Welcome to Hamburg, Germany’s 2nd largest city with nearly 1.8 million inhabitants. Many of them call it “Die schönste Stadt der Welt” (the most beautiful city in the world) or “Perle” (pearl) after a famous song by local singer songwriter Lotto King Karl.
There are many reasons why Hamburg is beloved by its citizens. In a 2015 survey it was voted the country’s most desirable city to live in, mainly because it was perceived as being the friendliest. The city is, indeed, famous for its tolerance and open-mindedness – symbolized by the gate in its crest, which has earned it the title “Tor zur Welt” (gateway to the world).
Another reason for Hamburg’s popularity is that it is a manageable and cozy despite its many residents. Its center and its most important neighborhoods (“Kieze”) can still be explored on foot and the remainder can easily be reached using one of the ubiquitous bicycles or the outstanding public transportation system. The fact that about 15% of the city is made up of parks enhances Hamburg’s attractiveness even further. Two of the most beautiful ones, the “Botanischer Garten” (botanical gardens) and the “Jenischpark” happen to be very close to the International School of Hamburg, which is located in a particularly green area next to a idyllic pond, the “Ziegeleiteich”. Both its greenery and its many green initiatives earned Hamburg the title “European Green Capital” in 2011.
Like Stockholm, Gdansk or Riga, Hamburg has a distinctive Nordic and maritime flair. Unsurprisingly so, because the North Sea is only 2 hours by car away and the Baltic Sea half of that. Not least, the rivers Elbe and Alster run right through Hamburg with the result that it boasts more bridges than Venice. Before flowing into the Elbe, the Alster creates two lakes, an inner one (Binnenalster) and an outer one (Außenalster). These lakes and the surrounding parks serve as important recreational areas in the heart of the city.
In addition to its natural sights Hamburg offers many picturesque areas and building of special interest such as the Rathaus - which is at its most impressive during the traditional “Weihnachtsmarkt” (Christmas market), Hamburg’s signature St. Michaelis church (affectionately referred to as the “Michel”), the ”Speicherstadt” (Warehouse District) – an impressive World Cultural Heritage Site, and the “Elbphilharmonie” (Elbe Philharmonic Hall) – Hamburg’s new and rather controversial landmark.
Hamburg is not only a beautiful city but also a vibrant commercial center, home to the second-busiest port in Europe and to many highly specialised industries including medical, biotech, video games and aircraft construction. Half of Germany’s newspapers and magazines are published here. In conducting its business, access to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are not the only locational advantages: A mere 2 hours by car separate Hamburg from Denmark and the capital... Great news for those who like venturing out!
Yet there is little incentive to go elsewhere since Hamburg features many fine theatres, museums, galleries and restaurants. At least 3 cinemas - Savoy, Zeise and Abaton - regularly show movies in English. The English Theatre was established in 1976 and is the oldest English speaking theatre in Germany. Music lovers can enjoy performances at the Hamburg State opera or visit one of the custom-built performance halls dedicated to contemporary musicals such as “König der Löwen” (The Lion King) or “Das Wunder von Bern” (The Miracle of Bern). Hamburg is also home to many international sporting events, including Hamburg Marathon, Vattenfall Cyclassics, Tennis Tournament at Rothenbaum and Deutsches Derby, Germany’s equivalent of the famous Epsom Derby. Lastly, Hamburg SV and FC St. Pauli are two of the most popular football teams in the country.
Hamburg is a very family orientated city and it is a safe and calm environment to settle with a family. Do not worry if you cannot speak German: English is a mandatory subject in German schools and is therefore spoken nearly everywhere. There are also plenty of local English-speaking communities (e.g. AngloInfo, Internations etc.) and foreign clubs (e.g. Anglo-German Club, British Club) so staying in touch with your fellow countrymen will be easy even outside the school community.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to Hamburg soon!