“We are here to stay” vs. “Europe’s best hotel”: Hamburg and Athens as Geographies of Solidarity

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Using a theoretical framework conceptualising mobility regimes, solidarity, as well as scales and “sanctuary/solidarity cities”, this article examines notions of locally scaled solidarity by looking at Hamburg and Athens. We undertake comparisons on three dimensions. First, between the historical and institutional context of migration in Germany and Greece. Second, between urban movements in Hamburg and Athens. Finally, between the balance sheet of Seebrücke Hamburg and the Solidarity Cities Initiative of Athens. We contend that different migrant mobilities, as well as the solidarity movements they bring forth, structure different geographies of solidarity. We argue that movements in Hamburg were relatively more successful in renegotiating restrictive migration regimes on the local scale than their counterparts in Athens. We view these differences as prefigured by different types of migrant mobility—arrival in Hamburg, transit in Athens—in the context of a European bordering geography characterised by asymmetrical power relations.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1062-1082
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Solidarity cities
  • Hamburg
  • Athens
  • Infrastructures of solidarity
  • regimes of mobility


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