Hamburg's pearls - places that make up our city - Gängeviertel | hvv switch | hvv switch

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The Gängeviertel district in Hamburg

A backyard in Hamburg's Gängeviertel neighbourhood.On the edge of the city centre and surrounded by towers of steel and glass lies Hamburg's Gängeviertel district. The crooked half-timbered houses between Caffamacherreihe, Valentinskamp and Speckstraße seem like something from another world among all the new buildings. And they are: the first buildings in the Gängeviertel, the remains of which can be found here, were built in the 16th century. It grew until the 19th century.

The neighbourhood has always been criss-crossed by narrow alleyways, the eponymous "Gänge". It was the home to thousands of working-class families - and the birthplace of the composer Johannes Brahms. But where so many people live in such a small space, the danger of epidemics is not far away. After the cholera epidemic in 1892, the city of Hamburg therefore began to demolish the neighbourhood. Most of the remaining parts of the building structure were then lost during the Second World War.

At the beginning of the 2000s, the last houses, some of which were listed buildings, stood empty and fell into disrepair. Meanwhile, their ownership changed hands from one investor to the next. When renovation work was finally due to begin in the summer of 2009, which would have seen 80 per cent of the historic building substance disappear, around 200 activists occupied the premises in order to enforce their use as a cultural and social neighbourhood.

And the cultural collective "Komm in die Gänge" was successful: in December 2009, the city reimbursed the investor for the payments already made. The following year, the initiative presented a concept for the future that initiated a complete refurbishment of the 13 buildings. Today, the art and cultural centre is managed by a specially founded association and the Gängeviertel cooperative. The centre also houses flats and social projects.

So the story of the Gängeviertel continues. Anyone who wants to can be part of it: Around 150 music and 200 cultural events take place in the old buildings every year. In addition to various studios and galleries that have moved in here, there is also the five-storey Fabrique. The heart of the neighbourhood offers plenty of (otherwise scarce) space for art, cultural and educational events. If you want to get an overview, sign up for a guided tour or stroll through the neighbourhood on your own. True to the motto: We are the city, because the city is everyone.

Address: Office of the Gängeviertel e.V. association, Valentinskamp 34, 20355 Hamburg,

The entrance to the Dropbox in Hamburg's Gängeviertel.

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