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Night view of the side street Große Freiheit from Beatles-Platz , 2018
Street sign Reeperbahn at night

The Reeperbahn is the central street in the entertainment and red light district of Hamburg 's St. Pauli district . It is about 930 meters long and runs from Millerntor in a westward direction to Nobistor ( Hamburg-Altona ), where it turns into Königstraße . The large number of discos, bars and nightclubs has earned it the nickname "the siniest mile in the world".


Sights on the Reeperbahn include the many nightclubs , bars and discos. These include the well-known Café Keese (until 2015, since then a restaurant of Sausalitos Holding GmbH ), the windowless pub " Zur Ritze " with its own boxing cellar and a wide variety of localities in the side streets, such as the Große Freiheit branching off from Beatles Platz or Hans-Albers-Platz . Theaters are concentrated on Spielbudenplatz, which runs parallel to the Reeperbahn, with the most famous German police station, the Davidwache , the Panoptikum wax figure cabinet , the St. Pauli Theater , Schmidt Theater and Schmidts Tivoli as well as the Operettenhaus . Well-known establishments in the erotic sector include the Dollhouse, the Safari, and since 2015 the Safari Bierdorf and the A la Charm. The SM scene is also based on the Reeperbahn. The Club de Sade is Europe's oldest SM club from the 1960s.

The well-known Herbertstrasse , a brothel street, runs parallel to the Reeperbahn, somewhat hidden in the south , which can only be entered on foot through two screens.

A redesign of the central Spielbudenplatz in order to revive this square in the Kiez has been discussed since the 1960s . First, at the end of the 1960s, one to two-storey pavilions were built, as were common in shopping centers of that time. Various ( fast food ) restaurants, leisure clubs (with billiards, table football and the like) as well as smaller shops for clothing, souvenirs, poster shops, etc. settled there. However, the very confusing, winding, narrow passage resulted in major hygiene and security problems, which meant that many shops, especially in the central area, were quickly closed again and could not be rented again. As a result, the Spielbudenplatz increasingly developed into an eyesore. At the end of the 1980s, the pavilions there were demolished and the approximately 300 m long area often remained unused. After controversial proposals (including an installation with two cranes by Jeff Koons ), the City of Hamburg decided and implemented a plan with two moving stages opposite each other, on which regular events should take place. On June 2, 2006, the € 9.7 million renovation of Spielbudenplatz and Reeperbahn was officially inaugurated.

In the Operettenhaus the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber was premiered in German until 2001 , and Mamma Mia! From 2002 to 2007 (in German premiere) . , the ABBA musical. In December 2007 the Udo Jürgens musical I have never been to New York celebrated its world premiere there. This was replaced by the Sister Act in autumn 2010 . In November 2012 the musical Rocky - fight from the heart premiered. The musical Hinterm Horizont with songs by Udo Lindenberg has been performed there since autumn 2016 (until summer 2017) .

The Beatles took a big step near the Reeperbahn on the way to their world career, where they appeared in the “ Star Club ”, “ Kaiserkeller ”, “ Top Ten Club ” and “Indra”. The Beatles Square commemorates these events. The Reeperbahn became famous with the film Große Freiheit No. 7 ( UFA 1943) with Hans Albers and the song he sang in it, Auf der Reeperbahn at half past twelve . A memorial on the Hans-Albers-Platz , which is directly adjacent to the Reeperbahn, depicts him, as in the film, with a boatman's piano and boater's cap. Udo Lindenberg is the only artist to have a star on the Reeperbahn that is modeled on the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . He, too, sang the "great mile" with Reeperbahn , just like Tom Waits with his song of the same name.

Since 2006, the Reeperbahn Festival has been held every September on the Reeperbahn . Other major annual events are the Schlagermove in early July and the Harley Days.

The topping-out ceremony for the dancing towers took place in September 2011 . The Mojo Club reopened here in 2013 at Reeperbahn 1 .


