With two inner-city lakes, one river, almost 2,500 bridges, a world-renowned sea port and two oceans close by, the people of Hamburg identify strongly with the city’s maritime heritage. Defined by tides and fresh ocean air, traditions and modern living, Hamburg owes its prosperity and cosmopolitan attitude to its port. You know it is summer, when locals once again flock to the waterfront to celebrate the sea, the harbor, ocean liners and their maritime culture.
2014 offers even more ways to experience Hamburg’s tight connection with the sea, and its nautical past, present and future.
Festivals & Celebrations:
The city’s affection for and pride in its sea faring tradition becomes evident during the summer waterfront festivals. In 2014, Hamburg will celebrate the 825th Harbor Birthday (May 9-11). Touted as the world’s biggest harbor celebration, the “Hafengeburtstag” continues a tradition going back to 1189, when Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa granted the people of Hamburg exemption from customs duties for ships on the Elbe river. Centered around the Landungsbrücken (landing docks), the four-day birthday bash is expected to draw some 1.5 million visitors who come to witness the parade of the world’s most impressive cruise liners, a tug boat ballet, dragon boat races and more. .
On July 19, 2014, the city of Hamburg and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will be celebrating Ten Years Queen Mary 2 in Hamburg. Ever since 400,000 spectators welcomed the cruise liner ten years ago, July 19, 2004, the people of Hamburg have expressed great fondness every time “their” ship docks at the city’s port. The anniversary party will happen on land and on the water.
Taking place every two years, the Fourth Hamburg Cruise Days and Blue Port (August 1-3, 2014) will be the highlight of Hamburg’s summer events calendar. Spotlighting the Hanseatic city’s long standing cruise tradition, the Cruise Days officially set sail, when a fleet of boats takes the party out on the river Elbe for the Cruise Night. On land, the festival offers a three-day program of cruise ship entertainment on several stages, culinary delights, arts and crafts, and a historic nautical market. The blue harbor illumination will round off the magical summer experience. .
Museums & Tours
Visitors have ample opportunity to learn about Hamburg’s nautical background. The International Maritime Museum Hamburg is a must for every ship aficionado. Located in the city’s oldest remaining warehouse, the museum covers 3,000 years of nautical history on nine floors. Exhibits include some 40,000 miniature ship models, paintings, maps, and a treasure chamber with vessels made of gold, silver and amber.
Hamburg’s much-photographed historic Speicherstadt warehouse district – poised to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 – personifies and romanticizes the city’s maritime heritage. At the Speicherstadt Museum patrons can learn all about the world’s largest integrated complex of warehouses, which are built along canals in red-brick Gothic styles with towers and gables, and the goods from around the world that are stored behind their massive walls: coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, tobacco – and the world’s largest stock of Oriental carpets.
Located in the 100+ year-old Kaischuppen 50 A, the Port Museum Hamburg (Harbor Museum) focuses on oceanography and the city’s ship building and seafaring history. Exhibits include a floating crane, a dredger and a harbor barge. .
The best way to explore the city’s canals, lakes and modern harbor – which to this day is a major trading and ship building hub – is by taking a Harbor Cruise. From narrated tours of the massive harbor to speed boat cruises to romantic boat rides, excursions can be booked at Hamburg Tourism.
Culinary Summer & Food Traditions
With a total of twelve Michelin stars, Hamburg’s restaurants measure up to some of the best eateries in the world. However, Hamburg’s culinary traditions are most authentically kept alive in neighborhood restaurants, where traditional dishes use basic regional ingredients such as fresh sea food, cabbage and kale, potatoes, apples, pears, green beans and smoked bacon. At Fischereihafen, a family-run waterfront restaurant specializing in sea food, patrons experience fine local dining, while Seepferdchen in a former storage hall of the old fish market, is known for its authentic setting and fresh catch.
On Saturday mornings, locals flock to the former fishing harbor (Fischereihafen) for the outstanding restaurants, unique atmosphere, and to buy fresh sea food from the many wholesalers on site.
Visitors to Hamburg should be sure to sample the tiny North Sea shrimp, often served with eggs, in soups or in salads, and the wildly popular fish sandwich, a local snack consisting of a fresh roll with baked, pickled or marinated fish.
From June 15 until August 31, 2014, 59 of Hamburg most renowned restaurants will be serving specially priced multi-course meals during the 16th Annual Culinary Summer (Schlemmer-Sommer).
Visit Hamburg, www.hamburg-travel.com