Can I drink the tap water in Hamburg?

Can I drink the tap water in Hamburg?

Can you Drink Tap Water in Hamburg? What are the common issues with tap water? Do you need a water filter in Hamburg? Water: the one thing we never seem to think enough about when we live somewhere or go on a holiday. Some people just assume that since the government says it's safe, it is. Others are highly skeptical and therefore buy countless of bottles of water or use a filter. Having that in mind, what about the tap water in Hamburg? Can I drink the tap water in Hamburg without contacting some weird disease in the short or long term? In this article we will answer these questions and more about tap water in Hamburg. For a short summary jump to the end.

Where Does the Tap Water in Hamburg Come From?

The drinking water for Hamburg and the surrounding communities is obtained exclusively from groundwater. The advantages of withdrawing groundwater include that it's usually cleaner than surface water, it's cheap, there is no evaporation and it is renewable as long as there is sufficient rain. Disadvantages include aquifer depletion from over pumping, potential pollution from agriculture and industrial waste and saltwater intrusion. Germany generally manages groundwater sources well. Once the water has been collected, the water is treated by the water provider Hamburgerwasser. Following this process it's safe for drinking and sent into the pipes providing the population in Hamburg with tap water. Can I drink the tap water in Hamburg?

Is Hamburg Tap Water Clean and Drinkable?

Generally speaking, Hamburg tap water is safe to drink. Many tourists actually say that it tastes better and “cleaner” than the tap water at home, finding it quite agreeable and tasty. There are, indeed, instances when the water might taste slightly off: for example, when the snow in the area begins to melt. In these cases, the water levels and waste may be too much for the regular water treatment in Hamburg to handle, which is why the water supplier may use a higher concentration of chlorine and other chemical treatment. Depending on how much time it spends in the pipes , the water might become slimy and feature an odd taste. In addition to this there are other known risks such as lead and copper from leeching pipes and microplastics found in most tap water and bottled water. For this reason, people living in old buildings, remote areas might or concerned about the long term health impact of plastics may want to invest in a water filter in Hamburg.

What Do Locals Say About Hamburg Tap Water?

In this regard, the opinions are mixed – and this is general behavior all across Germany, not only in Hamburg. Some people will have no problem with drinking tap water, saying that they should just “let it sit until the slime sinks to the bottom of the glass.” Still, others will avoid it as if it is something foul. There are also many Germans that don’t drink tap water because of the origin of the word. Germans use Trinkwasser (translating into “water for drinking,” or bottled water), and Leitungswasser (literally translating into “plumbing water,” or tap water). You might realize that by offering a German person a glass of “Leitungswasser,” you are basically offering them something that is slightly better than a glass of water from the sewers. Having said that, most of them also agree that the tap water poses a small health concern – and if you are thirsty, there is no reason why you should avoid it.

How Can I Test If the Hamburg Tap Water Is Safe for Drinking?

Hamburg has several labs where you can test the quality of the water. Most of the time, this should not be an issue. Still, if you are a long time resident and unsure or new in town and planning to stay there in the long term then you might want to test it first. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Lead pipes in older houses or newly installed copper pipes can lead to the consumption of lead or copper in drinking water over the last few meters, exceeding the permitted maximum levels. A lead or copper analysis in the Hamburgerwasser lab costs € 45.22 including VAT. For households where expectant mothers or infants up to a year of age live, they provide lead analysis upon presentation of the birth certificate or birth certificate Child free of charge. Stiftung Warentest is another place that you can go to since it has labs spread all across Germany. You never know what your water may contain; it might have polluting substances or you might live in a place with bad plumbing. If that is the case, you should definitely have the water tested.

What Can We Say About Bottled Water in Hamburg?

Bottled water is commonly used in Hamburg – but that is not because of its health status. If you walk into a restaurant and order a glass of tap water you may have to settle with paying for a bottle of water. Most people drink sparkling water rather than still water though. This is mostly a cultural habit – as mentioned, caused by the word “Leitungswasser.” Germans believe that bottled water is the “superior breed,” which is why they tend to avoid tap water. However, bottled water and tap water are relatively the same in Hamburg. There’s also the problem of being “environmentally-friendly.” In Germany, people believe that all bottles are recycled – but in truth, only 20% of that plastic goes through the recycling process. Furthermore, as environmentally conscious as it may be, the recycling process will also lead to further CO2 emissions – which makes tap water the eco-friendlier choice.

Is Bottled Water Healthier to Drink than Tap Water?

Some people say that tap water is a better choice compared to bottled water – mainly because tap water is regulated by officials of the government. The water is monitored every single day – a kind of treatment that is not actually respected by bottled water manufacturers. There is at least no scientific evidence that bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water.

Should Tourists Drink Bottled Water Instead of Tap Water?

Preferably no. But it's a matter of preferences. Some tourists with sensitive stomachs think bottled water may be the best option. But there is no proof that the same substances won’t be found in bottled water – so it will not really make any differences. If you're not drinking sparkling water, there’s no reason why you should choose bottled water over tap water.

Do I need a water filter in Hamburg?

If you have young children or don't like the taste of tap water then a water filter is a great solution. It's a better and cheaper choice than bottled water and safer than tap water. An affordable faucet water filter such as EcoPro will remove all unwanted substances and costs as little as €60 per year. As a bonus it will also improve the taste of the water and reduce limescale. pitcherpro water filter jug by tapp water Another alternative is a pitcher jug such as PitcherPro. Not only does it improve the taste of the water but it also improves alkalinity and ands magnesium to the tap water.

Read more about How water filters work


  • Hamburg tap water is generally safe to drink but may be contaminanted in older buildings
  • Tap water in Hamburg is of the same quality or better than bottled water.
  • Avoid bottled water if you can as it's bad for the environment (and your wallet)
  • If you don't like the taste of the tap water, invest in an affordable water filter in Hamburg

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