Novo Hamburgo (Portuguese for New Hamburg) (Neues Hamburg in German) is a municipality in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, located in the Metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, the State Capital. As of 2010, its population was 237,044. The city covers an area of 217 square kilometers, and the average temperature is 19 °C, which is mild for the region. The Sinos River (Rio dos Sinos) runs through the urban area.
In the decade of 1980, Novo Hamburgo received the nickname of "National Capital of shoes", attracting many athletes, tracks and companies connected to the sport. Nowadays, the city is the industrial center of the Sinos River Valley, the economy of which is based mainly on the manufacture of shoes and the associated leather goods supply chain.
Novo Hamburgo displays a high HDI index and is considered a rich city by Brazilian standards, although many slums dot its outskirts and crime is rampant.
The area of the city was first settled by Portuguese immigrants in the mid 18th century, but it would grow to the status of village only with the arrival of the first German immigrants in 1824. At that time, Novo Hamburgo was part of São Leopoldo, the cradle of German immigration in Brazil. The Germans established a prosperous agricultural colony and eventually started to supply the state's main urban centers at that time with food.
Some of the immigrants also brought handicraft skills, valuable for a self-sufficient, isolated economy, as the valley and the state were at that time. In Novo Hamburgo, the first urban agglomeration appeared around the Hamburger Berg, circa 1870, where there was a little commerce. The city was emancipated from São Leopoldo on 5 April 1927, and soon joined the rest of Brazil in its run to industrialization. The city was made the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Novo Hamburgo in 1980.