Home' Rotary Down Under : September 2018 Contents HAMBURG
| 48 | ISSUE 609 SEPTEMBER 2018
Moin, moin is the traditional Hamburg way of saying
hello, and the city’s Rotarians are eager to greet you.
The Hamburg Host Organisation Committee (HOC),
chaired by Andreas von Möller and Holger Knaack,
has planned cultural events for every night of the
Convention to show you the many sides of Hamburg
and introduce you to local Rotarians. To learn more
and buy tickets, visit ric2019.rotary.de/en.
Hamburg Rotarians will host a welcome party for 2000
Convention-goers in the historic Hamburg Chamber of
Commerce building in the heart of the city.
The renowned National Youth Ballet, whose general
director, John Neumeier, is celebrating both his 80th
birthday and his 46th season with the State Opera
of Hamburg ballet company next year, will perform
for Convention-goers. (Balletomanes, take note: the
45th Hamburg Ballet Days begins shortly after the
Convention ends, on June 16.)
The HOC has reserved Hamburg’s show-stopping new
landmark, the Elbphilharmonie, for two performances
of classical music. Celebrated for its architecture
as well as its acoustics, the building also offers
breathtaking views of the city and its harbour.
Local clubs will organise host hospitality events.
Experience German Gastfreundschaft!
The HOC is also planning several free public events,
including a 14-day bicycle tour that will take some 200
riders from Austria through Germany to Hamburg.
Each day, the group will stop for an event to raise
awareness of polio.
Rotarians from around Hamburg can join the ride
for the final 20km, arriving at the Rathaus (city hall)
on the morning of Saturday, June 1. Riders need to
register in advance, but everyone is welcome to come
to the Rathaus square to celebrate the end of the ride.
One of the city’s major thoroughfares, meanwhile, will
feature booths presenting Rotary’s six Areas of Focus
to the public.
The architectural highlight of
HafenCity is already in place: the two-
year-old, 26-storey Elbphilharmonie
concert hall. (None of Hamburg’s
buildings rise taller than the city’s
principal church steeples.) The
building’s base, a repurposed brick
warehouse, gives way in dramatic
fashion to a glass superstructure that
evokes soaring waves. Its midlevel
terrace commands contrasting
perspectives that capture the city’s
ethos: in one direction, a view of
the Elbe and the giant cranes lining
the immense port; and in the other
direction, the city proper, with its
Rathaus (city hall) and the spires of
Saints Nikolai, Michaelis, Petri, Jacobi
“Hamburg is a very special city, a very
open city, and one of the most modern
cities in Germany, both architecturally
and in mindset,” says Holger.
This cosmopolitan outlook is a
consequence of 800 years of history as
a free port – and as not merely a city,
but an independent city-state. The city’s
official name, Freie und Hansestadt
Hamburg – the Free and Hanseatic
City of Hamburg – recalls Hamburg’s
membership in the Hanseatic League,
a confederation of northern European
cities that dominated trade on the
North and Baltic seas from about 1200
“We live from the port,” Andreas
adds. “That’s where Hamburg
breathes. It’s a gateway to the world.”
For a close encounter with the
towering cargo ships, Holger and
Andreas recommend one of the
harbour cruises that depart from the
Landungsbrücke, a floating dock in
the St. Pauli neighbourhood. The boat
takes us downriver as far as the suburb
of Övelgönne, where hillside villas
overlook a popular beach. We pass the
U-434, a Russian submarine that has
been converted into a museum, and
the Altona Fischmarkt. Heading back
upriver, we encounter vessels in drydock
and watch as massive ships are loaded
with as many as 20,000 containers.
In St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn – a
long thoroughfare where rope-makers
once stretched out their hemp – has
been home to sailors’ watering holes
for well over a century; in 1848 the
2019 Rotary Convention
Find out more about the 2019 Rotary Convention
(June 1-5) and register at riconvention.org.
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