Travel portal and city tours of Hamburg
Hamburg from A to Z - Guided tours of Hamburg in English with your personal tour guide
Philharmonic Elbe HafenCity hamburgHamburg warehouses

Guide to the sightseehing of the City of Hamburg

Our website offers a selection of information on those sights of Hamburg which you really should see. Furthermore, there is a brief survey of the history of our city. Get an overview of the most important sights in an individual guided tour "Hamburg from A to Z" in cooperation with your partner Denise Faessel.

Historic Hamburg City Hall The quarters of Hamburg Quarter Saint Pauli (Reeperbahn) Old Town Schanzenviertel & Karoviertel Quarter of Altona Quarter of Saint Georg Quarter of Eppendorf Churches in Hamburg Quarter of Rotherbaum Quarter of Övelgönne Speicherstadt, HafenCity & and the Elba Philharmonic Trip along the Elbe River Alster & Jungfernstieg Hamburg's Wall Street Other historical buildings History of Hamburg

Historic Hamburg City Hall

Historic Hamburg City Hall

Hamburg's City Hall, the most imposing building in this Hanseatic city, is the sixth in its history and was inaugurated in 1897 after 43 years of planning and work to replace the old Hotel, which had been completely destroyed in the devastating Hamburg fire of 1842. Built on 4,000 stilts, the Town Hall comprises 647 rooms and is divided into two parts bounded by the central tower; on the right is the Senate (government) and on the left is the Parliament. Upon entering the City Hall, you immediately arrive in the Great Hall open to the public, where you can admire the important figures of Hamburg's history and from where guided tours of the building begin. On the side of the main square, you will discover on the façade 20 kings and emperors of the Old Roman Germanic Empire as well as the representation of the bourgeois virtues: wisdom, concordance, courage and piety. Above the entrance is the Latin text: "Libertatem quam peperere majores digne studeat servare posteritas", a text that sums up the spirit of the city: Let us seek in all dignity the freedom acquired and transmitted by our ancestors. Hamburg, Free City and Hanseatic City. You should also visit the inner courtyard, which is connected to the Hamburg Stock Exchange.

Hamburg Guide

opening of the Town Hall:
• Monday-Friday: 7am-7pm Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 10am-5pm
• Guided tours 11am-4pm Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 10am-5pm

Address:
• Rathausmarkt 1, 20095 Hamburg

Website: www.hamburg-tourism.de

The quarters of Hamburg

quarters harbour Hamburg hafencity

In contrast to other "museum cities" such as Dresden, Hamburg's charm lies in its many lively districts, its harbour atmosphere and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Outside the city centre, most districts have retained the appearance of the 1900s.

We have listed below the main quarters of Hamburg and their particularities. You can plan your stay by trying to visit them all: some of them can be visited during the day and others in the evening to discover their special atmosphere.

Hamburg is also a city of contrasts, on the one hand you have the Old Town around the City Hall and the Jungfernstieg Avenue and to contrast, the HafenCity, the new hyper modern district of Hamburg on the banks of the Elbe, a river that dominates the lives of its inhabitants. Naturally, you will visit the Warehouse City and stroll along the piers. As for the residential districts, there too there is a contrast between the more glamorous and the more alternative ones.

Hamburg Guide

Tips:
• An interesting solution for your stay is to rent a bicycle to go from one district to another, to ride along the Elbe or to stroll in the port districts. You will find some addresses on our page "Practical information about Hamburg"

Guided bike tour hamburg Guided bike tour:
Discover Hamburg on a guided bike tour with Denise Faessel. More information by email and find all the guided tours here.

Saint Pauli Quarter (Reeperbahn)

Saint Pauli Reeperbahn

The district of St. Paul's borders the Neustadt and extends along the Elbe to the Old Town of Altona. It is located on a small hill (Hamburger Berg). For a long time the area between the old Danish town of Altona and Hamburg remained an area where trades that were undesirable in Hamburg, for example rope makers for ships, lived. During sailing, it was they who gave the name to the main street of St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn. The district was wiped out by Napoleon's army and experienced a real revival in the 19th century during the demographic development which led to the construction of new districts.

