€700m over budget, Hamburg concert hall finally finished

The Elbphilharmonie, which towers over Hamburg harbour in front of the Speicherstadt UNESCO world heritage site, is a soaring monument to that fact that Berlin is not the only German city that can embarrass itself with horribly mismanaged public projects.

It certainly took a while.

The concert hall, which Hamburg claims will become a landmark known around the world, was supposed to be completed in 2010. An opening date in 2013 was then also cancelled, with 2014 and 2015 both promised as finishing dates.

The concert hall lit up with the word ‘finished’ on Monday. Photo: DPA

The cost that the taxpayer has had to foot for the project has also risen from an initial projection of €77 million to €789 million.

But when Hochtief passed over the keys for the building to the city on Monday, mayor Olaf Scholz chose to concentrate on the positives.

“The architect’s office Herzog de Meuron and construction company Hochtief have achieved something unique.”

The building’s first concert is set to be held on January 11th 2017. Musicians who have already tested out the concert hall are said to be highly impressed by the acoustics.

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