Remembering the Beatles' legacy in Hamburg's problematic tourism strategy

Stephanie Fremaux, Mark Fremaux

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    Since the late 1980s/early 1990s, Liverpool has been synonymous with Beatles-related tourism, investing in museums, city walks, and redeveloping the Mathew Street Cavern Quarter. Another, perhaps lesser known, site of Beatles' tourism that has slowly immerged in recent years is the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg, Germany. While a number of cities with a strong musical heritage have developed tourism and urban regeneration around their musical past, primary research and photographic evidence gathered in Hamburg reveals that Hamburg is a city of conflicting identities. The city's leaders want Hamburg to compete as a cultural and financial site of tourism and investment on a global scale. However, by examining the mytholization of ‘the Beatles’ Hamburg’ at the Beatlemania Museum, and the lack of investment in the surrounding infrastructure, research shows that this act of selective memory is driven by economic and ideological agendas in Hamburg's overall urban regeneration plans. Arguably, the multi-billion euro HafenCity project is to be the new vision and focus of Hamburg's regenerated image. This article does not argue for a ‘Disneyfication’ of Hamburg's Reeperbahn area, but attempts to highlight the missed opportunities for the city to support and cultivate its music heritage and struggling artisan/independent scene.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-319
    JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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