When we talk about St Pauli (port) and the Reeperbahn, we are referring to the neighbourhood where prostitution and the sex industry is prevalent. The origin of this "tradition" is to be found in its history: In 1610 Count Ernst von Schauenberg established the so-called "Große Freiheit / La Grande Liberté", giving this area many privileges: freedom of religion (after Martin Luther's reformation) and the freedom to exercise a profession without being part of a guild. Gradually, the freedoms were extended to all areas: theatres, circuses and breweries. Prostitution began to establish itself in this port district as early as the 19th century. In 1900, the city ordered that places of prostitution be confined to the inside of buildings (known for their women in shop windows). The sex industry took off again during the sixties and seventies, making the Reeperbahn and its neighbouring streets a gloomy and uninhabitable district. This has changed a lot since moderate rents attracted students and artists to St Pauli. Now this neighbourhood has become an "in" neighbourhood, a "bobo" neighbourhood. Naturally, the women in the shop windows still offer their services and the choice of bars is impressive. Let yourself be surprised by the very special atmosphere of St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn. Photo: © www.mediaserver.hamburg.de / Roberto Kai Hegeler

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants / Bar:
Freudenhaus - Hein Hoyer Strasse 7-9
Clouds - On the 22nd-24th floor of the Dancing Towers - Reeperbahn 1
Bar Zur Ritze - Reeperbahn 140
Skyline Bar 20up - Bernhard Nocht Strasse 97
Hotel St. Annen - Annenstraße 5
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture:
Olivias Show Club – Burlesque, Travestie, Comedy - Große Freiheit 27
Schmidts Tivoli Theater - Spielbudenpl. 21-22
Pulverfass Cabaret - Reeperbahn 147

Guided tour reeperbahn Saint Pauli Quarter Guided tour of the Saint Pauli Quarter with Denise Faessel
The Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s most famous street. Infamous for its erotic shops, numerous strip bars and easy girls, the Reeperbahn is a magnet for those who like to go out on the town. I offer you an original and surprising guided tour of the Red light district. - More information here

Old Town of Hamburg

Old Town hamburg cremon

The Old Town of Hamburg is bounded by the old fortification. It consists of the Altstadt (Old Town) and the Neustadt (New Town). Unfortunately, in 1842 a major fire destroyed a large part of the city and the bombardments (Feuersturm - Fire Storm) left only a few historic buildings, mainly located in the Altstadt: the town hall, the stock exchange, the churches of St. Petri, St. Jakobi, St. Katharinen and St. Nikolai's tower, the Chilehaus (House of Chile), the Trostbrücke and some typical streets such as Cremon and Deichstraße.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht - Adolphsbrücke 7
Restaurant Parlament - Rathausmarkt 1
Café Paris - Rathausstrasse 4
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture / Shop:
Golden Hands Gallery - Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse 85
Bucerius Kunstforum (Arts) - Alter Wall 12
Manufactum Warenhaus - Fischertwiete 2

Schanzenviertel & Karoviertel

Schanzenviertel hamburg Karoviertel

The Karolinenviertel and Schanzenviertel districts are located close to the exhibition grounds (Messe Hamburg) and the TV tower. These districts have remained "alternative". The inhabitants of these districts are artists, punks and students. You will find evening entertainment as well as second-hand fashion shops and young fashion designers. Many restaurants, cafés and discos can be found in the Schanzenviertel. This district is also in the news because of the anti-globalisation demonstrations. It is not certain that this district will retain its atmosphere, as rents are tending to rise and the "bobo" population is starting to settle here.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Braugasthaus Altes Mädchen - Lagerstraße 28b 4
Schlachterbörse - Kampstrasse 42
• Cafe Karo Ecke - Marktstrasse 92, 20357 Hamburg

