+49 (0) 421 9600-10
9 January 2018 - Kerstin Radtke

Quintessentially Bremen – between history and the future

Quality of life
From the town hall and Roland statue to space exploration: discover all this and more in Bremen

Quintessentially Bremen
Quintessentially Bremen – aerospace and automotive industries, town hall and Weser river © WFB / Jonas Ginter, Frank Thomas Koch

The city is famous for the Bremen Town Musicians, the market square, the Schlachte Embankment and Werder Bremen football club. But it is also known as a hub for logistics, science and the automotive and aerospace industries, and as a bike-friendly city that is full of green spaces. To be honest, there is no reason to be modest, though that would be typical of Bremen too…

A fairytale quartet: the Bremen Town Musicians

Although they never reached their intended destination, the Bremen Town Musicians are still local heroes. In the fairytale of the Brothers Grimm, the quartet of domestic animals finds a new home in a forest on their way to Bremen by scaring away the bandits who are living there. Since then, the donkey, dog, cat and rooster have become symbols for, and ambassadors of, the Hanseatic city. The most famous sculpture of them, created by sculptor Gerhard Marcks in 1951, can be found outside the western end of the town hall. There are many other representations of them in Bremen, for example the bronze figures created by artist Bernhard Hoetger by the Fountain of the Seven Lazy Brothers in Böttcherstrasse, and several others around the world.

Historical city centre and UNESCO World Heritage site

Bremen town hall
Bremen town hall, built between 1405 and 1409 in the style of the Weser Renaissance © WFB / Jonas Ginter

The most historical part of Bremen will make any passer-by smile, whether they are a tourist or a local. The church, the town hall, proud merchants and free citizens – history comes to life here, and all parts of society are represented in the architecture. Bremen town hall, built between 1405 and 1409 in the style of the Weser Renaissance, is part of an exceptional ensemble of buildings around the market square that includes the Schütting (guildhall), the State Parliament and the cathedral. The town hall's magnificent exterior houses the art nouveau Golden Chamber, a marble lobby and the old-established Ratskeller. The Upper Hall of the town hall, featuring model ships hanging from the ceiling, is used for ceremonial occasions, such as the Schaffermahl banquet. The town hall, together with the Roland statue that stands before it, was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2004.

Maritime charm along the Weser river and the Schlachte Embankment

Schlachte
Schlachte Embankment along the Weser river © WFB / Jonas Ginter

Whenever the sun shines, the focus of city life moves to the restaurants and cafés along the Schlachte Embankment. This historical embankment on the Weser river oozes maritime charm throughout the year, and it has been a vital part of Bremen life and its economy for over a thousand years. Barges, pleasure boats, small yachts, motor and rowing boats, and lovingly restored sailing vessels all make their way along this picturesque stretch. Downriver towards the railway bridge, the river becomes a route for maritime shipping, and the proximity to the sea is visible every day as the tides influence water levels in the city. When there is flooding, the floodplains upriver along Osterdeich are partially submerged. A stroll along the road of the same name brings you to magnificent mercantile villas and affords excellent views of the Weser Stadium in its idyllic setting. There is a small ferry here that will take you to the other side. A short walk away is Werdersee lake, which is perfect for swimming and water sports.

Industries

Sternstunden 2018
Sternstunden 2018 – this celebration of the city's history in space exploration features a series of activities, exhibitions and competitions related to the aerospace industry © WFB / Hagen Schulze

A hub for the international aerospace industry

The federal state of Bremen is one of the world's top employers in the aerospace sector. Local businesses generate an impressive €4 billion in revenue, and some of the world's leading aerospace companies are based here. There are training opportunities for young people and courses in aerospace engineering at the local university. Running over several months, Sternstunden 2018 will celebrate Bremen's history in space exploration through activities, exhibitions and competitions, and bring it to life for locals and visitors alike.

Home of the automotive sector – from Borgward to Mercedes

Bremen's history as a hub for the automotive industry dates back more than 110 years. The federal state has established itself as a centre of industry innovation and know-how that covers manufacturers, suppliers and service providers. Famous names such as Mercedes-Benz and Borgward stand for internationally renowned expertise, and there is an extensive supplier network for raw materials, logistics, electronics and much more besides. At the world's largest Mercedes factory, 100,000 new vehicles are manufactured every year and then shipped around the globe.

