The largest statue in Hamburg
Well visible from the port region of Hamburg, on a hill in Alter Elbpark, a 14.8 metre-high statue of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was erected in 1906. Together with the base, the monument weighs a stunning 625t and reaches a height of 34.3 metres. The Iron Chancellor’s head alone measures a good 1.83 metres - while he’s wielding an 8 metre-long sword.
A nod to the Empire
Shortly after the decease of the former chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1898, an architectural competition was tendered in order to create a monument honouring the German Empire and one of its most well-known representatives. Architect Johann Emil Schaudt and Jugendstil artist Hugo Lederer and their design of Otto von Bismarck with a sword in hand had gotten the nod.
Mysterious catacombs and old Prussian motives
The Bismarck memorial is surrounded by far-reaching catacombs. They were decorated with elaborate murals that show Prussian motives and the Chancellor’s quotes.
During the war years, tourists and residents found shelter from air-raids in the catacombs. One of these attacks did damage to the monument, allowing water to enter the foundation. Renovation works are still unavoidable.
Revitalising the Old Elbe Park
Revitalising measures include extensive work for the Alter Elbpark (lit. Old Elbe Park) surrounding the monument. In the vast catacombs under the monument a small history museum will be installed. Both the German state as well as the city of Hamburg have allocated 6.5 million euros each to renovate the monument and the surrounding park.
Otto von Bismarck
One of the most important German politicians of the past centuries, known for unifying the German Reich in 1871, Otto von Bismarck was closely connected with the city of Hamburg. Among other things, the former Chancellor and advisor to the Emperor resided before the city’s doorstep for almost 30 years. A large mansion in Friedrichsruh was presented to him by Emperor William I. Located conveniently in the vast Sachsenwald forest, the edifice became his retirement home … and ultimately his final resting place. Today, the statue is subject to criticism because of the politician's strong nationalist leanings as well as his role in colonialism.