Culture / Shop:
Flea market "Flohschanze"
Every Saturday from 8am to 4pm
Alten Rinderschlachthalle, subway station U3 "Feldstraße"

Quarter of Altona

Quarter of Altona market fischermarkt

Since 1938, Altona has been one (actually two) of the political districts of the city of Hamburg. Altona dates back to 1535 and was originally a fishing village built not far from Hamburg ("All to Nah" / not far from Hamburg) and was part of the County of Pinneberg. Between 1640 and 1867 Altona belonged to Denmark. During this period Altona grew to become the second largest city in the Kingdom of Denmark. Altona received many privileges and became an extremely tolerant city (see also the St. Pauli district, which was also partly under Altona's administration): religious tolerance with the acceptance of Huguenot, Lutheran and Jewish families. Economically Altona benefited from the development of the textile, tobacco, beer and river traffic industries with several large companies. In 1867 Altona became part of Prussia before being attached to Hamburg in 1937.

Altona occupies an area of 78 km2 and has 250'000 inhabitants. Focus on the most popular districts such as St Pauli and Övelgönne. If you have to pass through the centre of Altona, stop at the town hall, which was Altona's railway station (1898) until 1938. Some of Altona's buildings still bear witness to the economic and strategic importance of this formerly independent town.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants / Bar:
Fischereihafen - Web - Große Elbstraße 143
GaumenGanoven - Web - Friedensallee 7-9
Tibet Restaurant - Web - Harkortstieg 4
Bar Malto - Web - Max-Brauer-Allee 88
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture:
Altona Museum - Museums of Hamburg with LatLon - Museumstraße 23
Opernloft im Alten Fährterminal Altona - Van-der-Smissen-Straße 4
FIRST STAGE Theater - Musicals - Thedestraße 15

Personalized guided tour English Hamburg Personalized guided tour in English of Hamburg
If you are coming to Hamburg for the first time and you don't know what to visit, this "à la carte" guided tour allows you to discover a multifaceted city with your own private guide at your own pace and with a personalised programme. If you are not able to walk for several hours, I can adapt the visit according to your needs. - More information here

Quarter of Saint Georg

quartier saint georg hamburg

The name of the quarter comes from the former leper hospital, St. Georg's. Until the mid-nineties, the St. Georg district was unhealthy and known for drugs. Currently, St. Georg is becoming a new multicultural, artistic and fashion centre. In addition, it is also the gay district of Hamburg. The district is located not far from the main railway station and next to the Alster lake in the city centre. The Hansaplatz is the central square of the district.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Das Dorf - Lange Reihe 39
Koppel 66 - Koppel 66
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture / Shop:
Museum of Fine Arts - Steintorplatz
Hansa Variete Theater - Steindamm 17
Ohnsorg-Theater - Heidi-Kabel-Platz 1g

Quarter of Eppendorf

Quarter Eppendorf Hamburg

Eppendorf is Hamburg's fashionable and chic district to discover on a sunny day. Not far from the city centre, Eppendorf offers the advantage of plenty of green spaces and parks, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés where you can relax. The most lively and interesting streets are Eppendorfer Baum and Eppendorfer Landstraße. There is also a market on the Isestraße. Nearby you will find the Stadtpark (large historical park) and one of the largest cemeteries in Europe in Ohlsdorf. To get to Eppendorf, take the underground to Eppendorfer Baum or the bus 20 or 25.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Restaurant Borchers - Geschwister Scholl Straße 1
Restaurant Stüffel - Isekai 1, 20249 Hamburg

City tour bus hamburg City tour by bus
If you are in a group or with your family, I organize a small or large city tour by bus or limousine in English with the main monuments and districts of Hamburg. - More information here

