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City Profiles

Coworking in Hamburg

Zeise-halls - watch out for the coworking monster!

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Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany, next to Berlin. It could be considered Berlin’s prettier and richer little sister. Taking a walk along the harbor as a non-Hamburger, you’re tempted to abandon your life and spend the rest of your days at the harbor stuffing your face with fish sandwiches and Franzbrötchen (a sweet cinnamon-flavored pastry, that makes all your problems magically disappear). But Hamburg has so much more to offer than just this. Even though the coworking space density does not compare with Berlin, coworkers and freelancers still have many options. Deskmag went out to have a closer look at the coworking spaces in the hanseatic city.

You can almost count the number of coworking spaces in Hamburg on one hand, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a great selection to choose from. There’s something for everyone: small spaces, big spaces, short-term options, long-term solutions for the more committed ones, improvised and well-ordered locations, as well as open and closed offices…

Werkheim

Old trails lead the way to the entrance of this former leather factory in Hamburg Ottensen. Walking through a big glass door you find yourself in a hallway bathed in light, where the friendly reception staff is happy to help you out. Werkheim is not only the first and biggest coworking space in Hamburg, but it is also one of the biggest in Germany. There are about 123 freelancers and startups working alongside each other in the 1.780 square meter (19.000 ft2) space.

About half of them work in the open space, and the other half is spread out amongst 14 team offices that can hold between 2 to 9 people. Additionally, they offer 4 conference rooms for the users and a bistro, which offers coffee and snacks for coworkers and visitors alike. The bistro is very popular among the smokers in the house, since you’re allowed to light up inside, preventing you from getting frostbite on your fingers during the harsh German winters.

“Hamburgers love the atmosphere of coworking spaces,” explained founder Wolfgang Lebrecht. “But they also like to be able to close the door behind them,” he continued, which the major reason why they offer many closed offices. They do have four walls, but due to the enormous height of the old factory ceilings, they are open on top, allowing you to see inside from the top floor.

The open area on the ground floor was designed in a flexible way, so it can be converted into an event space for up to 100 people in about 30 minutes.

And since life does not consist of constantly working, the founders started a little side-project called “Werkheim unplugged”, offering a platform for singers and songwriters to share their music on “Hamburg’s smallest stage.”

Coworking in the Zeise-halls

Located just a few steps from Werkheim, between a cinema and the smell of schnitzel, you can find the next coworking space/office community. The Zeise-halls used to be an old screw-propeller factory, but is now a haven for internet agencies, web designers, developers and social media people, who are working together spread out amongst three offices.

The concept here is slightly different, because the founders are more focused on building a stable community of long-term members. They handpick their coworkers, so that they will complement the existing community. In the beginning it was just the internet agency xi quadrat, which was comprised of four guys who decided that they didn’t want to work alone anymore. Now they share their office with different companies from a variety of fields, which brings them to 35 coworkers altogether. Yet, if you are interested, a couple of desks are still available.

In order to foster a strong community, they organize group breakfasts once a month and one of the coworkers will hold a workshop, thus strengthening the collective and allowing them to learn from each other. In order to expand their community beyond the Zeise-hall walls, they also host regular open meet-ups for anyone interested.

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