Music: "Absolutely awesome" - Udo Lindenberg is Hamburg's honorary citizen

Many fans wanted him to become Federal President one day.

Music: "Absolutely awesome" - Udo Lindenberg is Hamburg's honorary citizen

Many fans wanted him to become Federal President one day. Since Wednesday, panic rocker Udo Lindenberg (76) has been an honorary citizen of Hamburg - and that is the highest award that the city of Hamburg has to award. The native Westphalian from Gronau, who has been living in Hamburg since the late 1960s, joins an illustrious group of personalities. In addition to politicians such as former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (1918-2015) and writers such as Siegfried Lenz (1926-2014), the recently deceased soccer player Uwe Seeler, children's book author Kirsten Boie and entrepreneur Michael Otto are among Hamburg's honorary citizens.

Since the first honorary citizenship was awarded to Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Tettenborn in 1813, Lindenberg has been the 37th honorary citizen of the city and, after Johannes Brahms, the first personality from the world of music. Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) had proposed Lindenberg on the occasion of his 75th birthday in May 2021. Because of the long-lasting corona restrictions, the award could only now be presented - which Lindenberg obviously took sportingly.

Ceremony in the large ballroom of the town hall

After taking selfies with passers-by in front of the town hall, he said at the ceremony in the main ballroom in front of around 350 invited guests - equipped as usual with hat, sunglasses and studded belt - he already knew on his first visit to Hamburg on December 13, 1968 that he belongs in the Hanseatic city. Hamburg is everything he was always looking for, cosmopolitanism and plenty of correct Rock'n'Roll, his personal Eldorado. "The fact that this awesome, brightly colored city of music and culture is now making me its honorary panic is of course an absolute hammer and a huge honor."

"Thank you for being your honorary Rock'n'Roller now," said Lindenberg, before singing his song "Why are wars there" with the Hamburg school choir Gospel Train. Lindenberg's friend Jan Delay and Johannes Oerding also wanted to provide musical accompaniment to the ceremony.

Lindenberg is one of Germany's most successful musicians

Lindenberg was born on May 17, 1946 in Gronau (North Rhine-Westphalia). He has lived in Hamburg since the late 1960s and in a suite in the Hotel Atlantic since the 1990s. With more than five million records sold and numerous gold and platinum albums, Lindenberg is one of the most successful contemporary German musicians. Today he is committed to fighting right-wing extremism and, according to the Senate, supports cultural, political, humanitarian and social projects in Germany and Africa with his own foundation. In the meantime, Lindenberg has also made a name for himself as an author and painter of watercolors - some of which hang in the Chancellery.

In the citizenship session that preceded the ceremony, all MPs, with the exception of the AfD, were enthusiastic about the idea of ​​honorary citizenship for Lindenberg and approved the Senate's proposal with a large majority. "Udo Lindenberg is an outstanding personality in our city," emphasized Mayor Tschentscher. In addition to his musical achievements, he paid particular tribute to Lindenberg's efforts to promote understanding within Germany and his commitment to combating violence, right-wing extremism and discrimination. "He is an ambassador for tolerance, peace and freedom. In other words: Udo Lindenberg is a Hanseatic citizen, not by birth, but by conviction."

Hamburg's second mayor Katharina Fegebank (Greens) emphasized: "We are incredibly proud that he has made Hamburg his home and has become a role model for many artists." Hamburg carries its name and its sound in its heart, "for now and always". Opposition leader and CDU faction leader Dennis Thering said that Lindenberg's music is definitely part of the history of German reunification. "Through his work he has been connected to Hamburg as a musician and also as a graphic artist, as a painter, for years."

At the ceremony, Parliament President Carola Veit emphasized: "The mousyness in your voice and the mixture of snotty, empathy, social criticism and irony make you unmistakable." Lindenberg has become a symbol for the cosmopolitan, colourful, liberal attitude of the city of Hamburg, "in which everyone is allowed to live their own thing as they wish - as long as they grant this right to everyone else".

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