The Reeperbahn in a rope factory
Model of the historic rope factory in the Museum of Hamburg History
Spielbudenplatz around 1900
Esso gas station and " Esso houses " in November 2013

The Reeperbahn got its name from rope makers and rope makers, the so-called Reepschlägern , who need a long, straight track to make ship ropes . Accordingly, there are streets with this or a similar name in other cities, for example in Kiel , Elmshorn , Schleswig , Stade , Buxtehude , Bremen (Reepschlägerbahn) or in Aalborg in Denmark . On a map of Hamburg from 1791 this is entered north of the "Hamburger Berg" with the name "Reepschläger Bahn" together with the "Reepschlag-Hütten".

The term Reiferbahn is High German for Reeperbahn , so it means the same thing, while lower-quality ropes were produced on a ropeway . Therefore, a cable car is no longer than about 50 m, while a Reeperbahn is at least 300 m long. The last real Reeperbahn remaining in Hamburg can be found today in Hamburg-Hausbruch on the southern side of the Elbe . Reifer and Reeper can probably be traced back to Proto- European * raipaz , which is also the same precursor for English rope and Dutch reep .

Until the lifting of the Hamburg gate lock in 1860/1861 and the successive expansion of Hamburg in the suburb of Hamburger Berg (old name St. Paulis), the Reeperbahn was exactly between the two cities of Hamburg with the city limits of Millerntor and Altona with the city limits of Nobistor at the junction of the Great freedom . People and businesses that were undesirable in both cities were able to settle in the immediate vicinity and were still involved in city life. The first residential development was carried out in 1826–1827 according to Wimmel's designs as small-scale residential buildings in the style of a row of houses on the north side of the Reeperbahn between Millerntor and Hamburger Berg. Individual houses were later demolished for the cross streets ( Hein Hoyer-Strasse , Bremer Strasse ) that were laid out in the 1880s .

A small historical mistake is that the Hamburg Reeperbahn allegedly was not the actual Reeper's railway, but the parallel Simon-von-Utrecht- Strasse , which compared to the Reeperbahn was dead straight . Seilerstrasse is still between these two ; whose name says it all. The term "Reeperbahn" is - next to the production facility for cordage and road in Hamburg - today as a synonym for: "The sinful mile" or its immediate surroundings, but mostly just lovingly called "the Kiez ". When “strolling over the Reeperbahn” you usually don't limit yourself to the Reeperbahn street alone.

After the number of violent crimes on St. Pauli had risen steadily, a gun ban was issued in 2007 for the Reeperbahn and the side streets to carry guns, knives and other dangerous objects. The local shops were asked to stop selling glass bottles. Through the glass bottles Prohibition Act and the carrying of glass bottles and jars has been completely banned in the weekend nights and before public holidays in 2009 and can be punished with up to 5000 € fine. Yellow signs delimit the area. This measure has not shown a decrease in violence.

In December 2011, IG St. Pauli submitted an application to make the Reeperbahn a “ Business Improvement District ” (BID) in order to ensure more cleanliness and a better overall appearance.

Up until December 2013 there was an Esso petrol station on the Reeperbahn, which was well-known beyond the city limits, was open around the clock and was frequented by many visitors to the neighborhood.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic , operations on the Reeperbahn almost came to a complete standstill in April 2020.

Transport links

Reeperbahn S-Bahn station (status March 2018). The redesign of the pillars on the platform and the final design of the back track walls are still pending.
St. Pauli underground station

To the east, the Reeperbahn is a feeder road to the B4 (Ludwig-Erhard-Straße and Willy-Brandt-Straße). In the west, from the intersection of Holstenstraße and Pepermölenbek, it continues as Königstraße towards Altona-Altstadt .

There are two bus stops on the Reeperbahn ( S-Reeperbahn and Davidstraße ). There is another on the Millerntorplatz to the east at the St. Pauli underground station with the U3 line .

