Hamburg - GermanyHamburg (English: /ˈhæmbɜːrɡ/; German: [ˈhambʊɐ̯k] (About this sound listen)), Low German: Hamborg [ˈhambɔːç] (About this sound listen), officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (German: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Low German: Friee un Hansestadt Hamborg), is the second-largest city of Germany as well as one of the country's 16 constituent states, with a population of roughly 1.8 million people. The city lies at the core of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region which spreads across four German federal states and is home to more than five million people.
The official name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, a city-state and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919 it formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. The city has repeatedly been beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, exceptional coastal flooding and military conflicts including World War II bombing raids. Historians remark that the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe.
Situated on the river Elbe, Hamburg is home to Europe's second-largest port and a broad corporate base. In media, the major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city. Hamburg remains an important financial center, the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial, logistical, and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis, Beiersdorf, and Unilever.
Hamburg is at a sheltered natural harbour on the southern fanning-out of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the northeast. It is on the River Elbe at its confluence with the Alster and Bille. The city centre is around the Binnenalster ("Inner Alster") and Außenalster ("Outer Alster"), both formed by damming the River Alster to create lakes. The islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn, and Nigehörn, 100 kilometres (60 mi) away in the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, are also part of the city of Hamburg.
The neighborhoods of Neuenfelde, Cranz, Francop and Finkenwerder are part of the Altes Land (old land) region, the largest contiguous fruit-producing region in Central Europe. Neugraben-Fischbek has Hamburg's highest elevation, the Hasselbrack at 116.2 metres (381 ft) AMSL. Hamburg borders the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.
After periodic political unrest, particularly in 1848, Hamburg adopted in 1860 a semidemocratic constitution that provided for the election of the Senate, the governing body of the city-state, by adult taxpaying males. Other innovations included the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, freedom of the press, of assembly and association. Hamburg became a member of the North German Confederation (1866–1871) and of the German Empire (1871–1918), and maintained its self-ruling status during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933). Hamburg acceded to the German Customs Union or Zollverein in 1888, the last (along with Bremen) of the German states to join. The city experienced its fastest growth during the second half of the 19th century, when its population more than quadrupled to 800,000 as the growth of the city's Atlantic trade helped make it Europe's second-largest port. The Hamburg-America Line, with Albert Ballin as its director, became the world's largest transatlantic shipping company around the start of the 20th century. Shipping companies sailing to South America, Africa, India and East Asia were based in the city. Hamburg was the departure port for many Germans and Eastern Europeans to emigrate to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Trading communities from all over the world established themselves there.
A major outbreak of cholera in 1892 was badly handled by the city government, which retained an unusual degree of independence for a German city. About 8,600 died in the largest German epidemic of the late 19th century, and the last major cholera epidemic in a major city of the Western world.
Like elsewhere in Germany, Standard German is spoken in Hamburg, but as typical for northern Germany, the original language of Hamburg is Low German, usually referred to as Hamborger Platt (German Hamburger Platt) or Hamborgsch. Since large-scale standardization of the German language beginning in earnest in the 18th century, various Low German-colored dialects have developed (contact-varieties of German on Low Saxon substrates). Originally, there was a range of such Missingsch varieties, the best-known being the low-prestige ones of the working classes and the somewhat more bourgeois Hanseatendeutsch (Hanseatic German), although the term is used in appreciation. All of these are now moribund due to the influences of Standard German used by education and media. However, the former importance of Low German is indicated by several songs, such as the famous sea shanty Hamborger Veermaster, written in the 19th century when Low German was used more frequently. Many toponyms and street names reflect Low Saxon vocabulary, partially even in Low Saxon spelling, which is not standardised, and to some part in forms adapted to Standard German.
The many streams, rivers and canals are crossed by some 2,500 bridges, more than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world. The Köhlbrandbrücke, Freihafen Elbbrücken, and Lombardsbrücke and Kennedybrücke dividing Binnenalster from Aussenalster are important roadways.
The town hall is a richly decorated Neo-Renaissance building finished in 1897. The tower is 112 metres (367 ft) high. Its façade, 111 m (364 ft) long, depicts the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, since Hamburg was, as a Free Imperial City, only under the sovereignty of the emperor. The Chilehaus, a brick expressionist office building built in 1922 and designed by architect Fritz Höger, is shaped like an ocean liner.
Europe's largest urban development since 2008, the HafenCity, will house about 10,000 inhabitants and 15,000 workers. The plan includes designs by Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano. The Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), opened in January 2017, houses concerts in a sail-shaped building on top of an old warehouse, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron.
The many parks are distributed over the whole city, which makes Hamburg a very verdant city. The biggest parks are the Stadtpark, the Ohlsdorf Cemetery and Planten un Blomen. The Stadtpark, Hamburg's "Central Park", has a great lawn and a huge water tower, which houses one of Europe's biggest planetaria. The park and its buildings were designed by Fritz Schumacher in the 1910s.
Hamburg is noted for several festivals and regular events. Some of them are street festivals, such as the gay pride Hamburg Pride festival or the Alster fair (German: Alstervergnügen), held at the Binnenalster. The Hamburger DOM is northern Germany's biggest funfair, held three times a year. Hafengeburtstag is a funfair to honour the birthday of the port of Hamburg with a party and a ship parade. The annual biker's service in Saint Michael's Church attracts tens of thousands of bikers. Christmas markets in December are held at the Hamburg Rathaus square, among other places. The long night of museums (German: Lange Nacht der Museen) offers one entrance fee for about 40 museums until midnight. The sixth Festival of Cultures was held in September 2008, celebrating multi-cultural life. The Filmfest Hamburg — a film festival originating from the 1950s Film Days (German: Film Tage) — presents a wide range of films. The Hamburg Messe and Congress offers a venue for trade shows, such hanseboot, an international boat show, or Du und deine Welt, a large consumer products show. Regular sports events—some open to pro and amateur participants—are the cycling competition EuroEyes Cyclassics, the Hamburg Marathon, the biggest marathon in Germany after Berlin, the tennis tournament Hamburg Masters and equestrian events like the Deutsches Derby. Since 2007, Hamburg has the Dockville music and art festival. It takes place every year in summer in Wilhelmsburg.
There are several English-speaking communities, such as the Caledonian Society of Hamburg, The British Club Hamburg, British and Commonwealth Luncheon Club, Anglo-German Club e.V., Professional Women's Forum, The British Decorative and Fine Arts Society, The English Speaking Union of the Commonwealth, The Scottish Country Dancers of Hamburg, The Hamburg Players e.V. English Language Theatre Group, The Hamburg Exiles Rugby Club, several cricket clubs, and The Morris Minor Register of Hamburg. Furthermore, the Anglo-Hanseatic Lodge No. 850 within the Grand Lodge of British Freemasons of Germany under the United Grand Lodges of Germany works in Hamburg, and has a diverse expat membership. There is also a 400-year-old Anglican church community worshiping at St Thomas Becket Church.
American and international English-speaking organisations include The American Club of Hamburg e.V., , the American Women's Club of Hamburg, the English Speaking Union, the German-American Women's Club, and The International Women's Club of Hamburg e.V. The American Chamber of Commerce handles matters related to business affairs. The International School of Hamburg serves school children.
A Hamburg saying, referring to its anglophile nature, is: "Wenn es in London anfängt zu regnen, spannen die Hamburger den Schirm auf." ... "When it starts raining in London, people in Hamburg open their umbrellas.".