Below we have gathered some information on living in Hamburg and Germany that might be usuful for you.
The Clifford Chance International Office team is always available to answer your questions and support you in organizing your stay in Hamburg; please do not hesitate to be in touch!
Hamburg has restaurants on just about every corner, with options to satisfy every culinary preference and pocket book. Often it is best to just explore the district where you are living, or to ask a colleague or the International Office for tips.
You can also search for restaurants in certain districts or for specific cuisines at www.hamburg.prinz.de (in German only). Most restaurants have cheaper lunch menus on weekdays. Many are closed on Monday.
Although service is included in the price, it is normal to leave a small tip. How much you give depends on how satisfied you were with the quality of the service. Ten percent of the total bill is considered sufficient. Germans do not leave the tip on the table; instead they give it directly to the server when paying the bill.
Power voltage in Germany is 230 V, 50 Hz.
Power adapters and overseas voltage converters are available in every large electronic store, such as SATURN (address: Mönckebergstrasse 1, 20095 Hamburg, U-Bahn/S-Bahn Hauptbahnhof) or MediaMarkt (S-Bahn Altona, in the station).
The city of Hamburg is considered to be fairly safe. Most incidents of street crime involve the theft of unattended items and pick pocketing. While here, you should take the same precautions that you would in any large city.
German police can be reached by dialing 110. The fire department and ambulance service may be reached by dialing 112.
All major clinics offer after-hour, out-patient medical services for non-life threatening illnesses. A list of physicians with varying specialties who are proficient in English, French or Spanish is available in the International Office.
Selected pharmacies (“Apotheke”) are open 24 hours a day on a rotating schedule. See the placard at the main entrance of your local pharmacy for a list of pharmacies in your area and their opening hours. The pharmacy closest to Bucerius Law School is located at Dammtorstr. 27, 20354 Hamburg and is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Shopping hours in department stores, grocery stores and malls are generally between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the week and between 8 a.m. and 4 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, although some larger grocery stores are open until 10 p.m.
In general, stores are closed on Sunday. Larger gas stations, as well as small stores in some metro stations or at the main train station are open longer during the week and on Sunday. However, they charge a premium for the convenience.
Many bakeries, florists and most restaurants are also open on Sunday.
The country code for Germany is + 49 or 0049 and Hamburg’s city code is 040. When dialing a number from outside of Germany, you must use the country code and omit the “0” preceding the city code.
If you have a cell phone, you may want to ask your home provider if your service can be extended to cover you in Germany. However, it is most likely cheaper to buy a pre-paid card with a local German number, which you can purchase without a contract in various shops around Hamburg. You should decide in advance if you need more minutes for calling if a big data plan is the better option. If your current cell phone does not accept other SIM cards, you can purchase a cell phone in Hamburg for as little as EUR 20 to use with a pre-paid card.
Germany does not have an extensive free wireless network and only few public hotspots. Germans usually have cell phone plans with a limited data plan and Wifi at home.
Hamburg has an excellent public transport system which means that you will not need a car to get around.
Agora participants can opt for a public transport ticket free of costs which includes transport by metro, bus, night bus and ferries. For more information on the public transport system in Hamburg, please refer to the HVV website.
Hamburg by bike
If you prefer to jump on a bicycle instead of taking the bus or the metro, you may be interested in StadtRAD (City Bike), a bike-for-hire network that covers the whole inner city area. You can pick up a bike at one of the many hiring stations around town and drop it off at one near your destination.
The first 30 minutes are free of charge, which is usually enough time to get anywhere within the city center. After 30 minutes you pay by the minute. Alternatively you can also rent the bike for a whole day.
Travelling in Germany
- Traveling through Germany is safe and easy. Depending on where you are going, you may find it is quicker and even cheaper to fly than to take the train. Hamburg’s airport is located about 8 km north of the city in the district of Fuhlsbüttel and is easily accessible via the S-Bahn.
- The German rail company, the "Deutsche Bahn" ("DB"), operates trains over sort and longer distances. The Deutsche Bahn has a complicated pricing system with many possibilities to save money if used to its full advantage. Discounted tickets are often available, but are only valid for a specific train connection.
- It is also possible to travel long distances by bus. Many companies offer long distance transports mostly within Germany but also to its neighboring countries. It is usually cheaper to travel by bus but it also takes longer than by train or plane.
- Recently “CarSharing” is becoming more and more popular in Germany. This is similar to renting a car, but once you are registered, easier and often cheaper.
Unlike many other aspects of living in Germany that can be described with detail and precision, the weather can be extremely unpredictable. While the late spring and summer in Hamburg are often mild and enjoyable, with average temperatures around 18 – 20°C (64 – 68°F), they can also be cooler and rainy due to the close proximity to the North and Baltic seas.
Therefore, while light spring clothing is appropriate, layers are always a good way to ensure you will be warm or cool enough. You should also bring a pair of sunglasses for reading on the campus lawn as well as an umbrella.
Of course, if you arrive in Hamburg without a vital item of clothing, you will be able to find it in one of Hamburg’s numerous shopping areas.
"There are things to do for everyone—my highlights were staying up with classmates to prep for a moot trial, watching a full house ballet at the Staatsoper, sitting by a beautiful lakeside cafe on a Sunday afternoon and bathing in the sun by Timmendorf beach."