Logistics hub
The Güterverkehrszentrum is a logistics hub © WFB / Jonas Ginter

Logistics experts at the gateway to the world

The federal state of Bremen's proximity to the river and the sea make it a real gateway to the world. Consequently, the maritime economy has always played an important role and is still one of the key sectors in the region. The facts speak for themselves – Bremen is home to Europe's largest warehouse, and its cargo distribution centre is the largest in Germany and the second biggest in Europe.

The Universum Science Center
The Universum Science Center © Universum

Expertise in science and innovation

The Universum Science Center in Bremen and the Klimahaus in Bremerhaven are the architectural embodiment of the state's importance as a hub for science and innovation. The technology park around the university is home to several leading research organisations, such as the Max Planck Institute and the Fraunhofer Institute. Bremen's connection to the sea is set to continue, with people across the federal state working on a future that embraces the region's maritime heritage. And the next generation of innovators is also thriving here. Compared to the national average, Bremen had the highest number of entries in the 'Jugend forscht' youth science competition in 2017.

Bike-friendly Bremen

With all this productivity and innovation, what better way to let off steam than by getting around by bicycle. The city's many parks, tree-lined streets and short distances between key destinations make cycling the preferred method of transport. According to a recent survey of 15 major German cities by the German Automobile Association (ADAC), cyclists voted Bremen third for satisfaction. On a European level, Bremen is one of the most bike-friendly cities with more than half a million inhabitants. The many signs for cycle paths make it easy to find your way around, and the city's urban structure, which has evolved over time, provides a bike-friendly and green network. What's more, the Weser Cycle Route also runs through the centre, and the German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) organises hundreds of cycle tours in and around Bremen every year.

Osterdeich at the Weser river
Cycling along the Weser river © WFB / Ingo Wagner

Germany's third-greenest city

Bremen's inhabitants sometimes jokingly refer to the city as a "village with a tram". One of the reasons behind this is surely the many parks and recreational areas in the city, such as the picturesque Wallanlagen around the centre and the nearby Schlachte Embankment and Osterdeich on the banks of the Weser river. One of the most popular destinations is the Bürgerpark, a largely privately financed haven of green built in 1866 that covers more than 200 hectares. Other popular spots include Rhododendron Park in the district of Horn and the area around Werdersee lake. All this and more makes Bremen the third greenest city in Germany.

Weser Stadium at the Weser river
The Weser Stadium has one of the most idyllic settings of any sporting arena © WFB / Thomas Hellmann

'Green and white forever' – the home of Werder Bremen

It's not just the parks that are green, the local football team, Werder Bremen, is too. Admittedly, things do not always go to plan at the Weser Stadium, even if it has one of the most idyllic settings of any sporting arena. But the fans' loyalty to their team in green and white does not depend on their position in the table. So far, the team has won the championship four times (in 1965, 1988, 1994 and 2004) and the German Cup six times. Werder Bremen are ranked second in the all-time Bundesliga table behind Bayern Munich. And when there is another championship to celebrate, there will be no better place to do so than on Bremen's market square.

Treats from the Schnoor Bakery
Local treats – schnoorkuller and kluten © BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale / Ingrid Krause

Culinary specialities from Germany's coffee capital

Bremen is without a doubt a hotspot for foodies and chocaholics, and it is also the coffee capital of Germany. Many of the local culinary specialities are either very sweet or very hearty – kale and pinkel sausage, for example, is a well-known and highly popular dish. There is even a local custom called the 'kale tour', where you enjoy a supper of kale and sausage at the end of a schnapps-fuelled walk. Other traditional dishes include knipp (oatmeal with meat) and labskaus (a mix of mashed potatoes and salted meat). Naturally, fish is always in season. In spring, smelt is often served with bratkartoffeln and a fried egg.

The sweet-toothed can enjoy klaben (not to be confused with stollen cake), kluten or schnoorkuller. And a babbeler, a combination of cough sweet and candy cane available in tea shops and pharmacies, can even be used to sweeten your tea.

Quality of life
28 February 2019
We love Bremen: 10 declarations of affection

Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.

