Monday, April 29, 2013

Urban hiking: Lake, river, canal and harbor walks through Hamburg

Binnenalster with TV Tower (Fernsehturm), Hamburg, northern Germany
Inner Alster Lake (Binnenalster) with TV broadcasting tower (Fernsehturm)

Art Museum of Hamburg, Germany
Hamburger Kunsthalle 
(Art exhibition hall)
The city of Hamburg in northern Germany has the perfect cityscape for urban hikes. The Alster Lakes (Binnenalster and Außenalster), the Alsterfleet canal with its arcade hallway and the historic Ellerntorsbrücke  over the Herren-grabenfleet in downtown Hamburg are all within short-hike reach from the Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof). The HafenCity and the historic warehouse district (Speicherstadt) with its elevated walkways between imposing red-brick buildings also are nearby. Wherever you hike to, you will find an area subway station to catch a train that takes you back to the central station or other places of interest.

In case you like to top your outdoor strolls, walks or hikes with museum visits, a sculpture hunt or spray-paint exploration, here are a few selected suggestions:
Hamburg is always good for surprises and always worth visiting—all year round.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Elevated walkways in Hamburg's Speicherstadt

Pedestrian bridge into Hamburg's warehouse district, the Speicherstadt

Elevated walkway in Hamburg's SpeicherstadtThe historic warehouse district (Speicherstadt) of Hamburg, northern Germany, is an architectural cluster of brownish-red brick buildings between the Binnenhafen and Norderelbe. The photography above shows the bridge, called Fußgängerbrücke Kehrwiedersteg, which connects pedestrians, coming from downtown, with the harbor district. A network of near-sea-level roads and elevated pedestrian walkways take visitors and locals through the warehouse canyons and beyond: for example, to the construction site of the new river-front philharmonic auditorium, the Elbphilharmonie, also elevated and rising—with its shiny-glass-waved facades—above the old world of bricks.

Being elevated in Hamburg's HafenCity is not just a matter of prestige or better vistas, it will be a matter of safety and survival during flooding. According to an informative panel next to the Kehrwiedersteg in front of the main dyke line, flooding risk is highest during the so-called storm tide season from the middle of September until the end of March. Warnings will be issued by district authorities, if a storm tide is expected. During all other times, you can immerse yourself into the full experience of the ghostly, yet vividly awake Speicherstadt with all its warehouses; some still used as storehouses, but many of them restored and turned into office space, shops, restaurants, museums, theaters and other attractions. Then and now, the breeze of the world is wavering through this otherworldly neighborhood.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

On the sculpture trail: Hermann Hahn's young horseman next to Hamburg's prestigious museum of art

“Der junge Reiter” statue of 1908 by Hermann Hahn, located next to the Kunsthalle Hamburg
The “Der junge Reiter” (the young rider or horseman) statue of 1908 by Hermann Hahn (1868-1945) is located next to the Kunsthalle Hamburg, which owns the sculpture—according to the imprinted text at its pedestal. The statue shares this public space at the rotunda-side of the museum with Bernhard Luginbühl's steel sculpture Kleiner Zyklop (Small Cyclops). The Reiter sculpture makes its impression on visitors during day and at night [1,2].

Intersection of "An der Kunsthalle" and "Ernst-Merck-Straße" with "Der junge Reiter" statue by Hermann HahnThe German artist and sculptor Hermann Hahn is known for his realistic portrait sculptures. Hahn became a representative of neo-classicism. His portrait statues and monuments can be found in various cities including Hamburg, Bremen, Weimar, Munich and Chicago [3].

References and more to explore
[1]Wikimedia Commons: Sculpture Der junge Reiter by Hermann Hahn, Hamburg 1908 [].
[2] Geolocation: Statue by Hernamm Hahn in front of the Hamburger Kunstahalle at night []
[3] Artfact: Herman Hahn Biography [].

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On the sculpture trail: Bernhard Luginbühl's Kleiner Zyklop next to Hamburg's prestigious museum of art

Kleiner Zyklop (Small Cyclops), 1967, Bernhard Luginbühl
The steel sculpture Kleiner Zyklop (Small Cyclops) is located at the intersection of An der Kunsthalle and Ernst-Merck-Straße, next to the Kunsthalle Hamburg (literally: Hamburg's hall of art) [1,2]. This public space is a very short walk away from the Heidi Kabel bronze statue: just follow the road named Heidi-Kabel-Platz and turn left on Ernst-Merck-Straße. Cross all the railroad tracks by taking the right side of the bridge. Then, you can't miss the rusty-red industrial-looking sculpture next to the rotunda of the museum.

The Small Cyclops of 1967 is an art work of the Swiss sculptor Bernhard Luginbühl (1929-2011). He has been nicknamed the “Ironman” (der Eisenmann), since he started metal sculpturing in the 1950s [3]. His sculptures can be found in European cities as well as small towns; including Hamburg, Oldenburg, Zürich, Bern and Muttenz [4,5].

