A view of Hamburg's famous harbor , Source: Claudio Testa / Unsplash

Cultural institutions in Hamburg are going green

Cultural institutions in Hamburg are going green

Eleven museums have united their efforts to do concrete analyses on emissions and share know-how on how to bring down emissions

Last week, Hamburg’s so-called ‘Eleven to Zero’ (Elf zu Null) initiative published its first CO2 balance sheet. Eleven to Zero is a group of cultural institutions in the Hanseatic City that have started the long journey to carbon neutrality.

The initiative started in the summer of 2022 with the help of the Hamburg Authority for Culture and Media. The group comprises the Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts (MK&G), Altonaer Museum, the Archaeological Museum Hamburg and the Harburg City Museum, the Bucerius Kunst Forum and the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, the German Harbor Museum, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Neuengamme concentration camp memorial, the Rothenbaum Museum, Cultures and Arts of the World (MARKK), the Museum of Work and the Museum of Hamburg History.

The CO2 balance sheet

The first thing these cultural institutions decided to do was calculate their carbon footprint and identify the primary sources. According to the balance sheet, the combined emissions of all 11 is 8,422.66 tons per year with 2019 as the benchmark year.

This, according to an official statement, is roughly equivalent to nine fully occupied wide-bodied aircraft flying from Hamburg to New York. Around 90.4% of the emissions were due to the electricity and heat consumption of the buildings.

An additional iteration of the balance sheet includes the transport emissions of all the visitors to the institutions. With those, the yearly emissions jump to 40,000, yet there are very few measures that the museums can take to tackle these factors.

Nevertheless, the balance sheet does show a very detailed picture of carbon emissions, making it easier for museums to implement savings measures. Many have started using smart thermostats for precise heat control, as well as LED lighting to bring the electricity bill down.

Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media, was quoted in a press statement, explaining that for the first time institutions have concrete data on what to do to bring down their emissions. He continued: “With the results of eleven to zero, we can now make the operation of museums and exhibition halls more sustainable and make further progress in protecting the climate.”



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU