In terms of size and economic activity level, Hamburg is only second to Berlin. In terms of general affluence and aesthetics, it is in many ways similar to other large cities of Northern Europe. Historically, Hamburg has had a strong presence in the world's trade, and it still retains its privileged trade status, mostly due to its involvement in Hanseatic trade. The city has been through lots of wars, social and economic upheavals in the past century, so it is no longer a world-famous shipbuilding stronghold it used to be. However, it has found its niche today, and a significant share of the city's total budget income is made up of its port earnings. Hamburg has made a tremendous leap forward in mass media, as it now houses a few publishing centers, both local and foreign.
Hamburg's culture is thought to be even closer to those of its trade partner cities in the Netherlands, England and Denmark than to the culture of south-German cities. The city's population is renowned for its quiet and unpretentious conduct and responsive attitude toward each other and tourists.
Hamburg's center has a compact planning and well arranged transport system, so visitors usually find it easy to take bearings. Hamburg is not rich in outstanding showplaces. However, the red-light district of St. Pauli attracts sailors and visitors arriving in the area to blow off a little steam and dance to a sweet R'n'R tune.
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