Churches in Hamburg

Churches st michel Michealis

Although Hamburg is not like Cologne a city of churches, there are a few that are worth a visit: The most beautiful was the Gothic church of St. Nikolai, of which only the 115-metre high tower remains, the rest having been destroyed by bombing, today it has a memorial function. As for St. Katharinen's church, rebuilt and restored after the war, it has parts dating from the 13th century (base of the tower) and others from the 15th (bulbous tower from 1657) to the 19th century. Another interesting church in Hamburg is the St. Petri church which dates from the 15th and 16th century, unfortunately it did not survive the city fire of 1842 and was rebuilt in the neo-gothic style with great resemblance to its earlier version. Hamburg has five historic churches, including the baroque church of St. Michealis, an excellent example of the baroque style in vogue in northern Germany. Finally, the St. Jacobi church with several medieval parts and a superb organ from 1693 (Arp-Schnitger organ).

In our church list, the most important one is missing. Indeed, Hamburg had a cathedral (Marien-Dom) which kept a special status until 1803 (Catholic enclave in the Lutheran city) but was not integrated in the parish republican constitution, it was razed to the ground in 1805.

Hamburg Guide
Guided tour lübeck Guided tour: Lübeck - the ancient heart of the Hanseatic League
From Hamburg, you can make an excursion for 1 day to Lübeck. Lübeck was the most important hanseatic city and belongs to the World Heritage of the Unesco. It is worth discovering the churches, the very special town house, the entrance doors to the city, the typical restaurants and specialities. - More information here

Quarter of Rotherbaum (Pöseldorf)

Quarter Hamburg Rothenbaum

Rotherbaum (Pöseldorf) is a part of Hamburg known for its magnificent villas and social buildings that give a special character to this district which has kept its flair for not having suffered too much from the bombings. Situated on the shore of the Außenalster lake, you can take pleasant walks both by the lake and in its beautiful streets (Milchstr.). Nearby you will find the former Jewish street of Grindelhof. Rotherbaum is also a university and consulate district.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
AlsterCliff - Fährdamm 13, 20148 Hamburg
GO by Steffen Henssler - Rothenbaumchaussee 115
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture:
Museum Rothenbaum. Culture and Arts of the World
Rothenbaumchaussee 64, 20148 Hamburg
Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Quarter of Övelgönne

Quarter Övelgönne elbe hamburg

To discover Övelgönne, we suggest a walk of about 1 hour (4 km) along the Elbe. To get to the start of this walk, take bus 112 from Altona station to Neumühlen/ Övelgönne station. At this point you can visit the small harbour museum before walking along the sandy beaches with their many buildings with very interesting harbour architecture. If you would like to eat in a gastronomic restaurant during your stay in Hamburg, use the opportunity of this walk to visit one of Hamburg's top addresses on the Elbchaussee. (see here - Below to take a fish sandwich) and accessible from the shore by stairs and a 126 step ladder (Himmelsleiter). At the end of the tour (Teufelsbrücke) you have the opportunity to sail on the Elbe with boat lines 64 and 62. The return to the centre is by bus line 36.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Elbwarte - Neumühlen 37, 22763 Hamburg
• Nuggi's Elbkate (Fish Roll) - Landing stage Neumühlen

Speicherstadt, HafenCity & Elba Philharmonic

Speicherstadt HafenCity Philharmonie Elbe

Naturally, Hamburg is known as one of the largest cargo ports in the world, although it is not directly on the North Sea but on the Elbe River. From the very beginning of Hamburg's history, the city has been associated with maritime traffic, particularly as a city of the former Hanseatic Alliance, which brought together several cities on the Baltic and North Seas.

