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Busan and Hamburg - same but different

July 16,2015
Adrian Seigis / Public official of Hamburg, Germany
I am participating in the K2H (Korea Heart to Heart) program run by the Korean Government. Every year the Korean Government invites public officials from all over the world to work in Korea for half a year and get to learn about the Korean administration structure, Korean culture and the Korean language.

It was always my wish to live in a big Asian metropolis for a longer period of time. When this opportunity came up, I just had to take it. During my stay in Busan, I will try my very best to strengthen the ties between Hamburg and Busan.

In fact, Busan and Hamburg have a lot of things in common. Both cities are the second-biggest city in their country. Hamburg, with a population of 1.8 Million is behind the capital Berlin with almost 3.4 Million. For Busan, the ranking is similar but the dimensions are different. With more than 3.4 Million inhabitants Busan surpasses the German capital in terms of population.

Moreover, Busan and Hamburg are both international port cities. The Busan port is the fifth-largest container port in the world, while Hamburg port is ranked 14th. In 2010 a port partnership was formed. Both cities have a long tradition in the maritime industry and are important trade and logistics hubs and gateways for the trade between Europe and Asia.

But there are more similarities. The two cities put big emphasis on culture. The famous Busan International Film Festival and its smaller counterpart, the Hamburg Film Festival are just some of the examples. Furthermore, both cities provide a lot of parks and green open spaces to improve the quality of life for their citizens.

When it comes to the differences, the first thing that comes to my mind is the cityscape. Busan has a lot of skyscrapers and new buildings pop up everywhere. In Hamburg, there is no neighborhood like Marine City and many buildings are at least100 years old with no more than five or six floors in height.

When it comes to the weather, I see an advantage for Busan. Both cities are quite windy because of the location, but summer here in Busan is way steadier, even if it rains heavily sometimes.

One last difference I would like to mention is the food. Actually the food is one thing I like most about Busan. I really love seafood. In Hamburg we eat a lot of fish and prawns as well, but here I ate things I never had heard about before.

However, despite my preference for seafood, if you asked me about my favorite dish, I would probably have to say dwaeji gukbap (pork soup with rice). I know already that I will miss the taste of it when I go back to Germany.


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