Schiffsbegrussungsanlage Willkomm-Hoft, Wedel

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The Schiffsbegrüßungsanlage Willkomm-Höft (literally, Ship Greeting Station Welcome Point, Höft being Low German for headland or point) is a facility at the Schulauer Fährhaus (Schulau Ferry Building, a restaurant) in Schulau, the southern district of Wedel on the Lower Elbe. It was founded by Otto Friedrich Behnke on June 12, 1952. Currently, it is sponsored by Nautische Kameradschaft HANSEA.
Ships heading upriver for or downriver from the port of Hamburg are welcomed or bid farewell by dipping the Hamburg flag and by hoisting the international flag signal for "bon voyage" (letters U and W). For vessels over 1,000 GT leaving German waters, the national anthem of their country of registry is additionally played between 8:00 AM and sunset or 8:00 PM. Occasionally, the ship will return the greetings by dipping her flag or sounding her whistle.

For the welcomes and farewells, there are recordings of 152 different national anthems of maritime nations, or rather of those that keep a register of shipping, and welcoming and farewell messages in the local language. These are available on compact cassette (red lettering for welcome, black lettering for farewell) and computer. Both systems can be used interchangeably.

The ship welcoming station is notified on arriving and departing vessels by the Hamburg nautical registration office once an inbound ship has passed Stadersand or an outbound ship, Hamburg Finkenwerder. Visitors are briefed on each ship by loudspeaker. Information includes name, nationality, date of construction, builder, operator, length, beam, and draught. Plus, if applicable and known, container capacity and trivia. These data are stored in a constantly updated, handwritten card index on about 17,000 ships.
The ceremony of ship welcoming and farewell is performed by six so-called "welcoming captains."
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Schiffsbegrussungsanlage Willkomm-Hoft Reviews
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  • Sitting at a roofed terrace and looking out at the vast River Elbe and the passing enormous cargo and container ships whilst eating delicious local cuisine is a unique experience. A special feature...  more »
  • Each vessel leaving Hamburg or coming to the port of Hamburg is welcomed with the national anthem and welcomed in their national language  more »
  • This is the welcome point for all ships entering the Hamburg port. It is such a great place to visit and look at all the boats coming in and out of the harbour. National anthem of the ship is played when it is coming in to the harbour.
  • This place is located in Wedel (Lower Elbe). If you travel from Hamburg's Main Station it will take you around 50 minutes to get there (with public transportation). The big ships heading to (upriver) or from (downriver) are greeted (welcomed or bid farewell) by means of flags and a message in German and the language of the country the ship belongs too. A nice traditon since 1952. You can also walk along the beach there or eat at the nearby restaurant.
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