top of page

On the lookout for Colonial Places

Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany and the third largest port in Europe. For centuries, this port was a gateway to the colonial world. It had trade relations with colonial powers and colonies, traded colonial goods and also people. Nowadays, a large part of Hamburg’s economic wealth is based on their colonial heritage.

Windhoek, the capital and largest city of Namibia. From 1884 until 1915, Namibia was a German colony, it was called “German South West Africa” (Deutsch-Südwestafrika).The country finally achieved independence in 1990, after it was captured by South Africa during World War I. Germany's colonial presence still has a major impact on present-day Namibia.

How do these two cities remember their colonial past? To what extent do these places provide historical reappraisal? And do they really remember victims or do they rather glorify exploiters?

We, the group from Hamburg and the group from Windhoek, both began researching and visited colonial sites of remembrance in our cities.

Further on, you will find two videos of our excursions and some pictures of each “colonial mark” with a small text providing background information for each one.

Hamburg Group:

1. St. Michael's Church

Hardly anyone in Hamburg knows that the Church of St. Michaeli – the most famous church building of Hamburg and a very popular tourist attraction for travelers – also houses a controversial memorial regarding the German colonial era.

This board is dedicated to the memory of the citizens of Hamburg who lost their lives "for Kaiser and Reich" in China or Africa around 1900. For example members of the former “Schutztruppen” (colonial troops in the African territories of the German colonial empire) who have “fallen in battle” are honored here. The countless victims among the indigenous people during the German colonial period are not mentioned.

2. Bismarck Monument

3. Afrikahaus

4. Ernst Brendler store

5. Wissmann-Haus and other monuments


Windhoek Group:

1. Nama War Memorial

This memorial serves to honor the German soldiers and their allies who died in the 1893-1894 Nama uprising against German colonial domination.

The monument carries the following inscription:

"In memory of the heroes who died in the war against the Witboois tribe in 1893 and 94."

2. Christuskirche

3. Alte Feste

4. Reiterdenkmal

5. Curt Von Francois Statue

6. Windhoek Station


If you're further interested in this topic you can watch this documentary about the German colonialism in Namibia:

English version:

German version:

71 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page