Gold, Gold, Gold!
Everybody wants it. Since the banks and euro crisis, the gold price has skyrocket to record levels. Who does not find Störtebekers gold treasure randomly, has bad luck searching the river Elbe. Nevertheless, one encounters gold in Hamburg everywhere. MOPO.DE shows where it is sparkling and flashing in the city:
The precious metal is to be found throughout the city
On the Veddel: Aurubis AG (formerly North German finery), Europe's largest copper producer, also happens to be Hamburg's largest "goldsmith". The precious metal is produced as a "by-product" during the copper production. Aurubis produced 38 tons of gold in the past year. Value of the amount of gold produced by current price: about 1.4 billion Euros!
At the junkyard: cell phones are real gold mines. Not only for mobile communications. "About 300 grams of gold are in every ton of cell phone junk, if you subtract the batteries," says Professor Kerstin Kucht, an expert on electronic-waste recycling at the TU Harburg. For comparison: In a ton of ore from a gold mine an average of only five grams of gold can be found. In normal electronic waste, there's still at least 200 grams of gold per ton. "This is a business that is worth it," says Kucht. Especially since there is only about one quarter of electronic waste recycled.
In the sewers: Even in our waste water swims gold - even though in small amounts. Around 45 nanograms (billionths of these are 45 grams) of gold per liter of urine, scientists have determined as average at a trial. Reasons are traces of the precious metal in our drinking water and remains of dental crowns. "Gold from wastewater is irrelevant," says Carsten Roth, CEO of Hamburg Wasser. The yield would simply not justify the effort. The profit for Hamburg would be in spite of the high price of gold at poor 3,24 €.
In the bank: Haspa is the only bank that sells gold to non-customers. In the main branch at Großer Burstah (Old Town), business is booming, the gold bars and coins are stored in the vault. "One cannot compare that to Fort Knox, says spokesman André Grunert. The one-ounce coins sell well (current price yesterday: 1.165 Euros) and 50 gram bars (1843.50 EUR).
In the mint: The Hamburger Münze usually imprints euro coins, made of brass and copper. Two times per year gold coins are produced. For example, a nominal value of 100 Euros. But the price of the coin depends on the respective price of gold.
At the Hamburg Fair: Tom Veldkamp, descendant of a time-honored family of showmen, has invented the "Hamburg Gold Almonds": After a secret recipe roasted almonds are refined with 22 carat edible gold flakes. The golden treats are a tribute to the famous great-aunt "Mother Veldkamp," who was famous by friends of the Hamburg Fair for her gold-embroidered hood in the 30s.
In the Chile House: Here is the overseas branch for gold housed. The precious metal dealer sells gold, silver and platinum in form of bars. One can order the the shiny chunk at the "Precious Metal Shop" online. Prices range from 45.66 € (one-gram bars, plus 15 Euro shipping) to 36.844,58 € (one-kilo bars, plus 90 Euro shipping).
In pawnshops: "We lend money now almost exclusively on gold jewelry," explains Joachim Struck from the Federal Association of Pawnbrokers. The fine is paid by 93% of the pledged gold pieces.
Malte Habscheidt und Stephanie Lamprecht
The from Holland originating Veldkamps are the oldest showman family in the city.
■ 1821, the family began with a first Café
■ Today you meet a business on almost every Dom-corner of the Veldkamps
As a little boy, Tom Veldkamp loved the Fair: He put on races in bumper cars with friends and loved to go on fast rides. But while for his friends the fun was often quickly over, Tom Veldkamp was able take many turns for free as son of a showman family. Since then he is 35 years of age and has long followed in the footsteps of his ancestors: Tom Veldkamp also operates as a showman and has a gambling club at the Hamburg Fair. He has continued a long tradition as the Veldkamps are the oldest showman family on the fair. For 189 years they operate shops at northern Germany's biggest fun fair.
The history of the showman family began in 1821: at that time, the Dutch family Veldkamp came to Hamburg and built a pastry cafe at the fair of the goose market. The then owner Pieter Jacob Veldkamp handed over the leadership of the cafe soon to his son Simon. He on the other hand, handed the confectioners recipes on a few decades later to his daughter Anna Catharina Wilhelmina and so the family tradition continued.
"Under the diligent hand of my great-great aunt at that time the business flourished," says Tom Veldkamp. "Around 1930, the once small café has become a large cafe, where around 2,000 guests were able to enjoy cakes and other delicacies."
Anna Wilhelmine Catharina Veldkamp, which in family circles is often affectionately called "Mother Veldkamp," had not only a sense on business matters, but also a heart for children. So every year at Christmas she invited Hamburg's orphans for a whole day for hot chocolate and donuts to her café.
Tom Veldkamp only found out last year from his great-great aunts charities when he reappraised the family history along with her former housekeeper. Thus, the showman felt inspired again. "To remember our Mother Veldkamp and her charities, I had the idea to roast gold almonds," says Veldkamp. These almonds are produced according to a traditional family recipe and are then coated with gold leaf. Meanwhile, the specialty is not only available at his brother Jan's candy shop, but also at some delicatessens. Besides his work as a pastry chef Tom Veldkamp is very busy with his business of gambling clubs. Here for example, fair visitors can win furry soft- toys at gripper machines. On the current Winter Fair, a HSV- Dragon and "Shaun the Sheep" are particularly popular by the younger guests. But next year completely different stuffed animals can be on top of the wish list. "We always want to go with the trends in order to offer our visitors always something new," says the showman.
Two years ago, his parents Anneli and Jan Veldkamp invented a novelty: the bingo lottery. The gambling consists of ten machines that mix 500 balls-orange balls are winnings and white balls are blanks. But not only new inventions, but also traditional rides and takeaways are in demand among the visitors of the fair - such as the candy shop of Jan Veldkamp. "There are many fair visitors who buy their roasted almonds every year at the same stand. These regular customers would be missing something if the traditional stands wouldn't exist, "says Tom Veldkamp.
If you take a tour on the fair, one meets at every corner on a gambling shop or a takeaway of the Veldkamp family. Near the candy shop of Jan Veldkamp is the gambling club of Tom Veldkamp. Shortly after, you encounter a gambling club of his cousin Martina Voss (born Veldkamp). Numerous distant relatives, such as cousins, are also represented. And maybe the traditional family business will continue in the future: The eight-year-old Tim, the son of Tom Veldkamp, is already dreaming of having his own haunted house one day. Just like his grandfather once had.