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29 January 2019 - Diana Bluhm

No need to hibernate – part 2: klaben, climate zones and the Classic Motorshow

Quality of life
Culinary specialities and indoor activities for the winter months in Bremen

Welcome to Bremen
Bremen has plenty to offer in the winter © WFB / Lehmkühler

In our article on outdoor winter activities in Bremen, we gave you plenty of ideas on what to do outside. But if it is cold or miserable, or you simply refuse to do layering, then the following tips might be of interest. We have put together a selection of recipe suggestions, indoor activities and events that will help you to enjoy the winter months whatever the weather.

Culinary specialities for winter

The key event is the first frost – it marks the beginning of the cabbage season. The locals like their kale as curly as possible, and they traditionally eat it with pinkel sausage, a smoked, coarse-grained blood sausage. Grünkohl mit Pinkel may sound a bit odd, even to most German ears, but it is very tasty, and a seasonal staple on the menu of many Bremen restaurants. To make the whole thing even heartier, you can add some cured pork and other types of smoked sausage. This typical Bremen dish is also an essential part of the traditional ‘kale tour’, which involves a handcart, a bit of a walk, some silly games and the odd glass of schnapps or two. If you’d prefer to prepare this Bremen classic in your own kitchen, you can find a recipe in German on bremen.de.

Kale in winter
A typical Bremen dish: kale with ‘pinkel’, cured pork and smoked sausage © BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale

The sweeter side of Bremen’s winter cuisine includes Bremer klaben, a type of fruit loaf. This traditional cake is made with equal parts of leavened dough and sultanas, spiced up with cardamom. Unlike stollen, the ingredients also include butter and fruit. The history of klaben goes back more than 400 years, it was first mentioned on the Bremen Council in 1593. The cake owes its exotic ingredients to the city’s commerce with other members of the Hanseatic League and various trading partners at that time. Seafarers have always been partial to Bremer klaben, and not just for the taste. They also appreciated its long shelf life on their extended voyages.

To mark the beginning of klaben season, a public celebration is held each November on Bremen’s market square, where a 100-metre-long cake is ceremoniously cut. The money from the sale of the individual slices is donated to charity. Since 2009, the name ‘Bremer klaben’ has been protected by a geographical indication – only producers in Bremen and the surrounding area are allowed to use it. On the Bremen Blog, Maike Bialek shows you how to make Bremer klaben at home.

Bremen 'klaben'
A winter treat from Bremen: ‘klaben’ fruit loaf © Bremen Blog / Maike Bialek

Indoor activities: how to have fun inside

What can you do when you’re desperate for some invigorating exercise, but the weather outside is miserable? In Bremen you are spoilt for choice, from bowling and go-karting to climbing. We have tried out the Unterwegs – DAV Climbing Centre Bremen for you. This article tells you in German what you can expect on a taster course, and why sometimes going up is easier than coming down.

The DAV climbing centre at Technologiepark Bremen
The climbing centre, built in 2016 and located at Robert-Hooke-Strasse 19 © WFB/Jonas Ginter

There are plenty of places in Bremen which prove that museum visits need not be boring. Universum Bremen, for example. This science centre, which resembles a silver whale from the outside, offers permanent exhibitions on technology, humankind and nature, as well as a range of temporary exhibitions. The Focke Museum and the Übersee-Museum, ethnological museum, are the ideal places to learn about history. The ethnological museum also features permanent and temporary exhibitions about the cultures of every continent.

The Vegesack House of History lets you travel back in time to 1845. Bremen’s Kunsthalle art gallery hosts temporary exhibitions of paintings and sculptures by a range of different artists. It also offers guided tours and studio courses for children and adults.

Bremerhaven’s Klimahaus takes you on a journey around the world through the planet’s different climate zones, all along the eighth meridian east. You get to physically experience each climate – from the dry heat of the Sahara to the bitter cold of the Antarctic. Right next door, you can retrace the steps of 33 immigrants and emigrants and get to know their individual stories at the German Emigration Centre. At the start of their tour, each visitor is assigned two characters, one who entered the country and one who left. Based on these, you can explore 300 years of German migration history.

The science centre
A silver whale on the outside, interactive science on the inside: Universum Bremen © Universum Bremen

Events at the ÖVB Arena and the exhibition centre

Speed is the name of the game at the Sixdays Bremen from 10 to 15 January 2019. This six-day cycle race takes place every January, with both professional riders and amateurs competing on the oval wooden track. Apart from the sporting action, the ÖVB Arena also offers spectators a supporting programme of performers and bands, as well as a party zone. The Sixdays Bremen has something for everyone – from YouTube stars and bloggers to singer Mickie Krause. Sustenance is also provided in the form of the local speciality, kale and pinkel sausage.

Sixdays cycle race in Bremen
Bremen’s sporting event of the year: the Sixdays cycle race © WFB / Frank Thomas Koch

On the first weekend in February, fans of vintage cars head for the Bremen Classic Motorshow. From 1 to 3 February 2019, about 650 exhibitors from twelve countries will be presenting their historical vehicles. This year, alongside the cars, motorcycles and modern classics, visitors will also be able to admire – and purchase – racing bikes. Fans can also learn more about the history of different vehicles, get advice on restoration and have an opportunity to compare notes with other enthusiasts. The event is held at the Bremen Exhibition Centre, and also marks the start of classic car season.

Bremen Classic Motorshow
Classic cars as far as the eye can see – Bremen Classic Motorshow © Messe Bremen / Jan Rathke

In addition to the events mentioned, many other concerts and trade fairs are held at the ÖVB Arena and in the adjacent halls over the winter months. For details and dates, please see the ÖVB Arena website.

You can find more ideas on what to do in Bremen during the winter on the city portal bremen.de.


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