Typically Hamburg | hvv switch | hvv switch

That’s so Hamburg

reading time 10 min.

Types like us.

From rockers on the Kiez to hipsters in Schanze and sailing loafer wearers on the Alster: Let’s face it, there are a lot of stereotypes around and about Hamburg too. And these are exactly who we’d like to present to you in our new column "Typically Hamburg". Although they’re all very different, “Hamburgers” have at least two things in common: their love for Hamburg and for hvv switch.

Working together with the illustrator Diana Köhne, we’ve come up with some affectionately designed Hamburg characters and set a unique stage for them here.

Typical Hamburg - our characters at a glance

“You can’t pick and choose your own family.”

That's what grandma always used to say. But to be really honest: We wouldn’t change our Hamburg Family for the world. Even with all their loveable eccentricities.

Vanessa the Drag Queen brings some real flamboyance and fabulousness to the streets of St. Georg. With hair to die for, and stunning make-up: a work of art! She’s perfected her strut over the cobblestones, showing more natural talent than Heidi’s girls on the catwalk. Condragulations!

Manni, the work horse slogging away in Hamburg’s port. He welds together what belongs together. Never at a loss for words or afraid to speak his mind. Likes chatting away in Hamburg dialect too. “Gin Basil? No, mien Jong, een Herrengedeck, büdde.”

Yung Annie walks with her latest Soundcloud-Lofi-808 playlist through her Schanzen Streets and cringes over the boomers. She has the best-trained abs in the city – at least when it comes to the cold. Croptop at -5°C? Easy.

No-Future-Nisi knows full well: You have to fight for your freedom in this life. She used to be against her parents, fighting for her first nose piercing. Now she’s fighting gentrification with her housemates, in a former squat in Wilhelmsburg.

Skin-tight shirt, and a meticulously shaved bull’s neck. Dustin, the “Gangsta“ from the shisha bar invests a lot of time and pride in his appearance. Perhaps a bit too much. But he’s very generous with his friends. “Mashalla, have a seat, what are you drinking?”

Our Hamburg ad agency boss is called Michael. Or Thomas. Or Christoph. To make up for his boring name, he has to make sure his outfit is all the more fancy. And make sure none of those grey hairs show through, his hairdresser needs to stay as youthful as possible.

A glass of prosecco for 18 euros when it used to be 12 euros? No wonder people these days are saying that Hamburg has become far too expensive. How on earth can Patricia, who spent her whole life in Hamburg, concentrate on her next charity dinner at the tennis club?

No-one can glide along on their longboard with a soja latte in one hand and an organic craft IPA in the other quite like this man. Our hipster Sam heads around Hamburg with his long beard flowing in the wind – always on the lookout to capture the zeitgeist.

Andy the Kiez legend (as he claims) knows everyone in St. Pauli by their first name and says “Moin” to them all. Nobody can pull the wool over his eyes. Stupid excuses and flying beer glasses are no match for his leather jacket. His only weak point is his pet pitbull “Gänseblümchen”.

And last but not least: “Oma”, the Lewis Hamilton among the city’s shopping trolley users. She’s the good fairy of our hvv switch family.

Andy, the "Kiez Legend"

Moin moin, matey! Andy, a self-confessed “Kiez Legend”, knows every Tom, Dick and Harry – and makes sure he greets them all by their first name too. From Dollhouse to Nordlicht, and Hans-Albers-Platz to Elbschlosskeller. This amiable lad is Hamburg through and through, and St. Pauli born and bred. During the day he always has Daisy with him – a thoroughbred pit bull who loves to play and wouldn’t ever hurt a fly.

The one thing that really winds Andy up is when someone starts telling him stupid excuses. “I forgot my ID,” “Can I just go in and let my sister know?” – he’s heard it all a thousand times. And seen it all too. He might seem like a tough guy on the outside, but he’s a softy on the inside. And honest. He’s as straight as they come.

All the problems that St. Pauli’s nightlife throws his way just reflect back off his massive leather jacket. And whenever he’s on the bus, he doesn’t hesitate of course to jump when he sees an elderly lady looking for a seat. Maybe the title of Kiez legend isn’t entirely undeserved after all.

Which of your friends springs to mind when you think of broad shoulders?

Vanessa, the Drag Queen

Wow, wow, wow! When Vanessa steps out onto the streets of St. Georg in her drag, the world seems to stand still for a moment. Flamboyant and fabulous, with hair to die for, and stunning make-up: a work of art! Wherever she goes, she turns the city into her own stage. Under the wings of a dazzling mother queen, she lives out her passion, always pushing the boundaries of gender norms and traditional roles.