At the western end of the Reeperbahn is the underground S-Bahn station Reeperbahn for lines S1, S2 and S3. It has two exits at Talstrasse / Silbersackstrasse and three exits at the intersection of Königstrasse, Nobistor and Pepermölenbek. The station belongs to price class 4. The stop is a so-called multi - purpose facility and can be converted into a civilian shelter for 4,500 people in the event of a defense or disaster . The platform is increasingly checked by federal police officers and DB Sicherheit employees on weekend nights .

In March 2018, the complete redesign of the S-Bahn began. In a first step, the tiles were knocked off the back track walls, then the walls and ceilings over the tracks were painted black. In addition, the platform and the distribution levels were re-tiled. The final work is planned for 2020.

line course
S 1 Wedel  - Rissen - Sülldorf - Iserbrook - Blankenese  - Hochkamp - Klein Flottbek  - Othmarschen  - Bahrenfeld  - ( under construction: Ottensen  -) Altona  - Königstraße  - Reeperbahn  - Landungsbrücken  - Stadthausbrücke  - Jungfernstieg  - Central Station  - Berliner Tor  - Landwehr  - Hasselbrook  - Wandsbeker Chaussee  - Friedrichsberg - Barmbek  - Alte Wöhr - Rübenkamp  - Ohlsdorf  | - Hamburg Airport (airport)  | - Kornweg (Klein Borstel)  - Hoheneichen  - Wellingsbüttel  - Poppenbüttel
S 2 Altona  - Königstraße  - Reeperbahn  - Landungsbrücken  - Stadthausbrücke  - Jungfernstieg  - Central Station  - Berliner Tor  - Rothenburgsort - Tiefstack - Billwerder-Moorfleet - Mittlerer Landweg - Allermöhe - Nettelnburg - Bergedorf
S 3 Pinneberg  - Thesdorf - Halstenbek - Krupunder - Elbgaustraße  - Eidelstedt  - Stellingen - Langenfelde  - Diebsteich  - Altona  - Königstraße  - Reeperbahn  - Landungsbrücken  - Stadthausbrücke  - Jungfernstieg  - Central Station  - Hammerbrook  - Elbbrücken  - Veddel - Wilhelmsburg  - Harburg  - Harburg  - Heimfeld - Neuenthal Town Hall - Heimfeld - Neuenthal - Fischbek  - Neu Wulmstorf  - Buxtehude  - Neukloster - Horneburg - Dollern - Agathenburg - Stade


The Berlin columnist Pem described his impressions of the Reeperbahn in the Neue Berliner Zeitung / 12-Uhr-Blatt in 1929 :

“That this is the street of the greatest contrasts, that the bourgeois restaurant is next to the bar, the elegant nightspot next to the vulgar hippodrome - that is nothing new and yet it is always exciting in the changing atmosphere, in the balance of all social contrasts. The over-eaten Ghent does not cause the Chinese, prostitutes and workers to blink - in the hippodrome at thirty pfennigs the ride, 'gallop a mark', everyone falls equally off the horse, not just the specially employed girls with endless silk legs; the primacy of the wallet has been abolished. "

- Pem


Web links

Commons : Reeperbahn  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. - ( Memento from December 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary , accessed July 9, 2017
  4. André Zand-Vakili, Florian Hanauer: Glass bottle ban on the Reeperbahn has no effect . In: The world . February 2, 2010, accessed June 1, 2017.
  5. geht-den-Bach- runter.html
  6. Station price list. DB Station & Service, accessed on August 16, 2020 .
  7. Civil defense multi-purpose facility Nobistor ( Memento from June 29, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  8. ^ Pem : Reeperbahn fairground . In: Neue Berliner Zeitung / Das 12 Uhr Blatt , April 11, 1929, p. [6].

Coordinates: 53 ° 32 ′ 58 "  N , 9 ° 57 ′ 41"  E