The St. Georg quarter belongs to the district(-authority) “Hamburg-Mitte”. The quarter’s limits are in the northwest the outer Alster Lake, in the south and west the railway tracks. In the northeast the St. Georg hospital (used to be property of Hamburg, privatized 10 years ago) marks the border to the district Hamburg Nord. The hospital, named after Saint George and originally dating from the middle ages, became the namesake for the whole quarter.
St. Georg was originally situated outside the walls of Hamburg, it was integrated into the city of Hamburg only 1868, a date that marks the beginning of the first building boom. On 1.8 square Kilometres about 12.000 people are living here today, part of them in older cheap flats, but more and more in expensive owner occupied flats. The latter are either newly built or originate from luxury modernized older flats in houses from the 19. Century. Parts of the quarter nowadays are under monument protection.
More than 20.000 workplaces and more than 20.000 hotel beds, too, in and around St. Georg. That means you meet more employees or tourists than inhabitants here.
During the last 20 years, an increasing number of new houses have been built (and still are being built), that means a rise of the average rent in the quarter. Especially along the Lange Reihe owner occupied flats belong to the most expensive in Hamburg. St. Georg benefits of its excellent transport connections. Part from the main railway station (opened 1906) there are two other local transport stations inside the quarter. By means of this infrastructure, you can reach St. Georg with all underground- and suburban train lines. Furthermore, the Central Bus Station (ZOB) is situated on St. Georg grounds. After the liberalization of long distance bus traffic the number of long distance buses to and from all parts of Europe starting and ending in St. Georg has highly increased. Some parts of St. Georg still have to cope with a high crime rate, especially drug trafficking and illegal prostitution.
Main and central institutions like the house of the DGB (german federation of trade unions, since 1907), many advisory centres. Quite a lot of religious centres, too.
Many active citizens, organized in several registered associations, such as the Geschichtswerkstatt (historical workshop), Bürgerverein (citizen’s association) and Einwohnerverein (inhabitant’s association). Regular public participation since 1978, when the redesign around the „Lange Reihe“ began. St. Georg – because of its central position in the city of Hamburg – has to carry the burden of nearly all social problems you can think of, prostitution, drug trafficking, impoverished drug users, homeless people from other countries, youngsters having run away from home. However, the inhabitants always came to solutions for their living together, if necessary against the authorities, may be the district authority or the main administration of the city.
Used to be home of poor people, foreign guestworkers, refugees until the seventies of the last century. Buildings were not taken care of; there were many gaps between the houses where the bombs had destroyed buildings or parts of them. Some thought about demolishing and rebuilding St. Georg in a futuristic style.
In 1978, the enhancement began along the Lange Reihe, an architectural and social redesign was the aim of the city. Real property companies, from not only Hamburg or Germany, but all around Europe have begun to focus on the possible profits here. In German investors talk about “Betongold”, gold made of concrete.
The fountain dates from 1878, the sculptures represent historic persons such as Charlemagne, the upper sculpture „Hansa“ is an allegory of the Hanseatic League, trading cooperation of merchants from north German and Baltic cities in the middle ages). A redesign or renovation of the square was carried out by the city for two and a half million Euros some years ago. The aim was ousting of the homeless drunkards, partly migrants from southeastern Europe who like to stay on the square, for some people the crime of
loitering. And they wanted to get rid of the prostitution. A special invention of social democrats in Hamburg: prohibition of contact, fines for punters and prostitutes. The square should become attractive for tourists and of course, the new owners of the flats around the square did not want to see and hear the phenomena you can find on the wrong side of the tracks behind the main railway stations in any European city.