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Did you know? The Champions-League-Cup was made in Bremen. Furthermore the Hanseatic City is also the cradle of trade and crafts, as well as the automobile hub of Europe. Descaffeinated coffee, screw studs for soccer shoes and the first fully functional helicopter were invented in this city, which is also the smallest state of Germany. Bremen has many histories to tell, several notable successes and a lot of special features to offer. Here you can learn more about 'Best of Bremen'.
Quelle: JUA / privat
Over 600 years of world heritage
The Rathaus (city hall), built in 1405 and from Gothic and Weser Renaissance styles. Since 2004, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Quelle: WFB / JUA
Guardian of the city
The statue 'Roland' has gained worldwide renown as a symbol of freedom. He stand for emancipation and independece of the citizenry. There are around 30 statues of Roland worldwide.
Stars & stripes meets Bremens' 'Bacon Flag'
In 1794, the USA opened one of their first European General Consulates in Bremen – due to the personal request of George Washington. Since the end of the American War of Independence in 1783, the Hanseatic city has nurtured close trade relationships with the United States.
The naked truth
Since 1905 the open-air bathing area on the so called 'Stadtwerder' peninsula can be used by nude bathers.
This makes this spot one of its kind in Germany.
Birthplace of the Euro
In 1978, with its resolution to set up a European currency system, the conference of the European Council in Bremen’s city hall laid one of the cornerstones of the ECU – the predecessor of the Euro. One of the main drivers of the top secret diplomatic negotiations was the German chancellor of the time, Helmut Schmidt.
Built near the water
Did you know? The name of the city is derived from the old Saxon word ‘bremo’ and means ‘on the edge’,
referring to its position on the dunes by the Weser.
The first in Bremen
On the 10th of June 1950, the consortium of public-service broadcasters in Germany was founded in Bremen – short for: ARD.
Light of the north
'Roter Sand' is the name of the lighthouse which has its name from its location on a shoal in the estuary of the river called 'Weser'. The lighthouse was built in 1885 and is the oldest offshore construction in the world. Nowadays visitors can even make an reservation to stay the night during the summer months.
When, on the 1st of October 1958, a ship transporting over 1,000 US soldiers docked at the Columbuskaje in Bremerhaven, the curiosity of onlookers and reporters could barely be contained. The reason: Elvis Presley, the ‘King of Rock ’n’ Roll’ was on board. The American superstar had been stationed in Europe on military service. His first steps on German soil were thus taken in the harbour town.
It's where the helicopter comes from
With his ‘FW-61’, the Bremen aviation pioneer Heinrich Focke is considered the father of the first fully-functioning helicopter. On the 26th of June 1936, the prototype’s successful maiden flight took place in what is now Bremen Airport.
The first artificially created harbour in Europe was built in 1618 in Bremen-Vegesack. This was necessary
because the Weser was gradually silting up towards its upper reaches, so that the large trading ships could no longer reach the harbour in the old town of Bremen.
Taking 'the Bremen' across the pond
The aircraft ‘Bremen’, a Junkers W33, was the first to cross the Atlantic from East to West on the 12th of April 1928. It completed the stretch from Dublin to Greenly Island in Canada in around 36 hours and can still be admired today in the Bremen Hall of the local airport.
Under full stream
Germany’s first ever steamer plied the stretch between Bremen and Brake between 1817 and 1833 and was called ‘Die Weser’.
On the 6th of May 1966, the US vessel ‘Fairland’ unloaded the first shipping container ever brought onto a German dock, revolutionising maritime cargo handling in doing so.
With more than 12,500 employees and about 420,000 cars rolling off the production line every year, the second-largest Mercedes factory in the world and the largest in Germany is located in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück. Daimler has built cars here since 1978.
The largest fashion photography studio in Europe is located in the 'Überseestadt'. In the 4,500-square-meter shed, 140,000 items a year – from shirts to shoes – are photographed for online shops and e-commerce.
Smiths of success
The dream of every footballer comes to life in the silverware workshop of ‘Koch & Bergfeld Corpus’: in this traditional Bremen firm, trophies for the best football teams of Europe have been manufactured here, since 1976. The 'Goldene Kamera' and several Formula-1 cups have been manufactured here as well.
Bremen is tasty
It’s the home of the gourmet: to give just a few examples, Beck’s, Melitta, Vitakraft, Nordsee, Frosta, Mondelez and Univeg either have their headquarters or large production facilities in Bremen or Bremerhaven.
