Years ago, Michael Savory, mayor of London at the time, commented during a visit to Hamburg that people open their umbrellas in Hamburg when it rains in London. It goes without saying that he didn't mean that Hamburg residents have a special talent for forecasting the weather; he was just referring to the very close connection that has existed between the two cities for hundreds of years.
The first Hamburg trading post opened in London as long ago as the mid-15th century under the name »Stalhof«, and the Hanseatic association of traders with England already existed at this time. Places for Hamburg merchants were reserved at the London Stock Exchange over the decades, and in 1926 the British-American Tobacco Company set up an important office in Hamburg. Today, Hamburg is seen as the most British of all German cities: in addition to the obvious geographic proximity, the seven institutions listed below each make a contribution to the city's British flavour:
The British festival from 6 to 16 October 2019 at the Elbphilharmonie.Discover the festival programme
Seven British Hotspots in Hamburg
1. Jenisch Park
In the 1770s, a series of parks in the then modern style of the English landscape garden were laid out along the Elbchaussee. They were marked by undulating green lawns, broken up by little copses that held scenic surprises in store for the visitor strolling along the curving paths. Sad to say, only a few of these parks are open to the public, or indeed survive at all. One of the first such landscape gardens in Hamburg was the Flottbeker Farm created by the merchant Caspar Voght and designed by Scotsman James Booth. The southern section of the park was opened to the public in 1939 under the name »Jenischpark«, and the scenery is actually a little reminiscent of the West Midlands.
Getting Here: Overground train S1 or S11 to Klein Flottbek Botanischer Garten, then approx. 10 minutes by foot
Address: Elbchaussee, Höhe Holztwiete, 22609 Hamburg
The Fairest Isle
Even more remarkable information about the British can be found in the current issue (3/2019) of the Elbphilharmonie Magazine – for example, an article about the challenge that Brexit poses to the country's musicians.Order the current issue
2. Event: British Flair
At the beginning of August every year, the Hamburg Polo Club in Klein Flottbek turns into a little piece of Britain that leaves no wishes unfulfilled. You can buy pretty much everything here to furnish and decorate your home in true British style, and there are all kinds of other things to enjoy as well: sheepdog demonstrations, a welly-throwing contest, bagpipe playing, presentations of falconry and Scottish dancing where the public can join in. In a word, whatever the British heart desires. The highlight, of course, is the open-air concert on Saturday night, when everyone unpacks their picnic baskets and joins in the chorus of »Rule, Britannia!« at the top of their voices.
When? Every year in summer, next event planned for 8 and 9 August 2020
Getting Here: Overground train S1 or S11 to Klein Flottbek (Exit Botanischer Garten)
Address: Polo Club Hamburg, Jenischstraße 26, 22609 Hamburg
Hamburg boasts no fewer than five rugby clubs, among them the Eimsbüttel Koalas and the HSV rugby team, which claims to go back as far as 1925, making it the oldest of the Hamburg clubs. In all likelihood, football has been played in Hamburg according to the rules of rugby for much longer: the first references date back to the mid-19th century, not long after the sport was originally invented in the Warwickshire town of the same name.
When and where? During the season, home games are played on the weekend at the Rugby Arena at the Stadtpark (City Park)
Getting Here: Overgrround train S1 or S11 to Stadtpark / Alte Wöhr
Address: Saarlandstraße 71, 22303 Hamburg
4. English Theatre
The little theatre on the first floor of the Hammonia swimming baths was founded by two American producers in 1976, making it Germany's oldest professional English-speaking theatre. In addition to Shakespeare classics, audiences can watch successful musicals from the big London theatres here. And if you want to act yourself, there are several amateur theatre groups that rehearse and perform original English plays, among them »The Hamburg Players« and the »University Players«.
When? Every new season begins at the beginning of September
Getting Here: Underground train U3 to Mundsburg
Address: Lerchenfeld 14, 22081 Hamburg
5. Kittel’s – Fine British Goods
As »British Flair« (No. 2 above) has just come to an end, if you urgently need a new jar of mint sauce or lemon curd, Hoheluft-West is the place to be. Kittel’s Fine British Goods at Lehmweg 47 offers all kinds of English foodstuffs and beverages as well as furniture, soap, toothpaste, books, gifts and much more besides. Alexander Kittel, who opened the concept store in 2016, used to visit his family in England together with his mother and bring back the best products from his second home. Now he comes back with stuff for his shop.
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat 11:00-18:00. Book in advance for tea and fresh scones.
Getting Here: Underground train U3 to Eppendorfer Baum
Address: Lehmweg 47, 20257 Hamburg
6. Well-Dressed by Conrad Hasselbach
From Kittel’s it's only a ten-minute walk to Conrad Hasselbach at Klosterstern, where you can buy yourself a complete English wardrobe. Hasselbach originally started his business as a gentleman's outfitter, but he now sells ladies' clothing and shoes as well. In his own choice of dress, he embodies down to the tiniest detail the Hanseatic-British style of elegance that would probably be a bit too dapper for most Englishmen, but fits in perfectly by the Elbe river: field coat, brogues and a flat cap.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00, Sat 10:00-16:00
Getting Here: Underground line U1 to Klosterstern
Address: Klosterstern 2, 20149 Hamburg
7. Eaton Place & Lühmanns Teestube
Finger sandwiches, scones, petits fours, a glass of bubbly and, of course, the teapot. That's what you'd expect if you were invited to take afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace – and that's what you can look forward to at Eaton Place in Ottensen. The cozy tearoom and cafe on Bahrenfelder Straße opened last year, and not only serves afternoon tea, high tea with live music and Jane Austen readings – they also have Hamburg's best scones. At least, that's what some people say. Others swear by Lühmanns Teestube in Blankenese. We suggest you try both addresses and decide whose scones you prefer!
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10:00-20:00
Getting Here: Overground train S1, S2 or S3 to Altona, then approx. 500 metres
Address: Bahrenfelder Straße 80-82, 22765 Hamburg
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 09:00-20:00, Sun 10:00-20:00
Getting Here: Overground train S1 or S11 to Blankenese, then approx. 5 minutes by foot
Address: Blankeneser Landstraße 29, 22587 Hamburg-Blankenese
Text: Renske Steen
Titelbild © Das AgenturHaus GmbH