Visiting Elphi - Hamburg's stunning new concert hall

By: barbamz , 7:52 PM GMT on January 10, 2017

Yesterday, on January 9th, I had to do a trip north to Hamburg, and I used some free time left in the afternoon before sunset to visit the new attraction of Germany's second largest city: "Elbphilharmonie", the ambitious concert hall which is about to be officially opened tomorrow, January 11th. Name is a merger of "Elbe", Hamburg's river, and "philharmonie" (in Greek it means "the love of harmony", nowadays, as is known, a term for a concert hall). Nickname of this new flagship of architecture is the shortening "Elphi".
Construction of "Elphi" started ten years ago and consumed wayyyy more time and money than anticipated. But now that the building is finished most folks concur that it was worth the efforts - including me!
Elphi is situated at a headland of Hafencity (harbour city), adjacent to UNESCO heritage Speicherstadt, the old warehouse district and its channels. The audacious construction of glass with a large concert hall (2100 places), a smaller one (500 places) and a music studio sits on top of an older storage brick building from 1963 (Kaispeicher A). Moreover it contains 45 super expensive flats, a luxury hotel, several restaurants and cafés and a beneath a parking deck. While the building provides some very posh offers, the cheapest tickets for the concert hall are really affordable (15€).
The construction of glass resembles waves, a cristall or - as I thought - the set of sails of a ship.
Both parts of the ensemble are separated by a platform which is accessible to the public (tickets required), called the "Plaza". From there you can enter the concert halls (still closed for visitors yesterday as the festive opening didn't take place yet) and at the outside a balustrade all around the building with stunning views of the harbour and the city of Hamburg.
So with some pics I may invite you to join me during my one hour visit of the Plaza. At this time still a lot of preparations for the upcoming festival were going on, including the installation of colorful illuminations with a lot of spotlights which won't be permanent though.

A view of Elbphilharmonie from one of the jetties at the harbour. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time for a trip by boat which would provide the best view.

Elphi is reachable from land (the city) by public transport (subway etc.), by foot, by car or by boat. Here is the stop of the ferry boat. Imagine a warm summer night, debarking a boat for a visit of a concert, wow ...

Approaching Elphi with its two parts and the balustrade of the Plaza in-between (in blue).

One of the archways of the balustrade.

Now the illumination of the balustrade has changed to purple.

A long escalator will take you up to the story with the Plaza. The stairway is bent, so it's longer than you think when you enter it.

Folks using the escalator with a lot of anticipation.

At the end of the escalator a huge panoramic window triggers the first "wows".

Entry to the large concert hall, still blocked from the public that day.

Undulated glass between the inner the outer parts of the Plaza.

A little bar invites you to have a snack.

Yes, this one, please ...

All those reflections of the walls of glass make you wonder which view is "real" and which one is just a mirror image.

Same thing outside, walking the balustrade.

View of the harbour with the wheel steamer "Louisiana Star".

Although the day had been quite grey, I was really lucky with the weather, considering that the weekend before Hamburg was impassable due to black ice, and another front of bad weather was already looming.

Another part of the harbour.

Enjoying the views towards the city of Hamburg.

The archway seen from inside.

Detail with the festive illumination.

View through the inner part of the Plaza from one arch to the other. Workers are still busy to prepare for the festival and its live broadcast.

On the way out ...

... you once again pass the panoramic window with a last view towards famous St. Pauli Piers as night sets in.

View back towards the ensemble of buildings, including Elbphilharmonie.

The new "flagship" of brick and glass among floating collegues.

Meanwhile the round trip of the Louisiana Star had come to an end.

Mounting the subway (which isn't "sub" in this part at all), with a view back to Speicherstadt.

At last some links:
Official site of Elbphilharmonie in English.
DW Article from Januar 9th: Hamburg's long-awated Elbphilharmonie concert hall opens on January 11
New York Times, Jan 10th: Finally, a Debut for the Elbphilharmonie Hall in Hamburg
The Telegraph: Spectacular drone footage of Hamburg's new £670m concert hall
360° youtube video (click the arrows in the upper left corner).

English article in Wikipedia isn't that great yet. More details and pictures in the German version.