The Speicherstadt is absolutely fascinating with its warehouses dating from the years 1883-1910 and its dimensions, 25 hectares interspersed with fleets, canals that follow the rhythm of the tides. Indeed, the influence of the sea is still important in Hamburg and the city is regularly visited by floods during high tides. For a long time, the Speicherstadt was located in a free zone and one could not make purchases but since 2003 this is no longer the case, because of the total revival with the development of the "Hafencity". Following the example of the London Docklands, the ambitious and partly already realised project is to create a real new district with lofts, offices, shops and cultural centres. The contrast between the old warehouses and the contemporary buildings is a real success story. The most grandiose project was the construction for 750 million (instead of 180 million) of the Elbe Philharmonic (Elbphilharmonie) with a hall with 2150 seats and one with 550, and a 5-star hotel with 220 beds. The lower part is a red brick warehouse and the upper part a glass building with expressionist forms. It was designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (Munich Stadium and Beijing Olympic Stadium). Since 2016 you can enjoy the acoustics of the hall, which was built in the same way as the Berlin Philharmonic with the orchestra in the middle.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants / Bar:
HOBENKÖÖK - Web - Stockmeyerstraße 43
Oberhafen-Kantine - Web - Stockmeyerstraße 39
NENI Hamburg - Web - Osakaallee 12
The Boilerman Bar - Web - Osakaallee 12
Other suggestions for restaurants and hotels here

Culture:
the Elbe Philharmonic - Platz der Deutschen Einheit 4
Miniatur Wunderland - Kehrwieder 2-4/Block D
Click here for more cultural tips on LatLon-Hamburg

Guided tour Historical Warehousedistrict Hafencity Guided tour: Historical Warehousedistrict and/or HafenCity
The Speicherstadt built in 1888, is the world’s largest single stretch of warehouses. It was here in these new-gothic buildings that goods from all over the world entered Europe duty-free for further transport. Especially coffee, tea and spices were stored here. - More information here

Trip along the Elbe River (Landungsbrücke, Old Tunnel, Fischermarkt)

Trip Elbe Landungsbrücke tunnel Fischermarkt

The port city of Hamburg offers you the advantage of discovering different aspects of river and sea traffic, both economically and historically, with the Speicherstadt and counters. Indispensable for the success of your stay, we recommend a trip along the Elbe River with first of all the Landungsbrücken (landing stages) of Saint Pauli, always very animated especially at the arrival of the big liners. You will admire the magnificent building of 1909 in this place as well as two old sailing ships, then going down the Elbe you will arrive at the old pedestrian and road tunnel (2 € per car) under the river, a technical marvel that gives you the opportunity to contemplate the view of the port from the other bank. Continuing on the Altona-Saint Pauli side, you will reach the square and the fishermen's market. Here you can enjoy Hamburg's fish specialities. The bus line 112 runs along the Elbe and Fischermarkt. You can continue your walk to the Reeperbahn or take bus 112 to visit Övelgönne.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurant:
Tasquinha Galego (Portuguese) - Vorsetzen 70

Culture:
• Boat tours - Barkassen Meyer
• Other company - Abicht Elbreederei
The tunnel of Saint-Pauli
Day and night for cyclists and pedestrians (the lifts on both sides of the tunnel are open on weekdays from 6am to 8pm).

Alster & Jungfernstieg

Alster Hamburg Jungfernstieg

In Hamburg, the Alster is not only the river that runs through the city, but it is the two lakes that we think of when we talk about the Alster. First of all, the river flows into the outer Alster, a 174-hectare artificial lake surrounded by green spaces. The Alster then passes under the Kennedy and Lombard Bridge which marks the site of the former fortification and ends in the inner Alster lake which is itself 18 ha in size with numerous hotels and office buildings on its banks. The feeding of a mill by the force of the Alster is already attested in 1190 but it is in 1235 that a new retention developed for other mills, led by error of calculation, to the transformation of a field into a large lake, divided into two parts since the construction of the fortifications around 1620. After the inland lake, the Alster flows under the Jungfernstieg, forms the 200-metre-long Little Alster and flows into the Alsterfleet and two locks before it reaches the Elbe.

The Jungfernstieg is one of Hamburg's best-known avenues and the starting point for the white fleet offering short cruises on the Alster. The street has existed since 1235 under the name Reesendamm and has been regularly redesigned (including in 2006). In 1838, as the first in Germany, the street was asphalted. You have a beautiful view from the bridge and remember to stop at the Alsterpavillon (Cafe ALEX), a traditional café which was even frequented by Heinrich Heine.

