Sesamstrasse's Ernie and Bert in front of the Hamburg City Hall (2006).

Henson & Juhl at the US Food Fair 1961 in Hamburg, Germany

Henson & Juhl at the US Food Fair 1961 in Hamburg, Germany

Silent footage of Jim Henson & Jerry Juhl at the Hamburg City Hall (1961).


Kevin Clash in Hamburg, overseeing the training of German Sesamstrasse Muppeteers (ca. 2004).

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Pferd and Wolle visit the Hamburg Planetarium in Eine Möhre für Zwei.


Melvin Ming with NDR head Lutz Marmor and Bert, Cookie Monster and Ernie at Sesamstrasse's 40th birthday party in January 2013 in Hamburg.

Hamburg is Germany's second largest city (after the country's capital Berlin), one of the 16 states of Germany, and the European Union's eighth-largest city. Though the first permanent settlements have been traced back as far as 4000 BC, the city takes its name from the "Hammaburg," a fortress ordered built on the site by Roman Emperor Charles the Great in 808 AD.

A resident of Hamburg is referred to as a Hamburger.

The city is also home to Studio Hamburg, a renowned production house that has been involved in a multitude of Muppet projects over the decades.

Muppet Connections

  • Between November 10 and 19, 1961, Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl performed various Muppet routines at the US Agriculture's Food Fair at the Hamburg City Hall, as chronicled in Jim Henson's Red Book.[1]
  • In 1973, Sesamstrasse, the first international co-production of Sesame Street, began to air as a dubbed version, produced at Studio Hamburg. In 1977, a German set and puppets were added. Caroll Spinney has made several visits to the city to appear on the show as Bibo.
  • Early on in his career, Muppet photographer John E. Barrett lived and worked in Hamburg as an apprentice photojournalist for German photo news agency Conti-Press.
  • In 1984, Große Show für kleine Leute was taped in Hamburg. Uncle Traveling Matt appeared on the show, still stunned from his visit to the city's red-light district St. Pauli - Reeperbahn.
  • For the 1993 special Sesame Street Stays Up Late, Sesamstrasse characters Tiffy, Samson and Finchen roamed the streets of Buxtehude (a small town that is part of the greater Hamburg Metropolitan Region).
  • The German language version of Dog City was dubbed at Studio Hamburg.
  • The Vision of Jim Henson was a Muppet exhibition that visited Hamburg twice, showcasing Sesamstrasse characters among the regular Muppets on display during its second visit:
  • From June 23 to September 10, 1995: at the Chilehaus am Borchardplatz
  • Sometime in 1996: at the HEW (Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke) Haus (admission free)
  • One of the exhibition's promotional posters featured an image of Miss Piggy, that was initially taken for the Miss Piggy Paper Doll by Colorforms in 1980. Miss Piggy's trunk used in the photo and on the product incidentally dons a sticker from one of Hamburg's most well-known hotels, "Europäischer Hof" (European Court). The sticker further reads "Hamburg 1," (the zip code at the time).

Fishing at the Hamburg harbor.

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Hamburg's carrot house on "Eine Möhre für Zwei."


The location of Sesamstrasse (see the carrot house on the bottom left), according to Alarm im Zirkus.


Ernie with his fellow presenters and winners at the 10th Hamburg Animation Awards (2013).

  • For Sesamstrasse's 30th anniversary special in 2003, Ernie and Bert were shipped to Hamburg to make special appearances not only on the special, but every now and then throughout the coming seasons. The Elmo puppet was used on promotional photos, but not during the actual show; Kevin Clash had brought the puppet along, while overseeing the training of Ernie and Bert's German Muppeteers. The two characters have since appeared all throughout the city for outdoor inserts.
  • For the annual KI.KA Sommer Tour, Hamburg is the only city to feature live appearances of all three original puppet versions of Samson, Ernie and Bert. Other cities showcase walk-around versions of the characters.
  • nachtmagazin, a national nightly news broadcast from Hamburg, had Ernie on as a special guest to comment on Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary, as reports from the Sesame Street Day event in New York City were shown.
  • Similarly, both daily versions of the Hamburg-based news program, tagesschau and tagesthemen, had visits from Sesamstrasse characters over the years.
  • Eine Möhre für Zwei, the first German Sesame spin-off show, is being produced in and around Hamburg since 2010, featuring many of the city's sites in extensive outdoor scenes. The city of Hamburg is often talked about as being the city where Sesamstrasse is located. The spin-off's fourth TV-movie Alarm im Zirkus even provides a map, placing the German version of the world famous street in the district of Eimsbüttel, where many location shoots for the show were produced throughout the 2000s and 2010s. The street "Pontenweg" near Sesamstrasse refers to the show's longtime producer Birgit Ponten, who retired during the production of the TV-movie in 2018.
  • Local news program Hamburg Journal aired several behind-the-scenes features on Eine Möhre für Zwei to promote the series, as well as the 40th Anniversary of Sesamstrasse in 2013.
  • German Muppeteers Martin Paas and Carsten Morar-Haffke visited the Hamburg-based news and entertainment program DAS!, along with Wolle and Pferd, in 2012. In 2013, for a week-long feature on Sesamstrasse's 40th Anniversary, Pferd, Wolle, Ernie and Bert, Elmo, Finchen and the Wolf guested as well.
  • Sesamstrasse’s official 40th Anniversary Birthday Party was celebrated at NDR headquarters in Hamburg on January 7, 2013. In attendance were, among others, H. Melvin Ming, Cookie Monster (performed by David Rudman), Pferd, Wolle, Finchen, Elmo, Ernie & Bert at Sesamstrasse's 40th anniversary press conference birthday party, and Samson, Ernie & Bert at the 40th Anniversary live concert (a variation of NDR Radiophilharmonie mit Ernie, Bert und Samson).
  • On August 6, 2013, Ernie was a presenter for the 10th Hamburg Animation Awards ceremony in the Audience Award category (the winner was Israel's puppet-themed short Happily Ever After). Other presenters included German Cookie Monster voice artist Douglas Welbat and longtime Disney animator Andreas Deja. The prize is awarded annually by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.
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See also

  • Berlin, and its Muppet connections


  1. Jim's Red Book entry for November 1961
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