How Are People from Hamburg Called?

Hamburg is a city in Germany that lies on the River Eibe and two tributaries. The current population is 1,788,170 people.

Many may wonder what to call a person from Hamburg.

Natives of Hamburg are generally referred to as Hamburgers. This is often a bit fun for English speakers due to hamburgers also being the name of a popular dish.

However, the word Hamburg derives from German and Jewish descent, giving it another meaning.

So, what does the word Hamburg mean in German and Jewish? Does the meaning give the word a different explanation?

If you’re interested in knowing, we’ll provide a breakdown of the word Hamburg and why people go by Hamburgers.

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Where Does “Hamburg” Originate From?


The word Hamburg originates from both German and Jewish roots. The reason for this is that the small town of Hamburg is formed by both German and Jewish descendants.

Jews have lived in Germany dating back to the year 321.

With more than 70% German population, the town’s name is bound to have German influence.

There are also many words originating from Germany that have been carried over to the United States and other countries.

So, the word Hamburg originates from Germany, and so does the word Hamburger.

What Does Hamburg Mean?

Hamburg is the habitational name for the port city located at the mouth of the river Elbe. The word Hamburg can be broken down into two elements.

The first one is the word Ham, which translates to “water meadow.” The other one is Burg, which translates to the words “fortress” and “fortified town.”

So, the full city is supposed to be named after a water meadow fortified town. This has no relation to the fast-food item of a hamburger.

It’s only a coincidence that the name Hamburg sounds like the food item hamburger.


Instead, the name is used to represent a powerful and beautiful city located between large bodies of water.

Hamburg also has many rivers and streams located inside its territory, which adds to why the city was named Hamburg.

Basically, it’s a sea fortress surrounded by water and meadows. 

So, Why Are Hamburg’s Residents Called Hamburgers?

There is actually an interesting story here outlined by the Food Lover’s Companion. The name hamburger actually derives from the small town of Hamburg.

While the food hamburger is the most popular these days in the United States, the name first appeared in Hamburg, Germany.

In the 19th century, it was said that the sailors from the port city of Hamburg brought back the idea of raw shredded beef.

The dish they were talking about wasn’t hamburgers but is instead known as the dish beef tartare.

The idea of this dish was taken from the Baltic provinces of Russia, but the dish’s name refers to shredded beef.

However, this story isn’t why residents are called Hamburgers. Instead, that is simply the translation due to the name.

people from Frankfurt

Similar to how people from Frankfurt are known as Frankfurters and people from Vienna are Wieners.

All of these towns are simply the area of origin for certain foods. 

Does This Have Relation to the Word “Hamburger”?

Yes, as the word hamburg steak was used to describe a patty of ground beef. This dish was well known because German immigrants brought the idea over to the Americas in the early days.

The start of the 19th century was when the dish gained traction, as it was very similar to Salisbury steak.

The term Hamburg originates from German origins due to the port city bringing back shredded steak.

However, the name of the town and its resident’s nicknames do not relate to the word. Instead, it is quite the opposite.

The townsfolk were already called Hamburgers, and when the portsmen brought back the idea of a certain dish, the popularity of the word spread.

There was a craze for the hamburger steak dish, and the name “burger” was then used to describe a sandwich.

Later, this concept moved from Germany to the United States, where the Hamburger was then created by fast-food companies. 

How Would You Refer to People from Hamburg?

people from Hamburg

So, the word Hamburger is a bit different from how you would use it when referring to multiple burgers.

Instead, you would refer to two or more people from Hamburg as a Hamburger. There is no plural used when stating more than one person.

For example, you would say those two people are Hamburger and not Hamburgers.

However, we’d say that if you’re speaking to someone from Hamburg, the polite thing to do is to refer to them as either a Hamburger or a German.

That way, you won’t offend anyone if you’re visiting the area. However, most residents are aware of the connection between their nickname and the American fast-food item.

Frequently Asked Questions: People from Hamburg

Are Hamburg Citizens Called Hamburgers?

People located in the port city of Hamburg, Germany, often go by the name Hamburgers. This is because of the name of the city, and it’s a great short nickname.

The name Hamburg is much different, as it has no relation to the hamburger food dish.

What is the Nationality of Hamburg?

live in Hamburg

People who live in Hamburg are of German or Jewish descent. According to the Council of Europe, Hamburg has an ethnicity breakdown of 71% German, 4.3% and 3.4% from Eastern Central European and South-Eastern European descent.

The other large population in Hamburg is 5.2% Turkish.

What Is So Special About Hamburg?

Hamburg includes many attractions, mainly museums, theatres, and music venues. Aside from that, it’s one of the biggest musical cities in Europe.

However, it does not trump New York and London. 

Is Hamburg, Germany, Nice?

Hamburg, Germany, is a very nice city that includes a wide range of indoor and outdoor amusements.

It includes parks, nature, canals, and rivers. Aside from that, it has a bustling music scene and has many late-night attractions for night goers. 

Are There Any Famous People from Hamburg?

There are certainly many famous Hamburger people who have grown up or currently reside in Hamburg.

Below, we list a few of the most famous people who come from Hamburg, Germany:

  • Siegfried Wagner
  • Susanna Whatman
  • Johann Hinrich Wichern
  • Jorn Weisbrodt
  • Wilhelm Waetzoldt
Johann Hinrich Wichern

So, Should You Use the Term Hamburger?

In conclusion, Hamburg is a beautiful city with a little bad luck as its residents are called Hamburgers.

However, the city’s name has a wonderful origin. It is meant to celebrate the town’s rich location next to rivers and the sea.

So, it’s not all that bad.

If you’re worried about offending a native of Hamburg, then just simply refer to them as a Hamburger.

If not, then you can alternatively just call them a German. This is because Hamburg is inside the country of Germany.

Most residents will get a laugh, but some may take offense if you use the term to poke fun at them.

So, we highly recommend being respectful unless they seem to like the idea of joking about it.

Hopefully, this has helped you understand a bit more about Germany and why there are people who go by the word Hamburgers!