Hamburg Guide

Restaurants:
Café du Chocolatier - Alsterarkaden 12
Café restaurant ALEX - Jungfernstieg 54

Culture / Shop:
• Cruises on the Alster River - Alster Touristik
• Shopping mall - Hamburger Hof

The city guided tours of Hamburg in English with your guide Denise Faessel

city guided tours Hamburg Denise Faessel

Thematic or tailor-made guided tours with your private guide

A guided tour in Hamburg is the best way to understand and appreciate a city like Hamburg with its long and fascinating history as well as its historical monuments.

Have you ever tried a private guided tour? Even if you pay a little more than a group visit on a fixed date, the great advantages are that you can visit at your own pace, according to your interests and, above all, you save time with all the good advice your guide will give you during the guided tour.

Information here and booking your guided tour in Hamburg:

By e-mail to info@hambourg-decouverte.de or on +49 (0)176. 522 173 54

The Hamburg's "Wall Street"

Bourse Hamburg

Hamburg's "Wall Street" has existed since 1558 and has moved from the Trostbrücke to the new classical building on Adolphsplatz. The building was constructed in 1840 by the architects Wimmet and Forsmann on the site of the Maria-Magdalenen Convent. It was saved from the fire of 1842 and was extended in 1859, 1880 and 1909. In 1886, the town hall was built behind the stock exchange. The stock exchange is the oldest stock exchange service in Germany but has not been in operation since a merger in 1999. The stock exchange played an important role for grain and coffee. The insurance exchange is still in operation.

Hamburg Guide
Guided tour Old Town hamburg Guided tour around the Old Town
The tour starts at the town hall and continues through the old town through the arcades and numerous galleries. You will see the inner Alster, the "Kontorhauser" (huge offices from the beginning of the 20th century) and then the famous Deichstrasse, the street that still preserves medieval buildings. The tour will end at the harbour. - More information here

Other historical buildings

Other historical sight hamburg

The Chile House is a beautiful example of expressionist architecture built in 1922-24 by Fritz Höger. Its sponsor was an active merchant in Chile. Not far away from here, a must during your stay in Hamburg, take a stroll along Deichstrasse and Cremon Street. You will appreciate the Hamburg flair, old facades and old granaries. There are plenty of opportunities to eat and shop in its streets. An imposing building is located on the Trostbrücke, walking in the direction of the town hall. To round off your stay with a beautiful view, the 280-metre-high Television Tower houses a restaurant.

Also on LatLon-Hamburg

The other pages for your holiday in Hamburg :
The Agenda 2022 for Hamburg and Culture
All museums in Hamburg
The city tours in Hamburg with Denise Faessel
Our recommendations for hotels and restaurants
Useful information and the city of Hamburg in figures

History of Hamburg

guideds  tour museum altona Hamburg

The origins of Hamburg: "Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg / Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg" is the full name of the second largest city in Germany in terms of inhabitants. A name which suits it perfectly and which sums up with excellence the particularities of its history which we summarize on this page. Photo: © SHMH / Sinje Hasheider
Although archaeology attests to the passage of hunters and occupation in the Elbe region from the Stone Age, Slavic and Celtic, the History of Hamburg only began in the 9th century. The idea that the Romans occupied the region remains a legend, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

