Most new waterfront developments chuck out old businesses in favour of fancy apartments and faceless coffee chains. This is not so with Binnenhafen Harburg, the inner harbour of Hamburg’s old industrial part of town. “We try to save as much of the small crafts as possible while at the same time attracting start-ups,” says Jörg Penner, head of Harburg city building department. Binnenhafen has lots of hi-tech companies – located here because of the nearby technical university and aviation giant Airbus – as well as traditional businesses such as sail-maker Raap, the tiny shipyard Jöhnkwerft and coffee roaster Fehling. It’s this mix that makes this part of town one of the most exciting for entrepreneurs in the region. Six thousand new jobs have been created here, most of them by small businesses in 2009. Housing space for at least 1,000 residents is in the pipeline.
“Most start-ups here have been engineers at the local university so we know each other and spend time together. There’s a really nice beach club where we play volleyball after work.”
Owner of STP
“It’s quite picturesque here and affordable at the same time. Where else in Hamburg would I find a 250 sq m old warehouse with high ceilings, wooden floors and a loft atmosphere to run my import business for textiles from?”
Silo 16, pizza bar
“A railway line separates us from Hamburg city centre and the river Elbe from the rest of Hamburg. With the right people, this can be an oasis. We need more of the pioneer spirit and love of the location.”