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Hamburg: A Cultural and Literary History

It is a popular misconception that Hamburg is a coastal city. In fact, despite possessing Europe s second-busiest port, this 'amphibious city' lies some 65 miles from the North Sea. Its long-standing image as a 'city without culture' is also something of a myth. When the poet Heine remarked that in Hamburg 'the customs are English', he was referring to its no-nonsense mercantile ethos which dates back to the era of the Hanseatic League. Yet even in Heine s day the 'celebrated philistinism' of the city fathers was balanced by a tradition of private philanthropy: Hamburg has long been a city of culture as well as commerce. Although the traumas of twentieth-century German history are never far from the surface, Hamburg has become an attractive city full of colour and contrast. With a population of nearly two million it is one of the largest cities in the European Union not to enjoy the status of a national capital. Above all, as Germany s gateway to the world , it is a cosmopolitan city, whose culture has been shaped by those passing through as much as by those who stayed. Matthew Jefferies explores a city-state boasting the highest per capita GDP in Germany, but where ostentatious displays of wealth are shunned; a place synonymous with fast food and beer, in which fine dining and luxury shopping abound; a city without palaces, castles or cathedrals, yet bursting with monuments and memorials. With nearly eight million overnight visitors each year, Hamburg is fast becoming one of Europe's most popular city-break destinations: it is a city well worth getting to know. CITY OF WATER AND FIRE: the Elbe, the Alster, and more bridges (around 2,500) than Venice and Amsterdam combined; a city devastated by the 'Great Fire' of 1842 and the Allied 'firestorm' of July 1943, but twice rebuilt anew. CITY OF BRICK AND NEON: the Speicherstadt 'warehouse city'; Fritz Hoger's expressionist Chilehaus; and Fritz Schumacher's vision of a 'liveable metropolis'; St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn an

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Hamburg (166)


Hamburg (182)


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