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Hamburger Hafengeburtstag

On May 7, 1189 the people of Hamburg were guaranteed an exemption from import duties on the Elbe up to the North Sea. This is the birthday of the “door to the world”, the port of Hamburg. Since then the Hafengeburtstag is celebrated on the 7th of May every year since 1977 (or around the 7th because the festivities are always during the weekend). Over the years the festivities that take place during the three day period have been extended enormously.

On May 7, 1189 the people of Hamburg were guaranteed an exemption from import duties on the Elbe up to the North Sea. This is the birthday of the “door to the world”, the port of Hamburg. Since then the Hafengeburtstag is celebrated on the 7th of May every year since 1977 (or around the 7th because the festivities are always during the weekend). Over the years the festivities that take place during the three day period have been extended enormously.

Several streets are closed down to create a huge festival ground from the Speicherstadt down to Fischmarkt. There are shanty choirs, a flee market, a small fun fair, live music…almost everything! But the most important thing are the ships! They are the main reason why people come to the Hafengeburtstag. From the Russian MIR and Kruzenshtern – both training ships – to old cogs, tall ships and navy vessels.

The harbour is overcrowded with beautiful ships. Amongst them also yachts and smaller sailing boats. For the huge arriving parade on the first day of the Hafengeburtstag the ships sail or drive into the harbour with loud horn blows, tooting and droning. It’s an awesome sight topped by a huge firework on the first night. All the ships are not just there for the fun of it. Most of them offer “open ship” hours where you can go aboard and have a look around. This is not only interesting for ship and sailing enthusiasts. The boats of the DGzRS (German Sea-Rescue Organisation), harbour police, SAR (Sea and Air Rescue), several navy vessels and even a U-boat are also open for public. Additionally, many of the ships demonstrate in a small show what their boats are capable of. Especially the “Schlepperballett” is a sight that you won’t get anywhere else. The heavy and usually very clumsy tugboats demonstrate their agility in form of a ballet on water.

If you want to visit the Hafengeburtstag you definitely need no map! Just follow the stream of tourists that enters the line U3 at Hauptbahnhof and leave the Hochbahn either at Landungsbrücken or Baumwall.

Visit: http://www.hafengeburtstag.de for more detailed information.

written by graefin

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