It's taking off
The aircraft manufacturer Airbus develops and produces the high-lift systems for all its craft and equips the wings of the A330 and A350 XWB with all vital flight systems here at its second-largest German location.
Resident in today’s Überseestadt for over 120 years, Stroever GmbH & Co. KG is the only company in Europe to produce shellac, a product used worldwide. From sweets and fruit to medicines – shellac brings shine and durability.
One of the largest and most up-to-date high-bay warehouses in Europe is operated in Bremen by the BLG Logistics Group. It is located in Germany’s largest freight centre. The warehouse has a yearly turnover of two million pallets – that’s 8,000 a day.
Vector Foiltec is the world market leader for building shells made of transparent ETFE foil (ethylene-tetrafl uoroethylene). To date, the Bremen company has completed over 1500 international projects in the realm of stadium construction, universities, shopping centres etc..
Race for space
The aerospace company OHB develops top class technology. Complete satellites for the European satellite navigation system ‘Galileo’ are constructed in Bremen – the core module for the Mars probe Trace-Gas-Orbiter was also built here.
ACTEGA DS GmbH is the world market leader for seals in packaging and crown caps. One in three bottle caps around the world contains a composite material from Bremen.
Luxury arks for oligarchs
The Lürssen shipyard in Bremen-Vegesack enjoys a world-class reputation in its own specialist area: it manufactures naval vessels and some of the largest luxury yachts ever built – with sumptuous furnishings from the wine-cellar to the cinema.
Bremen as a regional focal point: from the surrounding parts of Lower Saxony, around 136,000 workers commute daily into the city. That is about 40% of people in employment in Bremen.
The Bremen Chamber of Commerce (1451) and Bremen Chamber of Crafts (1849) are the oldest in Germany.
Quelle: WFB/Studio B
Shipping around two million vehicles yearly, the harbour town is the automotive import and export hub of Europe. Every day, more than 5,000 new cars reach a harbour area, which is the size of 450 football fields.
Quelle: WFB / JUA
Bremen is the cradle of the German cotton trade and has hosted the Bremen cotton exchange for over 140 years. Already from the beginning of the 17th century, the Hanseatic city was importing the raw material.
Measured by turnover, Bremen is placed 6th among the largest German industrial cities.
The Rolandmühle (Roland mill), located directly on the quay of the Bremen timber and factory port, is the only one in Europe with a direct harbour connection
The Stromkaje, or riverside quay, of the Bremerhaven Container Terminal ‘Wilhelm Kaisen’, built in 1968 at 700 metres in length, is today the longest riverside quay in the world, at 5,000m. It offers four berths for large container ships.
Quelle: bremenports und BLG LOGISTICS
People from over 100 countries live and learn on the campus of the international Jacobs University. The private institution in Bremen-Nord is supported by the Swiss Jacobs Foundation, which in 2006 awarded the Jacobs University with what is so far the highest ever foundation grant for education ever donated in Europe.
On the coast of Namibia, the scientist Heide Schulz of the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen discovered microorganisms with a diameter of up to 0.75 millimetres – the largest type of bacteria yet found, known as ‘sulphur pearls’.
Quelle: WFB / Jens Lehmkühler
Workplace of the future
The development of innovative light-weight construction materials is key to future mobility and energy efficienc. From 2019, around 500 employees will be working on creating the materials of tomorrow at the EcoMaT in Bremen’s Airport-Stadt – an exceptional technology centre, unique in this form in Germany.
Quelle: fotolia.com / Rawpixel.com
Decaffeinated coffee is a Bremen discovery. The Bremen merchant Ludwig Roselius discovered and patented the process, going on to found Kaffee-Handels AG (Kaffee HAG) in 1906.
The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is located in Bremerhaven but its members are very much at home in the frigid zones. Whether on board the research vessel Polarstern, the aircraft Polar 5 and 6 that fly out of Bremen Airport or on site at Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic, these scientists have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to the exploration of the polar regions.
Here in the north, wind and rain are very much at home. Bremen has the highest density of fixed sundials in the country – 120 in total.
Inventors from the Bremen University and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence are six-time world champions in robot football and thus the best team in the world in the so-called Standard Platform League. They won the RoboCup 2017.
The drop tower at ZARM at Bremen university, in which experiments are carried out in zero gravity, is unique in Europe.
Bremen scientists at the German Aerospace Centre are currently engaged in a pilot project to plant vegetables in a shipping container in the Antarctic – without daylight or soil. Over the long term, procedures are to be developed by which astronauts on long Mars-missions can be provided with fresh vegetables. In a separate project, tomato seeds are being brought into orbit by research satellite, where they are to grow at an altitude of 600 kilometres.