Hammaburg - Charlemagne and the Christianization of the North : The Emperor of the Franks Charlemagne succeeds in controlling this Saxon region of Elba with the support of the Slavic tribe of the Obodrites. In the year 810, Charlemagne had a baptismal church built between the river Bille and Alster. The mission of the priest according to the name of Heridag was the Christianisation of the polytheistic regions of Schleswig-Holstein and Scandinavia. To secure this first wooden church, a small fort (Burg) was built on the site of a modest Saxon village called Hamm, which resulted in the first mention of the name Hammaburg in the year 832. Today it is assumed that the meaning of this name has its origins in the old German "Hamme" and refers to a moraine area naturally protected by swamps. Because of the important religious mission, Hammaburg soon became an archbishopric with "Ansgar von Bremen" as its bishop. However, due to numerous attacks by the former allies, the Obodrites (915-983-1066-1072), the seat of the bishopric Hamburg-Bremen was definitively established in Bremen, giving Hamburg the advantage of greater independence. In the 11th century, Hamburg experienced a great development both in terms of urban planning (new churches, monasteries, palaces and a defensive wall) and economically because of the city's central position for Christianisation on the North and Baltic Seas, thus began the first commercial alliances which would soon lead to the Hanseatic League. In 1060 Hamburg was divided into two parts, one headed by the Duchy of Billunger and the other by the Archbishopric.

Hamburg at the time of Schauenburg : The death of the last member of the Billunger line made Adolphe I. von Schauenburg, Duke of the city of Hamburg. During the 12th century the main events were the colonisation of several islands in the Elbe, the formation of the artificial lake of the Alster for the supply of mills, the creation of the Neustadt (new town) for merchants and above all, in 1189, Emperor Frederick I. Barbarossa is said to have granted a Free City Charter to Hamburg giving all the rights and freedom for Hamburg to develop as an independent city on land and sea. This charter was used for several centuries by Hamburg to defend its rights against other powers such as the Danes. However, in the absence of the document (lost or never written), a copy of the charter was drawn up in 1265. In the 13th century, several wars and occupation by the Danes led to some changes, including the unification of the two cities with a town hall, council and court under the authority of Duke Adolf IV. (1228), but the latter was only marginally involved in the management of the town and in 1239 he chose monastic life. Also in 1240 a fortification was built. Today, place names such as Steintor, Millerntor and Alstertor mark the location of its gates.

HHamburg and the Hanseatic League - Between the 13th and 17th centuries : With the foundation of Bergen in Norway in 1070 and several cities such as Lübeck, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, Stettin and Danzig, the first bourgeois commercial alliances between these North Sea and Baltic cities began. The Teutonic Hanseatic League was founded in 1241 between Hamburg and Lübeck before rapidly expanding to the above-mentioned cities and other trading posts such as London (1266), Flanders (1252) and France (1294). Initially the alliance was a Hanseatic League of merchants before becoming a Hanseatic League of cities in 1280, giving its cities even more power through the sea blockades that could be set up against kings who denied civil rights to Hanseatic merchants. The first Hanse assembly (Hansetag) was held in Lübeck in 1356. The closure of the trading post in Novgorod in 1494 and competition between English and Dutch merchants marked the decline of the Hanseatic League, which would not have the same form after the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648. The last Hanseatic assembly took place in 1669. However, Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen continued the tradition of this alliance. During the years of Hanseatic supremacy, Hamburg used its fortune to build new churches or to rebuild buildings worthy of the city's reputation. Even today, Hamburg (and other German cities) still shows its status as a Hanseatic city in its name and in the registration plates with HH for Hansestadt Hamburg. Also associated with the Hanseatic period, the pirates! Many took advantage of the maritime traffic to establish themselves as bandits. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the Hanseatic cities had to fight these pirates. The last one was Klaus Kniphof (killed in 1525), but the best known was Klaus Störtebeker (1360-1401), nicknamed the "Red Corsair", who is a figure with many legends known to the people of Hamburg.

