Museum where past masses huddled (Germany)

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HAMBURG, Germany - This port city's most famous tourist draw will probably always be the Reeperbahn, the half-mile stretch of neon-lit strip joints, brothels and sex clubs that caters to the hedonistic urges of both sailors and landlubbing types.

But Hamburg's boosters wish to direct your attention to a new, entirely more wholesome waterfront attraction: The BallinStadt Museum, which opened its doors over the summer and offers visitors a glimpse into the remarkable story of how Hamburg evolved from an insignificant port on the Elbe River into the European continent's main conveyor of immigrants to the New World.

Like the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in the U.S., which opened in 1990, the Hamburg project is long overdue and a little hard to get to, but it is a worthy counterpart to its American predecessor.

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Alexander Freund - 1/2/2008

For more information about this new museum, another emigration exhibition in Hamburg and the new German media phenomenon of "emigration fever," see my German-Canadian Studies Newsletter 12.2 (2007) at