Local Information

Currency| Language | WiFi/Mobile | Electricity | Hotlines | Weather/What to Wear | Health


Germany’s currency is the euro. One euro is divided into 100 cents.

1 euro = 1.14 US dollar / 1 US dollar = 0.87 euro

(You can search Google for the current exchange rate: for example, type “100 EUR in ZAR” to get the exchange rate for South African Rand.)

At Hamburg airport you can find cash points/ATMs of reliable banks, for example Hamburger Volksbank, Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) and Deutsche Bank. See the map on the airport’s website (click on “Service” to find the ATMs).

The nearest ATM to HafenCity University is located in the branch of Hamburger Sparkasse (Hapsa), Überseeboulevard 5 (see Google Maps). Here you can also find groceries and supermarkets (Edeka, Alnatura) and a drugstore (Rossmann). At the Spiegel house you can find an ATM of the ING bank. A bakery (Schanzenbäckerei) is just around the corner.

Do not expect anybody to accept foreign currencies. You can find currency exchange offices at Hamburg airport (Reisebank / International Exchange Terminal 1 / International Exchange Gate C08) or at Hamburg main station (Reisebank, near exit Kirchenallee).

While German domestic debit cards – called girocard, formerly EC-Karte (and, to a lesser extent, international PIN-based Maestro and V PAY cards) — enjoy almost universal acceptance, this is not true for credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, American Express) or foreign debit cards (VISA Debit/Electron, Debit MasterCard etc.), which are not as widely accepted as in other European countries or the United States. But they will be accepted in several major retail stores (department stores like Kaufhof and Karstadt, and medium-size supermarkets like REWE and Edeka, but not at every discount supermarket) and some fast food restaurants (such as many McDonalds).

If you have amounts of the former currency, the Deutsche Mark, remaining, you can exchange it at the Hamburg branch of the Deutsche Bundesbank (Willy-Brandt-Straße 73, 20459 Hamburg).


The official language of Germany is German. Today all Germans learn English at school, so you should be able to get by with English in most places.

If you’re not sure if your counterpart speaks German, first ask “Do you speak English?” or maybe its German translation, “Sprechen Sie Englisch?,” which will be considered polite. You can use a video like this to learn (and to to pronounce) some basic words and phrases. You can actually skip the greeting phrases: “Moin” works fine in Hamburg from morning to night.

Useful Expressions

Hello – Hallo or Moin

Goodbye – Auf Wiedersehen or Tschüss

Nice to meet you – Schön, Dich kennenzulernen!

Thank you – Danke

Excuse me – Entschuldige mich bitte

I’m sorry – Tut mir leid

Yes – Ja

No – Nein

Where is the bathroom? – Wo finde ich die Toilette?

Beer – Bier

Sausage – Wurst

Cheers! – Prost! Or: Zum Wohl!


We will provide free wi-fi for the duration of the conference at the GIJC19 venues.

At Hamburg Airport: Passengers and visitors to Hamburg Airport can surf the internet for free for 24 hours from their laptops, tablets and smartphones.

At Hamburg main station: Free Wifi for 30 minutes (choose the “Telekom” wifi network).

MobyKlick provides free Wifi in the area between the conference venues. You can find access points here. And here are the set up instructions. Users need to log in again after 4 hours.

SIM cards for your mobile phone: A tightening of security laws in July 2017 has led to new registration requirements for prepaid SIM cards.


The power supply runs at 230V/50Hz.

Schuko sockets (CEE 7/3) are the standard power socket. As with most types of European sockets, Schuko sockets can accept Europlugs.

Adapters for other plugs are available in electronics stores, for example at Saturn (Mönckebergstraße 1, 20095 Hamburg) near Hamburg main station.

Remember to charge your mobile phone or laptop overnight in your hotel, as there are limited power points at the conference venue.

If you are a speaker and an Apple Mac user, be sure to bring the adapters you need for projection.

Hotlines and Important Numbers

Country code: +49

Hamburg city code: (0)40

Police: 110

Emergency ambulance/Fire Department: 112

Weather/What to Wear

Average High in September: 18°C / 64°F

Average Low in September: 10°C / 50°F

Dress code for the GIJC is casual. Jeans, shoes or sneakers, shirts or t-shirts are all okay. You might want to dress up for the award ceremony dinner on Saturday evening. We recommend you bring a warm, waterproof jacket.


No vaccinations are required for entry into Germany (as of January 9th, 2019).

Pharmacies symbol.

However, between spring and autumn there is an increased risk of contracting illnesses caused by ticks, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Hamburg is not listed as an area of highest risk. See details here.

In case of an medical emergency call 112.

Pharmacies are called Apotheke and are usually marked by a red “A” symbol.

Drinking water

Tap water has a good quality, is very strictly controlled and can be freely used for consumption. Exceptions have to be labelled (“Kein Trinkwasser” = not drinking water), usually found on fountains and in trains.

Health insurance

One of the requirements for the issue of short stay (Schengen) visas: Documentary evidence must be provided of travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros valid for the entire Schengen area. More details here.

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