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Weit über die Stadtgrenzen hinaus bekannt: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten, Bild: Joaquin Ossorio Castillo / shutterstock

Bremen – of rich merchants and talented artists

The influence is undisputed: Everywhere in the area between the Elbe and Weser, the traces of the people of Bremen can be found. For centuries, Bremen was the seat of an archbishop, an important trading centre and one of the most important Hanseatic cities in the country.

The oldest district of the mini-metropolis has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Böttcherstraße, Marktplatz and Schnoor. At the same time, Bremen declares itself the leading coffee city in Germany. No wonder, because every second bean of the brown gold enters the country via Bremen ports.

Bremen is a self-confident old Hanseatic city with extraordinary charm in a very small area.

Art, culture and merchant spirit

Bremen, Weser
Beautiful view from the Weser, Image: canadastock / shutterstock

The city with a seafaring past held its castles all over the country. In Bremervörde, where the archbishops sat, in Hagen, where they had their summer residence, and in Bederkesa, where there is even a Roland in the courtyard of the restored castle – smaller and younger than the one in Bremen, but a symbol of Bremen’s influence over centuries. The people of Bremen are steeped in tradition and proud of their past. Here you eat kale with Pinkel, ride your bike to work and love the porridge sausage filled with fat. A real Bremen player is dignified, he doesn’t like it as pompous as he does with rival Hamburg . To this day, the city on the Weser is a cultural and economic metropolis and at the same time a popular excursion destination.

Two to three hours should be planned for a city tour. Attention: The visit to the Übersee-Museum can take a few hours. You shouldn’t have the ambition to explore Bremen in one day.

Bremen – dream city, not only for Town Musicians

The heart of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is the old town. Stately, richly decorated buildings immediately captivate the visitor. The market square is dominated by the Renaissance façade of the town hall. The Gothic brick building was erected between 1405 and 1410 and equipped with the stately façade in the 17th century.

Bremen, Old Town
Bremen’s Old Town, Image: Czech Evgenia / shutterstock

Somewhat set back is the Church of Our Lady, the oldest parish church in the city. The former council church impresses with its medieval murals and Manessier’s stained glass windows. On the northwest side of the town hall, mainly children cavort who are looking for proximity to the Bremen Town Musicians. The figures made famous by the fairy tale – donkey, dog, cat and rooster – were immortalized by Gerhard Marcks in 1951/53 as a bronze sculpture. Today they are a popular photo motif.

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The Bremen Roland is the most famous monument in the city and was erected in 1404. Similar statues of knights were erected on the main squares of many northern German cities until the 18th century. The Roland is the symbol of jurisdiction and free citizenship.

Also on the market square is the building of St . Peter’s Cathedral from the 11th century. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the building was expanded and modified.

Bremen, Bremer Roland
The Roland from Bremen, Image: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / shutterstock

Böttcherstraße is close to the market. Once an old craftsmen’s alley, it is now one of the city’s special sights. It is another page of glory of Bremen’s artistic creation and at the same time a monument to Low German art and culture.
Böttcherstraße, which was severely damaged during the Second World War and rebuilt in 1954, is part of an architectural ensemble in Bremen’s city centre.

The merchant Ludwig Roselius had bought the house at number 6 in Böttcherstraße at that time – more by chance and actually quite against his will. At that time it was a craftsman’s alley left to decay. However, between 1926-30 he had the alley converted into a cultural street at his own expense. Small, delightful shops, workshops, the Roselius House and a carillon made of Meissen porcelain attract visitors to the cosy main street of Bremen’s old town.

The Schnoor district is a world of its own. Very close to Bremen’s vibrant city centre is an extraordinary residential area where the clocks seem to tick differently. Houses in rows and rows line winding alleys with cozy pubs, cafés and restaurants. You can look over the shoulder of many handicrafts here.

Anyone who visits the district with its tiny squares and narrow alleys and sees the narrow, tightly lined up craftsmen’s houses will find the name “Schnoor” self-explanatory. The word comes from Low German and means “string”. Clever as the people of Bremen are, they built houses that were as narrow and high as possible in order to measure the amount of taxes according to the width of the houses.

Technical excellence in a vibrant Hanseatic city

Bremen at night
Image: Shahid Khan / shutterstock

Fans of research, nature and technology will also get their money’s worth in Bremen. For example, in experiments in weightlessness up to earthquakes at the push of a button.

The “Zarm”, Centre for Applied Space Technology, confirms Bremen’s importance as a space location. The Zarm was founded in 1985 on the initiative of the then Minister of Research. He intended to give space travel and space research a recognized scientific home. In 1990, the drop tower was built, with which numerous experiments are carried out under weightless conditions. The institute offers exciting guided tours – from a visit to the drop tower to an easy-to-understand presentation with small hand experiments.

No less exciting is the universe, where the wonders of science are brought to life. Three components impress fans of research: Science Center, Discovery Park and Showbox. Active participation is absolutely desired! Close encounters with Freddy, the oar’s skeleton or with a shiny whale that rises from a pond visible from afar are guaranteed. In a playful way, young and old scientists are allowed to experiment on a huge experience area. Living dreams, building towers or climbing a steep wall – almost anything is possible in the universe.

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The people of Bremen love to “coffee” – the most rustic coffee houses in the city

Roland Statue
Colorful houses at the Roland statue, Image: trabantos / shutterstock

There are magical coffee oases in Bremen, whether in the district, in the city centre or on the Weser.

  • Kaffe Knigge ensures the highest level of coffee enjoyment in a noble ambience. The coffee house is famous for its marzipan and a variety of homemade cakes.
  • Café Stecker was founded 108 years ago and convinces today as then with delicious coffee and many specialties.
  • A pretty foam heart crowns the coffee in the “Yellow Bird Coffe”. Here, guests can choose between a wide variety of brewing options and get advice.
  • Maitre Stefan lets the coffee flow into pretty cups in her small Viennese roastery. French classics such as tarts or éclair round off the offer.
  • On the Osterdeich, the Ambiente Café attracts visitors with a fantastic view. There are also coffee specialties from all over the world.
  • In the middle of the ramparts, the “Kaffe Mühle” inspires in a great atmosphere with delicious coffee blends.

Tip: The “Schlachte” is Bremen’s Weser promenade. Where once the merchant ships docked, people now walk and flea markets are organized. A nice place to relax.

Facts about Bremen

  1. Bremen has a population of about 565,000, making it the tenth largest city in Germany.
  2. The city of Bremen is known for its historic old town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
  3. Bremen is also known for the fairy tale of the Bremen Town Musicians, written by the Brothers Grimm, which tells of a group of animals that make their way to Bremen to live there as musicians.
  4. The Bremen Roland, a statue of the knight Roland, stands on the market square of Bremen and has symbolized the independence and freedom of the city since the 15th century.
  5. Bremen Cathedral is an 11th-century Romanesque church and one of the city’s main attractions.
  6. The Bremen Freimarkt, which takes place annually in October, is one of the oldest folk festivals in Germany and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
  7. Bremen is also an important port and industrial location with one of the largest container ports in Europe.
  8. The University of Bremen, founded in 1971, is one of the largest and most respected universities in Germany and has a strong focus on research and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  9. The Werder Bremen football club, founded in 1899, is one of the most successful clubs in Germany and has won the German championship four times.
  10. Bremen Airport is an important regional airport and offers connections to many European destinations.