Fotograf/in: Gisela Walther
Green over all
Of the fifteen most populous cities of Germany, Bremen is the third greenest. Over 7 % of the total Bremen metropolitan area are thus green recreational oases. The poster-child: the Bremer Bürgerpark with its 202.5 hectares, is the largest privately financed urban park in Germany.
Polar Bear, Seal and Friends
On the 24th of June 1928, the Zoo am Meer (zoo by the sea) in Bremerhaven opened its doors (then under the name of the ‘animal grottoes’) and since then has attracted many visitors with its polar bears, seals, and penguins.
At first glance, an inconspicuous manhole cover. But it hides much more beneath: right next to the Bremen Bürgerschaft (city assembly) is the Bremer Loch (Bremen Hole), an underground donation box belonging to the charity called 'Wilhelm-Kaisen-Bürgerhilfe'. Every time a coin is dropped in, the sounds of one of the town musicians of Bremen is heard from beneath the earth. In this way, thousands of euros are collected each year for charitable purposes.
With heart and hand
As the first establishment in Germany for the care of people with disabilities the 'Werkstatt Bremen' , with almost forty locations across Germany, has the highest number of individual institutions. In total, 2,000 workers make use of the varied range of services provided by the Werkstatt.
Less talk, more action
The people of Bremen traditionally get involved in their city, thus showing their responsibility for their fellow citizens. The ever-growing number of charitable foundations confirms this: with over 300 such institutions, the federal state of Bremen has the second-highest density of charitable foundations in the country.
Quelle: WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH / Ingo Wagner
Rooster, cat, dog, bicycle
Bremen, city of short distances. The Hanseatic city’s proportion of cycle traffic stands out among large German cities (those of over 500,000 inhabitants), making up around 25 per cent of the total transport network. Germany’s first urban cycle lane was opened here in 1898. And it should also come as no surprise that the ADFC, the German Cyclists’ Association, was founded here in 1979.
Quelle: WFB/bremen.online - MDR
Ice, Ice, Baby
Will the Weser ‘flow’ or ‘freeze’? Since 1830, this question has been answered every year on Epiphany’ Day, the 6th of January, during the traditional ‘Eiswette’, or ice-wagering. Amid festive surroundings, a tailor tests whether the Weser is frozen or not.
… or so goes the famous saying, often used to mean ‘third time lucky’. It harks back to the middle ages, when the city had its own peculiar legal principles: for example, three stages of legal recourse, three witnesses needed for evidence to have legal force, three proclamations required for legal validity to be achieved. Aside from this, the people of Bremen were also guaranteed three special rights by the Emperor: the right to wear gold and fur for the aldermen, the city’s own legal jurisdiction and the freedom of shipping on the Weser.
Bremen brings home the bacon
The people of Bremen like to call their flag the ‘bacon flag’. The reason is its red and white stripes and the way they break down into squares – lardons, perhaps – next to the flagpole.
A watchful eye to the north and baltic
The maritime rescue crews of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS) have operated out of Bremen for over 150 years, ensuring safety on the North and Baltic seas voluntarily.The DGzRS Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Bremen Neustadt coordinates more than 2,000 operations every year.
Quelle: WFB - MKA
Fotograf/in: Marcel Kaup
The key of Bremen as a sign of the 'Zeit'
The key of Bremen from the arms of the senate is part of the emblem of the weekly newspaper ‘Die Zeit’. A curiosity, especially as the newspaper has had its headquarters in Hamburg since its establishment. There, the city government of the time forbade the use of the gate seen on Hamburg’s coat of arms, considering it a misuse of an emblem. However, the mayor of Bremen, Wilhelm Kaisen, gave free usage rights to his city’s symbol.
Quelle: WFB / Jens Lehmkühler
It is one of the largest urban construction projects in Europe: the Überseestadt. In the former harbour area of Bremen’s west end, a new city quarter has arisen and continues to grow. Here, the traditional charms of the harbour meld with modern office and residential blocks, among them the 82-metre-high Weser Tower – Bremen’s tallest office building. The Überseestadt is known for its creative sector, top restaurants and unusual leisure activities like UV minigolf, a permanent old-timer exhibition, escape rooms, the GOP Varieté theatre and, by summer 2019, a beach park.
Quelle: WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH/T. Vankann
Where the Weser...