Hamburg between the 15th and 18th centuries: Beside the Hanseatic history mentioned above, here are now some other important events. After the death of the last count of the von Schauenburg family in 1459, Hamburg had to regularly defend its right to remain free and to keep all its privileges. The nearby town of Altona (today Hamburg) was between 1640 and 1867 a Danish town, the second largest in Denmark. In 1500 Hamburg became part of the imperial territory of Lower Saxony without changing its status and in 1618 Hamburg officially became a free city of the Holy Roman Empire (Freie Reichstadt). The 16th century was marked by the Reformation and the immigration of numerous populations. In 1528, Mayor Johann Wetken invited Martin Luther to send Johannes Bugenhagen to establish the new religion in Hamburg and in 1529 the city became evangelical. Following the counter-reformation in the Spanish Netherlands, a large number of emigrants came to settle in Hamburg and Altona (from 1567). Around 1600, Sephardic Jewish families were also welcomed after their expulsion from Spain and Portugal, the "natio lusitana". During the 17th century, marked by the Thirty Years' War, Hamburg, which did not suffer from the war, benefited greatly financially from trade with Spain and Portugal, which enabled the city to "buy" itself the pursuit of its territorial freedom from its neighbours. Around 1620 Hamburg built a new fortification which divided Lake Alster into two parts. In the 18th century, economic, cultural and demographic development continued, from 30,000 inhabitants in 1700, the population increased to 100,000 in 1787. During these years, the image of an intellectual city became known all over the world; several high schools, academies, the newspaper "Hamburgische Correspondenten" was read all over Europe and trade spread to other continents after the end of the North American War of Independence in 1783.

Modern history of Hamburg from the 18th century : After the French Revolution and to demonstrate its will to remain neutral, from 1804 Hamburg gradually dismantled its fortifications, but this did not prevent Napoleon's army to occupy Hamburg from 1806 to 1814, indeed, Hamburg was crucial for the implementation of the maritime blockade against the United Kingdom. After this French episode, Hamburg very quickly went from a city with medieval infrastructure to a modern city, the industrial boom led to a massive shift from the countryside to the city with its negative social repercussions (poverty, cholera and others). The population grew from 300,000 in 1860 to 1 million in 1914. Discontent led to a strong trade unionist and social democratic tradition in Hamburg, which led to a new constitution in 1860. Also noted in the history of Hamburg was the major fire in 1842 which destroyed 25% of the city. At the political level, from 1867, the regions around Hamburg became Prussian and the city was first part of the German Confederation, then a state of the Confederation of North Germany and finally a federal state of the German Empire from 1871. Naturally, Hamburg lost some of its former independence, but on the other hand it benefited greatly from it as the largest cargo port in the Empire and as the gateway to the Empire for merchant and military ships leaving for the German colonies.
At the end of the Empire, the First World War was very damaging for Hamburg because of the closure of the goods traffic, unemployment, poverty and social instability that marked those years. While the port of Hamburg was for a long time the gateway for refugees coming to settle in Hamburg, between 1815 and 1934, 10% of the 50 million Europeans who left for the New World from this port.
With the Weimar Republic, the Free State and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (official name since 1819) had its first 100% democratic elections on 16 March 1919. Until 1931, Hamburg enjoyed good political, social and economic stability. Since 27 September 1931 and a vote resulting in 26.3% for the NSDAP and 27.8% for the SPD no lasting coalition could be formed. With the seizure of power in January 1933 by the National Socialists, Hamburg followed Germany's destiny, with the death of half of Hamburg's Jews (19,400 in 1933) and the execution of 55,000 prisoners in the Neuengamme concentration camp (Hamburg), not counting all the other victims. The inhabitants themselves experienced the bombing in July/August 1943 (Operation Gomorrha) with the death of 40-50,000 people, 35% of the buildings were completely destroyed and only 20% of the dwellings survived unharmed.
After the war, the city under British control quickly recovered and became an important location for all the Bundesländer (federal states) in northern Germany, for example with the headquarters of the NWDR television station. On the night of 16-17 February 1962, 300 Hamburgers were killed in a tidal wave. Helmut Schmidt (SPD, born 1918) was praised for his handling of the crisis and became German Chancellor from 1974 to 1982. Today the city of Hamburg is dominated by the important project of developing the port area (HafenCity / Speicherstadt) into an office, tourist and leisure area with, for example, the Elbe Philharmonic.

To learn more about Hamburg's history and to discover its many monuments and districts, we encourage you to take advantage of the services of our tour guide Denise Faessel, who will introduce you to Hamburg during an exciting guided tour.