Hamburg was the departure port for many Germans and Eastern Europeans to emigrate to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Trading communities from all over the world established themselves there. A major outbreak of cholera in was badly handled by the city government, which retained an unusual degree of independence for a German city.
About 8, died in the largest German epidemic of the late 19th century, and the last major cholera epidemic in a major city of the Western world. In Nazi Germany — , Hamburg was a Gau from until During the Second World War , Hamburg suffered a series of Allied air raids and which devastated much of the city and the harbour.
Thousands of people perished in these densely populated working class boroughs. The raids, codenamed Operation Gomorrah by the RAF , killed at least 42, civilians; the precise number is not known. About one million civilians were evacuated in the aftermath of the raids. While some of the boroughs destroyed were rebuilt as residential districts after the war, others such as Hammerbrook were entirely developed into office, retail and limited residential or industrial districts.
Hamburg had the greatest concentration of Jews in Germany. These were all directed to Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe or to concentration camps. Most deported persons perished in the Holocaust. On 10 June the Reichssicherheitshauptamt dissolved the Reichsvereinigung by a decree. From to , the Beatles launched their career by playing in various music clubs like the Star Club in the city. On 16 February , a North Sea flood caused the Elbe to rise to an all-time high, inundating one-fifth of Hamburg and killing more than people.
Since German reunification in , and the accession of several Central European and Baltic states into the European Union in , the Port of Hamburg has restarted ambitions for regaining its position as the region's largest deep-sea port for container shipping and its major commercial and trading centre.
On 31 December , there were 1,, people registered as living in Hamburg in an area of There were , women and , men in Hamburg. For every 1, females, there were 1, males. In , there were 19, births in Hamburg of which In the city, the population was spread out with In , there were 1,, households, of which The average household size was 1. Hamburg residents with a foreign citizenship as of 31 December is as follows . Since large-scale standardization of the German language beginning in earnest in the 18th century, various Low German-colored dialects have developed contact-varieties of German on Low Saxon substrates.
Originally, there was a range of such Missingsch varieties, the best-known being the low-prestige ones of the working classes and the somewhat more bourgeois Hanseatendeutsch Hanseatic German , although the term is used in appreciation. However, the former importance of Low German is indicated by several songs, such as the famous sea shanty Hamborger Veermaster , written in the 19th century when Low German was used more frequently.
Many toponyms and street names reflect Low Saxon vocabulary, partially even in Low Saxon spelling, which is not standardised, and to some part in forms adapted to Standard German. Less than half of the residents of Hamburg are members of an organized religious group. In late , According to the publication "Muslimisches Leben in Deutschland" Muslim life in Germany estimated , Muslim migrants counting in nearly 50 countries of origin lived in Hamburg in There are several mosques , including the Ahmadiyya run Fazle Omar Mosque , which is the oldest in the city,  the Islamic Centre Hamburg , and a Jewish community.
The city of Hamburg is one of 16 German states , therefore the Mayor of Hamburg 's office corresponds more to the role of a minister-president than to the one of a city mayor. As a German state government , it is responsible for public education, correctional institutions and public safety; as a municipality, it is additionally responsible for libraries, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. Since , the seat of the government has been the Hamburg Rathaus Hamburg City Hall , with the office of the mayor, the meeting room for the Senate and the floor for the Hamburg Parliament.
Hamburg is made up of seven boroughs German: Bezirke and subdivided into quarters German: Stadtteile. There are localities German: Ortsteile.
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The urban organization is regulated by the Constitution of Hamburg and several laws. The last large annexation was done through the Greater Hamburg Act of , when the cities Altona , Harburg and Wandsbek were merged into the state of Hamburg. The boroughs are not independent municipalities: their power is limited and subordinate to the Senate of Hamburg. The borough administrator is elected by the Borough Council and thereafter requires confirmation and appointment by Hamburg's Senate.
Georg , St. Pauli , Steinwerder , Veddel , Waltershof and Wilhelmsburg. Altona is the westernmost urban borough, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From to , Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until Harburg lies on the southern shores of the river Elbe and covers parts of the port of Hamburg, residential and rural areas, and some research institutes.
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Hamburg has architecturally significant buildings in a wide range of styles and no skyscrapers see List of tallest buildings in Hamburg. Churches are important landmarks, such as St Nicholas' , which for a short time in the 19th century was the world's tallest building. Jacobi and St. Catherine's covered with copper plates, and the Heinrich-Hertz-Turm , the radio and television tower no longer publicly accessible. The many streams, rivers and canals are crossed by some 2, bridges , more than London , Amsterdam and Venice put together. The town hall is a richly decorated Neo-Renaissance building finished in Europe's largest urban development since , the HafenCity , will house about 10, inhabitants and 15, workers.
The plan includes designs by Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano. The many parks are distributed over the whole city, which makes Hamburg a very verdant city. The Stadtpark , Hamburg's "Central Park", has a great lawn and a huge water tower, which houses one of Europe's biggest planetaria. The park and its buildings were designed by Fritz Schumacher in the s.
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The lavish and spacious Planten un Blomen park Low German dialect for "plants and flowers" located in the centre of Hamburg is the green heart of the city. Within the park are various thematic gardens, the biggest Japanese garden in Germany, and the Alter Botanischer Garten Hamburg , which is a historic botanical garden that now consists primarily of greenhouses. Besides these, there are many more parks of various sizes.
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In Hamburg celebrated a birthday of park culture, where many parks were reconstructed and cleaned up. Moreover, every year there are the famous water-light-concerts in the Planten un Blomen park from May to early October. Hamburg has more than 40 theatres, 60 museums and music venues and clubs. In , more than 18 million people visited concerts, exhibitions, theatres, cinemas, museums, and cultural events. More than 8, taxable companies average size 3. There are five companies in the creative sector per thousand residents as compared to three in Berlin and 37 in London.
The English Theatre of Hamburg  near U3 Mundsburg station was established in and is the oldest professional English-speaking theatre in Germany, and has exclusively English native-speaking actors in its company. Visitors descending from those overseas emigrants may search for their ancestors at computer terminals. Hamburg State Opera is a leading opera company. Its orchestra is the Philharmoniker Hamburg. The main concert venue is the new concert hall Elbphilharmonie. Before it was the Laeiszhalle , Musikhalle Hamburg. The Laeiszhalle also houses a third orchestra, the Hamburger Symphoniker.
This density, the highest in Germany, is partly due to the major musical production company Stage Entertainment being based in the city. The city was a major centre for rock music in the early s. The Beatles lived and played in Hamburg during a period from August to December They proved popular and gained local acclaim. Hamburg has nurtured a number of other pop musicians. Identical twins Bill Kaulitz and Tom Kaulitz from the rock band Tokio Hotel live and maintain a recording studio in Hamburg, where they recorded their second and third albums, Zimmer and Humanoid.
Singer Nena also lives in Hamburg. There is a substantial alternative and punk scene, which gathers around the Rote Flora , a squatted former theatre located in the Sternschanze.
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Hamburg is famous for an original kind of German alternative music called Hamburger Schule "Hamburg School" , a term used for bands like Tocotronic , Blumfeld , Tomte or Kante. The city was a major centre for heavy metal music in the s. The influences of these and other bands from the area helped establish the subgenre of power metal. Hamburg has a vibrant psychedelic trance community, with record labels such as Spirit Zone. Hamburg is noted for several festivals and regular events.
Since , Hamburg has the Dockville music and art festival. It takes place every year in summer in Wilhelmsburg. Today eel is often included to meet the expectations of unsuspecting diners.