Hamburg more international than ever

City popular destination for tourists and business people alike thanks to wealth of culture, port, airport and global links
14 November 2023
Hamburg International JuliaSchwendner_Kontorhausviertel_Chilehaus-Mediaserver Hamburg _ ThisIsJulia Photography 9.11

Hamburg is proud of its reputation as the "Gateway to the World" based on its near 835-year tradition of global trade and as an active member of the Hanseatic League. And in the Middle Ages, the city was hailed as the "brewery of the Hanseatic League". Nowadays, the Port of Hamburg has links to 950 ports in 178 countries. The international business-oriented merchant community has given rise to a cosmopolitan flair in Hamburg. But just how international is the Hanseatic city in 2023?

People from all corners of globe

Hamburg's population rose to around 1.89 million inhabitants in 2022 second only to Berlin. People from 195 countries or more than the 193 member countries of United Nations now live in Hamburg. Almost 100 consulates make the city one of the largest seats of embassies in Europe and worldwide.

Global business links

Many global giants including Airbus, Montblanc, Hapag-Lloyd, Helm, Olympus, Tchibo, Otto and Beiersdorf are based in Hamburg. The port alone employs 606,700 people. And in 2022, foreign trade broke a new record with goods worth EUR 80.8 billion or 22 per cent more than in 2021, according to Statistics North. China remained the leading trading partner with a volume of EUR 11.4 billion followed by the United States with EUR 11.1 billion, the Netherlands with EUR 5.2 billion, France and Russia with EUR 4.3 billion respectively. In terms of foreign trade, the figure rose by 20.6 per cent year-on-year to EUR 51.7 billion. China was the number one trading partner with goods worth EUR 4.1 billion followed by France EUR 3.1 billion, the U.S. EUR 3.0 billion and Turkey and the Netherlands with EUR 2.7 billion respectively.

Hamburg International Hafenschlepper bugsieren ein Containerschiff Mediaserver Hamburg Ingo Boelter 9.11
© Mediaserver Hamburg/Ingo Boelter
Tug manoeuvres a container ship into Port of Hamburg
Hamburg International Flughafen Ferienbetrieb Oliver Sorg 9.11.
© Oliver Sorg/Hamburg Airport
Hamburger Airport

Flights all over the world

Hamburg is the third-largest civil aviation centre and is also home to Airbus with around 12,500 employees and Lufthansa Technik, a provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services, as well as Hamburg Airport. Around 1.45 million passengers passed through the airport in October 2023). Germany's fifth-largest airport is considered the world's oldest commercial airport and is expecting around 13.8 million passengers by the end of 2023 or a jump of 25 per cent over 2022. Around 55 airlines fly direct to 120 destinations from Hamburg and around 1,000 destinations worldwide can be reached with just one transfer.

Guests from all corners of globe

Conversely, Hamburg remains a popular travel destination and clocked up 14.7 million overnight stays by tourists in 2022 or a rise of 95 per cent over 2021. The city is now on course to reach the pre-pandemic level of 15.4 million overnight stays in 2019. Since the Elbphilharmonie opened in 2017, the dazzling concert hall has become one of the city's major landmarks. So far, around 3.3 million concertgoers have attended more than 2,900 concerts in the Elbphilharmonie. Around 14.5 million visitors have already enjoyed the 360° panoramic view of Hamburg from the Plaza. Meanwhile another top attraction, Miniatur Wunderland, features the world's largest model railway and was voted Germany's most popular attraction in 2022 for the fifth time in a row. The 1,500 square metre miniature railway has no less than 1,000 model trains and 289,000 figures. Visitors flock regularly flock to its base in the Speicherstadt warehouse district, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, to marvel at the model railway. Several annual festivals are now tourist magnets and attracted over 250,000 tourists to this year's Hamburg Cruise Days. The 834th Port Anniversary celebrations attracted well over 1.1 million visitors in May. And nowadays, the Reeperbahn Festival is  considered the "gateway to the music world" and featured 460 concerts by artists from 40 countries this year alone. 

Hamburg international Rhapsody_in_Blue_Cruise_Days 2023 Ralph_Larmann 4.11
© Ralph_Larmann
Hamburg Cruise Days 2023
Hamburg international Otto Global Gate Yvonne Scheller 9.11
© Yvonne Scheller
Hamburg's "Global Gate" reinterpreted by comedian Otto Waalkes

Musicals from all over globe

Stage Entertainment welcomed its 15 millionth guest to "The Lion King" in March this year. The musical has been running since December 2001 and is a key part of Hamburg's success story as a capital of musicals. This success dates back to the German premiere of Cats in 1986. Fast forward to the 21st century and Hamburg is now the word's third largest musical theatre centre after New York and London. The "Global Gate" is perhaps the world's largest mobile work of art and hit Hamburg this October. The work is part of UNESCO's Art4GlobalGoals campaign and consists of 37 sea containers on a 2,000 square metre space. The installation is adapted to the respective exhibition space and was reinterpreted by German comedian Otto Waalkes, who hails from East Frisia, for its showing in Hamburg.