As you walk through the streets of Hamburg, you’ll notice something peculiar. It’s not the towering buildings or the vibrant culture. It’s not even the smell of freshly made food wafting from the street vendors. No, it’s the inexplicable feeling that something extraordinary is lurking beneath the surface. Well, dear reader, you’re in for a treat because I am here to reveal the five things you didn’t know about Hamburg that will make you love this city even more.
1. Pork plays a crucial role in Hamburg cuisine
You’ve probably heard of the famous hamburger, but did you know that the city was named after the pork dish, Hamborger-style chopped steak? It’s a local delicacy that consists of minced beef and pork topped with onions and served with potatoes. Hamburgers aren’t even that popular in Hamburg but don’t worry, the pork game is strong here. You can find delicious pork shawarmas, schnitzel, and bratwursts all over. Trust us. You won’t be able to resist the temptation… unless you are vegan or vegetarian. Hamburg has several highly reviewed vegan and vegetarian shops and restaurants.
2. The HafenCity neighborhood is a city within a city
Have you ever dreamt of living in a fully self-sufficient neighborhood? Look no further than the HafenCity district in Hamburg. This innovative area is designed to be a city within a city, complete with its own power grid and waste management system. It’s also home to Germany’s tallest residential building, the Elbphilharmonie which is a must-visit for music enthusiasts.
3. More Bridges than Venice and Amsterdam combined
You think Venice in Italy or Amsterdam in the Netherlands would have many bridges? Actually, Hamburg has more than 2500 bridges and that is more than Venice (ca. 440 bridges) and Amsterdam (ca. 1900 bridges) have together. On a side note: Hamburg’s bridges may not all be pretty, but you should go to the old warehouse district “Speicherstadt” and see the city at night. It’s beautiful and probably one of the most often photographed views in Hamburg.
4. The city’s red-light district has a feminist history
St. Pauli’s red-light district is one of Hamburg’s most famous neighborhoods and for good reason. Not only is it a hub for nightlife and entertainment, but it also has a fascinating feminist history. The district was once home to a group of female sex workers who fought for their rights and safety, culminating in the establishment of the first-ever sex worker union. Today, St. Pauli is a proud supporter of sex workers’ rights and continues to advocate for their safety and dignity.
The Herbertstraße is the oldest street in this district, and until today it is only accessible for men older than 18 years. Women are banned from going through the street because the sex workers had to defend themselves against some upset wives in the past.
5. Hamburg is the birthplace of the Beatles
Last but not least, Hamburg played a key role in one of the most iconic musical groups of all time started with their success: the Beatles. Many might believe it was in Liverpool where the band formed, but the truth is they were not getting gigs there. The Fab Four actually cut their teeth in Hamburg’s thriving music scene, playing raucous shows in the city’s clubs and bars.
The group’s time in Hamburg was a formative period for their sound and style and laid the groundwork for their incredible success. Today, there is the so-called “Beatles Platz” at the Hamburger Reeperbahn, where the Beatles played their first gigs.
We love how Hamburg is a city full of surprises, and these five things you didn’t know are just the tip of the iceberg. From its unique cuisine to its innovative neighborhoods and fascinating history, Hamburg is a city that begs to be explored. So the next time you’re wandering through its streets, keep your eyes open and your taste buds ready, because there’s always something unexpected waiting around the corner.