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Hamburg concert hall: Overdue, Over Budget, Finished


Yes, unlike Berlin's infamous new airport, Hamburg's new concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, was finished on Monday, and will open January 11. Like the airport, it was way overdue (6 years) and way over budget (€700 million over).

It's almost as if Germany's reputation for efficiency and discipline has become a construction industry joke. In this case, an expensive one, as the cost of the project went from €77 million to €789 million, powered by rising construction costs, changes and astonishing fitting costs. A 2014 parliamentary investigation found that planners had specified €300 toilet brushes and €957 paper towel holders.

But turning to the positive, Mayor Olaf Scholz, pointe out that "Hamburg has gained a building so impressive in the Elbphilharmonie that it is already impossible to imagine the city without it." The even better news is that musicians who have rehearsed in the hall were said to be highly impressed with the acoustics.

And the construction company had the last word. Literally. On Monday night they turned lights on in the building to spell out the German word for 'finished.'

Top photo: Madd79/Wikimedia

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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The German government were offering Hamburg as a suitable venue for the Olympic Games. The good people of Hamburg have said they no longer trust developers and politicians. No thank you.

I find the new Concert Hall to be a monster on stilts. Not a pleasant view from any angle. 

Nothing like inept bureaucrats to run up the budget....Imagine, €300 for a toilet brush!  I'm sure an adequate brush could have been purchased for €3.  And that's just one example.  Beautiful building, but at a cost of nearly $US 1 billion, it does seem a bit pricey.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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