Germany’s second city Hamburg celebrates 60 years of the Beatles

Germany’s second city, Hamburg, will be celebrating 60 years of the Beatles next year, where they started their international career, with a programme of events. Fiona Keating reports.

Germany’s second city, Hamburg, is known as the Port to the World, attracting maritime events as well as the renewable energies sector.

“For the British market, we have so much to offer in the way of music. The Reeperbahn is where the Beatles launched their careers. That’s a great connection and you can easily sell this,” says Meike Grimpe, owner and founder of International Event Management, which has offices in Hamburg and the UK.

The UK is a strong target for Congress Center Hamburg.

Grimpe adds: “People always visit Berlin or Munich and they are super-surprised when they come to Hamburg and say why have I not been here before? Usually, they come for a business meeting and they come back to explore more.”

Hamburg is just over an hour’s flight from the UK. More than 60 airlines fly direct from Hamburg to 120 destinations around the world. The airport is situated only 8.5 kilometres from Hamburg’s city centre and is connected to the city’s comprehensive public transport network via S-Bahn.

Expanding spaces

The big venue news that everyone is keenly anticipating is the opening of the Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) in 2020, which will be Germany’s largest convention centre.

Heike Mahmoud, COO of the CCH, which cost 194 million euros to build, says: “The UK is a strong target for CCH.”

Mahmoud adds that the new centre is “very flexible with a lot of space and daylight. There’s 7,000 sqm for product presentations and 3,000 seating capacity in the largest hall. The message from clients was that the more flexibility in the building, the better it is.”

Upcoming events at CCH include the biennial Wind Energy global trade fair which takes place over four days from 22 -25 September 2020.  More than 35,000 visitors from 100 countries will descend on Hamburg.

In 2021, CCH has already secured 26 events which are under contract, with many more to come. There is a total available exhibition space of 12,000 sqm, another 12,000 sqm of foyer space, and 12,000 seats in 50 halls and meeting rooms.

Aquatic pursuits

As befits a harbour, there are plenty of water-based incentives such as zipping along on a solar-powered raft, a cutter ride on the River Schlei, a mini-cruise on the Baltic Sea, a speedboat on the River Elbe, or on a Chinese dragon boat on the Alster Lake.

The Fontenay hotel is a good base for this. Its close proximity to the Alster lake makes teambuilding activities such as rowing and paddle boating very popular. It’s a good location from which to explore the city by water, as there’s a boat which takes you to the town centre.

The foyer is 200 sqm, with four meeting rooms between 48 sqm – 220 sqm, with a ceiling height of 4 metres. The boardroom is 60 sqm and seats up to 16 people. There are 130 rooms and suites on five floors, most with lake views.

The Grand Elysee in the heart of Moorweidenpark, has recently opened the Top Seven rooftop bar in May 2019, which has panoramic views of Hamburg.

Linda Posse, director of convention sales says that representatives of the privately owned five-star conference hotel “has attended six roadshows in Britain recently to introduce event professionals to its 30 meeting rooms, 511 guest rooms and also to Hamburg’s largest hotel ballroom.”

The 25 Hours Hotel Number One offers a totally different vibe. This boutique retro-style hotel with 170 rooms, is close to the trendy district of Ottensen, with meeting rooms which are reconditioned sea containers.

Music is a big draw in Hamburg and The Westin is popular with culture vultures thanks to its location at the Elbphilharmonie. The hotel’s 205 guestrooms and 39 suites overlook the Hafen City, Hamburg’s newest district and its waterways.

Buyer’s Eye

The Institute of Acoustics in the UK selected the Elbphilharmonie as a conference venue for a three-day event.

“I don’t know if this conference would have been the success it was without the help of the Hamburg Convention Bureau,” said Linda Canty who headed up planning for the Acoustics Institute. “They assisted us in truly leveraging all the city had to offer and making the most of a one of a kind venue in the Elbphilharmonie. People really enjoyed everything… with the icing on the cake being the music rehearsal.”

 Case Study

Meike Grimpe, owner and founder of International Event Management

  • The venue: Speicherstadt warehouse
  • The event: Astra Zeneca conference and gala dinner
  • Guests: 1,000 employees

“We booked a venue in the Speicherstadt district which is the warehouse area near the harbour. It’s a really old warehouse, so very cool. We worked with the Marriott hotel which has a fantastic outside catering team. After the conference and gala dinner, we hired a band for the evening’s entertainment.”