Hamburg’s 684th Dom Festival Brings Millions to the North of Germany

Hamburger Dom Enlarge image The Hamburger Dom has evolved to include many rollercoaster rides and amusement. (© picture alliance / Arco Images GmbH)

While Munich is famous for its Oktoberfest and Stuttgart for its Cannstätter Volksfest, the city of Hamburg is celebrated for its Hamburger Dom – a tri-annual public festival that is the oldest and largest of its kind in northern Germany.

The fairground is filled with rollercoaster rides, a Ferris wheel, amusement and food stands, and attracts several million visitors each year to its spring, summer and winter funfairs.

Rollercoasters surrounded by corn on the cob stalls; the smell of roasted almonds reaching a carousel for children and adults; candied fruits, sausages, pancakes and various waffle bakers; the Ferris wheel is the landmark of the Dom again and again, and an extra adventure area - always with a new theme - has also been part of the Dom for quite a few years.

- Hamburg Tourism GmbH

Dom Enlarge image The Hamburger Dom is a tri-annual fair whose origins lie in the 1300s. (© dpa) The 2013 festival marks the 684th time that Hamburg has hosted this event since it was first recorded in the early 1300s. Many centuries ago, the fair was organized by a group of jugglers, traders, artisans, showmen and merchants on the square of St. Mary’s Cathedral (also called the Hamburger Dom) in the weeks leading up to the holiday season. It is thus considered a predecessor of the German Christmas Markets.

The fair, however, soon became a tradition celebrated during any season and even grew to be held several times a year. 

Hamburger Dom Enlarge image A young girl drives a bumper car at the Hamburger Dom. (© (c) dpa - Fotoreport) In its early days, the funfair was held in front of the St. Mary’s Cathedral. But after the building, which stood on unstable ground, was neglected and began to decay, the city demolished it in 1806. As a result, the location of the Hamburger Dom was moved to the Heiligengeistfeld (Holy Spirit Field), a 160,000 square-meter (1.7 million square-foot) field that is often used for large events today.

The November/December Dom typically has an Advent theme, while the spring fair features a medieval fort and the summer has a Wild West town. A fireworks show takes place every Friday night for the duration of the festival.

Hamburger Dom Enlarge image The Hamburger Dom takes place three times each year - once each in the spring, summer and winter. (© picture alliance/rtn - radio tele nord) The 2013 Hamburger Dom will have three kilometers (about 2 miles) of food stalls, carousels and rides, and will run from November 8 to December 8.

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Hamburger Dom

Hamburger Dom