The Elbphilharmonie – Germany’s Statue of Liberty

At  110 meters,  the glass colossus rises up out of the harbor in Hamburg, with its wave-like roof, and the shape t a great ship being firmly anchored in the harbor.

The substructure is an old building from the so-called “Speicherstadt” in which goods used to be stored. It was appointed  part of the world cultural heritage by the UNESCO.

The bottom is made of glass, which reflects the Elbe river when the sun is shining, and the greatest colors in the night., as it lights up.“Elphi” as it is fondly called by the inhabitants of Hamburg, is a concert hall that is going to be the new landmark of the city.  Since Hamburg has the second-biggest harbor in Europe, many people say it is a metropolis and Germany’s gateway to the world. As a result, it needs a concert hall with a first-class sound, comparable to the opera house in Sydney.

Although the Elbphilharmonie is now praised as Germany’s “Statue of Liberty” and as a “sparkling crystal of music”, there are also some downsides which should not be forgotten.

There is no doubt, that the two architects Pierre De Meuron and Jacques Herzog designed a marvelous structure, but nevertheless, the costs increased tenfold and the construction took seven years longer than initially planned. Altogether, the costs amount to 789 million Euros instead of 77 million and the taxpayers had to bear the majority of the supplementary costs.

At Opening Night on January 11th, 2017, the Elbphilharmonie held a grand concert. Special guests such as chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal President Joachim Gauck, and other prominent figures were invited.

The Orchestra performed several pieces by famous composers, such as Beethoven and Wagner, as well as by more contemporary ones, for example, Messiaen and Rihm.  

In spite of the bad planning which led to public skepticism, the new cultural center is much appreciated and highly praised in the end.

-Anna K.