Since its origins as a moated castle between the Alster and Elber rivers, the “free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg” has embraced seafaring commerce. The early merchants’ wealth and power is evidenced in the majestic, late Gothic Renaissance Rathaus (City Hall) and in the nicely restored half-timbered merchant houses along Delchstrasse. They stand in sharp contrast to the narrow alley quarters of the “Krameramtsstuben” district. The Planten un Blomen (Botanical Garden) is in the heart of the city and is quite spectacular. The city has grown considerably since World War II with a population now totaling 1.8 million, making it Germany’s second largest city and eighth largest in the European Union, with a total population of about 5 million in the metropolitan region.
“Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, [Hamburg] was a fully soverign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Henseaten. Hamburg is a transport hub, being the 2nd largest port in Europe [after Rotterdam], and is an affluent city in Europe. It has become a media and industrial centre, with plants and facilities belonging to Airbus, Blohm+ Voss and Aurubis. The radio and television broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk and publishers such as Gruner + Jahr and Spiegel-Verlag are pillars of the important media industry in Hamburg. Hamburg has been an important financial centre for centuries, and is the seat of the world’s second oldest bank, Berenberg Bank. The city is a notable tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors; it ranked 16th in the world for livability in 2015.” – Wikipedia
One day a small group of us had the opportunity to visit the Airbus manufacturing and assembly plant outside of the city of Hamburg for a tour of the manufacturing and assembly plants. The German Headquarters employs approximately 13,000 workers. The facility is very modern and assembles the Airbus 320 family aircraft (models 318, 319, 320, and 321) along with the manufacture of two sections of the fuselage of the jumbo, double-decked Airbus 380 (the largest planes in the world), which are shipped for assembly to Toulouse, France. It is interesting that the fully assembled A-380s are then flown (under their own power) back to Hamburg where they undergo final testing and then the aircraft exteriors are painted and the planes delivered to customers. Due to strict security (we each had to bring our passports and go through a screening), no photographs were permitted to be taken at the facility. 😦