Celebrate the 833rd Hamburg Port Anniversary

Every year over one million people embark for the shores of the Elbe to celebrate Hamburg’s Hafengeburtstag (‘harbor birthday’), the anniversary of the city’s port. 

hamburg harbor

Legend has it that Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa granted Hamburg a tax exemption on 7 May 1189, a decision that helped the city grow in prosperity as the port became the third largest in Europe. Due to the covid-19-related situation earlier this year the Hamburg Port Anniversary did not take place in May, but it was rescheduled to be held from 16–18 September 2022 instead.

Against the stunning backdrop of the Speicherstadt warehouse district, the magnificent Elbphilharmonie concert hall and the iconic Landungsbrücken piers, the yearly Port Anniversary is a whole weekend of fun and events for locals and visitors of all ages. 

Highlights traditionally include the arrival of 300 sea vessels (including historic ships, traditional sailing yachts and cruise ships), the yearly Tugboat Ballet and a spectacular firework show. Along the harbour front, visitors can enjoy culinary delights and live music performances on numerous stages.

The program

Every year over 200 individual events, both on and off the Elbe river, make up Hamburg’s annual Port Anniversary in celebration of the harbour’s birthday. Of all the fun activities for young and old, the maritime presentations on the Elbe are probably the most unique. Highlights include the Grand Arrival Parade, the Tugboat Ballet and the AIDA fireworks show.

Other maritime events at the yearly Hafengeburtstag include water parades with motor yachts, steamships and heritage sailing ships, staged sea-rescue missions and sporting events like sailing regattas, water skiing and dragon boat races. Water authorities like the Waterways Police, Customs, the Federal Police, the DGzRS lifesaving service and the Fisheries Protection Authority also present their fleets.

During the 833rd Hafengeburtstag Hamburg the main attraction on water will be AIDAprima. On Saturday evening, September 17, the ship will provide an opulent color painting in the heart of the Hanseatic city as the focal point of the impressive light show ‘Hamburgs Lichtermeer’ presented by AIDA Cruises.

The 833rd Hamburg Port anniversary takes place from 16–18 September 2022. The following port anniversaries will be 5–7 May 2023 and 9–12 May 2024.

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