Hamburg port is celebrating its 828th birthday with its spectacular annual Maritime Festival, which takes place Friday 5th to Sunday 7th of May and will see over 300 craft from all over the world take part in the event. See all the photos from these year's celebrations

Situated on the famous river Elbe and the second largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg’s port is the most important in the country and the city celebrates its birthday every May, with a magnificent Maritime Festival.

The festival takes place in the Hafencity, Speicherstadt and Övelgönne areas of Hamburg, all by the port and the Elbe beaches.

The Hamburger Hafen celebrates its 828th birthday this year and there are big and bold celebrations in store, starting with the traditional international ecumenical service at St Michaelis Church followed by the jewel of the crown: the Grand Arrival Parade, which will see many ships, naval vessels, sailing and motor yachts, historic ships and steamships from all over the world make a grand entrance.

view of hamburg from the river

The three day celebrations kick off on Friday 7 May and culminate with the Grand Departure Parade on Sunday.

There will be plenty of entertainment all weekend for everybody, with food stalls, concerts, boat guided tours, Museum Harbour tours, talks, excursions, guided tours, regattas, bike tours of the area, a funfair, the LGBT Harbour Pride PortGayversary, the spectacular AIDA fireworks display on Saturday, and of course the chance to hop onto boats for a tour.

See all the pictures below

ship sailing


Key facts about Hamburg and the Maritime Festival:

  • Hamburg Maritime Festival is one of the biggest in the world and it attracts 1.5 million visitors each year
  • More than 300 ships from all over the world take part
  • There are over 200 events during the festival, with the Tugboat Ballet and dragon boat races being two of the highlights
  • This year the festival takes place between Friday 5 of May until Sunday 7 and it’s the 828th birthday of the port of Hamburg
  • The Festival Promenade will feature 350 food stands, amusement rides and free live music raging from rock and pop to sea shanties and world music
  • In 1189 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa 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. Since then, this date has been considered the founding date of the Port of Hamburg, which is why the port’s birthday is celebrated around the 7th of May with this magnificent festival
  • There are more bridges in Hamburg – over 2300 – than in Venice and Amsterdam combined!
  • The Tierpark Hagenbeck Zoo in the city is the first zoo with open enclosures
  • There is not one but two lakes where visitors can enjoy a variety of watersports
  • The port of Hamburg is the second largest in Europe after Rotterdam
  • The Beatles famously played in the city between 1960 to 1962, just before they became global stars and of course you can take the Beatles tour in Hamburg!

The Hamburg Maritime Festival is a must-see for boating enthusiasts. The city is a short hop away from the UK with plenty of daily flights. Click here for more information on the festival.

ships with elbe opera house in the background

The newly open concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, adds much to the beautiful port views

YBW will be attending this year’s celebrations so make sure you to check our pictures from the festival on Instagram, on Facebook and on Twitter.

ships on river elbe

There are plenty of ships on display to celebrate the port’s 828th birthday

If you don’t get the chance to attend the festival this year, the city of Hamburg will come to the UK in October with all the best the city has to offer packed into a two-day event in Brick Lane, London. For more information visit the official website.

Make sure you check this page again over the weekend for more images of this stunning event.