Every year, a great host of events both on and off the Elbe river make up Hamburg's annual PORT ANNIVERSARY in celebration of the harbour's 'birthday'. Of all the fun activities for young and old, the maritime presentations on the Elbe are probably the most unique. Highlights include the Grand Arrival Parade, the Tugboat Ballet and the spectacular fireworks show.
Other maritime events at the yearly Hafengeburtstag include water parades with motor yachts, steamships and heritage sailing ships, staged sea-rescue missions and sporting events. But there are lots of fun events and activities along the Elbe quayside as well!
Arts and crafts, delicious snacks, and fairground rides
At the first Port Anniversary more than 40 years ago, only a few fairground people ran their stands along the harbourfront. But today, more than 420 stand operators and performers create a festive atmosphere along the docks: the many event stages on the Bunte Hafenmeile from Baumwall to Landungsbrücken guarantee a diverse programme for the whole family.
Many fairground stands offer food and drink, handicrafts and rides. From the Landungsbrücken piers, visitors can watch both the arrival and departure parade, the Tugboat Ballet and of course the spectacular display of fireworks on Saturday night.
On Saturday, the river Elbe turns into a unique sea of colours when the Harbour Lights, one of the annual highlights, puts a glow into every visitor's eyes. With the best views from the Landungsbrücken piers, a breathtaking array of fireworks puts a spectacular installation of lights and pyrotechnics on display for everyone.
Free live music
From sea shanties to punkrock or soul, everyone is bound to find a favourite act on one of the many different stages along the Bunte Hafenmeile (lit. 'colourful harbourfront mile') along the Landungsbrücken piers. More than 30 live music shows are on display over the weekend – and what's more, it's entirely for free!
Elbphilharmonie concert recordings
Classical music afficionados are in for a very special treat on the square in front of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Every day, 'Elbphilharmonie Concerts on Screen' will put a selection of video recordings from the new Hamburg landmark on display on a giant open-air screen – with the best views over the river Elbe.
The Harbour Beatz electronic music festival, which takes place during the Port Anniversary, also puts visitors in the right mood: with chill waves during daytime to create a backdrop for digging the crates for long-lost gems, and raving techno at night. Expect an electronic gale to set sail and shake your peg leg.
Harbour Pride at Fischmarkt
Things get even more colourful at the Harbour Pride festival to the west of the fish auction hall off Große Elbstraße street: the HafenGAYburtstag is a meeting place for members of LGBTQI+ community as well as cis and heterosexual guests. In the spirit of an open-minded and tolerant city, it is intended to be an opportunity to celebrate together and to help get rid of prejudices.
A stage with many musicians and DJs across the scenes, travesty artists and maritime burlesque groups as well as a gay village with a mix of entertainment, information and culinary delights invite all like-minded and curious people to stay and celebrate.
Korea festival at Kehrwiederspitze
In 2023, South Korea was the official partner country with its port city of Busan. At the Korea-Busan festival at Kehrwiederspitze, visitors could see, hear, taste and feel the Far East. Alongside information stalls and culinary experiences, there were stage performances by Korean rock act KARDI, traditional Korean musicians and K-POP cover bands and dance acts.