After two festivals in 2020 and 2021 that were canceled due to corona and a slimmed-down version last autumn, Hamburg now wants to get off to a flying start again at the 834th port birthday this weekend.

For Economics Senator Melanie Leonhard (SPD), at least, the port birthday in Hamburg is “a very special celebration for us as a whole city”. This not only applies because the port is the economic center of the Hanseatic city, but also because it is “our gateway to the world”. For the first time since 2019, more than a million guests are expected at the festival from Friday to Sunday. This year’s partner country is South Korea again.

What are the ships to see?

According to harbor captain Simon Rosenkranz, the guests should definitely not miss the arrival and departure parades of the largest harbor festival in the world. Around 250 watercraft are expected, from small sports boats to historic sailors, the most modern emergency vehicles and naval ships such as the frigate “Hamburg” to majestic tall ships such as the “Alexander von Humboldt II” and the Polish sailing training ship “Dar Mlodziezy”.

The 4-masted steel barque “Peking”, which is permanently moored in Hamburg, is also part of the port anniversary. In addition, eight cruise ships visit the Hanseatic city.

What attractions are there on the water?

The biggest highlight is the tractor ballet on Saturday afternoon. Harbor tugboats with several thousand horsepower sway and turn around their own axis in front of the Landungsbr├╝cken, strictly choreographed to the sounds of waltzes and well-known melodies from classical, pop and film music.

For the first time, the tractor ballet will be accompanied on a floating stage by dancers from the Federal Youth Ballet, founded by Hamburg honorary citizen John Neumeier. In addition, there are show trips, water ski demonstrations and spectacular rescue exercises on the Elbe with three helicopters at the harbor birthday.

What’s on offer on land?

Between the fish auction hall and the Elbphilharmonie, as well as in the warehouse district and various ports, numerous ships can be visited and inspected throughout the weekend. The free program, which is freely accessible everywhere, includes several open-air stages with many concerts from jazz to reggae, free broadcasts of the best concert recordings are planned at the Elbphilharmonie. A special attraction is the traditional fireworks display on Saturday evening at 10.30 p.m., which this time will be accompanied by harbor barges on the Elbe.

What is the partnership with South Korea all about?

At the 816th port anniversary in 2005 – at that time South Korea was also a partner country – Hamburg and the port city of Busan sealed a partnership for the first time and renewed it in 2015. Since 2009 there has also been a parliamentary sponsorship between the Hamburg Parliament and the Busan City Council and since 2010 a partner city of the respective ports.

In the same year, the former Magdeburger Bridge on Korea-Strasse in HafenCity was renamed “Busanbr├╝cke”. Today, Hamburg’s Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) and Busan’s Mayor Park Heong-joon want to sign a declaration of intent on closer cooperation. In concrete terms, the focus should be on climate protection and the digitization of ports, among other things. According to the Senate, around 50 Korean companies and around 1,200 Korean citizens have settled in Hamburg.

What does Busan offer at the 834th Port Birthday?

According to the Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Ki-hong Jung, Busan is for Korea like Hamburg is for Germany. Like Hamburg, Busan is the second largest city in the country, has the world’s seventh largest port and is a magnet for tourists.

At the harbor birthday, South Korea is showing Taekwondo demonstrations, dances and concerts at the Kehrwiederspitze not far from the Elbphilharmonie, with Consul General Ki-hong pointing out the currently globally successful K-Pop, which in Hamburg features a dance performance and a DJ Event will be appreciated. In addition, he promised “100 percent enjoyment” with the Korean food offered.

And the weather?

The German Weather Service (DWD) expects rain, moderate to fresh wind and temperatures of a maximum of 16 degrees on Friday. Saturday also started overcast and rainy, but over the course of the day the rain moved east and it loosened up a bit with temperatures of up to 13 degrees.