Fun facts about Hamburg, Germany, for kids and curious adults plus tips on where to learn about them around town.
One of the highlight of our trip to Hamburg was a cycling tour with a local guide. Over the course of 3 hours, she showed up some of the most significant parts of Hamburg city centre and shared with us some knowledge about the city we would have otherwise not come across.
Putting together her expertise and some additional research, here are some fun facts about Hamburg for kids (but not just!)
Fun facts about Hamburg (not just for kids!)
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How big is Hamburg?
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany. At present, it counts almost 2 million inhabitants, while Berlin, the most populated of all, has a little over 3 million people.
The third city in Germany for population is Munich which counts about 1.2 Million people
What is Hamburg famous for?
Hamburg is most known for its location at the estuary of the river Elbe and for its large port. It is the second port in Europe for size and the biggest in Germany, and it receives ships from all over the world.
Hamburg port is a sight to behold and a very interesting place to visit even if you have a short time in the city. Port cruises are frequent and a great way to spend a summer afternoon.
Why is Hamburg port famous?
Hamburg port has always had a huge importance in the history of Hamburg. During medieval time the port grew to serve as commercial port serving the whole area as was the reason for the huge economic growth of the city. This gave hamburg special status and it meant the city was proclaimed ‘The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’ and became of the most important cities of the Hanseatic League.
Being a free city has notable advantages, in particular note having to pay tributes nor sending men to the crusades!
Nowadays the port is the biggest contributor to the city economy and one of the busiest in Europe.
Does Hamburg have canals?
Yes! Water in hamburg is not limited to the area around the port and in fact, the city counts more canals than Venice and Amsterdam put together!
The canals closer to the port are tidal and can only be navigated at certain times, while others are always full and locals use them for water activities such as SUP, kayaking and boating.
Why are there so many fancy cars in Hamburg?
The streets of Hamburg are full of fancy cars, ranging from environmentally friendly Teslas to Maserati, Porsche and Ferrari. This has to do with the fact that Hamburg is the city in Germany with the largest number of millionaries!
This wealth means that the price of a house in parts of Hamburg is double that of a house anywhere else in Germany.
Is Hamburg UNESCO World heritage site?
Hamburg is home to one UNESCO world heritage site, the city districts of Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus. This area has special historical and architectural significance as the buildings here used to be the warehouses used to store good traded in the port.
The area is stunning and meaningful since it is one of the largest coherent historic ensembles of port warehouses in the world and exemplifies the effects of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Was Hamburg bombed during the war?
Hamburg was severely damaged during the was. In 1943 operation Gomorrah destroyed a large part of the city: the heavy bombing as well as unusually dry weather at the time of the year the operation took place, meant a massive firestorm engulfed the city causing indelible damage.
You can still see mementos of the war in several parts of Hamburg. The church of St Nicholas still carries an open wound, standing half collapsed in the centre of the city and now serving as a memorial to the victims of the Nazi regime, and war bunkers still exist, kept as a memento of the war and the tragic history that preceded it.
Was Hamburg always German?
Hamburg hasn’t always entirely been a German city. Between 1640 and 1864 part that is now Altona and St Pauli belonged to Denmark.
Why did St Pauli had such a bad reputation?
St Pauli is now a dynamic and happening part of Hamburg but for many years it had a reputation for being a place of seething crime (as well as the city’s red light district). This happened because for part of its history St Pauli found itself both outside the boundaries of German Hamburg and outside those of Denmark, in a sort of no man’s land of law.
Why the controversy about the Elbephilarmonie?
Hamburg concert hall, the Elbe Philarmonie, is one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in the city but one that sparks controversy, mostly because of its cost. When building started, the estimated cost of the job was €77m. Over ten years later, when the building was eventually finished, the final bill came to over 780 millions!
Is the longest miniature railway in the world in Hamburg?
Indeed, it is! one of Hamburg old port warehouses is not the home of the largest miniature railway in the world, the awe inspiring ‘Miniatur Wunderland’. This mini world develops over several floors and has miniature reconstructions of Hamburg, Germany, parts of Europe, and much more, with trains and planes criss-crossing its miniature streets!
Do Hamburgers come from Hamburg?
Yes and no. The answer to this question depends very much on what you call ‘hamburger’. If you mean the meat patty only (like we do in Italian for instance) the answer is yes: the original name of minced meat patties was ‘Hamburger steak’ and indeed they do come from the city.
If we call hamburger the whole sandwich then no, the hamburger doesn’t come from here but rather from America. Here, German migrants exported the patties but had to come up with a handy way to eat them while on break from factory work, which is where the idea of sandwiching it between bread came from.
I hope you enjoyed these curiosities about Hamburg. Safe travels!
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