A visit to urban farmers and an unusual ice cream parlour
Marco Antonio Reyes-Loredos suggestions for a trip to Wilhelmsburg
Something is stirring among canals, wild-flower meadows, industrial zones and residential areas: a flak bunker has become a café, a swap-shop for ideas is camouflaged as a flea market and invades a former factory every month, beer is brewed in the shadow of a lighthouse and pizza dough is kneaded in a night club. Welcome to the island of Wilhelmsburg.
In the summer of 2017, the Reiherstieg district in the north of Wilhemsburg, an island in the River Elbe, can easily be described as one of the most creative places on Hamburg turf. There are many good reasons to explore this part of the city – here are eight places to visit.
Hamburg's first urban farm is a playground for self-sufficient moderns. Minitopia is in the heart of the industrial zone, on a site containing abandoned workshops surrounded by a big, overgrown open space. Initiators Stefanie Engelbrecht and Katrin Schäfer are trying to find out what food people can produce for themselves. Register as a gardener here.
The flea market for culture vultures in Wilhelmsburg's Zinnwerke (a former pewter factory) is held on every first Sunday of the month and offers a super fringe programme every time: strip cartoons are read on the Comicbus, the Lichtbildkiste produces souvenir photos, there's a dance floor where people can shake a leg to live music, bee-keepers and gardeners from the island in the Elbe sell their products.
The bistro in Fährstraße carries on the tradition of the port canteens, or “Kaffeeklappen”, that once supplied workers with coffee and soup. This Kaffeeklappe of the 21st century also enjoys a sociable lifestyle. It serves luscious home-made cakes and – surprise, surprise – coffee.
When the queue at the corner shop on Veringstraße stretches all the way to the footpath, summer has returned to Wilhelmsburg. Eisdealer on Veringstraße is a fantastic place to finish a stroll by the waters of the Veringkanal. Creative varieties of home-made ice creams and sorbets are this ice-cream parlour's specialty: the salted caramel tastes phenomenal.
Nightclub in winter, pizzeria in summer – the Turtur is versatile. The restaurant sits in an idyllic location directly on the Veringkanal with a view of the Archipel, a floating platform used by local residence as a meeting-place and a venue for workshops and concerts.
If you walk along the Veringkanal from the Honigfabrik (“Honey factory”), the island's arts centre, and turn one of the many corners, you'll come face to face with a brightly painted garden fence. On the other side, people are digging in raised beds and laughing, insects are busy in the air, and everything is blossoming.
The only way to discover how much green countryside Wilhelmsburg really has to offer is by bike. A perfect destination for a cycle tour is the Bunthäuser Spitze – the point at which the Norderelbe (Northern Elbe) and Süderelbe (Southern Elbe) meet. The River Elbe divides into these two branches to the south-east of the old Hamburg city centre, and reunites here. In addition to a wealth of natural landscape, the idyllic spot boasts a lighthouse, a caravan park, a restaurant and the Bunthaus Brauerei, where genuine Wilhelmsburg beer is brewed. However, to take a tour of the brewery you do have to let them know in advance that you're coming.
An impressive view of the Hamburg skyline is to be had from high up on the Energiebunker. The former flak bunker in the heart of the Reiherstieg district has been upgraded into a regenerative power station with a large-scale heat accumulator, and supplies the district with power. One of the towers is occupied by Café Vju (pronounced Vee-yoo, like “view”), an excellent place to drink and dine.
A visit to Wilhelmsburg?
Eight spots for your discovery