Exploring Hamburg’s harbor

I signed up for a mailing list last semester to get updates on university-sponsored excursions throughout the city. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but one week an advertisement for an Alternative Harbor Tour caught my eye.


Experience one of the largest harbors in the world – the Port of Hamburg, also known as the “Gates to the World.” This is no ordinary harbor tour. It will lead you through canals with rusty wharfs and along the state of the art, powerful container facilities, where the warehouse walls and steel scaffolding store the harbor’s treasures: Oriental carpets, southern fruits, coffee and cocoa beans. They are the treasures of the old colonial powers as well as the modern globalization. The containers hide their contents, making the movement of goods invisible. It’s a tour that reveals a new side of the harbor – who wins and who loses in this period of globalization. We look forward to your participation!

hafenrundfahrtWith that kind of advertisement, I’m not sure what I expected, but our trip turned out to be a very normal harbor tour alone the Elbe river. We got on the boat at Landungsbrücken, then headed west towards Altona and the fish market, where we were treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Hamburg skyline. As we turned south and swung east, the “inhabited” parts of the city quickly dissolved into an industrial landscape of loading cranes and containers. We continued on, went through some boat locks, and wound up in the residential area of Veddel at the north end of the island of Wilhelmsburg.We passed Ballinstadt, former emigrant camp and current museum, which documents the journey undertaken by thousands of Europeans who set sail for America at the turn of the 20th century. There, we turned around and headed back, passing the Unilever building and the Elbphilharmonie on our way. The entire trip lasted about two hours.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

After the harbor tour, the group of students walked over to St. Pauli and had a nice university-sponsored dinner where we got our participation fees back in the form of food credit. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon and to meet other students.




2 thoughts on “Exploring Hamburg’s harbor

  1. Pingback: My first German sauna experience – Following the Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: Ferry rides across the Elbe, or the poor man’s harbor boat tour – Following the Wanderlust

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