The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual ranking of the world’s most ‘liveable’ cities pegged Germany’s northern city of Hamburg as number ten, citing its healthcare, sense of stability, culture, education and infrastructure.
We have some much more interesting reasons for why the Hanseatic port is worth setting course for.
1. Good for expats
The latest Mercer ranking of best cities for expats put Hamburg within the top 20 best cities for quality of life.
And perhaps there’s good reason: Hamburg has an especially strong connection to British expat communities, which makes sense since it was occupied by UK forces at the end of the Second World War.
There are a number of societies devoted to UK culture in the city, including the Scottish Country Dancers of Hamburg and the Hamburger Cricket Society. And the city also has a more than 400-year-old Anglican church community at the St Thomas Becket Church.
There’s also a famous saying that sums up this British connection: “Wenn es in London anfängt zu regnen, spannen die Hamburger den Schirm auf.” Translation: When it starts to rain in London, the people of Hamburg open their umbrellas.”
2. The music scene
A photo of members of the Beatles playing at the Indra club in Hamburg. Photo: EPA.
Hamburg is the birthplace of Johannes Brahms, as well as that of famous waltz composer Oscar Fetras.
But most famously perhaps in modern times, the Beatles members John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison got their own big career boost in the city while playing various Hamburg clubs between 1960 and 1962 (there’s even a whole Wikipedia page devoted to this topic).
They did their first recording there, caught the attention of their future manager Brian Epstein and even met the woman credited with creating their famed moptop haircuts, artist Astrid Kirchherr.
So, naturally, the city created Beatles-Platz devoted to the music legends with steel sculptures of the Fab Four.
Hamburg also birthed a number of heavy metal bands in the 1980s, and several famous songs have been penned about the city – especially about its infamous Reeperbahn street, like The Police’s Low Life.
3. For richer…
— Hamburg News English (@Hamburg_News_En) November 23, 2015
Hamburg is currently one of the more affluent cities in Germany. Last year it was ranked one of the most expensive cities to live in Germany, and it has a higher concentration of Germany’s richest individuals than any other city.
And it’s easy to find luxury here: Germany has just ten restaurants with three Michelin stars and one of them is in Hamburg, called The Table, which Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt all cannot say.
4. …For poorer
Night clubs, strip clubs, brothels and more – its notoriety is the stuff that songs are made of.
And its sidestreet, Herbertstrasse, is legendary for how it forbids juveniles as well as grown women from entering.
5. It’s a super happy place
Perhaps one of the most important ways Hamburg is a great and interesting place to live is that the city has been dubbed one of the happiest regions in Germany.
It was rated the fourth happiest state in the country in Deutsche Post’s annual “Happiness Atlas” for 2015, though this was a bit of a slip from its first-place spot in 2012.
The latest Happiness Atlas showed that on average, Hamburgers rate their life satisfaction 7.14 out of 10, which was more than comparatively gloomy Berlin (6.89) could say.