…makes a wide bend. There you can find the only stadium in Germany that is completely surrounded by a photovoltaic casing and thus produces up to a million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. With this quantity of electricity, around 300
households can be supplied over the same period. What’s more, fans can arrive at the game by boat, as there is a ferry dock directly by the stadium – also unique for Germany.
Quelle: WFB - LS
Sail away and come home
The Alexander von Humboldt, also known from the Beck’s adverts, brought Bremen worldwide fame. In 2015, the tall ship once again found a permanent home port in the Hanseatic city and now welcomes guests as a restaurant ship and boat-hotel for overnight stays and delicious feasts on the Schlachte.
In the USA there are in total eleven cities called Bremen. In 2003, passengers and crew of the cruise ship MS Bremen discovered a previously unrecorded island, which since then has been officially known as ‘Bremen Island’. It is separated from its neighbouring island by the ‘Bremen Canal’.
Markets of possibility
The Bremer Freimarkt is the fifth season in the Hanseatic city and the largest funfair in northern Germany. The ‘Ischa Freimaak’, as it is known in local dialect, has been held once a year since 1035. Over four million people annually visit the Bürgerweide over 17 days in October.
Quelle: WFB/bremen.online - MDR
No dry-docks in sight
Formerly the inner-city harbour, the ‘Schlachte’ has become Bremen’s much loved promenade for all along the banks of the Weser. Especially in the summer, the 660-metre-long esplanade is very inviting for a stroll, while its beer-gardens and bars are much frequented.
Quelle: fotolia / ifh85
Beer from here
Around 3,000 bottles of Beck’s are drunk worldwide every minute. This makes the Hanseatic firm the producer of the most-consumed German beer in the world. But an excellent craft beer scene has also become established in Bremen: whether it’s varieties by the Union Brauerei, Grebhans, Hopfenfänger or Schüttinger.
Quelle: fotolia.com / Andreas P
The first coffee-house in the German-speaking region was in Bremen. The brown gold was poured here from 1673, even earlier than in Vienna. Today too, Bremen is playing a large part in the sector: the beans in every other cup of coffee drunk in Germany are traded through the Hanseatic city.
Quelle: fotolia / Rido
Wine by the barrel
The cellar of the Bremen Rathaus (Ratskeller) houses the largest collection worldwide of high-quality German wines – around 650 different vintages. Among them is the oldest German cask wine, from 1653. One area of the cellar is named after the poet Wilhelm Hauff, who in 1827 wrote the wine novella ‘Fantasies in the Bremen Ratskeller’.
In north-west Germany, going on a ‘Kohlfahrt’, or kale-walk, in the period between the start of November and the end of February, is a must. Traditionally, the excursion is done through the countryside in the bitter cold with a handcart full of drinks, warming up again afterwards with a shared meal of kale, Kassler gammon, Bregen and Pinkel sausages. But don’t get confused: Braunkohl (in Bremen) and Grünkohl (in the surrounding region) may sound like two completely different kettles of cabbage, but mean the same thing.
Bon Appetit, Gentlemen
Bremen’s Schaffermahlzeit is the world’s oldest ‘Brudermahl’, or fraternal feast, still in existence. Since 1545, merchants, sea-captains and invited guests from the worlds of politics and business have met in the Rathaus of Bremen for a five-hour banquet.
Eat in our take-away?
Bremen is the birthplace of the beloved rollo, a type of kebab. Resourceful fast-food stall owners started offering it in the 1970s. Since then it has shared the menu alongside the classic doner.
Instead of beef, in Bremen you get a roll with a fresh patty made of various white fish, such as pollock or hake, coated in crispy breadcrumbs and garnished with a mix of herbs, mustard and fried onions.
Quelle: Fotolia / bit24
The Town Musicians of Bremen, by the Grimm Brothers, are known across the world – a musical has even been made about them in South Korea. The fairy tale celebrates its 200-year anniversary in 2019. It is one of the few tales whose title refers to a city – despite the fact that the animals never actually got to Bremen. And another thing, for when you visit the statue next to the Rathaus: the customary belief to this day is that if you clasp the legs of the donkey firmly in both hands, a wish will be granted!
Quelle: bremen.online GmbH / Dennis Siegel
Europe’s largest samba and masked carnival parade takes place every year in Bremen. One week before Shrove Tuesday, friends of the exotic dance from across Germany and the neighbouring countries bring a breath of Brazil into the Bremen streets and onto the open-air stages.
