Educate yourself in Hamburg.

Education System

Starting school in another country can be overwhelming. Introducing Germany's educational system, from Kindergarten to University.

From Kindergarten to University Degree

Hamburg, being one of 16 Federal States in Germany, has its own education system which differs in some points from that of other states.

Nurseries and daycare

Parents have several daycare options to choose from for babies, toddlers and children up to the age of six. From age one, all children in Hamburg are entitled to cost-free care up to five hours a day in a crèche (Kinderkrippe) or kindergarten (Kita ─ Kindertagesstätte). Find out how to apply for a daycare voucher here.

Primary school (Grundschule)

In Hamburg, the age of entry to primary school is between five and six years. All children between the ages of four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half are invited to have their development evaluated at their local primary school. At this interview, parents will be advised whether their child is admitted into Grundschule (primary) or Vorschule (preschool). Preschool programmes are designed to prepare children of varying backgrounds (e.g. non-native speakers) or development (e.g. children born late in their age group) for school routine.

In the fourth and final year of primary school, parents are issued recommendations to choose appropriate secondary schools for their children.

Secondary school: district schools and grammar schools

Hamburg has adopted the concept of district schools (Stadtteilschule) where students of the same neighbourhood study under one roof and, depending on their educational development, graduate after year 9 (general secondary qualification), 10 (middle level) or 13 (advanced level, Abitur). Alternatively, children can enroll at one of Hamburg's 60 grammar schools (Gymnasium) that offer advanced level education/Abitur with G8 and G9 options of graduating after twelve years of school.

General Certificates of Education

Hamburg’s schools provide the opportunity to acquire these certificates:

  • After the completion of year 9: general certificate of secondary education
  • After the completion of year 10: general certificate of education – advanced subsidiary level
  • After the completion of year 12: general certificate of education – advanced level (grammar school)
  • After the completion of year 13: general certificate of education – advanced level (district school)

Higher education: vocational training, colleges and universities

In Hamburg, vocational training (Ausbildung) is part of a dual-education system which combines apprenticeships with practical training for a wide range of trades. Hamburg also has several universities and colleges which offer bachelor's and master's degrees. Fachhochschulen (Universities of Applied Sciences) offer more profession-oriented training, while regular universities have a research-focused, academic approach.

If you wish to learn more about the school system in the city, see the pages of Hamburg Welcome Center.

More information

Schulinformationszentrum SIZ (School Information Centre)
Hamburger Str. 125a, 22083 Hamburg
+49 (0)40 428992211

Opening hours

Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.