Edit January 12:
Here is the link to the video of the whole broadcast of the grand opening of the concert hall Elbphilharmonie yesterday evening, including a lot of German talking before the music starts. You may skip through it to watch the more interesting parts, including the pics from the accompanying lightshow outside. Musicwise I like most the short pieces of vocal Renaissance music (Praetorius), especially the one starting at 00:47:


Current temperatures in Europe (updating) in Celsius:

Current weather in Europe (updating maps):

Forecast for my town Mainz:


Live webcam of Mainz Cathedral.

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16. barbamz
9:16 PM GMT on January 18, 2017
Thanks, Brian, for posting another cultural treasure. And 999, thanks for reminding me of my nice vacations in Vosges last summer!

I've been traveling to northwestern Germany yesterday on a job trip. Tomorrow I'll have to leave again, consuming some days of vacation to assist my old and fragile parents (we're waiting for a 24h help from Eastern Europe to arrive next week). Although I'll carry my laptop with me I'll probably won't have the chance to post much the next couple of days ...

Here a selection of very different recent pics, as it is currently quite cold in Germany with temps in the range of frost all night and day, enhanced by a chilling wind:

Regulars in here already know the rest place at the autobahn bridge across Moselle river as I always try to stop there when passing by. Here is what it looked today in winter.

So far Germany's wild parakeets still could cope with the cold spell. Pic I took yesterday at the feeder in a nearby garden.

Light shows won't happen only at Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. As I passed by our theater/concert hall in Mainz this afternoon I've spotted this illumination for a festive event later in the evening.

A very red carpet. Mainz is thrilling, no? :-)

Have a good time, folks!
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
15. 999Ai2016
10:14 AM GMT on January 18, 2017
Time-lapse from Climont - Vosges - recorded these days, probably on January 17 (HD available):

(youtube video link)
Member Since: December 10, 2015 Posts: 5 Comments: 1534
14. BaltimoreBrian
11:54 PM GMT on January 16, 2017
See Germany's stunning old comb!

The 'Comb of Heinrich I' from Quedlinburg, Germany, c. 700 AD.

Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 16310
13. barbamz
12:59 AM GMT on January 16, 2017
Thanks, GG !

Here an update on one of my favorite webcams:

Current saved webcam photos of the winter storks in currently snowy Hoechstadt in southcentral Germany. As I write this temperature is -4C (25F) in this town.
Usually storks would leave Germany in autumn to migrate to milder regions way further south during winter. But in the last years some individuals started to stay all year long in Germany, probably due to our mostly milder winters and the availability of food. However, when weather turns harsh, folks have to donate some food to the storks to help them survive. I follow this webcam the third year now. In 2016 this experienced couple successfully raised four hatchlings.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
12. GardenGrrl
12:13 AM GMT on January 16, 2017
That is some innovative architecture to use a multi-story warehouse as the base for a new structure.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 312 Comments: 13168
11. barbamz
12:22 PM GMT on January 15, 2017
Not that different from the original ;-)
Donald Trump Press Conference Cold Open - SNL
youtube 15.01.2017: President-elect Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) holds his first press conference since getting elected.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
10. barbamz
9:08 AM GMT on January 13, 2017

Loop of Egon's development in the last 12 hours.

Highest gusts in Germany in the last 6 hours: Link
On mountain "Weinbiet" in our southwest there was a reading of 148kmh (92mph). A guy in a German weather blog has posted a reading from Mainz University (a mile away from my flat but more exposed) of 100 kmh (62 mph).

Windmap for Jan 13 so far in Beaufort.

Surface analysis from midnight.

The Local (Germany) now has started a live blog about the aftermath of "Egon":
LIVE: Germany braces as storm Egon brings heavy snow, travel woes

Most dire conditions for the migrants and homeless in eastern and southeastern parts of Europe, though:
Heavy snow brings more misery, deaths in Europe
By FPJ Bureau | Jan 13, 2017 08:15 am
Bucharest : Authorities dug out stranded residents as heavy snow blanketed Eastern Europe today and people struggled with travel delays, power outages and subzero temperatures. Homeless people and migrants were among those most at risk, reports AP. The recent cold snap has now been blamed for at least 69 deaths, and seen the lowest temperatures for decades in some parts. ...

