Friday, March 13, 2009


The impressive HAPAG-Lloyd headquarters building (“HAPAG-Lloyd-Verwaltungsgebaude”) is located on the Southeastern edge of The Inner Alster Lake. It is the headquarters building of what formerly was the largest shipping company in the world, HAPAG-Lloyd, owner of the old Hamburg-America Line.

Built in 1902 and 1903 to designs by Martin Haller, and remodeled by Fritz Hoger in the 1920’s, the HAPAG-Lloyd headquarters building was the finest corporate structure—in Germany or elsewhere—of its day. With its Classical front façade directly overlooking the lake, the building was originally named after shipping company owner Albert Ballin.

When the National Socialists came to power, the company voluntarily changed the name of its headquarters building, as its former chairman had been of the Jewish faith. The name of the building never reverted to its original form, but after the war the street in front of the building—now Ballindamm—was named after Ballin.

The front façade on Ballindamm and the equally-impressive rear façade are both symbolic of the HAPAG-Lloyd Shipping Company’s enormous wealth. In the early 20th century, the Hamburg-America route made the company one of the very largest and wealthiest businesses in the world.

Albert Ballin’s personal motto, “Mein Feld Ist Die Welt” (“The World Is My Oyster”), is engraved in the main entrance hall.


  1. Your new leader is getting a bad press here. Fleet Street turned on him as soon as he assumed office.

    How can you explain the DVD disaster? It boggles the mind.

    I’m no fan of Gordon Brown, but giving him a DVD set was incredibly low-class.

  2. He’s getting a bad press in Germany, too.

    Yes, that DVD thing was embarrassing, but what can I say? No-class people give no-class gifts.

    May I remind you that Brown intentionally discarded an official flight jacket Bush presented to him? Brown has no class, either.

  3. Brown is a twit and refuses to call an election to end everyone’s misery, including his own.

    The DVD set went into the same trash bin as the flight jacket, I am sure. The DVD set was important because it demonstrated to the average person here that your leader is incredibly low-class.

  4. I think everyone here already knows that.

  5. No, everyone in the States does not know that!

    I read the New York Times, and its coverage of your president comes from an alternative universe. Even the Guardian offers more accurate coverage of your president.

  6. I’m not the publisher of The New York Times.

  7. Really? I thought you were.

    My point is that America has lost itself and has moved into a state of incomprehensible delusion. This may be confirmed every day in the pages of the New York Times.

    Our Times, in contrast, has already reversed course. The fawning of 2008 is over. 2009 has brought reality back to Times coverage. Not so for your Times. It continues to operate in an alternative universe.

  8. Everyone here recognizes that The New York Times is a hard-Left publication and that every word printed is processed through a hard-Left filter.

    In any case, The New York Times is bleeding red ink and is in the process of going out of business.

  9. But it remains your newspaper of record.

  10. No, The New York Times is not our newspaper of record, and it has not been our newspaper of record for quite some time.

    It was years and years ago that The New York Times fell from the list of the world’s top-ten newspapers as ranked by editors and publishers worldwide. The Wall Street Journal is the only U.S. newspaper that has been on the top-ten list for at least a decade.

    Everyone with a stake in our society reads The Wall Street Journal. It has the nation’s most influential readership.

    The Left reads The New York Times.

  11. What have you and Edythe been up to?

  12. Nothing, actually. We’ve both been busy with work. Edythe received an important promotion last month, and we had a celebration dinner.

  13. Please extend my heartiest congratulations in person!

    Calvin, did you and Edythe catch Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” at Covent Garden?

  14. We did, and it was not good. The production was poor, the singing involved heaps and heaps of screeching, and Ingo Metzmacher was a big disappointment. Whether there is an opera there I cannot say, but it left such a bad impression I daresay it will not be produced in London again for at least another generation. Edythe wanted to leave at the interval.

  15. As soon as I read that Acts I and II were to be performed without break, my antennae went haywire.

    First, and most obviously, the singers need a rest between Acts I and II. “Die Tote Stadt” is very demanding on voices.

    Second, the audience needs a rest between Acts I and II because the music is so concentrated.

    Third, I believe that the needs of the drama also require a break between the first two acts.

    That fateful decision suggested to me that neither the stage director nor the conductor had truly mastered—or even fully understood—the material.

    If eliminating one of the intermissions was a pure cost-saving measure, Covent Garden should be chastised.

  16. Running the acts together was a mistake, although that was agreed upon by all parties.

    The orchestra appeared not to like the score. It did not play well.