Dear Consul-General Quelle,
Dear Professor Achilles,
Dear Mr Lichtenfeld,
Dear friends of the Hamburg-Chicago Friendship Committee,
It is my distinct pleasure to be here today in Hamburg´s sister city Chicago and I am proud to say that I chose Chicago as first sister city to visit after I entered the Mayor´s office in March this year.
The United States of America have always played a prominent role within Hamburg´s foreign affairs.
As an international trading city with the third largest container port in Europe, Hamburg has ties all over the world. Among these, our transatlantic partnership has always been of special importance to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. We can proudly look back on a very intense and successful relationship with the United States.
But it is not only through economic relations that Hamburg and the United States are closely connected, there is also a strong historical tie.
In the 19th century America was the destination of many migrants who left Europe via the Port of Hamburg in search of a better life.
The Emigration Museum BallinStadt in Hamburg tells the story of their lives and the hardships people had to endure until they finally arrived in the New World.
Until today the triangle between Cincinnati, St. Lewis and Milwaukee has a strong German ìnfluence.
Many of Chicago's citizens are of German origin and many come back to Hamburg in search of their ancestor’s roots. What they find on the other side of the Atlantic is a thriving city that has managed to keep its historical characteristics and has still become a modern and very green metropolis with a high standard of living.
The Alster Lake in the heart of our city, many parks, the growing HafenCity and the Elbphilharmonic, which opened in 2017, are just a few of the Highlights which Hamburg has to offer.
Many of your fellow citizens visit Hamburg by cruise ship and let me assure you: the view of Hamburg when you enter the harbor onboard a cruise ship is a sight you won’t forget.
Chicago and Hamburg have a lot in common. Both are located by the water, both are very green cities with a rich cultural life, and yet, both are driven by the heartbeat of their strong economies.
What began as trade cooperation has long ago become a partnership and - last but not least – a close friendship.
The strong sister city bond that we established in 1994 is a symbol of our enduring relationship.
With great support from our HamburgAmbassadors Professor Achilles and Mr Lichtenfeld, the Hamburg-Chicago-Friendship Committee and the support of both city governments, we are constantly expanding the fields of our cooperation and exchange.
And let me assure you: especially in times when federal governments don´t agree on big political issues like free trade and international politics, the importance of sister city partnerships these days cannot be overstated.
It is of great value to us to keep the transatlantic partnership stable and to help navigate our countries through difficult political times.
Dear friends of the Hamburg-Chicago-Partnership, on behalf of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg I would like to thank you for your personal commitment in fostering the transatlantic friendship and the sister city partnership between our beautiful cities.
Thank you for your attention.