Did you know that, in 2016, over 18 million people attended classical concerts in Germany? That's more people than those who went to main league football matches! Earlier this year, Germany continued its celebration of classical music with the opening of a new concert hall in the heart of Hamburg. Germans are incredibly proud of it and it's the first thing I show to my friends when they come to visit.
Affectionately known as the 'Elphi' by the locals, the Elbphilharmonie is a beautiful tower of glittering glass sat atop an old warehouse by the banks of the river Elbe. The curved roof resembles the ripples of the water below, while over 1000 curved glass windows give the building the appearance of a colossal, shimmering ice cube. The plaza is open to the public and from the middle of the city's tallest building, you can gaze across the harbour, miles of rooftops and passing ships below.
The main concert hall seats over 2000 people and is one of the most advanced music venues in the world. Two smaller concert halls are dedicated to chamber, jazz, world and contemporary music. Furthermore, if you're unbelievably rich you can buy one of the 45 luxurious apartments located within the building.
Construction began in 2007 with a budget of €241 million and a two-year timescale. Fast forward ten years and the building eventually opened with a final price tag of over €800 million!
I consider myself very lucky that the Elbphilharmonie opened during my time living in Hamburg, but unfortunately I haven't yet been able to attend a concert. Everything is sold out for six months! For now, I'm content to visit the plaza to enjoy the spectacular views over the docks and see the innovative architecture up close. Hopefully one day soon, I'll be lucky enough to grab a last-minute concert ticket!
Do you ever listen to classical music?