Anyone who has visited the Hanseatic city often comes to the conclusion at the end of their trip that Hamburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But this beautiful place has had to survive some tragedies in the past. Hamburg suffered greatly as a result of air raids during the Second World War. Nevertheless, a number of imposing office blocks and other buildings have survived, such as the Chilehaus and the Sprinkenhof, the city hall in the centre of the city with its 112 metre high tower and of course the Hamburg landmark, the 132 meter high St. Michael’s Church, affectionately known as “Michel”. Stoertebeker House was to earn its place in the ranks of such traditional Hanseatic buildings upon completion in 2004 and set an example in Hamm-Sued, a district that was badly damaged in the war.
Many people ask, “Why Stoertebeker House in particular?” Now, this requires some explanation, but put simply, as an entrepreneur you have to develop the nature of a seafarer to be able to survive the ups and downs. And 500 years ago Stoertebeker said, “The spirit of the crew determines the journey. Under full sail to new endeavours…”. Furthermore, the name “Klaus Stoertebeker” is closely connected with the history of the city of Hamburg to this day. Although dubbed a pirate, there is a monument in his glorious memory in the Port of Hamburg at Grasbrook.
Due to his legendary reputation, Stoertebeker became a folk hero – from pirate to privateer – with a tragic end. Like Robin Hood he used the spoils of his privateering to benefit the poor and hungry, until he and his Victual Brothers were captured, taken prisoner and beheaded in 1401.
Thanks to his legendary reputation, Stoertebeker became a folk hero.
But they were not ridding themselves of a band of robbers, but rather a brotherhood that behaved quite well in the context of the legal norm at that time. The name “Stoertebeker House” aims to combine the vividness of history with the ideas of the invincibility of permissive trade. For building owner and Emporium Hamburg Managing Director Achim Becker, from the start it was important for Stoertebeker House not to be another faceless office complex, but an architectural point of interest with landmark character representing Hanseatic merchant spirit. The building is intended to be a fortress against any type of mid-size business discrimination, instead remaining open to promising ideas and any form of creativity.
With the clinker facade, building owner Becker continues a good Hanseatic tradition and, with the idea for the building to be entirely devoted to the mid-size businesses, he conquered new frontiers. In addition, Stoertebeker House shows fascinating attention to detail. Right under the clock face on Borstelmannsweg, for example, there is a Stoertebeker carillon.
Every day just before noon two ships appear, followed by six Victual Brothers led by Stoertebeker and Goedeke Michel, and then disappear again. In the second circuit the executioner appears and with every second stroke of the bell he beheads one of the six Victual Brothers. The roofs and domes of the House are dressed in copper by skilled artisan hands. Above the main entrance, facing the roundabout, on the level of the terrace on the 6th floor, kneeling on a semi-circular heavy sandstone ledge, there is a bronze figure of Atlas bearing the great burden of the globe on his shoulders.
These small storytelling details run like a common thread throughout the building. Compass rose mosaics in the floor, tall columns, a magnificent domed hall, radiators with dragon heads, leaded windows, hand-forged art nouveau ornaments for the banisters – all of this was very important to the building owner, to show that Stoertebeker House is designed by human hands with dedication and warmth. Solely intended to highlight Hanseatic merchant spirit and virtues in combination with a feel-good atmosphere for employees and customers.
KNOWING IS NOT ENOUGH, WE MUST APPLY. WILLING IS NOT ENOUGH, WE MUST DO.
Emporium Hamburg Münzhandelsgesellschaft mbH
Stoertebeker-Haus, Süderstraße 288, 20537 Hamburg
Telefon: 040 - 25 799 - 0 • Fax: 040 - 25 799 - 100
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