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ESPAÑOL
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THE BASIC LAW
THE CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES
THE LEGAL SYSTEM
FEDERALISM & SELF-GOVERNMENT
PARTIES & ELECTIONS
COUNTRY AND LANDSCAPE
THE "LÄNDER" (STATES/COUNTRIES)
THE PEOPLE
THE STATE OF HAMBURG
HISTORY UP TO 1945
HISTORY PAST 1945
HAMBURG HISTORY
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The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
Germany’s gateway to the world. Hamburg is the second largest German city, Germany’s principal seaport and the country’s largest overseas trade center. 185 firms from China (including Hong Kong) have offices here, along with 135 from Japan and 65 from Taiwan; all in all, more than 3,000 firms are engaged in the transaction of import and export business in the Hanseatic City. Traditional port-related industries are shipyards, refineries and processing plants for raw materials from abroad. Through a consistent policy of structural change, Hamburg has developed into a service metropolis. Future-oriented sectors such as the civil aviation, microelectronics and communications industries are laying a modern foundation for the future of this attractive site for business and industry.

Founded around the year 811 (as Hammaburg), Hamburg began to flourish as a commercial town in 1189, when it was granted customs and commercial rights. One of the first members of the Hanseatic League, it was the League’s main transshipment port on the North Sea. Kings and princes never ruled Hamburg: It was always the citizens themselves who governed the city-state. The devastating fire of 1842, a readiness to continually modernize and World War II spared little of the crowded heart of the old commercial metropolis. Prominent structures include the Late Baroque St. Michael’s Church (whose 132-meter-high tower – affectionately called “Michel“ – is the city landmark), the 100-year-old Town Hall, and the Chilehaus, an Expressionist brick building dating from the 1920s. A distinctive type of cultural monument is the old “Speicherstadt“ in the port area, a complex of brick warehouses erected toward the end of the last century. It is not, however, individual buildings which lend Hamburg its special flair but rather the expansive panorama afforded by the Alster, a body of water in the center of the city that has been dammed up to form two lakes, and the colorful picture presented by the port and houses along the broad Elbe River.

The green industrial city. Hamburg is Germany’s second largest industrial center and the heart of a metropolitan area with a population of 3.3 million. It is nevertheless one of the greenest cities in Germany. 41 percent of Hamburg’s total area consists of arable land and garden plots, parks and public gardens, woodlands, moors and heaths. Landscape reserves and nature reserves cover 28 percent of the city’s area. As a result of the unification of Germany and the opening up of Eastern Europe, the port of Hamburg has regained its old hinterland. This enhances the city-state’s prospects of once again becoming the hub of trade, services and communications between East and West. Firm plans have been made for the construction of the Transrapid magnetic levitation train, which is to link Hamburg’s city center with the center of the German capital Berlin in less than one hour.

The port, one of the largest in the world, spreads out over 75 square kilometers, occupying one tenth of Hamburg’s city area. In terms of container transshipment volume, Hamburg ranks second in Europe after Rotterdam. More than 200 scheduled shipping lines offer about 12,000 departures each year from the port of Hamburg to points all over the globe. Every day more than 290,000 people from the surrounding area commute to work in the Hanseatic City. Hamburg is the banking center for northern Germany and one of Germany’s largest insurance headquarters. With more than 95 consulates-general and consulates, Hamburg is the world’s principal consular city. The Congress Center conveniently located in the heart of the city is one of the most modern and most popular conference centers in Europe. The immediately adjacent trade fair halls further enhance its attractiveness as a venue for important trade exhibitions.

Hamburg is the center of the German media industry. The roughly 6,000 firms active in this sector employ a work force of approximately 50,000 and utilize the services of numerous free-lancers. Their annual turnover exceeds DM 40 billion. In recent years the communications sector has been the city’s most rapidly expanding economic sector. The electronic media are playing an increasingly important role in this development: the city’s major radio and television stations as well as the numerous firms engaged in the production of audiovisual and multimedia programs. Hamburg’s advertising industry and its award-winning agencies have steadily gained ground as well. In both the German recording market and the newspaper and magazine market, firms headquartered in the metropolis on the Elbe command a market share of up to 50 percent – 17 of the 21 German newsstand magazines with circulations of over a million are published in Hamburg.

Civic pride and a passion for the arts. The mercantile city of Hamburg is and always has been a place of freedom and tolerance and a city with a rich cultural tradition. It was here that Germany’s first permanent opera house was established in 1678: George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) staged his first opera (“Almira“) in the Hanseatic City. Both Georg Philipp Telemann and Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach lived and worked in Hamburg. One of the city’s famous sons was the composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897); the name of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (born in Hamburg in 1809) is likewise closely tied to the city on the Elbe.

Influenced by England and France, Hamburg was a cradle of the Enlightenment in Germany. In 1767 the Deutsches Nationaltheater was founded here, an institution linked with the name of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (“Hamburgische Dramaturgie“, 1767-1769), which became renowned especially for its performances of Shakespeare’s works. “Minna von Barnhelm“ (Lessing) and “Don Carlos“ (Schiller) were performed for the first time here. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1803) and Matthias Claudius (17401815) were Hamburg’s “literary institutions“ at the time. During the period of reaction in the 19th century, Julius Campe of Hamburg published the works of Heinrich Heine and other “rabble-rousing“ writers of the “Young Germany“.

After World War II, the directors Rolf Liebermann and Gustav Gründgens gave the opera and theater modern accents with a strong international appeal. Unforgotten is the Hamburg-born actor Hans Albers (18911960). Today three state theaters and roughly 35 private theaters enhance the city’s cultural profile. Especially successful in recent years were the musicals “Cats“ and “Phantom of the Opera“ by Andrew Lloyd Webber, productions famous far beyond Hamburg’s city limits. The Hamburg Ballet under the direction of John Neumeier is internationally renowned. It was here in Hamburg that the graphic artist and painter Horst Janssen (who died in 1995) created his extensive portfolio of works. At the beginning of the 1960s the Beatles embarked on their international career in the Hamburg entertainment district of St. Pauli.


DEUTSCH
ENGLISH
ESPAÑOL
FRANÇAIS
.
THE BASIC LAW
THE CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES
THE LEGAL SYSTEM
FEDERALISM & SELF-GOVERNMENT
PARTIES & ELECTIONS
COUNTRY AND LANDSCAPE
THE "LÄNDER" (STATES/COUNTRIES)
THE PEOPLE
THE STATE OF HAMBURG
HISTORY UP TO 1945
HISTORY PAST 1945
HAMBURG HISTORY
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X
X

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