Quality of life
29 January 2019
No need to hibernate – part 2: klaben, climate zones and the Classic Motorshow

So it’s cold, dark and wet outside. That’s no excuse for getting bored. From seasonal recipes to exciting museums and major events, we will show you how much indoor fun there is on offer in Bremen.

Quality of life
24 January 2019
No need to hibernate – part 1: Explore Bremen's countryside

Frost, snow and ice? No excuse for sitting at home. Find out what you can discover and explore outdoors in Bremen during the winter months.

Quality of life
29 November 2018
Coffee in Bremen – roasteries in Germany’s coffee capital

Almost half of all coffee beans imported into Germany pass through Bremen’s ports. Coffee roasters such as Lloyd Caffee and Cross Coffee have helped to cement the image of Bremen as Germany’s coffee capital.

Quality of life
8 November 2018
Why the Schnoor in Bremen is one of the most beautiful streets in the world

The Schnoor quarter at the heart of Bremen is an absolute must for visitors, with its lovingly restored medieval architecture, winding lanes and wide array of shops, cultural attractions and places to eat.

Quality of life
4 October 2018
Enjoy the third season in Bremen!

It’s getting cooler outside; the trees are changing color and leaves rustle underfoot – it’s now autumn! And so begins the time of year when you’re persuaded to spend more time inside. The array of museums and galleries in Bremen offer numerous opportunities to do so enjoyably.

Aerospace
2 October 2018
The space industry in Bremen: living and working in the Hanseatic city

Nowhere in Germany is bigger in the aerospace industry than Bremen. We spoke to Bremen-based scientists working on the space side of aerospace about their projects, their life in the city, and their tips on where to live and where to visit.

Investing in Bremen
4 September 2018
A billion euros for Bremen’s city centre

Our city centre is evolving. Bremen is creating affordable and desirable residential areas, offices and retail space. The city is set to get a more modern look thanks to projects near the main train station, in new districts and right by the river.

Quality of life
31 July 2018
My Bremen – the Schnoor quarter: seriously cool

The New York Post has created a list of the coolest streets around the world. And guess which street has made it onto the list? Bremen's very own Schnoor! Visit this cool street at the Bremen Blog.

Quality of life
3 July 2018
Summer on a budget in Bremen

Do you feel like a holiday, but money is tight? How about a city break on a budget? Fortunately, there’s plenty to do in Bremen that won’t break the bank – such as cycling routes through the parks, visits at the lakes or free outdoor festivals.

Quality of Life
14 June 2018
Taste Bremen – flavours of the north

Enjoying good food and drink is an important part of life in Bremen. Whether you prefer coffee or beer, sweet or savoury, you'll be well catered for on a trip to our city on the banks of the Weser river.

Science
29 May 2018
Science and research in Bremen: living and working in the Hanseatic city

There are 35,000 students at eight universities in Bremen, as well as numerous research establishments, all of which work together successfully. It is a dynamic centre of science and learning. We spoke to a number of researchers and academics to find out what it’s like to live and work in Bremen and Bremerhaven.

Quality of life
5 April 2018
Springtime in Bremen

Flowers are blooming and the days are getting warmer: It's springtime in Bremen! The city directory bremen.de shows you, which activities the town has to offer at this beautiful time of the year: whether it is sunbathing on the Osterdeich, bike riding, golfing or simply enjoying yourself in a beer garden.

Quality of life
7 December 2017
Europe’s finest Christmas market, the famous Freimarkt funfair and much more besides

The people of Bremen have a reputation for being reserved, but nothing could be further from the truth: the locals regularly let their hair down at the many events held throughout the year. The biggest crowds gather for Bremen’s Christmas market and for the Freimarkt, the second-largest volksfest held anywhere in Germany.

Quality of life
17 August 2017
Bremen for chocoholics

Bremen's sweetest side is made of chocolate. No matter whether it’s milk or dark chocolate, nougat or marzipan. Take a walk around Bremen and taste it.

Quality of life
27 June 2017
Brits in Bremen: Fiona Moore

Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.

Quality of life
15 June 2017
The Bürgerpark – Bremen’s green oasis

It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.

Quality of life
13 April 2017
German champions from the city on the Weser

Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.