Attracting talent to Hamburg: building relationships and solving problems

Hamburg looks very different from an international perspective than it does domestically. Within the German-speaking world, Hamburg is a strong brand: everyone has heard of the Michel, the Reeperbahn, the port, the Speicherstadt, the musicals and increasingly the Hafencity. Even individual neighbourhoods like St. Pauli, Eppendorf and Eimsbüttel are familiar at least by name, and Hamburg is known as Germany’s media powerhouse. So justifiably, to people in the DACH region, Hamburg is level with places like London and can easily compete with Berlin.

But internationally, Hamburg is not as well known. No-one has heard of the Michel, the Reeperbahn is just a red light district, and most people aren’t aware of Hamburg’s maritime identity. Internationally, people have heard of Hamburg, but couldn’t say where it is on the map.


Hamburg’s not well known abroad. Sketchnotes: Ines Schaffranek

Every now and then, we hear that the authorities in Hamburg want to bolster our international standing: whether to attract more tourists, or – more relevant to Hamburg Startups – attract the brightest and best. I think they are sometimes perplexed by the disconnect between Hamburg’s success within Germany and the outside world. The question is: how to resolve it? How to make Hamburg more attractive internationally, so that talented people want to come and live here, found companies, build a life and make a contribution? Read more