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Petersburgers Work Best With Hamburgers

Published: June 11, 2013 (Issue # 1763)



  • Hamburg's Hafencity development transforms a disused port into a vital arts and residential district.
    Photo: FOR SPT

The Hamburg, Germany Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner at Konstantinovsky Palace at the end of May, marking the continuation of commercial partnership between the two cities.

Business ties between Hamburg and Russia began in the 13th century, and Russia launched its first German diplomatic mission to Hamburg in 1719. In 1957 the two cities were officially designated twin cities.

That demanded a certain amount of courage, as no other city suffered so much in the hands of the Germans as did Leningrad. At the same time there are hardly any other cities with such similar economies as Leningrad and Hamburg, said Dr. Gabriele Kotschau, head of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg.

In 1991, a project for German-speaking young Russian professionals was launched in St. Petersburg, allowing them to take part in a three-month internship in Hamburg.

When our Chamber of Commerce opened its branch office in St. Petersburg, the community of Hamburg businessmen, with their extensive experience, began to contact the budding Petersburg commercial community. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, everything was unstable, said Kotschau.

The tasks of the office are to encourage interest, to overcome fear of the unknown and to promote business partnerships. Among our duties are assistance and consultation with both Russian and German firms that are eager to cooperate with each other. We provide them with information about current market conditions, commercial activity, customs law, any peculiarities of local legislation and the procedure of opening a branch abroad, she said.

Today, more than 50 Hamburg firms maintain representative offices in St.Petersburg, while more than 160 Russian companies have opened in Hamburg.

Hamburg is a city with a long business history. One can see it in the appearance of the city. If the Hermitage Museum is the main sight of St. Petersburg, in Hamburg it is the Chamber of Commerce. One can feel the spirit of free business activity there, said Andrei Shamrai, head of the local branch of the Russian company MediaUnion, who visited Hamburg by the Chambers invitation.

Membership in the Chamber of Commerce is necessary for every Russian enterprise in Hamburg. They are all equal members of the business community. In Hamburg there is a good business climate, while in St. Petersburg we clash with bureaucracy, high taxes and high lending rates that hinder the development of commercial activity, he said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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