Sweet English Suburbia in Hamburg

by Andy Polaine on April 24, 2008

'English' Shop in Hamburg

I quite often teach COFA Online’s course, Graphics and Contemporary Society, which I find more interesting now that I’m here in Germany. A lot of the discussion amongst the students, who are in Australia, is about the differences between Asian and Western cultures (though those are sweeping terms in themselves), because there’s a large Asian population in Australia and Australia is really in the Asia-Pacific region.

So it’s always weird to have your own culture reflected back to you, like this shop I discovered in Hamburg called Sweet Suburbia replete with Marmite, Digestive biscuits, Suffolk Herbs, Walkers crisps, Jelly Tots (I grabbed a packet each of those last two), and everything else you’d find in a village corner shop in England mixed with some clothing and souvenirs.

Obviously everything cost more that it would in England (although, I’m not so sure about some corner shop prices these days), but it was just odd to see other customers looking so curious about our everyday things. It was a bit odd for me too because I’m pretty much used to living in Germany now.

It was nice to see, though, and a reminder that in a globalised age where any high street in any major city in the world looks pretty much like another, the small details still set cultures apart.

If you’re an Englander and living in Germany, you can stock up using Sweet Suburbia’s online shop. No Nestle condensed milk on there though, so my bannoffee pie will have to wait.

[tags]UK, British, shop, suburbia, hamburg[/tags]

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tim April 25, 2008 at 6:24 am

glad you found that Ottensen shop around the corner from where we used to live (near Eva’s home as you know). the fashion area of said shop is nice and quirky in a homely way, too.
There is another Bristish goods shop on Streesemannstra corner of Alsenstrasse, i think it is called ‘Broken English’. Another one is in Eppendorf, near U Eppendorfer Baum, but I forgot which street. you see, Hamburg is (apart from the weather) welcoming and pleasant, even when you are English.

2 Andy Polaine April 25, 2008 at 8:51 am

I didn’t realise you Northern Germans were so fascinated with Englishness! You need to go to Handorf in South Australia and experience faux-German culture there… just don’t eat the sausages, they’re not that great.

3 tim rudder April 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm

i get that feeling a fair bit living in japan with their strong interest in western culture and also their reinterpretations of it.

the feeling when walking into stores like that gets a bit stranger when you see everyday objects from years back that have quite a lot of personal childhood nostalgia. even if it is just simple pots and pans similar to what your mother or grandmother used to use or books that you learned to read with in primary school..

4 tim April 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

ah, i think the other two shops i mentioned are run by ex-pats, not sure if suburbia was.
and i did experience hahndorf in 2004 and found it rather discomforting. even the service was (by australian measures) quite rude…therefore authentic!

5 Andy Polaine April 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Na, Sweet Suburbia was run by a German woman.

Karin got food poisoning from some bad sausage in Hahndorf…

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