Hafengeburtstag – Hamburg Harbor’s Anniversary
Hamburg’s port has been vital to the prosperity of the city throughout its history and it is still important today, providing trade links to the world. Local residents recognize the importance of the harbor area and each May the port is brought to life with a three-day celebration, known in German as Hafengeburtstag. It is, in fact, the world’s largest port celebration displaying a maritime extravaganza.
The celebration marks the anniversary of the port, established on May 7, 1189. Since that date, people with ties to the city’s shipping industry have a long tradition of marking the occasion and date. What once began as a low-key event has grown into a great three-day festival, offering attractions and entertainment for the whole family.
Bringing the docklands to life
Vessels from around the world, including tall ships, steam boats and leisure boats converge in the harbor decorating it. It is easy to let yourself be taken back in time and imagine what this port would have looked like historically. Some of the ships welcome guests on board so you can learn all about life in the ocean and the conditions that many sailors experience in every day life. Giant cruise ships line up on the River Elbe, as onlookers try to sneak a glimpse into the scale of these incredible floating hotels. During the festivities, the celebration also extends to include food and music. Sample delicious local cuisine whilst listening to local music from rock, pop and folk genres.
Whilst you are in the area, set aside some time to stroll the suburb of St. Pauli. This is an area where sailors traditionally went ashore for refreshments and to this day remains the bustling hub of the city’s nightlife. If you are thinking of travelling to the city in May or have an airport layover the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg Airport offers excellent transport links to the city, taking just 20 minutes.