HAPAG Halle Cuxhaven (Steubenhöft)
Historic HAPAG Ship Terminal - Cuxhaven, Germany
From 1850 to 1939, an estimated 5 million Germans and Eastern Europeans sailed from Hamburg to the New World. (See more details in our BallinStadt Emigration Museum article.) In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the Hamburg-Amerika Linie, or HAPAG, carried up to 200,000 emigrants across the Atlantic each year--together with business and leisure travelers who relied on ships for transportation between Germany and North America.
In 1902, the city of Hamburg built a new "Overseas Harbor" in Cuxhaven to accommodate larger transatlantic ocean liners and growing passenger traffic. The Steubenhöft pier, a.k.a. the Hapag Halle, is still at the mouth of the Elbe River, 100 km or 60 miles downstream from the city of Hamburg.
Although scheduled transatlantic service ended more than 50 years ago, Steubenhöft continues to serve cruise ships. But that's not all: The Cuxhaven Port Authority boasts that, "Since most European harbor complexes of this time have been destroyed, the Steubenhöft remains the only fully working passenger terminal of its kind."
Visiting the Hapag Halle:
The Hapag Halle is on the waterfront in downtown Cuxhaven, within walking distance of the city's signature water tower (inset photo) and the railroad station.
The main terminal building on the water is open daily, with a small Steubenhöft Museum (free admission) and the excellent Panorama-Restaurant Seestern upstairs, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the water while you have lunch (I recommend the fried fish) or Kaffe und Kuchen in the afternoon.
Guided tours are offered during much of the year by the Fordverein Hapag Halle Cuxhaven. For details, and to learn more about the terminal and its history, see the Web links and captioned photos below.
For more information:
The Fordverein Hapag Halle Cuxhaven has an English version of its Web site with information about the pier's history, exhibitions, and guided tours.
For tourist information about Cuxhaven, visit tourismus.cuxhaven.de.
More HAPAG Halle photos:
The Historic HAPAG Terminal, also known as "Steubenhöft," was built at the turn of the 20th Century to handle guests of the Hamburg-America Line (HAPAG) after the company moved its passenger operations from Hamburg to Cuxhaven.
The building above is the original Kuppelsaal or "domed hall" at the historic terminal's entrance.
In the terminal's heyday, boat trains brought passengers directly to the "Amerikabahnhof" from Hamburg and Berlin.
This vintage billboard in the terminal shows the Hamburg-America Line's main routes--Berlin to London via Cuxhaven and Dover, and Berlin to New York via Cuxhaven. Customers could book passage from city to city, with HAPAG providing connecting trains where needed.
A black-and-white illustration of HAPAG's Deutschland is accompanied by representations of the coal and provisions that were required for a transatlantic voyage. (Click here for a larger 140Kb image with legible captions.)
In 1900, when the Deutschland entered service between Cuxhaven and New York, it was the largest and fastest ship in the world.
HAPAG's transatlantic service between New York and Cuxhaven ended in the late 1960s, but DFDS Seaways operated overnight car-passenger ferries between Harwich, England and Cuxhaven from March, 2002 to November, 2003.
Today, the Steubenhöft pier is still used by visiting cruise ships
Cuxhaven is also a port for passenger ferries to the islands of Heligoland and Neuwerk, and for high-speed catamaran ferries to Stade, Hamburg, and Heligoland.
This photo shows the land side of the modern Empfangsgebäude (reception building) where ships discharge and load passengers. The new building dates to the 1950s.
You can see a portion of the historic terminal complex in the foreground.
The Zollhalle, or Customs Hall, is connected to the wharf by the Gedeckter Gang (covered passageway) that was built in 1913.
The reception building houses a free museum exhibit and the Panorama-Restaurant Seestern, which specializes in delectable fried fish served in a high-ceilinged room with a spectaculr view of the sea.
More Cuxhaven photos:
Enclosed beach chairs--which provide shelter from sun, rain, and wind--are a symbol of Cuxhaven and other Northern German seaside resorts.
Don't miss the local herring. (This tin bears the city's official logo and a tourist scene.)
If you're lucky, you may see a large cruise ship or the only remaining transatlantic liner, Cunard's Queen Mary 2, during your visit to Cuxhaven.
2nd inset photo copyright © Martina Berg.
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