She has a heart of gold, too big for the police’s liking, and directs all her love at her hood and those who live there. She’s got a lot to offer, and enjoys flaunting it all! She’s perfected her strut down the imaginary catwalk in towering high heels better than many a professional model. Condragulations!

Things she can’t stand? Bad tempers and prejudice.

Sam, the trendy hipster!

What do you mean, you don’t have oat milk? 23-year-old art student Sam throws his fair trade batik scarf round his neck with incredulity, adjusts his round glasses and leaves the barista in the “Ohlala” café in Schanze looking puzzled. First he can’t find any craft beer in the supermarket and now this embarrassing moment in front of his musician mates!

He needs a nice longboard ride to calm himself back down. His man-bun fluttering in the wind, his triangle tattoo shining in the sunshine. That’s what freedom feels like. A little detour on the way to the second hand flea market. Clothes swapping and furniture with character? What could possibly be better?

Then he notices the state of his beard while taking a selfie. He’d better book a quick trip to the barber using the hvv switch app and get a beard trim. Before his blogger pals start giving him some critical looks later on. Hmmm, he can smell the cypress beard oil from here already!

Which of your friends is always ahead of the curve too?

Manni, our dude in the harbour

Manni, a typical work horse slogging away in the port of Hamburg, is somewhere between 40 and 50 years old. Sporting a beard and an anchor tattoo, of course. Only he had his 20 years before it became hip. He wears a cap or a captain’s hat, he’s stocky and likes to get stuck in and get things done. He loves the sea, the port, his local pub and FC St. Pauli. Never at a loss for words or afraid to speak his mind. Likes chatting away in Hamburg dialect too. “Gin Basil? No, mien Jong, een Herrengedeck, büdde.”

And what about stormy weather out on the dry dock? “Weld seam Manni”, as his colleagues like to call him, couldn’t care less. His tattooed arms, broad shoulders and tough features quickly make it clear that the elements can throw whatever it wants at him. All he’s hoping is that the heavy logistics lads will at least have their size 7 fitting sleeve with them today. Later on the amateurs from the university will be coming, faffing around on their laptops. They’ve never installed a proper snap nut in their lives but turn up here thinking they know it all. The pits! Thank the lord his work buddies at the port aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty!

Leaving work with his trademark full beard and gold chain, he books his ticket home to Barmbek using the hvv switch app. God, he just can’t wait to get home, have a beer and watch the football on the telly!

Which of your friends enjoys their evenings off the most?

Sheeeesh! Yung Annie’s walking on the Schanzen-streets ...

One of the youth of today. She’s somewhere between 15 and 25, and calls herself Yung Annie as she’s so fresh and modern. Her outfit of choice is leggins, crop-top or oversized football shirt, and bumbag. Styled up with a curved-down NY Yankees cap, long stick-on fingernails and neck chain. The moment she opens her mouth it’s impossible to understand a word.

Of course she checks her boyfriend’s snap index. Just to make sure he’s not straying. It’s love, for real. Hello, what else? It still winds her dad up thought that he’s spent the last two months living in her room.

It was her boyfriend who told her she has a beautiful voice. That’s why she sometimes sings along out loud with her headphones on waiting for the bus. She’s pitch-perfect on the Auto-Tune sound. Even without Auto-Tune. And she’s already made plans to audition on prime-time talent show DSDS.

When Yung Annie’s on the Schanzen-streets with the latest soundcloud-Lofi 808 track by fresh Berlin undergrounders on her Air Pods, the looks she gets from the boomers are just cringe. Why they think minus five is too cold for a crop-top? And why people still wearing snap backs and not dad hats? And 15 is old enough to get a face tat, so where’s the problem? With all these questions flying around in her head she quickly buys a ticket home with the hvv switch app. And is in front of her laptop in time for 12 to cop a look at the latest sneaker drop.

Which of your mates is a real hype beast too?

Punk is not dead!

Nisi is 20 to 30 years old, and her uniform of choice is a black hoodie, Doc Martens and a black army bag. Dyed hair completes the look. She’s totally left-wing. Sometimes only to make sure she’s right. She always has her Edding pen with her, and invariably some Antifa stickers too.

Walking through the consumerism hell of Mönckebergstrasse makes “No Future Nisi” feel sick. All these system-conforming bourgeois zombies who don’t see the injustice even when they’re being gentrified out of their own apartment. That’s why she lives with her “Action Anti” friends in a kind of commune set-up in a squat in Wilhelmsburg. Freedom is something you have to fight for! Sometimes she hangs around with her mate in front of the Edeka supermarket asking passersby for small change. But in the evening she heads back to her mum and dad’s house. Even though she goes, she is still against the system. She is trying to save Hambach Forest. And the whales. Plastic is a complete no-go for her. She’s still a student. Perhaps even of Law.

