Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg is a concert hall. Usually we would just mention it in an existing article but in this case, this is too special to not write a bit more about. There are so many fun facts about this building and so many stories surrounding it that we want to share. It’s a concert hall but in fact, it’s much much more than that! Join us as we enter the world of Elbphilharmonie.
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Elbphilhamonie is a lovely piece of art
The Germans call this concert hall “Elphie” and it has become a dear friend of the people that live in Hamburg. We heard several different stories about her and a lot of the stories are different. First of all, we got to see the drawing that was made when it was decided how the building was suppose to look. It looks like a child drawing and I’m not sure if it’s a joke but according to our guide, Phillip Donnellon, it’s true and not a joke.
Phillip is a guide at Hamburg Free Walking Tours and we joined him for a guided tour. He told us a lot of stories about the concert hall and showed us the picture. The building was seven years delayed. That’s a long time for the people to wait for their new pride and joy to be completed. Finally, in January 2017, it was finished and there she is – for everyone to admire!
Elbphilharmonie went way over budget
Ok, so according to the costs of building the concert hall, there are several different numbers that are being thrown around. We got one number from Phillip, and then we got another number a couple of days later when we went on a Free Walking Tour (another one). Then our guide, Bertram Kerres, gave other numbers. So after doing some research and with the help from Bertram, we do feel confident that we have the correct numbers.
So the initial budget was set to 75 000 000 euros. When the Elbphilharmonie was finished, the concert hall has costed 865 000 000. That is about 11,5 times more than the budget!!! It’s incredible how they could miss the mark by so much. And keep in mind that the foundation of the concert hall was not new. It was built on an old warehouse from the 1960’s. And sure, it is a really impressive building but was it worth the money? Well, that’s not up to us to decide!
“Elphie” is more than a concert hall
Located close to the river Elbe, at the western point of the HafenCity, this is a really impressive building. But this is not “just” a concert hall, Elbphilharmonie is so much more. There is also a gift shop, a hotel, a restaurant and apartments. In fact, there are 45 private apartments in the building. The price for an apartment is 11 500 000 euro (according to Bertram) so not a cheap place to live. The price per square meter equals 38 500 euros.
There is also a Plaza that is free of charge to visit. However, you need to make reservations because otherwise, you won’t be able to enter. You can get your free ticket on their website. The plaza is nice and it is totally worth visiting. But the building itself is the most impressive thing! If you want, you can also book a guided tour for 19 euros. This is an awesome and impressive building that needs to be seen! If you want you can also book a guided tour of the concert hall for 15 euros.
Elbphilharmonie in numbers
Oh how I love Hamburg and their statistics. Here are some funny numbers that I found about this awesome and different building that they are calling the landmark of Hamburg.
- During the first 15 months that it was open, there were more than 850 000 people attending the 600 concerts and more than 4 500 000 people had made a guided tour of the concert hall.
- The building has 120 000 square meters of floor space.
- The building is 110 meters high and made out of 1 100 glass elements.
- The concert hall can seat 2 100 people.
Our visit to the Elbphilharmonie
We went to check out the plaza and it was a really nice experience. Since we spent some time here, we also checked out the restaurant and bought a salad that we shared. It’s impressive from the start. First, there is an escalator that takes 2,5 minutes and then you just transfer to another one and continue to the plaza that is located 37 meters from the ground floor. Once outside on the plaza, there is a great view over the harbor and there are benches where you can sit down and enjoy life.
In the restaurant they also offer beer tastings, how awesome is that? The only thing that we were missing during our visit here is this: Since we are inside the Elbphilharmonie, we can’t see it from the outside. We tried to ask around in the surrounding buildings if we could go to the top and watch the concert hall, but without luck. I wish that there was a great way to see the impressive building from above!
Getting tickets to a concert at the Elbphilharmonie
The concerts that are held in the vineyard concert hall are super popular and sell out really fast. Overall you need to book your tickets for nine months in advance. Mini and I didn’t get to see a concert here during our visit but I did some research on how to get tickets. Here are our tips on how to get to enjoy a concert during your visit to Hamburg.
- If you are planning ahead, you can book your tickets online – nine months in advance.
- When you come to Hamburg, go to the ticket office when they open and see if someone doesn’t pick up their tickets. Tickets that are not picked up will be sold hours before the concert.
- Get to know a person that lives in Hamburg. There are always tickets that are held for the locals. Ask them to buy your tickets.
- Buy the tickets on eBay. Check for a silver hologram on the ticket to minimise the risk of getting cheated.
Information about the Elbphilharmonie:
Address: Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1, 20457 Hamburg.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 0o:00 daily at the plaza. Make sure to book your free tickets in advance.
Entrance fee: The Plaza is free of charge. A guided tour of the plaza costs 19 € per adult and a tour of the concert hall costs 15 €.
Website: Click here to get to the english version of the website.
You might also like to read about our boat ride on the Elbe River. Here you will get a nice view of the Elbphilharmonie.
You can also take a ride with the hop on hop off buses to get to Elbphilharmonie