Hamburg rebrands itself as Beatles City

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Hamburg, hit by declining tourism figures, is calling on the Beatles to ease it through the crisis. Or, as the Fab Four would have put it: Help!

“John Lennon used to say that he was born in Liverpool but grew up in Hamburg,” says Ulf Krueger who has been pushing the port to brand itself as a Beatles city for more than 20 years.
The moment has come: a five-storey Beatles museum, complete with a life sized model of the Yellow Submarine and a mock-up of the Hamburg clubs where they played, was opened today to a Ringo Starr-like drum roll.

Around the corner, a square has been renamed Beatles Platz, shaped like a gramophone record, with John, Paul, George, Ringo in stainless steel — and a fifth Beatle, who could be either the sacked drummer Pete Best or the bassist, Stu Sutcliffe.

From Beatles Platz there are now Beatles tours that take visitors around all the grubby corners of the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s Red Light district, where the group played and partied before becoming famous.

But does Hamburg know what it is letting itself in for? Recreating the group’s life in the north German city might be a little too strong for sensitive 21st-century tourists...

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