Dangerous weather for animals, too:
Black Forest: Fox freezes to ice cube
Published on Friday, 13 January, 2017 at 11:48
(vb/sth) A fox had a very unlucky encounter with winter conditions in Germany's Black Forest region. It fell through the ice on the Danube and froze into a big ice cube. ...
Photos see link above.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
9. barbamz
10:22 AM GMT on January 12, 2017
Here is the link to the video of the whole broadcast of the grand opening of the concert hall Elbphilharmonie yesterday evening, including a lot of German talking before the music starts. You may skip through it to watch the more interesting parts, including the pics from the accompanying lightshow outside. Musicwise I like most the short pieces of vocal Renaissance music (Praetorius), especially the one starting at 00:47:

Some news report with pics:
IN PICTURES: See all the glitz and glam of Hamburg's dazzling new concert hall
The Local (Germany)/AFP, 12 January 2017, 09:38 CET 01:00

Photo dpa.

Space, time and the Elbphilharmonie
Music is the most ephemeral of the arts: hardly has a note sounded out, and it's gone. But sounds from the opening of the Elbphilharmonie are still going through the head of DW music editor Rick Fulker.
DW, January 12, 2017
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
8. barbamz
9:58 AM GMT on January 12, 2017
Thanks, Emsi, Rob and Shirley for your visits and friendly/humorous comments (and Shirley for the beautiful link)!!
I'm always glad if I can offer something special, and the visit to Hamburg happened just at the right time before the opening of "Elphi" and in-between some severe winter weather ...

Meanwhile a small but probably ferocious secondary low - "Egon" - is about to form off the European west coast and will cross the continent tonight. Severe wind warnings for my place mid Germany tonight! Afterwards winter weather should continue with probably very low temps next week, huh.
Here some pics and maps for tonight. I'll keep you updated ...

Forcast surface map for today. You see where "Egon" should form right now.

Current airmasses with Egon's suspicious birthplace southwest of Britain.

ECMWF forecast of gusts tonight with the strongest in Belgium, northeastern France and southwestern Germany as "Egon" is conquering the continent.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
7. WeatherWise
3:33 AM GMT on January 12, 2017
Hi Barb, Beautiful place - amazingly beautiful. I enjoyed the dialogue but had to make myself go back and read the dialogue as in my excitement for more, I would find myself hurrying on to the next photo. So would scroll back up to read the dialogue.

Your snow photos are just as lovely and remind me a bit of the video of Danville in the snow of course it is lacking the beauty that your photos highlighted. It is like just a slow flight over Danville with much of it highlighting the warehouse district,

I can't link it directly but it is at this link. Video Link For Snowy Video of Danville, VA

Like your bird feeder shot in comment #1.

Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 571 Comments: 11836
6. RobDaHood
1:06 AM GMT on January 12, 2017
Very nice tour of an interesting place. And who ever thought you'd see a Mississippi riverboat in Hamburg? Thanks!
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 125 Comments: 44072
5. barbamz
8:32 PM GMT on January 11, 2017
First snippets of the grand opening of Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (combined with a lightshow).
I think more will be available tomorrow.

Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
4. EmsiNasklug
12:34 PM GMT on January 11, 2017
Clearly they thought of the looming sea level rise when they built the basement so high ;)

Member Since: April 14, 2016 Posts: 0 Comments: 201
3. barbamz
10:16 AM GMT on January 11, 2017
Thanks, Sandi; glad you liked it.

More grim winter news from Europe (and more harsh weather to come!):
Europe's deep freeze claims new victims
AFP on January 11, 2017, 8:28 am
Warsaw (AFP) - Sub-freezing temperatures across swathes of Europe have claimed over 60 victims in recent days -- notably in Poland, Romania and the Balkans -- with migrants and the homeless among the most vulnerable, officials said on Tuesday. ...
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278
2. sandiquiz
8:25 AM GMT on January 11, 2017
What a great looking building - some modern buildings are really "Works of Art"!
I love the changing coloured lights - almost "Son et lumière" :)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 356 Comments: 32316
1. barbamz
8:49 PM GMT on January 10, 2017
Eventful days, really. After returning from Hamburg late last night I woke up this morning to ... snow! ... in low lying and mild Mainz!! First we saw this winter, and it kept falling until 2pm. Now it's thawing.
Took some pics from the spire of our cathedral, though. Here is one of the part of the historic city where I live; I can even see my house, lol.

Click to enlarge.

View towards Rhine.

View towards the railway bridge to the south.

Two hungry guys at my feeder.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 96 Comments: 11278

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I'm Barbara in Germany (Mainz), and I'm interested in weather already for decades.

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