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Lohsepark, HafenCity’s green people’s park, opens to the public

Hamburg’s Mayor, Olaf Scholz, joined neighbors, HafenCity figures and many guests from other city districts July 9 to open the new Lohsepark. Covering 4.4 hectares, its generous sweeps of grass and trees stretch from Ericusgraben in the north to Baakenhafen in the south, making it a new, lively meeting place for everyone living in Hamburg or visiting the city. Lohsepark is a place of remembrance, too. The Lohsepark area was once the site of Hanover Railroad Station from where at least 7,692 Jews, Sinti and Roma were deported between 1940 and 1945

The 100 meter-wide and 550 meter-long Lohsepark now stretches like a wide green ribbon from Ericusgraben in the north to Baakenhafen in the south, with a central unobstructed visual axis from waterside to waterside.

The 100 meter-wide and 550 meter-long Lohsepark now stretches like a wide green ribbon from Ericusgraben in the north to Baakenhafen in the south, with a central unobstructed visual axis from waterside to waterside.

“Lohsepark gives HafenCity a green core. The biggest park in this city district is a recreation area and meeting place for residents. And I am sure that many other people in Hamburg will quickly count it as one of their favorite places. Lohsepark will also become an important place of remembrance in the very center of the city. The "denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof" is a dignified reminder of the deportation transports of Jews, Sinti and Roma that started from Hanover Railroad Station between 1940 and 1945,” said the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz.

“I am delighted that so many ideas from the neighborhood have fed into the creation of the park. As well having an important ecological role, Lohsepark will above all be a park for everyone – a place for relaxation, recreation and also for sport, play and meeting people,” said Prof. Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Chief Executive of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH.

The urban development Masterplan dating from 2000 already set out the basic principle of creating a large green space for the new district in central HafenCity. It was to play a dual role, both as a recreation area and meeting place and as an element linking the neighborhoods to one another and to the existing city center. The 100 meter-wide and 550 meter-long Lohsepark now stretches like a wide green ribbon from Ericusgraben in the north to Baakenhafen in the south, with a central unobstructed visual axis from waterside to waterside. The open space planning concept for Lohsepark resulted 2010 from an international competition. Its authors were Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG of Zurich. Local residents, pupils from Katharinenschule school and children from local kindergartens were also involved in the planning through discussions and workshops.

Prof. Günther Vogt, of Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten:
“Along the lines of Hamburg’s traditional public parks, Lohsepark has been landscaped with generous lawns and meadows. Its unusual topography is a particular feature of the park – it is structured on four levels, the historical level of the old area, the park level with broad sweeps of grass, the new city level with its terraces and the landscaped hills above them.”

Benches and seating areas in Lohsepark are an invitation to relaxation, while quiet sections of the park alternate with action areas offering games for all age groups and a basketball court. Rather than impose arbitrary concepts on the park, the various play areas were developed based on vegetation and topography. Thus slacklines span dips, trampolines have been set in green hollows in the grass, and a grotto reaches far underground. Robinias that used to line the old Versmannstrasse and had to be felled have been used to build climbing frames.

There are more than 500 trees spread across the 4.4 hectares, including 20 different species such as hornbeams, oaks and lindens, apple and wild cherry trees, but also more exotic species such as cinnamon trees and ironwoods. The classical parkland is complemented by the so-called “follies” in Lohsepark, created out of vegetation. They include an “enclosed wilderness” which may not be entered; it is allowed to grow naturally without human intervention. The long sides of Lohsepark are lined with terraces, so-called “bastions”, that provide a transition to the adjacent streets and buildings. Along Ericusgraben in the north of the park, natural riparian vegetation, with sedge and reeds, has been planted in contrast to the standard quay walls elsewhere. At its southern end, by HafenCity University, the park opens out to Baakenhafen in a set of broad steps. 

An important element of the park is the “denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof” on the site of the former Hanover Railroad Station. Between 1940 and 1945 at least 7,692 Jews, Sinti and Roma were deported from here to the ghettos and extermination camps in eastern and central Europe. Today a “seam” cutting diagonally across the part traces the route of the former rail tracks, while a documentation center will be built in the immediate vicinity of the park. The original platform and its historic rail tracks will be carefully restored once the “seam” is completed. Memorial plaques and lists of names of the deportees will characterize this place, offering a dignified commemoration of the victims and a reminder of this dark chapter in the area’s history. The “seam” opened to pedestrians to coincide with the inauguration of the park; the place of remembrance is still in preparation and is due to be opened early 2017.

Lohsepark could only be laid out in stages. The first sections of the park in the south and the north were already completed 2013. Residents and visitors of Am Lohsepark neighborhood have been able to use part of the central section with its play areas since mid-2015. For a long time a large freight forwarders’ warehouse standing in the middle of the park prevented completion of the central area. At the end of 2013 it was possible to demolish it, clearing the way for the park and the place of remembrance to be finalized. The park is being opened July 9 and 10 – four years earlier than originally planned – with a public festival. It is now available in its entirety to everyone living in Hamburg or visiting the city.

 

 

Drone Movie of Lohsepark

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