Since 1992, The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie has had its base in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. The chamber orchestra has become world famous in the past years thanks to performances, among others, of the complete Beethoven symphonies. But it also takes an interest in local affairs: as part of the ‘Melody of Life’ project, musicians and pupils at the Bremen-Ost comprehensive school come together. The young people bring thoughts, ideas and feelings from their school day, which are then made into music and presented on stage.
Because of its unique acoustics and elegant art-deco ambience, the Glocke (‘bell’), which opened in 1928, is today one of the most renowned concert-halls in Europe. The original chapter house on this site, initially part of a monastery, existed since the 9th century. Then, in 1869, it was repurposed as a concert-hall.
The rhododendron park in the Bremen district of Horn-Lehe spreads over an area of 46 hectares. Within this area, the botanika – a nature experience centre with many different plants and animals – is to be found. Together, the park and the science centre have the second-largest collection of rhododendrons in the world, with over 3,000 cultivars and nearly 600 different species. A special highlight: the Dalai Lama is presenting every continent with a 2.4-metre tall golden Buddha. The European statue stands in the botanika’s Japanese garden and is a symbol of peace and understanding between peoples.
Rhododendron in voller Blüte
They define the cityscape in many places: two to three-storey buildings with a cellar, front-gabled rather than side-gabled, with high ceilings inside, often standing in rows. Since the middle of the 19th century, this architectural type has been known as the ‘Altbremer Haus’ or old Bremen house – even beyond the walls of the Hanseatic city.
Böttcherstraße, near the marketplace, is home to museums, art collections and arts and crafts workshops, alongside shops and cafes. What’s more, a glockenspiel of Meissen porcelain rings every hour while picture-panels tell the story of the crossing of the Atlantic. One particular architectural highlight is the Atlantis House, with its famous ‘sky room’.
Quelle: WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen / Katharina Bünn
Quelle: bremen.online GmbH / Dennis Siegel
School ship Germany - berthed in Bremen
The three-master, built in 1927, was used as a sailing training ship for the merchant navy and is the only full-rigged ship left in Germany. With a sail area half the size of a football field, it continues to make a lasting impression on young and old. It its berthed today in Vegesack north Bremen.
Quelle: Bremen.online / JUA
The Bremen Theatre on the Goetheplatz lets in about 170,000 audience members a year. In 2007, it was selected as the ‘Opera House of the Year’, going on to be honoured a year later by the ‘Germany – land of ideas’ initiative.
If you see a young man in front of the cathedral, busily sweeping bottle-caps from the steps, you can be sure he is a genuine bachelor. Traditionally, men who are still unmarried on their 30th birthday, have to sweep the cathedral steps, only being released on receiving a maiden’s kiss. Their counterparts are young women who clean the door handles.
Schnoor is a quarter of mediaeval alleys. In its winding passageways, the aura of past centuries can still be sensed. It is possible that the name of this handsome old-town quarter derived from the shipbuilding handicrafts predominantly practised there in former days – the making of ropes and cables – because ‘Schnoor’ is the Old Low German word for ‘Schnur’, string. A different explanation holds that the houses are lined up like pearls on a string.
Heiter & Lustig - das Schnoorviertel
Quelle: bremen.online GmbH
The supposed defender of good manners Adolf Freiherr von Knigge – his name equivalent in German to ‘Debrett’ – spent the last years of his life in Bremen. He is buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter. His book ‘On Human Relations’ is still falsely seen today as an etiquette guide. Knigge’s approach was, in fact, directed less towards good behaviour and more towards sociological aspects.
In 1974, Radio Bremen started the first talk show in Germany, ‘3nach9’. The programme airs every four weeks late on Friday evening and is still produced in Bremen.
It’s not just in Bremen and the region that the football club SV Werder is in people’s hearts. Now as before, Werder is positioned at number 2 on the all-time Bundesliga tables. Also, the first goal ever in the Bundesliga was scored on Bremen’s Osterdeich.
Werder-Bremen-Tribüne im Weserstadion
Not a screw loose
In August 1949, the shoemaker Alexander Salot, from Bremen- Blumenthal, applied for a patent: He had developed the
screw-in stud system for football boots. The Bremen inventor got there three years earlier than the famous Adi Dassler (Adidas). To this day, screw-in studs are used in football.
If you want to see great sport in this federal state, you don’t have to go to the football – the Eisbären Bremerhaven (basketball) and the ice hockey team Fischtown Pinguins/REV Bremerhaven, play at the highest levels.
The Grün-Gold-Club Bremen and TSG Bremerhaven are world leaders in competitive dance. Both clubs together have over 20 world championship titles – having drawn for the win, even, in 2007’s Latin formation.