Can you Drink Tap Water 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?
To put your mind at ease, yes: Hamburg tap water is safe to drink. Like most tap water sources in Germany, the water comes from trusted sources – therefore, making it safe for people to drink. Still, there are some risks and things you should know.
Where Does the Tap Water Come From?
The drinking water for Hamburg and the surrounding communities is obtained exclusively from groundwater. It is therefore considered a 100 percent “natural food”.
Once it 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.
Is Hamburg Tap Water Clean and Drinkable?
Generally speaking, Hamburg tap water is very safe to drink. Many tourists actually say that it even 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 plumbing, 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 no health concern – and if you are thirsty, there is no reason why you should avoid it. It does not matter if you are a local or a tourist; tap water should fit your bill.
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. Plus, even if you do not like the taste, you can always invest in a water filter in Hamburg.
Do I need a water filter in Hamburg?
There is no necessity for water filters in Hamburg but if you want to play it safe it may be a good idea. An affordable water filter such as TAPP 2 will remove all potential contaminants and costs as little as €60 per year. As a bonus it will also improve the taste of the water and reduce limescale.
Read more about How water filters work
- Hamburg tap water is generally safe to drink.
- 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