Der alte Schwede Hamburg

Image by Kyra Garske

Der alte Schwede – Or Hamburg’s oldest immigrant

The early bird catches the worm: For everybody who likes to take a long walk or to jog along the Elbe river in the early morning, take a Nordic breeze here:

The big stone, erratic boulder, is the oldest and probably first immigrant of Hamburg. During the Kansan glaciation (around 400.000 years ago) or the Wolstonian Stage (around 135.000 – 200.000 years ago) it came from East-Småland in Sweden to Germany and “slept” on the ground of the Elbe river in the valley till September 17th, 1999.

When they tried to deepen the Elbe river to increase the turning circle of big container ships, the stone became a dangerous obstacle. Divers prepared the Alter Schwede with steel-nets to lift it out of the water. A massive crane singled it out of the water, shortly after it came out it suddenly fell back into the river. Only 5 days later they tried it again, with hundreds of curious onlookers – it worked!

The 217 tons Småland-granite was baptized June 6th, 2000 with Elbe water and given its name: Alter Schweder (old Swedish). Between “birth” & “baptism” are 1,7 or 1,8 million years. The measure is 19,7 meter and 4,5 meter high. For geologists it’s very interesting to see the striation of the glaciers.

In the summertime it’s a nice spot for couples to watch the sunset or making a fire with friends.

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Details about this spot



Hans-Leip-Ufer, Hamburg

Opening Times

24 hours daily




Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)