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Bremen - UNESCO City of Literature

Books between the legs of the donkey of the Bremen Town Musicians.
Bremen books, publishers and much more - this is where literature enthusiasts will find everything their hearts desire!

© Literaturmagazin Bremen / Rike Oehlerking

In October 2023, Bremen was named "City of Literature" by UNESCO, and not without reason. If you love reading, you've come to the right place! Bremen's literary landscape not only offers you numerous bookshops, but also publishing houses, readings, bookcases and literature festivals. Here you will find everything you need to know about literature in and about Bremen.

UNESCO City of Literature

On 31 October 2023, UNESCO included Bremen in the international network of Creative Cities and awarded the Hanseatic city the title of "City of Literature". Bremen is the seventh German city to receive this honour. UNESCO's Creative Cities programme links around 350 centres of excellence in various creative fields worldwide.

Bremen was honoured for its cultural activities and initiatives such as the Stadtmusikanten- und Literaturhaus, the LauschOrten, the Bremer Sprachmusikanten and the digital literary magazine Bremen. The city also boasts a lively festival and theatre scene, the renowned Bremen Literature Prize and numerous bookshops. The internationally renowned Centre for Artists' Publications and voluntary initiatives also contribute to strengthening Bremen's reputation as a vibrant city of literature.

Eine weiße Grafik, auf der links steht: "lesen - eine tierisch gute idee" dazwischen sind die Bremer Stadtmusikanten in bunt zu sehen und rechts steht "unesco Member of the Creative Cities Network. bremen. city of literature."

© artundweise

Creative Cities Programme

In addition to Bremen, Berlin (City of Design), Hanover (City of Music), Heidelberg (City of Literature), Karlsruhe (City of Media Art), Mannheim (City of Music) and Potsdam (City of Film) are also part of this network.

By being recognised as a UNESCO Creative City, Bremen is part of a network that promotes sustainable urban development through the promotion of culture. As creative strongholds, the members create partnerships with stakeholders in their city and with other cities, exchange knowledge and experience, enable everyone to participate in cultural life and thus actively promote the local cultural and creative industries. It is therefore not only the literary scene that benefits from the title, but the entire cultural scene in Bremen

A book with confetti

UNESCO Cities of Literature

Get to now more here!

© Literaturmagazin Bremen / Rike Oehlerking

A woman holds a book in front of her face.

News about the Application

can be found at the digital literary magazine

© Rike Oehlerking

Town Musicians' and Literature Centre

In the coming years, a central location for Bremen's literary scene will be created in the Kontorhaus in the heart of Bremen's city centre. The Town Musicians' and Literature House, including a reading café and bookshop, will not only strengthen the scene, but also connect it to the network of literature houses. The venue will offer the opportunity to organise various events such as smaller and larger readings, discussions or musical and theatrical performances in a creative atmosphere.

By establishing this literary hotspot, Bremen is once again demonstrating that it is a cosmopolitan, tolerant and colourful Hanseatic city with a big heart for culture and innovation. This will create a programme that ranges from the child-friendly teaching of literature and the promotion of reading to the support of the literary avant-garde. The project already promises to be an example of an inspiring combination of popular culture and experimental creativity.

Ein Gebäude, im Vordergrund Bücher.

© Literaturmagazin Bremen / Rike Oehlerking

Literaturhaus and -kontor

The Bremer Literaturkontor and the virtual Literaturhaus are two central literary institutions in Bremen, which help to shape the literary life of the Hanseatic city with different focal points and which are to be brought together in the new Stadtmusikanten- und Literaturhaus in the future. While the virtual Literaturhaus has primarily functioned as a digital production centre since 2004 and focuses on literary work with children and young people, the Bremer Literaturkontor has concentrated on promoting up-and-coming authors and supporting and collaborating with Bremen authors in the context of readings, projects and workshops since 1983.

A building

Literaturhaus Bremen

Go to the german Website

© Literaturhaus Bremen [virt.] e.V.

A building behind trees


Got to the German Website

© Rike Oehlerking

Literature Festivals and More

In Bremen, you have the opportunity to experience literature in new and different ways all year round. Some events have been a great success for decades and are well known beyond Bremen's borders, while others have emerged in recent years as part of Bremen's bid for the UNESC

The Black Children's Library

The Black Children's Library in the "Viertel" carries diversity-conscious children's and youth literature that focuses on Black children and young people as the heroes of the stories. It is the first library with this focus in Germany.

Under the motto "Together we read", it offers a repertoire of books that centre on the realities of life and everyday worlds of Black people and thus aims to create more positive visibility and representation of Black perspectives. There is also a bookshelf for adults - all are welcome in the Black Children's Library.

Ein gemütlicher Raum mit Sofa, Sessel und Sitzsäcken. In Regalen stehen Kinderbücher.

© Die Schwarze Kinderbibliothek

Bremen Publishing Houses

Theatre at Goetheplatz

Theatres in Bremen

© WFB / Carina Tank

Town Musicians and More than Fairy Tales

When it comes to Bremen and literature, many people immediately think of the fairy tale of the Bremen Town Musicians. The Hanseatic city is famous for the tale, which, along with other Grimm fairy tales, is a UNESCO heritage site. There are also many local monuments and attractions that take up or thematise the fairy tale, such as the statue by Gerhard Marcks, the Town Musicians' Play or the Town Musicians' Express. Bremen is also the last stop on the German Fairytale Route.

The fairy tale becomes participatory, multicultural and inclusive thanks to the Bremer Sprachmusikanten project organised by the Literaturhaus. Fifteen people from Bremen will tell the famous story in their native languages, including Spanish, Korean, easy language, sign language and Twi. If you can't find your language yet, you can send in your own version and expand the range yourself.

But the fairy tale is not the only well-known story to come from Bremen. Willhelm Hauff wrote a novella about the Ratskeller. Sven Regner's novel "Neue Vahr Süd" is also set in Bremen and David Safier was born in Bremen. Of course, that's not all. You can find more authors and novels below.

Das Haus der Bücher bookstore interior view. A lot of books in shelves.

Bookshops in Bremen

© Das Haus der Bücher

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Gezeichnete Skyline von Bremens prominentenen Gebäuden