If you’re into street art, there is one city you should definitely add to your bucket list. Is it New York? London? Berlin? One of the other cities known as street art hotspots? No, it’s Hamburg! Street art in Hamburg is up & coming, yes, even booming.
From enormous murals on office buildings, houses and even old bunkers to fine works of art only known to insiders, street art in Hamburg is everywhere. Famous street artists have also found their way to the city, among them Banksy. Unfortunately, the last artwork by this British artist that had survived was destroyed not long ago. Luckily for Hamburg, there are many other well-known and talented artists covering the city in art.
For instance, the popular street artist El Bocho known from his paste-ups in Berlin, has visited Hamburg several times and left new gems after each visit. Work from his series Citizens, Little Lucy, as well as the misfortunes of the little bird Pete and the conversations of CCTV camera’s Kalle and Bernd can all be seen in Hamburg.
Two other artists worth keeping an eye out for are Rebelzer, with his Freaks and Hafen Dudes (‘harbor dudes’, which is exactly what they look like!), and Ray de la Cruz. Both are artists from Hamburg, and the city itself is a major theme in their work.
New murals, pieces and paste-ups emerge on every corner of every street, it seems – but where do you go to see the best street art in Hamburg?
There are three neighborhoods that are like street art open air museums. They are St. Pauli, the Schanzenviertel and the Karolinenviertel. Some of El Bocho’s paste-ups can be seen in the Rosenhofstraße (Schanzenviertel) and Paul-Rosen-Straße (St. Pauli). Rebelzer’s Hafen Dudes are on the Millerntor Stadion (St. Pauli), in the Bleicherstraße and Mathildenstraße (Karolinenviertel). Ray de la Cruz’ work is found in the St.-Pauli-Hafenstraße and the Talstraße (St. Pauli).
Other streets not to skip are Marktstraße (Karolinenviertel), the Gängeviertel (Neustadt) and Schulterblatt (Schanzenviertel). Definitely take a look at the (in)famous Rote Flora on the Schulterblatt and the park behind it. The former bunker in the park has been transformed to a spectacular climbing wall, Kilimanschanzo. The best part about ‘Mount Kili’ is that it is completely covered in pieces and graffiti.
Last but not least, check out the FrauenFreiluft Galerie along the Elbe for some street art with a story: 15 murals along the Große Elbstraße depict 100 years of women working in the harbor. You will be surprised to see how big their role has been in Hamburg’s harbor (and still is).
Many new works of art appear, many disappear – as a result, no visit to Hamburg will be the same. You’ll have to come back again, and again… 😉