References and more to explore
[1] Panoramio: Kleiner Zyklop [].
[2] Daily Photo Stream: Kleiner Zyklop [].
[3] TagesAnzeiger: Bernhard Luginbühl: Der Eisenmann wird 80 []
[4] Berner Zeitung: Luginbühl hat als Eisenplastiker ein unverwechselbares Werk geschaffen. [].
[5] Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz: Luginbühl, Berhard [].

Sunday, April 7, 2013

On the sculpture trail: Claas Störtebeker bronze statue in Hamburg's HafenCity

Sculpture of handcuffed Claas Störtebecker (HafenCity, Hamburg)

Claas Störtebecker sculpture by Hans-Jörg Wagner, HafenCity, Hamburg, Germany Between 1390 and 1624 over six hundred sea pirates were executed by forces of the allied port cities in northern Europe, whose trading activities were frequently disturbed by robbery at sea. The symbol figure of sea piracy is Claas Störtebeker (also named Klaus Störtebeker and Nikolaus Storzenbecher). However, it is not known for sure if he really existed or was simply thought up to project all evil onto one central figure. The name “Störtebeker” means “a person gulping down [bucket-size] cups,” thus referring to somebody used to heavy drinking. Various tales about his unruliness are told until these days [1]. 

Now he stands handcuffed in the harbor district of Hamburg near the International Maritime Museum Hamburg (IMMH). The bronze sculpture by Hansjörg Wagner was erected in 1982 [2]. The artist, painter and sculptor Wagner was born in 1930 in Berlin and lives in Munich since 1951. He is a member of the National Sculpture Society in New York and a honorary member of the Accademia delle Muse, Florence, Italy. Humans, animals, nature and architecture are common themes in his work [3,4].

Störtebeker—or whoever he wasand many of his companions are said to be beheaded on the Grasbrook Island in Hamburg in 1401. Some may have survived (for some time) by being granted their lives if beheaded Störtebeker was still able to reach or pass themdeath row medivial-style.

If you are looking for the sweeter side of life, you should visit another bronze statue: folk stage actress Heidi Kabel is smiling at you at Heidi-Kabel-Platz next to the Central Train Station.

Keywords: sea piracy, punishment, beheading, history, Middle Ages, North Sea, Hanse.

References and more to explore
[1] Edith Oppens: Hamburg. Prestel-Verlag, München, 1981; pp. 84-87.
[2] Klaus Störtebeker - Statue [].
[3] Artist's biographies: Hans-Jörg Wagner [].
[4] Der Künstler Hans-Jörg Wagner [].

Saturday, April 6, 2013

On the sculpture trail: Heidi Kabel bronze statue in Hamburg

Bronze stature in memory of Hamburg's actress and musician Heidi Kabel

Heidi Bertha Auguste Kabel (1914-2010) was an admired German stage actress and musician ranking high in popularity within the folk theater scene and its audience. On stage and through television shows she became a legend due to her charming Low German dialect (Niederdeutsch, Plattdeutsch, Hamburger Platt), entertaining humor and slapstick performances as well as her socially engaging you-and-me presence—on and off stage. Between 1954 and 1998 she hit the spotlight in more than 250 plays—many of them performed in Hamburg's Ohnsorg-Theater, which is dedicated to the Low German dialect [1-3].

Heidi Kabel plaza sign near Hamburg's Central Station
A bronze statue in Heidi's honor has been erected next to the Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) at the north side of a plaza, which has been named after her: Heidi-Kabel Platz [4]. The text underneath the sign explains that it is named  “after Heidi Kabel (1914-2010). throughout the federal republic, popular folk-play actress at the Ohnsorg-Theater between 1932 and 1996, gaining popularity due to television broadcasting since 1954, already a highly admired Legend of Hamburg during her time of life.” 

Placard in memory of Hamburg's acress Heidi Kabel Heidi Kabel became famous as a “Hamburger Deern” (Low German for Girl of Hamburg). Performing more like a girl or woman from next door than a distant actress diva, she made people cry, smile, laugh and reflect on themselves. I still remember her scenes in an apron dress and with a broom in her hand—ready to make a clean sweep. So, when you will visit the city of Hamburg or happen to have an overlay while switching trains, visit the plaza and shake hands with her.

More to see in Hamburg:
Keywords: folk theater, entertainment, Low German language, history.

References and more to explore
[1] The People Lexicon, Who's Who, Deutschland: Heidi Kabel | Biografie [].
[2] Stern: “Heidi, du nicht!” [].
[3] Carsten Wittmaack and Jan Hinnerk Mahler: Sag zum Leben. Militzke Verlag, Leipzig, 2004 [].
[4] Sehenswürdigkeiten: Heidi-Kabel-Platz [].