Hamburg: Welcome to the floating metropolis of Hamburg which combines cutting edge architecture with relaxed living in an urban surrounding.
Waterside living is being promoted since traditional property prices are high in Hamburg. Four years ago city authorities granted permission to allow development of new homes on local rivers and canals.
Architects were given a free hand to be innovative, with no restrictions on design or materials used.
One of the first water-bound settlements is in the Eibekkanal - there are now some 10 floating homes.
One floating home is owned by Henning Bossow a former vet. Bossow is the only owner who used a traditional house boat for his new floating home.
He designed his home himself. There is a kitchen attached to the living room, a bathroom, a guest bathroom, and three more rooms that offer a nice view to the canal and give you the feeling that you are on vacation.
Floating houses are an inexpensive way of owning a home in Hamburg. Bossow pays about $1,900 US dollars a year to lease the area on the river bed . The houses themselves are more expensive, starting at about $ 633,000.
But those who have taken the plunge feel the costs are paid back with the beautiful canal views and the serenity of the rushing water.
Martin Foerster is a Hamburg architect, who specialises in designing floating homes. He displays his designs at the Hamburg harbour to give people a taste of life on water.
The displayed homes can also be rented out for events. In 2008 Martin Foerster and his partner even designed a floating conference centre for the Hamburg hotel Mercure with a space of about 450 sq meter.
The house is capable of accommodating up to 350 people.
Hamburg is a trend-setter as far as floating homes are concerned, but in the 21st century a life afloat may be the only way forward with spiralling land prices and the ever growing population.