Waterfront living meets international influence in the port city of Hamburg. Germany’s ‘Venice of the North’ boasts more bridges than Amsterdam, London and Venice combined; nearly 2,500 in total. The city is at once resilient and elegant, with over 1,200 years of history showcased in its diverse architectural styles. As a result, a tour of properties in Hamburg provides market insights into the city’s past, present and future.
The past: the Altstadt
Hamburg’s vast history is laid bare in the Merchant’s District, with its panoply of architectural styles. A casual stroll through the Altstadt reveals everything from the sturdy 9th-century Hammaburg Palace to the imposing baroque clock tower and copper roof of St. Michael’s Church, which are in turn juxtaposed against glass-and-steel skyscrapers. A traditional Hamburg property in this district may feature original period detailing like oak beams and stone accent walls.
The city’s famed ‘klinker’ red-brick, 19th-century buildings are a dominant feature along the waterfront here, particularly in the Speicherstadt warehouse district. Awarded monument protection status in 1991, the Speicherstadt’s mixed-use warehouses are criss-crossed by narrow canals and steel bridges. Around 60 fashion industry tenants now occupy these luminous loft-style spaces, including the likes of Barbour and BRAX.
The present: Rotherbaum
The leafy Rotherbaum quarter occupies the western shore of the Alster, punctuated by neoclassical mansions and the painted townhouses favoured by the city’s young professionals. Home to the University of Hamburg and the trendy Pöseldorf area, Rotherbaum offers a youthful, modern buzz in the heart of the city. Its contemporary apartments are interspersed with upmarket fashion boutiques – designers Wolfgang Joop and Jil Sander launched their careers here.
Rotherbaum’s head-turning art nouveau facades house sleek, minimalist interiors. A prime example is the luxury Apartimentum development, offering forward-thinking modern technology in a building constructed in 1908. Designed by Lars Hinrichs, this Hamburg property unit comprises 20 airy apartments fully updated with the latest smart home technology, including LTE lighting and enamelled steel fixtures. Residents control light, sound and water features at the swipe of a smartphone, for an elegant marriage of aesthetics and convenience.
The future: HafenCity
Perhaps one of the most exciting Hamburg property development at the moment is HafenCity, currently under construction. When completed, it will dominate the city’s harbour zone as Europe’s largest inner-city waterfront quarter. The scheme will also increase the size of Hamburg’s city centre by 40%, with the project occupying 157 hectares of mixed-use space and providing housing for 12,000 residents by 2025. Just under one kilometre from Hamburg’s town hall, HafenCity is centrally located with sweeping views of the river Elbe.
A number of apartment blocks have already been completed, including the Marco Polo Tower with its organic contours, underground parking, concierge service and multiple terraces. HafenCity’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall has swiftly become one of the city’s foremost landmarks, and it happens to also hold 15 floors of ultra-exclusive luxury apartments. The masterwork of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, the Elbphilharmonie residences provide views over the city and water from its spectacular harbour setting.
The developments in HafenCity sit poised to launch Hamburg into the spotlight as a property hotspot to rival Berlin over the next decade. Whether you’re in the market for a neoclassical lakeside villa or refurbished red-brick warehouse loft, view our market insights and properties in Hamburg here.