Take a second look at Bremen

Aerial view shows the red-paved Hanseatic cross in the floor of Bremen's market square
There is so much history, and there are so many stories and places, that you might not know them all.

Quelle: WFB / MKA

It's often worth taking a second look because, alongside its traditional tourist attractions, Bremen is home to works of art, sights of special interest and historical locations with their own intriguing stories to tell. We've gathered together just a few of them here. You might walk by some of them every day. Go on, have a closer look!

Seven statues on a roof gable

Have you already noticed them? You might know the fairy tale about a poor farmer who had seven lazy sons. Unable to find work, the sons all left home to seek their fortune. They returned with a wealth of new ideas and innovations. The famous Sieben-Faulen-Brunnen in the heart of the Böttcherstraße is a monument to these brothers, who have symbolised ingenuity and innovation down the ages. You'll also see these characters in another place. Just look up as you walk into the Böttcherstraße, and you'll see the seven lazy brothers high above you on the right, up on the roof gable. The house now goes by the name of these striking figures, created by the sculptor Aloys Röhr.

Die Statuen der Sieben Faulen auf einem Dachgiebel.

Quelle: WFB / LRU

Nails in the ground

Perhaps you've already noticed the golden discs (like the heads of nails) that decorate the cobbled streets of the town centre and wondered why they're there. Is it just by chance? No, not really! If you let these 2,000 or so markers, which are about 1 metre apart, guide you along the 1.5 kilometre route, you'll find yourself walking by some of the most attractive and interesting sights the city has to offer. It's a great way of getting to know the city on foot. You'll get even more background information about the marketplace, the famous Town Musicians and their friends, if you listen to our audio guide as you walk along this route. Just follow the "nails in the ground".

Ein Nagel im Boden steht im Fokus, im Hintergrund sieht man verschwommen die Bremer Stadtmusikanten.

Quelle: Rike Oehlerking

The enormous cobblestone cross

When you stand on the Marktplatz marketplace, you'll see that most eyes, and cameras turn towards the Town Hall, the statue of Roland and the Cathedral. Very many people are completely unaware that they're standing on top of an enormous image made of cobblestones - a Hanseatic cross. In the past, this cross was emblazoned on the flags of cities in the Hanseatic League. The citizens of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck joined together to fight in the wars of liberation against Napoleon between 1813 and 1815. The huge 4.8 meter-diameter cross, is a physical reminder of the post-Hanseatic era and also represents freedom and cooperation.

Blick vom Marktplatz aus Richtung Südost auf St. Petri Dom zwischen Rathaus und Bürgerschaft

Quelle: bremen.online GmbH / Dennis Siegel

Art is everywhere...

... you just need to take a closer look. On the Art in Public Space web page, you will find a wealth of information about all the artworks installed around the city. You're sure to find one with a story that catches your imagination.

The saga of the sitting hen, or Bremen's foundation myth

You've probably walked past Bremen's Town Hall at one time or other. But have you ever had a really good look at its façade? If you do, you'll see the figure of a hen. Once upon a time, or so the story goes, a group of fishermen followed a hen and her chicks, reasoning that anywhere the hen could live would be a safe place for them too. A little later on, this was the site on which they built their first huts. The saga of the sitting hen is still recounted today, as the story of the origins of Bremen.

Gluckhenne mit ihren Küken über dem zweiten Arkadenbogen des Rathauses.

Quelle: privat / JUA

Cobblestones mark where a river used to run

No doubt you've wandered across the River Balge more than once, or at least where the river used to flow. Its origins take us back to the time when Bremen was still mostly marshland. This tributary was once an important waterway, but ever-increasing urbanisation and the growth of the city reduced its size until it disappeared completely. Nowadays, cobblestones mark this almost forgotten branch of the Weser.

Zu sehen ist ein Pflasterstein, auf dem Balge steht.

Quelle: Rike Oehlerking

Monuments and memorials

You will also find a multitude of monuments and memorials in Bremen. Although some have almost been forgotten, every one of them has an important story to tell, which might well change your view of the city.

The air-raid shelter that looks out over Bremen

The murals on the walls of the Diakonissenbunker, an above-ground air-raid shelter in the Überseestadt (New Harbour District), are the first thing to catch your eye. Each of the four exterior walls depicts a gigantic figure, looking back at you through its binoculars. What inspired this? The artist Victor Ash created the work, "Look at me, look at you", in 2009, using a mixture of mural painting and graffiti techniques, to mark the 32nd German Evangelical Church Assembly, held that year in Bremen. The images are a striking synthesis of classical painting techniques and street art.

Streetart auf einem Bunker zeigt zwei menschliche Figuren mit Fernglas

Quelle: privat / JUA

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Quelle: WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH / Ingo Wagner

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Quelle: WFB - LS

A bronze statue of a man with a hat.

Legends and Monuments

Quelle: bremen.online GmbH / MDR

Gezeichnete Skyline von Bremens prominentenen Gebäuden