We keep our port open - even at Christmas

We make sure that the gateway to the world remains open during the holidays. 365 days a year. It's our favourite gift to see everthing staying in motion.  

But there are also moving traditions and customs in the port. We portrayed some of them for you.

Christmas trees for sailors

It's already been a tradtion for 20 years: Santa Claus gives christmas trees to numerous crews and their ships.

It is a symbol of empathy with the seamen who have to spend Christmas on their ship far away from home. For that, Santa Claus charters a ship from which he directly throws the firs on board. From time to time the on-board crane steps in to heave the weighty trees. But that's not the only case that shows the port's empathy for seamen: At the international seamen's club DUCKDALBEN for example lots of sailors spend their Christmas Eve. For already 30 years they can find people to talk to and to spend Christmas with as well as free Wifi to contact their families.  

Therefore the port ist not only the gateway to the world but also to the heart.

Christmas on the high seas and in the Port of Hamburg (German)

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"GRUSS AN BORD" through the radio

Long before the internet existed, the radio was a very important connection to their homes for the seamen. There was not only music going around the world, but also greetings. 

Since 1953 the 'Gruß an Bord', which means 'Greetings on board', is a tradition the NDR still continues. On Christmas Eve they connect seamen and their families through the radio. Why don't you listen to them on the 24th on VHF, livestreams on the internet or short wave.

Christmas fairs around the port

There are many Christmas fairs in Hamburg but especially those around the port do not only smell of caramelized almonds and glühwein but also of sea travel and the River Elbe. We picked some of them out for you. 

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Ice pleasure in the HafenCity

As its motto 'Eisvergnügen für Engel und Bengel', which means Ice pleasure for angels and rascals, this Christmas fair appears to be a special Christmas world with its 240m² ice skating rink. It's a great experience for small and big fans of ice skating. It is located in front of Altes Hafenamt at the Überseeboulevard.

The use of the rink is free for children unter 18 years of age between 12 and 6 pm.

A door of the illuminated Überseequartier Advent calendar gets opened every day at 6 pm. 

Opening hours - 27 November until 30 December 2017

  • daily from 12 - 8.30 pm

  • closed on 24 and 25 December 2017


Between the Rivers Elbe and Alster, in the city center, close to Stadthausbrücke and Rödingsmarkt, you can find the Christmas fair on the Fleetinsel. Just a stone's throw away from the port and with a short connection to the Alster, this Christmas fair stands out due to its maritime atmosphere. This is maintained by two vintage sailing ships moored in the berths and causing a festive blaze of lights. 

Opening hours - 11 until 23 December, daily 12 - 21 pm

Seamen's church God Jul

God Jul - Nordic Christmas in the port

The Christmas bazaars of the Nordic Seamen's church, open during two weekends of Advent, are popular points of interest for many fans of Scandinavia and their traditions and costums. 


Ditmar-Koel-Straße 6
20459 Hamburg

Christmas in ports all around the world

The Christmas traditions in the port as well as on the ships are celebrated suprisingly different in various countries.

On the Greek Islands they decorate the ships instead of the trees.

In the Dutch Groningen the Chrismas fairs are being held on the ships that are currently in the port.

The biggest illuminated parade of boats takes place under the sun in the American Ft. Lauderdale.

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