Hamburg’s renewable ‘Energy Hill’ broadens horizons

A former landfill mound has been transformed into a new landmark for Hamburg. The Georgswerder Energy Hill provides renewable energy, an information centre and a new green space for the city’s residents and visitors.

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Horizon Path © Stadtreinigung Hamburg Horizon Path © Stadtreinigung Hamburg

" Once a landfill for household waste polluted by toxic substances, the Energy Hill is now a very special place for excursions for all ages. People can relax and enjoy nature in the middle of town. They can also learn a lot: our guided tours for pupils, students and the public address a variety of environmental topics and try to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable and future-oriented actions. "

Isabell Wienpahl, Stadtreinigung Hamburg

The International Building Exhibition (IBA) Hamburg has devised and implemented numerous projects for sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially balanced development of inner-city areas. This included a competition to redevelop a former landfill site in the district of Georgswerder, on Europe’s largest river island in the Elbe. The project was completed in 2013 using the winning design.

From toxic mound to symbol of renewable energy

For decades, household and toxic industrial waste had been dumped in the Georgswerder landfill. By the late 1970s, the landfill operation had been discontinued, but dioxins were found to be leaking into the groundwater. The 40 m-high mound and subsoil had to be extensively secured with a waterproof plastic membrane. Technical works were undertaken over a number of years to secure the site and protect the groundwater.

The site was then covered with soil, and is now a green hill with meadows and shrubs. Taking advantage of the excellent wind conditions, the first wind turbines were erected on the hill in the 1990s. Today high-performance wind turbines and solar energy panels supply thousands of households with electricity. 

The Energy Hill has been open to the public since 2013. They can visit an information centre with interactive, multimedia displays to learn about the history of the place and how the contaminated site was transformed. Visitors can also learn about modern waste management, recycling methods and renewable energies – particularly as the building allows them to view the technical equipment and installations for groundwater treatment and renewable energy from close-up. The centre is energy-efficient.

Recreation area with harbour view

The Energy Hill adds to the green spaces in the Georgswerder district. People can climb the hill and walk around a curved boardwalk at the top to enjoy the fresh air and impressive views over the harbour and city centre. The path provides a contemporary space for different activities.

This ‘Horizon Path’ is designed to appear as a white ring circling the hill that can be seen from far away – a landmark for Hamburg. At night it is illuminated with LED lighting. The loop is built from recyclable materials, while its never-ending shape symbolises the importance of recycling and the circular economy.


Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Energieberg Georgswerder” is EUR 9 140 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 4 435 703 through the “Hamburg” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Integrated and sustainable urban development”.


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