Thanks to the hvv switch app, she can now at least organise how she travels around more freely. Do you have someone in your friendship group who’s a die-hard freedom fighter?

The Shisha Guy. Or Dustin. Or so ...

20 to 30 years old. Usually goes by the name Dustin. Or something like that. When Dustin wears jeans, they’re black and tight, with holes that are way too big. It’s in right now. He saw it in a music video. He takes his looks very seriously. Perhaps a bit too much, in fact. But he’s a gangster, of course. Most of all he’d love to have celebrity status. But he only has 347 followers on Snapchat. He spends his days doing this and that, passing the time before he gets famous.

If Covid hadn’t come along, Dustin would have been the main attraction at the shisha café with his thick shaven neck and tight shirt showing off his muscles. Then he’d head to Jungfernstieg to catch up with his homies over shisha in their local hookah lounge – just like on any other Saturday.

Right now, with the pandemic, the double apple session has been relocated to the living room and the chat switched from real life to FaceTime. Modus Mio is usually playing on Spotify. The shisha guy washes away all doubts about whether Jacqui is into the “Fitti” guy Mehmet with a big gulp of Moroccan mint. Likes wearing a Gucci belt bag, Adidas sweatpants and a Burberry cap. And soon he’ll most likely be back pumping at McFit, or out and about with his cousins.

Have you got a Dustin in your group of friends too?

Our beloved pensioner or grandma

Somewhere between 60 and 70 years old. She uses hvv switch, for instance, whenever she pays a visit to the hairdresser. Nobody’s as good as her Michael at getting her blow dry and colour just right! And on Mondays she uses the app to make her way to her favourite café in the centre city to meet her girlfriends for a natter. She also likes going to weekly markets. Of course, she wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without full make-up on. And she always has her pull-along trolley with her whenever she hits the shops.

Her children and grandchildren are always teaching her new things about her mobile, but generally speaking she is a little wary about anything new that comes her way. Her family often don’t know whether to laugh or cry about some of the things she gets up to with her phone. Especially in the family whatsapp group. One thing did impress her grandkids though: She was the first one in the whole family to install the hvv switch app!

But there are other things about grandma that never cease to amaze. Where does she manage to find all those beige coats? And where does she get those light-brown trousers, shoes and bags, and everything else in all shades of beige?

We all know one: The ad man.

Somewhere between 45 to 60 years old. He’s an advertiser by trade. Or, at least, but he works in publishing or owns a gallery. Slim, good-looking, vain, fashion-conscious. Wears a pair of black “editor’s” glasses and is always dressed in “casual chic”. New Balance sneakers. Trousers just that little bit too tight. Grey hair. But always styled in a young, fresh and dynamic way.

Of course, he’s always been an Apple user, even right back in the Stone Age. He set up his own business a long time ago and has long since earned a lot of money. Enjoys reading the arts supplement of the newspaper while sipping on a latte macchiato in his favourite café. Actually, he thinks cars are pretty boring and a bit old-fashioned in a way. The one exception: his vintage Porsche. He goes jogging around the Alster lake to keep fit.

He often uses hvv switch to book a MOIA. For instance, the other day after a debate about the future of influencer marketing in the coworking space. Unfortunately, the short drive to dinner in Schanze with copywriting partner Uwe wasn’t enough to convince the MOIA driver to create a social media profile. Oh well, maybe next time.

May we introduce? The Hanseatic Lady.

hanseatin hvv switchShe uses the app to buy her 9:00 a.m. Day Ticket and, after a tennis lesson at her club on the Alster, she travels on the U1 over to Jungfernstieg. She meets up there with her friend Birgit for a porcini risotto lunch in the Bank restaurant, and a short browse inside the Unger boutique nearby.

For her, the train is a quick and convenient alternative to driving – and with the chronic lack of parking spaces, her car has never actually found itself parked in one to date.

She's 50 to 70 years young, of course. A Hanseatic lady born and bred. Well-to-do. Slim-figured. With an eye for fine fashion details.

Comes from a rich merchant family and is a successful businesswoman herself. She cuts a fine figure, whether she’s on a beach stroll, sat in a café, or negotiating in the boardroom. Almost always wears a business suit. Nordic understatement despite her wealth.

In her spare time she likes to go for walks. Or watch a polo match. She always has just the right scarf to match the rest of her outfit. Always the right gloves and, without fail, the right glasses and handbag.

Shopping? Yes, but only on Hamburg’s Poststrasse. Her husband is a shipowner. She doesn’t often laugh. After all, humour is also a form of intelligence. Wouldn’t you say?

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