Guests from all parts of the world celebrate 825th Hamburg Port Anniversary
(Hamburg, May 2014) – 7 May 1189 was the date when Emperor Frederick Barbarossa issued a charter to the citizens of Hamburg, granting freedom from customs duties for ships on the River Elbe from the city all the way to the North Sea. That charter signalled the birth of the Port of Hamburg, and its 825th anniversary will be celebrated from 9 to 11 May as a maritime festival of superlatives. Together with more than a million visitors from Germany and abroad, and more than 300 vessels from all the world’s oceans, the people of Hamburg will celebrate their port for three days with an excitement-packed festival at the heart of the city, around the famous Landungsbrücken (Landing Stage). The festival site from Kehrwiederspitze to the Fish Auction Hall will be extended for the first time in this special anniversary year, to include water and on-shore areas in HafenCity, the latest and most modern district of the City of Hamburg, plus an area to the west of the Fish Auction Hall. The festivities will also be held at the HafenCity Heritage Harbour, in the Speicherstadt (warehouse district) and in Oevelgönne Heritage Harbour.
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The programme of festivities will include more than 200 items, with something for every taste and every age group, including art, culture, free live music, hands-on activities and culinary diversity. The River Elbe will be the stage for the star attractions, including tall ships and traditional sailing vessels, cruise ships, naval units, service vessels from the authorities and institutions, and sports boats, giving fascinating insights into traditional and contemporary aspects of life at sea. The familiar programme highlights include the Grand Arrival Parade on the Friday (16:00 hours) and the closing Grand Departure Parade on the Sunday (17:00). The crowd pullers on the Saturday are the unique Tugboat Ballet (17:00), when the working tugboats of the port dance their pirouettes to musical accompaniment before the Landungsbrücken, and the spectacular AIDA Firework Display, which turns the sky over the port into a sea of colour, starting at 22:30.
In keeping with tradition, the starting event for the 825th Hamburg Port Anniversary will be the international ecumenical service at St. Michaelis Church at 14:00 on Friday 9 May. The service includes a dialogue conducted both in High German and in Low German dialect between principal pastor Alexander Röder and author and radio journalist Gerd Spiekermann on the subject of “Dor is mine Heimat, dor bün ick to Hus” (“This is my town, it’s where I’m at home”).
The attractions contributing to the festive mood on shore include some 500 showmen and contractors. The Festival Promenade from Baumwall to Landungsbrücken features maritime theme worlds such as a Fishing Village and a Hanseatic Village, and at least a dozen show stages, putting on a varied programme for the whole family. The BUENOS AIRES Argentina Festival at Kehrwiederspitze gives visitors a taste of this South American capital, presenting a series of cultural, musical and culinary pleasures and impressions. And of course Buenos Aires as the world’s tango capital brings with it the thrill of Argentine tango to see, hear and participate.
The Marco Polo Terraces in HafenCity will have plenty of culinary specialities, featuring top-class Italian cuisine for the first time. On the Friday and Sunday, the Hamburg Sports Agency presents activities and infotainment on the water and on shore at Grasbrookhafen to mark the year of watersport, which is being celebrated in Hamburg in 2014. This initiative in cooperation with watersports clubs and associations gives visitors a chance to try their hand at various types of watersport. A highlight on the Saturday (20:00) is a display by the Hamburg military, saluting the Port with a performance by the Bundeswehr Bigband to mark the 825th anniversary. The stage for that presentation will be a floating pontoon at Grasbrookhafen. Spectators can enjoy the concert from the riverbank.
“Harbour Pride” is a new event at the Hamburg Port Anniversary, at a venue to the west of the Fish Auction Hall. This new meeting point for lesbians and gays and heterosexual visitors will put on shared festivities throughout the anniversary, in keeping with the spirit of this open and tolerant city, and helping to overcome prejudice. It includes a stage show with trend musicians, transvestite artists and maritime burlesque groups, and a “Gay Village” will provide entertainment, food and drink, and entertainment.
Free live music shows will be presented on a dozen stages throughout the event area – there is something for every taste, from rock music to sea shanties. The broadcasting corporation Norddeutscher Rundfunk will be there with three radio programmes and NDR Television, broadcasting direct from Landungsbrücken again this year. Visitors to the NDR enclosure can enjoy first-class live acts in the evenings. During the days there will be interviews, entertainment and plenty of information on what is going on at the Hamburg Port Anniversary. The Port Rock areas at St. Pauli-Hafenstrasse will be a big attraction for lovers of various music genres at the ASTRA Port Rock Stage, the Jolly Roger Stage and the Gipsy Lounge.
But the real stars of the Hamburg Port Anniversary are not to be found on the event stages – they are out there on the water. They are stars to experience up close and personal. Most of the ships and water craft can not only be admired from shore; every year, some 70,000 visitors take up the unique open-ship opportunities, and go on board for a tour, exploring the different types of ship from bow to stern and getting first-hand background information from the crew. Vessels include international units of the navy and advanced service vessels of the fire brigade, fisheries protection, water police, federal police, German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS), the technical relief organisation THW, and the customs authorities, presenting the realities of life at sea; and a host of tall ships and heritage ships, symbolising the romance of seafaring and exotic destinations. Seafaring dreams will be inspired by ships such as the 108 metre sail training ship Dar Młodzieży from Poland, Germany’s newest tall ship Alexander von Humboldt II, and the imposing three-masted topsail schooner Gulden Leeuw, which sails under Netherlands flag.
AIDA Cruises, the principal sponsor of the Hamburg Port Anniversary, also spreads travel fever – “AIDA World” in the beach club at Landungsbrücken will give guests a premium view of the programme on the Elbe, while enjoying excellent food and drink. AIDA will also participate in the world’s greatest port festival with the three Club Ships AIDAluna, AIDAsol and AIDAstella. A total of twelve cruise ships will visit Hamburg during the festival. They include television’s “dream ship” MS Deutschland, Mein Schiff 1 and the Queen Elizabeth, which calls in Hamburg at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday 11 May and leaves the port again at 19:00 hours.
Programme highlights of the 825th Hamburg Port Anniversary:
- International ecumenical opening service at St. Michaelis Church (14:00 on Friday 9 May)
- Grand Arrival Parade (16:00 on Friday 9 May)
- Tugboat Ballet (17:00 on Saturday 10 May)
- Big AIDA Fireworks (22:30 on Saturday 10 May)
- Grand Departure Parade (17:00 on Sunday 11 May)
Source: Hafengeburtstag Press Release
More information online or call the hotline of Hamburg Tourism, open daily from 08:00 to 20:00 hours on 040 30051300
Programme brochure in English here