Hamburg Fish Market - History and Facts | History Hit

Hamburg Fish Market

Hamburg, Germany

Amy Irvine

18 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Hamburg Fish Market

Lined-up in an open space by the Elbe harbor basin is Hamburg’s famous Fischmarkt (fish market), in St Pauli. Opening at the crack of dawn, a visit here is a legendary Hamburg experience, whether you’re starting your day early or even finishing your night out.

History of Hamburg’s Fischmarkt

The market has been running since 1703, initially under two rival fish markets, in Hamburg and Altona (since 1896), separated only by official administrative borders. As early as the 19th century, attempts were made to merge the two markets into one common fish market, though the merger was eventually completed in March 1938, under the ‘Fish Market Hamburg-Altona GmbH’ (FMH).

The shared Fischmarkt Hamburg-Altona became the most important fishing harbor in Germany, growing to be the leading market for gourmet fish, the biggest trans-shipment center for herring and temporarily the dominating location of the German fish industry. At one time it was the only specialised location for premium seafood products in Germany.

The FMH was sold to the ‘Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft‘ (HHLA) in December 1989.

The next-door Fischauktionshalle (Fish Auction Hall) is one of the most historical places in Hamburg, mirroring Hamburg’s development for over 120 years.

It was initially built in style of an old roman market hall with a basilica, but after being destroyed by bombs in the Second World War, a new roof was built. Fish auctions stopped in the 1950’s, but in 1982, the hall was preserved, restored and renewed for use as a market hall.

Hamburg’s Fischmarkt today

Hamburg’s Fischmarkt currently covers about a third of the consumption of fresh fish in Hamburg.

Approximately 36,000 tons of fresh fish a year are exchanged at the fish market, which hosts 57 fishing and gastronomical businesses, with 750 employees and annual sales of approximately 280 million Euros. About 14% of Germany’s fresh fish supply is processed in Hamburg.

Every Sunday around 5am, the Fischmarkt attracts thousands of locals and visitors to it’s stalls and plentiful nearby cafés. The market sells a lot more than fish – including fruit, flowers, clothes, souvenirs and even livestock.

The neighbouring Fischauktionshalle (Fish Auction Hall) also serves drinks and live music. With the Reeperbahn’s bars and clubs nearby, the market has become a popular last stop after a Saturday night out.

Getting to Hamburg’s Fischmarkt

The Fischmarkt is located at Grosse Elbstrasse 9, near U-Bahn 3 (stop Landungsbrücken or St. Pauli U-Bahn Station), S1, S3 (stop Reeperbahn) and bus line 112 (stop ‘Fischmarkt’).

Make sure you don’t miss it – the market is open from 5am in summer, 7am in winter, and closes by 9:30am.

Featured In

Historic Sites in Hamburg

Discover some of the best historic sites in Hamburg, Germany - from its famous port to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the world’s largest warehouse complex at Speicherstadt.