Being the third-largest container harbour in Europe makes the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in northern Germany one of the most significant international harbour cities and trade metropolises in the world. 1.75 million inhabitants live in the 755 square kilometre city-state by the river Elbe, making Hamburg the second largest city in Germany, after Berlin. It boasts around 15,400 media enterprises, of which about 1,300 are part of the film economy.
Schleswig-Holstein, the state between the seas: it lies between the North- and the Baltic Seas, bordering on Denmark in the North, and features magnificent manor houses, extensive marshlands, tidal flats and long coastlines. It measures 15,761 square kilometres and has a population of 2.8 million people.
Citizens of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a work permit in Germany. The EEA includes the countries of the European Union (however, restrictive transitional provisions apply to workers from the Eastern European member states of the EU) as well as Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Workers from other countries are generally required to present both a work permit and a residence permit. This is issued by the competent immigration authorities. This regulation applies not only to workers who want to come to Germany for a film production, but also to men and women who already have their residence or habitual abode here. Foreigners who wish to enter Germany to work need a visa. This must be applied for at the German mission abroad (embassy, consulate) in the respective home country before entry. We recommend to do this very early. Citizens of the EU and a number of other countries with which corresponding agreements exist do not need a visa. Information on the employment of foreign workers can be obtained in Hamburg from the Central Foreigners Authority, in Schleswig-Holstein from the districts and cities as competent foreigners authorities and from the employment agencies. In addition, well over one hundred consulates in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are also available as contact partners for questions concerning entry and employment.
Anyone wishing to import and later re-export professional equipment such as camera, lighting and sound equipment duty-free requires an A.T.A. carnet - a customs permit for the temporary import of goods. It is issued by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK) for all companies and natural persons that are located within the area of the chamber. According to the current status, the carnet can be used in 77 countries.
For film and television productions with international relevance, the deduction of input tax, the regulations of § 50 a paragraph 4 of the German Income Tax Act (EStG) and the international double taxation agreements are of particular interest. For example, foreign production companies that receive services in Germany can, under certain conditions, have VAT paid refunded. In Germany, the standard VAT rate is 19 percent, while a reduced rate of 7 percent applies to selected goods and services. The Federal Central Tax Office is responsible for the refund of VAT paid by foreign companies. Income from the exploitation of foreign rights or from artistic performances by actors with limited tax liability is subject to a tax deduction in accordance with § 50 a paragraph 4 EStG. It should be noted that the production company must make the tax deduction for the actor as the tax debtor and pay it to the responsible tax office. For artists and other professional groups mentioned in § 50 a paragraph 4 no. 1 or 2 EStG. this deduction currently amounts to up to 20 percent of income. In the case of artists who are not permanently resident in Germany, the provisions of a double taxation agreement may apply instead if this agreement provides for even more extensive relief from the German tax deduction. Double taxation agreements between different states prevent natural and legal persons who earn income in both states from being taxed - i.e. doubly - in both states. In these cases, too, the Federal Central Tax Office is responsible for taxes and provides information in case of questions. Further information is available from the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Germany and the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad.
Hamburg International Airport is the fifth largest in Germany, with almost 13 million passengers per year. 70 airlines connect the Hanseatic city directly with about 120 destinations. The modern airport is located eight kilometres from the city centre, very close to the city centre and easily accessible by public and private transport. The airport can be reached in 25 minutes from the main railway station by S-Bahn and bus, and shuttle buses also run between the airport and Hamburg ZOB (Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof).
Hamburg is the largest railway junction in Northern Europe. Inter-City Express lines provide connections to Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt/M., Copenhagen, Zurich, Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Prague and Krakow. The journey between Hamburg and Berlin usually takes no more than 90 minutes. Other long-distance stations in the city are Hamburg-Altona, Hamburg-Dammtor and Hamburg-Harburg. In Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Central Station is the starting point for the routes to Hamburg, Lübeck, Flensburg and Husum. The ferry terminals to Oslo and Gothenburg are very close by. There are direct connections from Lübeck Central Station to Copenhagen and Hamburg, the journey to Hamburg Central Station takes just under thirty minutes. DB Information
In Hamburg, the Hamburger Transport Network (HVV) organises local public transport. In addition to six S-Bahn and four U-Bahn lines, there is a dense bus network. Various suburbs in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony can also be easily reached by underground, suburban and regional trains of the AKN line. The HVV also has a fleet of port ferries that connect both sides of the Elbe. On the Alster, the large inland waterway in the centre of Hamburg, a fleet of white Alster steamers operates during the summer months. Seven railway companies and more than 50 bus companies operate on the local transport network in Schleswig-Holstein. The state of Schleswig-Holstein is responsible for local rail transport. The 15 districts and independent cities in the state are responsible for bus transport. HVV timetable
As the largest German seaport, the port of Hamburg is the economic engine of the Hanseatic city. It is also the second largest container port in Europe and number 9 in the world. Hamburg is also increasingly in demand as an international cruise port, and a third cruise terminal was successfully build. As Germany's largest Baltic Sea port, the Port of Lübeck is the gateway to Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Jumbo ferries depart for Trelleborg and Malmö from the Skandinavienkai in Lübeck-Travemünde, the largest ferry port in Europe. Ports in Russia, Finland and the Baltic States are also served. Freight and passenger ferries run from the Port of Kiel to St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Oslo, Gothenburg and Klaipeda. Kiel is also the most popular destination in Germany for international cruise ships.
Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are accessible via a well-developed network of motorways (A 1, A 7, A 20, A 23, A 24, A 25). Hamburg is connected via federal motorways with the Schleswig-Holstein cities of Kiel, Lübeck, Neumünster and Flensburg as well as with the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein. From Flensburg the motorway continues across the Baltic Sea and Northern Europe's longest motorway bridge directly into the Öresund region of Malmö/Copenhagen. The average journey time from Hamburg to Kiel is just over one hour, to Lübeck less than one hour, and to Flensburg on the Danish border just under two hours. For Bremen and Hanover it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, in Berlin it takes about 3 hours.