Altona is the Schanzenviertel thoroughly gentrified. It is the first in a series of ever more exclusive districts west of the centre, an erstwhile working-class district of immigrant settlers that has been colonized by Hamburg’s thirty-something hipsters and, with them, all the requisite fashion outlets and bars – a sort of Hamburg-style Notting Hill, albeit less affluent. At least part of the appeal is that Altona retains the feel of the separate town it was until the Nazis dragged it within Hamburg’s jurisdiction in 1937. Before then, the free city of Altona was an upstart to its larger neighbour; an irritating one, too, since it poached Hamburg trade when Napoleon mounted a continental blockade against England in 1806.
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