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Petersburgers Work Best With Hamburgers

Published: June 11, 2013 (Issue # 1763)



  • Hamburg's Hafencity development transforms a disused port into a vital arts and residential district.
    Photo: FOR SPT

The Hamburg, Germany Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner at Konstantinovsky Palace at the end of May, marking the continuation of commercial partnership between the two cities.

Business ties between Hamburg and Russia began in the 13th century, and Russia launched its first German diplomatic mission to Hamburg in 1719. In 1957 the two cities were officially designated “twin cities.”

“That demanded a certain amount of courage, as no other city suffered so much in the hands of the Germans as did Leningrad. At the same time there are hardly any other cities with such similar economies as Leningrad and Hamburg,” said Dr. Gabriele Kotschau, head of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce in St. Petersburg.

In 1991, a project for German-speaking young Russian professionals was launched in St. Petersburg, allowing them to take part in a three-month internship in Hamburg.

“When our Chamber of Commerce opened its branch office in St. Petersburg, the community of Hamburg businessmen, with their extensive experience, began to contact the budding Petersburg commercial community. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, everything was unstable,” said Kotschau.

“The tasks of the office are to encourage interest, to overcome fear of the unknown and to promote business partnerships. Among our duties are assistance and consultation with both Russian and German firms that are eager to cooperate with each other. We provide them with information about current market conditions, commercial activity, customs law, any peculiarities of local legislation and the procedure of opening a branch abroad,” she said.

Today, more than 50 Hamburg firms maintain representative offices in St.Petersburg, while more than 160 Russian companies have opened in Hamburg.

“Hamburg is a city with a long business history. One can see it in the appearance of the city. If the Hermitage Museum is the main sight of St. Petersburg, in Hamburg it is the Chamber of Commerce. One can feel the spirit of free business activity there,” said Andrei Shamrai, head of the local branch of the Russian company MediaUnion, who visited Hamburg by the Chamber’s invitation.

“Membership in the Chamber of Commerce is necessary for every Russian enterprise in Hamburg. They are all equal members of the business community. In Hamburg there is a good business climate, while in St. Petersburg we clash with bureaucracy, high taxes and high lending rates that hinder the development of commercial activity,” he said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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