Placing 10th on a list of the most livable cities in the world certainly placed Hamburg on the map. Surely, now that the city is ‘trending’ foreigners will flock to the city in search of the new and exciting. Personally, I couldn’t agree more – and strongly recommend this amazing city for your next adventure.
To ease you into the lifestyle of the Hamburger, I’ve decided to prepare this little guide. Below, you will find the real secret behaviors and norms of the average Hamburger. These will help you easily disguise as a local during your stay in the city. Don’t worry, you’ll easily fit in (unless, like me, your strong Italian accent decides to betray you).
1. Say MOIN MOIN at any time of the day
Rule number 1: From now on forget about ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon,’ or ‘good evening.’ Here there is only one way to greet a person and it does not take into consideration which part of the day it is. Start saying moin moin at any point of the day. Believe me – this is the first rule to adopt. You’ll make the native Hamburger so proud!
2. Adopt the maritime look
This may sound ridiculous, but I can assure you that once you set foot in Hamburg you will notice that nothing is more fashionable than a striped t-shirt. Get over the denial phase and hurry on up to buy yourself one t-shirt…and then some more. It’s time to become a true maritime citizen.
3. If you’re an avid runner, get acquainted with the Alster
It doesn’t matter what part of the city you live in or at what pace you run. Somehow, you’ll magically end up running along the Alster – at the heart and soul of this amazing city. So tie your laces and enjoy the ride!
4. Declare your love for summer in HH, because summer is the best day of the year
Summer in HH could be a blast: The city blossoms, the sun kisses the Alster, joyous people ride and walk around the city wearing colorful clothing with flowery prints, ice-cream shops are finally packed, and there is an underlying feeling of happiness all around. The problem? At times, summer in HH only lasts a few days. It comes at unexpected moments (like in April or September), and sometimes not at all. My tip? When summer comes around, enjoy every single moment!
5. Be a BBQ addict
When the sun does decide to show, guess what a Hamburger’s favorite activity is? Walking through the city park on a Saturday afternoon will clearly answer that question, as you find yourself surrounded by intense smoky scents. Of course them Hamburgers love their barbeque! And you’ll become a true German when you learn to distinguish between the 10+ different types of sausages being served on the menu. Try it yourself!
6. Be extra-sporty at the Alster
The Alster is not only the perfect spot for a romantic promenade or a nice panoramic view during a powerful run; It is also a great place to be active and take part in a handful of activities. Germans are known to be dynamic and sporty and the Alster is the perfect place to be just that. Don’t be surprised to spot locals engaging in any water sport known to man on the Alster: from stand up paddling (SUP), to sailing, paddle boating, and kayaking. ”Winter is coming”? No problem. What’s better than going ice-skating on the Alster?
7. Stay up until 6 AM just to ring in the new day in the Fish Market
Boring night behind you? Doesn’t matter. There’s no way you’ll head home early on a Saturday night. If you are a true Hamburger you will wait patiently until 6 AM for the opening of the picturesque fish market. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to embrace the new day while happily dancing, singing and eating tasty fish Brotchen.
8. Admit that Franzbrotchen is the perfect substitute for any meal
Don’t be surprised if, upon your first visit to Hamburg, the aromatic scent of cinnamon strikes you everywhere. We may not be in Sweden, but we’re close enough. Here in HH, a classic sugar-and-cinnamon German pastry was created to give the typical Swedish cinnamon roll a run for its money.
A true Hamburger will find the Franzbrotchen an adequate substitute for any meal: It’s perfect for the start of your day, a sweet lunch break, or as an indulgent evening treat.
9. Pretend you’re at the Copacabana while lounging on the beach of the Elbe
Nothing is missing in this city, not even a beach. Whenever the weather forecasts announce a hint of sun, hundreds of citizens flock to the ferry en route to the beach. They yearn to revel in the sun and all its glory. Head over to to the Elbe to spot people slurping on coconuts, tossing around volleyballs, tanning beneath the sun, or swimming deep into the sea. The Copacabana has nothing over the Elbe. Mark my words.
10. Suffer from smelly-hands-syndrome due to daily consumption of fish broetchen
Fish lovers have no fear. Or shame. This city is home to a rich variety of fresh and smoked fish, and you must dare to try them all. Don’t be surprised though when your hands start smelling fishy. You’re a real Hamburger fisherman now!
11. Pregnant? Move to Eppendorf
If you ever get pregnant during your Hamburg stay, don’t you dare settle anywhere other than Eppendorf. This seems to be the trendy “it-place” for young and less than young couples expecting a bundle of joy. The MUST’s to live in this hood? A nice house, a spacious garden, bike parking, 2 dogs, and numerous little tots running around. Happy parenting!