This post was last updated on January 28th, 2019
History of the Speicherstadt
Hamburg joined the German Empire in 1871, but it would take another 17 years for the city to become part of the customs territory. In order to facilitate the transportation of goods, such as tea, coffee, carpets, and spices to and from Hamburg, a warehouse complex needed to be built to store these goods somewhere central with access to the port. Not long after that, Hamburg became got its free port which meant that it was not necessary to pay customs for transporting goods.
The chosen area was already inhabited by more than 20,000 people, mainly poor workers, who had to be relocated, and whose more than 1,000 residential buildings had to be torn down.
Construction began in 1883 and was completed in 1927. All buildings were built on oak logs.
During World War II, half of the buildings in the Speicherstadt were destroyed. They were rebuilt, and the Speicherstadt, as we know it today, was completed in 1967.
What to Do in the Speicherstadt?
For more technically inclined people there is a car museum, and if you are interested in the lives of blind people you should get tickets to “Dialogue in the Dark” where blind people guide you through an exhibition which simulates everyday situations.
For another perspective on the Speicherstadt, you can go on a boat trip through Hamburg’s waterways which will lead you through the canals of the Speicherstadt as well. It’s a great idea to explore this district by foot and boat alike to get an idea how goods were stored.
You should also make it a point to see the Speicherstadt by night when it is illuminated and looks even more stunning than during the day.
The Speicherstadt is centrally located and can be reached at several metro stops (U1: Messberg, U3: Baumwall, U4: Ueberseequartier) or by buses 6 or 111.
Have you been to the Speicherstadt? What’s your favorite sight in Hamburg?