg cuisine. There you can order both Labskaus, a typical dish for Hamburg, and a refined 3-5 course menus. The Go is run by the famous German TV chef Steffen Henssler, and is known for his sushi creations. These are just two examples of the city’s diverse cuisine. Of course, there are still various restaurants that should be mentioned here, but it is easier to find them out on the spot.
For expats living in Hamburg, therefore, it is a city that is both attractive and exciting. Many Germans move to this cosmopolitan metropolis due to the above-mentioned aspects. All these make it an attractive place for expats moving to Germany and working here. Good luck and have fun exploring this extraordinary city!