Officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg; German: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg; Low German/Low Saxon: Friee un Hansestadt Hamborg) is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million, after the capital Berlin.
One of Germany’s 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south. The city’s metropolitan region is home to more than five million people. Hamburg lies on the River Elbe and two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille.
Hamburg is Europe’s third-largest port. Major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city. Hamburg is the seat of Germany’s oldest stock exchange and the world’s oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial, logistical, and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis, Beiersdorf, and Unilever.
The city is a major international and domestic tourist destination. It ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016. The Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015. Hamburg is also known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli‘s Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb), influenced by its proximity to the coast and marine air masses that originate over the Atlantic Ocean. The location north of Germany provides extremes greater than typically marine climates, but definitely in the category due to the mastery of the western standards. Nearby wetlands also enjoy a maritime temperate climate. The warmest months are June, July, and August, with high temperatures of 20.1 to 22.5 °C (68.2 to 72.5 °F). The coldest are December, January, and February, with low temperatures of −0.3 to 1.0 °C (31.5 to 33.8 °F).
Like elsewhere in Germany, Standard German is spoken in Hamburg, but as typical for northern Germany, the original language of Hamburg is Low German, usually referred to as Hamborger Platt (German Hamburger Platt) or Hamborgsch..
The most significant economic unit is the Port of Hamburg, which ranks third to Rotterdam and Antwerpen in Europe and 17th-largest worldwide with transshipments of 8.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of cargo and 138.2 million tons of goods in 2016. International trade is also the reason for the large number of consulates in the city. Although situated 68 miles (110 km) up the Elbe, it is considered a sea port due to its ability to handle large ocean-going vessels.
In 2017, more than 6,783,000 visitors with 13,822,000 overnight stays visited the city. The tourism sector employs more than 175,000 people full-time and brings in revenue of almost €9 billion, making the tourism industry a major economic force in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Hamburg has one of the fastest-growing tourism industries in Germany. From 2001 to 2007, the overnight stays in the city increased by 55.2% (Berlin +52.7%, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern +33%).
A typical Hamburg visit includes a tour of the city hall and the grand church St. Michaelis (called the Michel), and visiting the old warehouse district (Speicherstadt) and the harbour promenade (Landungsbrücken). Sightseeing buses connect these points of interest. As Hamburg is one of the world’s largest harbours many visitors take one of the harbour and/or canal boat tours (Große Hafenrundfahrt, Fleetfahrt) which start from the Landungsbrücken. Major destinations also include museums.