A ship in the port of Hamburg. In the background the new Opera House (Elbe Philarmonic Hall) being built.
Hamburg, situated on the Elbe river is the second largest city of Germany. Both its official name "Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg" and its autonomous character as a city-state of the 16 states that comprise Germany reflect its highly autonomous past as a member-state of the Hanseatic League (a commercial confederation of merchant unions/guilds and their market towns that shaped and dominated the coastal trade of Northern Europe including cities like London, Bergen, Brugge, Kohln, Lubeck, Gdansk, Riga, Novgorod). Today it is inhabited by ~1,8 million people with its metropolitan area including more than 5 million.
Hamburg takes pride in its rich naval past and present. According to wikipedia it is ranked as the 2nd biggest port of Europe (after Rotterdam) and 9th worldwide.