Life in Hamburg
“HafenCity” Harborside and Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall
Europe’s largest inner-city development project is found in Hamburg: beyond the Speicherstadt the HafenCity spreads out on former industrial harbor terrain. Managing to stand out even among the treasure trove of modern architecture is the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Half historic brick warehouse, half glass mosaic manifestation of a surge of waves, the landmark building was finished in late 2016 and the concert hall opened in early 2017. Thanks to the extravagant architecture and unique acoustics, tickets are often quickly sold out, so be sure to plan your visit well in advance. If you don’t manage to visit a concert, you can still enjoy the view from the plaza for free or visit the restaurant, bar, or giftshop.
Many Erasmus students use their time abroad to explore cities and regions throughout Germany and Europe. Affordable transportation is often one of the students’ main concerns. Long-distance busses and carpooling are usually the most affordable means of transport, especially for
spontaneous trips. Ticket sales and carpooling communities are commonly conducted and found online.
Long-distance busses (examples):
www.mitfahren.de (also lists busses and trains)
There is of course the possibility to discover Germany via train, but we recommend booking as early as possible, as there usually is a certain amount of tickets per train available at a discounted price. The sooner you book, the more likely it is that you still get a ticket at the discounted price.
Deutsche Bahn: www.bahn.de
If you and some friends feel like exploring outside of Hamburg, you might consider a regional train ticket (“Länderticket”). Depending on which Bundesland (federal state) you are travelling in, such a ticket costs EUR 23-35 plus a fee per additional person. It grants up to five people unlimited use of public transport for a day. (The ticket is valid Mon-Fri: from 9 a.m. until 3 a.m. on the following day; Sat, Sun, holidays: all day until 3 a.m. on the following day.)
Similar tickets are also available for travel across the entire country for EUR 44: the
Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket (Mon-Fri) and the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (weekends and holidays).
More information: www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/regional/index
If you are planning on travelling via train often, you might consider buying a BahnCard. BahnCard holders receive a discount on every ticket they buy. The discount depends on the type of BahnCard. For example: a BahnCard 50 results in a 50% discount per ticket. People under 27 pay EUR 79 for a Probe BahnCard 50 for 2nd class tickets, which is valid for a year.
The association of public libraries in Hamburg offers a variety of media in 32 branches throughout the city. Books, audio books, magazines, sheet music, music, and films in 26 languages and on a plethora of subjects are available on loan to anyone with a library card. Library cards are available at all branches and cost EUR 1 plus a yearly fee (e.g. EUR 20 for students and people under 27).
Students can get their first half year for EUR 5.
www.buecherhallen.de/leichte-sprache (simplified German)
There are a multitude of theatres, shows, and musicals in Hamburg. Among the most established theatres are Thalia and Deutsches Schauspielhaus in the city center. Other cultural highlights
include musicals like Lion King, Aladdin, and Kinky Boots. Classical music makes its home at the
Staatsoper (opera), the Laeiszhalle music hall, and the recently opened Elbphilharmonie.
Students often receive discounted ticket prices, but sometimes it is necessary to buy them a while in advance. Once a week, Thalia Theater (Tue 1-3 p.m.) and Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Wed 1-3 p.m.) sell student tickets for as little as EUR 5 at the Unikontor (Allende-Platz 1).
There are many museums in Hamburg that explore art and history as well as any number of
Hamburger Kunsthalle (art museum and exhibitions): www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/en
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (art, design, industry): www.mkg-hamburg.de/en
Bucerius Kunstforum (art exhibitions): www.buceriuskunstforum.de/en
Hamburg Historical Museum: www.hamburgmuseum.de/en/home
Hamburg Harbor is the most important harbor in Germany and ranks among the top sea freight centers in the world. Goods like coffee, tea, pharmaceutics, rugs, cocoa, oilseeds, animal feed, and coal arrive in Hamburg to be distributed throughout the world.
Thanks to its proximity to the North Sea (ca. 100 km down the river Elbe) even large freight ships are able to touch at Hamburg Harbor, an impressive spectacle to viewers on the shore. Another way to take in the scenery is from the water, e.g. on a harbour round trip or from the deck of a harbor ferry.
If you want to save to money for a tourist round trip, take one of the HVV ferries – the fare is
included in your student public transport ticket. Find a map of the ferry network here .
From the Övelgönne museum harbor you have a nice view of the freight harbor. In the evenings the many lights make for an especially dazzling view.
“Fischmarkt” – Altona Fish Market
The Altona Fish Market takes places every Sunday from 5 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. (7-9.30 a.m. in the
winter). The traditional market was established in 1703 and offers a variety of goods, such as
plants, produce, meat, animals, and fish, of course, most of which is sold in bulk.
The market draws a diverse crowd of visitors: early birds doing their weekly shopping, tourists, and the party crowd from the nearby Reeperbahn, coming down for a fish sandwich and the day’s first coffee.
While the market stalls are bustling outside and loud-voiced sellers are peddling their wares, brunch is served in the former fish auction hall (Fischauktionshalle) alongside an ever-changing live music program.
“Speicherstadt” – Warehouse District
The Speicherstadt is the world’s largest continuous warehouse complex and has been shaping the city’s face for a century. Even today many of the buildings are used to store goods like rugs, tea,
coffee, and computers.
These days some of the warehouses have been transformed into tourist attractions, like the spice museum (Gewürzmuseum), customs museum (Zollmuseum), and the Hamburg Dungeon , a kind of haunted house that doubles as a history lesson, teaching visitors about the less savory aspects of Hamburg’s thousand-year-old history. Other highlights include the “Miniatur Wunderland” , the world’s largest model train attraction, and “Dialog im Dunkeln” (dialog in the dark), a hands-on
exhibition simulating the experience of being blind.
Hagenbeck’s Tierpark has been a part of Hamburg for over a century. It is home to more than 1,850 animals of 210 different species. The historic landmark site is open all year round.