Traditionally known as Germany’s ‘Tor zur Welt’, or gateway to the world, Hamburg has long been one of Europe’s largest port cities – and has the maritime heritage to match. Groups can tap into the destination’s past by staging an event at Schuppen 52, a handsomely restored quay shed on the waterfront. The warehouse is easily reached from the city centre and can accommodate up to 3,000 people, making it one of the most sizeable venues in Hamburg.
There’s history of another kind at the Hamburg & Germania Rowing Club, positioned on the banks of the Outer Alster Lake and standing as the second oldest rowing club in the world. Its selling points as an event venue include a large lake-facing balcony and the fact that it can organise teambuilding activities on the water. It opened to meeting and incentive groups in summer 2016.
Another period building with a contemporary facelift comes in the form of the canal-side Sir Nikolai Hotel, a former wharf building reinvented as a 94-room luxury hotel and set to open imminently. Elsewhere, mention also has to go to Hamburg Messe, the city’s long-established mega-venue, which will host the G20 Summit in July of this year.
Grabbing headlines this year has been the eye-catching Elbphilharmonie, inaugurated in January overlooking the River Elbe. The building has been designed to resemble a rolling wave, its multi-pointed glass fac¸ade constructed on top of an old warehouse from more than 2,000 individual panes. Nominally a concert venue, its Grand Hall can seat 2,100, with a further space, the Recital Hall, able to welcome 500.
Part of the same landmark development is the new Westin Hamburg, a 244-room, five-star property which opened in November last year. Features include eight function spaces, the largest of which can take 180 theatre-style, and the Elb Spa, with a 20-metre pool and six treatment rooms.
Later this year, sees the autumn opening of The Fontenay, a 131-room hotel overlooking the Outer Alster Lake. Its contemporary design is the work of Hamburg-born architect Jan Sto¨rmer, and the property will have theatre-style function space for up to 120, as well as four bars and restaurants and a 1,000m2 spa.
Looking further ahead, the renovated Congress Center Hamburg is due to reopen in 2019. Its 12,000m2 of exhibition area and up to 50 event halls will make it the largest venue of its kind in Germany.
Hamburg has always had a wild side, an image bolstered by the notoriety of the Reeperbahn and the Beatles residency here in the 1960s. The Klubhaus collection of bars, restaurants and clubs gives groups the chance to experience the city’s St Pauli nightlife district for themselves. The venues in question are far from seedy – local company Nordic Broadway can help stage events everywhere from the St Pauli Theater to the East Hotel Hamburg.
For something completely different, meanwhile, one Hamburg venue giving delegates a taste of the destination – literally – is Chocoversum. The chocolate-themed attraction can take groups through the entire manufacturing process, from cocoa beans to finished product, allowing them to customise their own chocolate bars as souvenirs.
Continuing the sensory theme is the nearby Spicy’s Spice Museum, which draws on Hamburg’s centuries of world trade by showcasing raw spices and herbs – its wine cellar doubles as an event space. Also in the district, and ramping the quirky factor up to the max, is Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model railway exhibition.
Groups who prefer their transport super-sized, meanwhile, can arrange a guided tour of the Airbus Factory, looking close up at the production and assembly of the company’s fleet.
Hamburg Convention Bureau
CONTACT Florian Gerdes, marketing manager conventions
TEL +49 40 300 51 652