Hamburg: Hotspot in the north

Germany’s publishing hub is also home to Europe’s fastest-growing port, a combination that makes Hamburg a must both for future media professionals and engineers

City profile

Hamburg’s universities cater to one of Germany’s most diverse student populations, a reflection of the international makeup and feel of Hamburg, which boasts a nightlife and culture with few rivals. Don’t be fooled by the upturned collars and cool reservation of the burghers of Germany’s major port town: Hamburg sports one of the country’s edgiest nightlife districts and is home to cultural attractions to rival Berlin. With publishing houses Axel Springer AG and Gruner + Jahr as well as Warner Music, the city's reputation as Germany's media capital is safe. But Hamburg is also a civil aviation hub, with Airbus employing up to 30,000 in and around the city. Traditional shipbuilders and machinists Blohm + Voss remain the calling card for Hamburg's most important and traditional industry: its port.

Overview of the universities

University of Hamburg

Germany’s fifth-largest university is located in its second-largest city. 
Most of the university’s 40,000 students study law or macroeconomics. But the university is also known as linguistic hub: The only major in sign language in all of Germany is on offer at Hamburg, as are courses in Yiddish. The university’s physics department has been recognized as part of the Federal Government’s excellence initiative.

Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)

The city’s technical university (its second-largest institution) is located on the other side of the harbor in the traditionally working-class Harburg district. It is one of the country’s most international schools, with almost 1 in 3 students coming from abroad. The university has earned a good reputation for its majors in ship-building, engineering, city planning and electrical engineering. A forward-looking university with an interdisciplinary approach since its inception in 1978, the TUHH was the first in Germany to create a technology transfer corporation, a publicly funded body that connects university researchers with private investors and companies. Its cooperation with the Northern Institute of Technology (founded in 1998) means international students are able to try for an MBA at the Hamburg Tech University.

University of Visual Arts

Next to Berlin's University of the Arts, Hamburg has the largest offering for Germany’s design and art students. The university has begun emphasizing electronic media and art in recent years, but its film school remains among the country's most respected and pumps out numerous festival contenders every year. Hamburg’s emphasis is on the practical and it offers its students everything from wood and textile shops to a publishing house in which to complete their student projects. Guest professors have included architects Daniel Libeskind, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Zaha Hadid, and artist Joseph Beuys.

University of Applied Sciences

The University of Applied Sciences offers majors in media, IT, economics, and communication with an emphasis on the practical. Connected to a worldwide network of universities, the university regularly offers study abroad programs and is big on all things international: 2,000 of the school's 13,000 or so students have a foreign passport.

Did you know?

Three of the four pilots who led the September 11 terror attacks studied at the Hamburg University of Technology in the 1990s. Cell leader Mohammed Atta completed a degree in city planning in 1999.

Things to check out

The Reeperbahn.  The undisputed center of Hamburg day and nightlife is the St. Pauli and Reeperbahn district, known to locals affectionately as the “Kiez”. More than just its famous red light quarter, St. Pauli offers enough top-shelf (and bargain) restaurants and watering holes to keep you going until the early morning.

Fleete Tours.  The Venice of the North or not, Hamburg still boasts some lovely waterways. Shun the motorized tours and rent canoes to explore the “fleete” or small canals that snake through the city.

Luebeck.  An hour outside of Hamburg, Luebeck is a scaled down version of Hamburg’s Hanseatic charm. Lots of gabled roofs, cobblestoned streets, canals and the brisk wind of the Baltic Sea blowing you down.

Fish Market.  Hamburg’s calling card, the fish market, opens early (5 a.m.) and closes early (9:30 a.m.) on Sunday mornings. It is best visited at the tail end of a night of revelry, where fish sandwiches will soak up the excesses of the evening.

Useful links

Helpful pages for international students you`ll find at the Hamburg University of Technology and the University of Hamburg sites

The city of Hamburg offers a comprehensive site on studying in Hamburg