“Cast off!” – Hamburg celebrates the world’s greatest port festival every May. The next festival  will take place from 5 to 8 May 2016. Find information and pictures and stay up to date.

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Harbour Birthday Hamburg

Current information on the 827th HAMBURG PORT ANNIvERSARY will be published in April 2016

Celebrations 2015

The HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY celebrations on the River Elbe from 8 to 10 May will bring the majesty of tall ships, and the luxury of cruise vessels. For three days in May every year, the City of Hamburg celebrates the birthday of its harbour with the world’s greatest port festival. Each year more than one million visitors from Germany and abroad come to this maritime feast of superlatives, to join in the excitement and atmosphere generated by the ships from all parts of the world and thrilling displays in the setting of the port in the heart of Hamburg.

Attractions from Kehrwiederspitze to Fish Auction Hall

The attractions of the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY extend from Kehrwiederspitze to the Fish Auction Hall and beyond, and this year they will include displays on land and in the water in HafenCity, Hamburg’s newest and most progressive urban district. A maritime programme designed to appeal to the whole family will also be held at the Heritage Harbour in the traditional warehouse district Speicherstadt and at the Oevelgönne Museum Harbour. That makes a total of some six kilometres along the waterfront, where the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY invites visitors to celebrate and to enjoy the events.

History back to 1189

The HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY dates back in legend to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who issued a charter to Hamburg merchants on 7 May 1189, granting freedom from customs duties for ships sailing the Elbe from Hamburg to the North Sea. This date has since then been considered the founding date of the Port of Hamburg, which is why the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY is celebrated at the weekend on or after 7 May each year. The 826th HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY will be held from 8 to 10 May 2015. 

Water programme

The heart of the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY is the “water programme” on the Elbe, to be seen from the Landing Stage (Landungsbrücken), the Oevelgönne Heritage Harbour and HafenCity. Every year more 300 vessels call in for the occasion, from all areas of maritime activity – including tall ships, traditional sailing boats and museum ships, naval vessels, cruise ships, powerboats and sailing yachts, and working boats of the fire services, fisheries protection, waterways police, Federal police, THW emergency services and customs. Traditional highlights are held before the atmospheric backdrop of ongoing port operations – they include the Grand Arrival and Departure Parades, the unique Tugboat Ballet on the Saturday, and the dozens of Open Ship opportunities for the public.

On shore programme and partner country

On shore there are more than 200 programme items, with music, cultural and culinary displays, giving a wide range of activities and fun for adults and children. The Festival Promenade has plenty of variety, with live acts, concerts, and special displays by the museums in the Speicherstadt. The traditional start to the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY is the international ecumenical opening service at St. Michael’s Church (affectionately known as “the Michel”). The big AIDA firework display late on the Saturday evening is a spectacular highlight, transforming the night sky over the Elbe into a dazzling sea of colour. Every year, a different country gets the opportunity to present itself as the partner country of the HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY, giving visitors an impression of its culture, cuisine and lifestyle. In 2015 the “NETHERLANDS Groningen Festival” will be held at Kehrwiederspitze in the Port of Hamburg. 


The Port of Hamburg

There are plenty of good reasons to celebrate the Port of Hamburg – it is by far Germany’s most important port, and one of the leading cargo handling centres anywhere in the world. It is the gateway to the markets in North, Central and Eastern Europe, a bridge between the continent of Europe and overseas markets, and one of the world’s major container ports. The Elbe waterfront is where the pulse of the city is at its most vibrant, with the new HafenCity district, the old Speicherstadt warehouse district, the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the Fish Market, and major musical theatres.


Festival Promenade (in german)
Friday 8 May 10:00 to 24:00
Saturday 9 May 10:00 to 24:00
Sunday 10 May 10:00 to 21:00

International ecumenical service (in german)
At the principal church St. Michaelis, Friday 8 May 15:00

Grand Arrival Parade (in german)
Friday 8 May 17:00

Tugboat Ballet (in german)
Saturday 9 May 17:00

Big AIDA Fireworks (in german)
Saturday 9 May 22:30

Grand Departure Parade (in german)
Sunday 10 May 15:30

Official Video




By S-Bahn: (S1 and S3) Station Landungsbrücken
By U-Bahn: (U3) Station Baumwall or Landungsbrücken. Once you arrive at the Landungsbrücken, you will be directly by the Harbour.

827th HAMBURG PORT ANNIVERSARY - Welcome aboard!
“Cast off!” – Hamburg celebrates the world’s greatest port festival every May. The next festival  will take place from 5 to 8 May 2016. Find information and pictures and stay up to date.
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