Hamburg a sea port on the Elbe
As a wandering tourist in Germany, the beautiful Hamburg, a sea port on the Elbe is a must-see. Hamburg is one of the 16 federal states of Germany and is the biggest German port. The city, located 110 km from the mouth of the Elbe in the North Sea, is the third largest port in Europe after Rotterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium. It has an area of 74 km2 and is the second busiest port on the continent. Over 9 million containers are handled in this port every year. The Hamburg port takes up more than an eighth of the city surface. Around 12,000 ships deliver and pick up goods on this port every year. The harbour is called the “Gateway to the World”. The branching Elbe creates here an ideal location for the port with warehousing and transhipment opportunities.
An old European port
First mentioned in 1189, Hamburg has been Europe’s main port for centuries. Hamburg a sea port on the Elbe soon tuned into a modern trade centre and a very rich city. After the 19th century, the city became the main hub for transatlantic travels. Hamburg’s trade top position was enhanced by the Free Port which enabled traders to store their goods here without passing through customs checks. The port lost most of its fleet and trading connections during World War II, but Germany invested on rebuilding the port after reunification and helped Hamburg became one of the most modern and busiest ports today.
Every year during the first week of May, the port is celebrated by a public event. Visitors from Germany and other European countries come to admire the ballets of tugboats, the old galleons and go on the free cruise ships. When the night falls, a show of fireworks exploding animates the sky of Hamburg.
Hamburg has a lot of cultural attractions, including a floating church. If you decide to board on a river cruise, you should know that this is a good way to get an idea of the port’s activity and size. You can also step aboard the Rickmer Rickmers windjammer to learn more about the port’s maritime history. Cap San Diego in the nearby is another museum ship well worth stepping aboard. The tour of Hamburg Riverside on the Elbe goes from Elbchaussee to the Blankeneser “Treppenviertel”. The two an a half hour cruise offers a pittoresque view of the river and the ships for 20 euros.
The boat tours are ironically called he lüchts (which mean “he is lying”) by the dock workers who overheard the stories about the port.