King Charles III visits Hamburg, Europe's Hreen Hydrogen Hub
Hamburg, 30 March 2023 – The British monarch Charles III and his wife Camilla have headed to Germany on their first official overseas trip. Following a visit to Berlin, the royal couple will be in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, on Friday, 31 March. In Hamburg, King Charles will be accompanied by the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. As well as attending a number of official events, the British King will be participating in a boat trip around Hamburg’s port to learn about the city’s commitment in promoting the energy transition, green & hydrogen technologies and sustainable port development. In all of these areas, Hamburg is considered to be an international frontrunner. The Hanseatic city is arguably the most British city on the European continent, with centuries-old ties to the UK. In view of the King’s pronounced interest in sustainability concerns, Hamburg is certainly a perfect match for the first diplomatic mission of King Charles III.
“The visit of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla is a great honour for the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg,” says Hamburg’s First Mayor Peter Tschentscher. “It reinforces the good relationship between the United Kingdom and the Hanseatic City, which is considered the 'most British city on the continent'.
Back in 1266, the English King Henry III granted Hamburg merchants the right to trade in London. In the 15th century, business savvy Hamburg merchants even acquired a piece of land on the bank of the Thames, the Steelyard trading base. By the 16th century, when the British Merchant Adventurers established a trading post on the River Elbe, Hamburg and London had become each other’s most important partner. This tradition has been fostered for centuries, e.g. at the Anglo-German Club, which is located directly on the Alster Lake at one of the best addresses in Hamburg.
More than 3,000 Britons have chosen Hamburg as their home and are visibly shaping the city’s ecosystem. The UK continues to be one of the port of Hamburg’s top 10 trading partners and is also among Hamburg’s top 20 import and export partner countries, with an upward trend recorded in 2022. More than 200 Hamburg-based companies have representative offices in the UK, and some 70 companies from the UK have branches in Hamburg. In addition to players such as Avado, Cunard and Rolls-Royce Marine, BP is currently setting up its offshore wind office in Hamburg.
Beyond a wealth of activities in other sectors, this commitment indicates the strong connection between Hamburg and the UK in the field of clean tech and, in particular, the great potential with regard to wind energy and green hydrogen. Hamburg and the Hamburg Metropolitan Region are currently on the way to becoming a European centre for green hydrogen. Pursuing its own hydrogen import strategy, the region aims to build an efficient economy for green hydrogen by 2035. In addition to the concentration of major players at the location, a planned network of pipelines along the North Sea coast – from the Netherlands all the way to Sweden and Norway – will boost maritime energy trade through the relevant ports.
During his tour around the port, the King will also visit the Green Hydrogen Hub project, a large-scale electrolyser for green hydrogen that is currently being developed by the City of Hamburg in collaboration with partners from industry. Once completed, the new facility will supply the surrounding primary industries from the steel, copper and aluminium sectors with sustainably produced hydrogen or energy carriers derived from hydrogen, respectively. On board the ship, selected business stakeholders from Hamburg will have the opportunity to exchange views e.g. on green energy and sustainable port development.
So how British is Hamburg?
The royal couple’s visit provides plenty of reasons for us to look into places and things in Hamburg that are particularly British – and we are not just referring to the weather:
An exclusive overnight stay at The George hotel. A surprising visit to Hamburg’s Panoptikum, which can actually compete with Madame Tussauds in London. A peaceful stroll through the English landscape park at the Jenisch-Haus. A visit to the Hamburg Polo Club of 1898 or the British Flair with Country Fair event in the surrounding metropolitan area. A 400-year-old Anglican Church in the heart of the city, and a top-class English Theatre: all of this goes to show that the British community in Hamburg is growing and thriving.
Last but not least, Hamburg can also take pride in having helped some of the most famous Britons launch their career: in 1960, The Beatles started their world career in Hamburg, and the city might have shaped them more than any other city. To follow in the footsteps of this iconic band, the St Pauli quarter is the ideal place to go as this is where the band performed more often than anywhere else. Here, The Beatles did 1,200 hours of live performances, with 281 concerts and five engagements in four different venues. The months of engagements and seemingly endless nights on St Pauli stages turned The Beatles into a professional live band. In St Pauli they also met Ringo Starr, formed their musical style and got the haircut that would become their trademark. “We were born in Liverpool, but we grew up in Hamburg,” John Lennon once famously remarked.
Each year, Hamburg welcomes almost 100,000 tourists from the UK, who can follow in the footsteps of The Beatles around the St Pauli neighbourhood, while also discovering up-and-coming bands in the very same live clubs. During a final reception hosted by the British Embassy in Hamburg, King Charles III will be able to gain insights into Hamburg’s music scene as the British monarch is scheduled to appear on stage alongside local musician and Beatles expert Stefanie Hempel and her band.