From the urban heart of Bremen to the maritime center in Bremerhaven on the North Sea, a wide horizon stretches over Germany’s smallest federal state. The Hanseatic tradition and cosmopolitanism are characteristic of the attitude towards life.
Stroke of luck
The Bremen Town Musicians are the most popular ambassadors of the Hanseatic city. Based on the fairy tale of the same name by the Brothers Grimm, four unloved animals leave their home and want to find happiness in Bremen. And all visitors who grab both front legs of the donkey should also be lucky. The donkey, dog, cat and rooster have stood on the market square as bronze sculptures since 1953.
The Bremen Roland has held the position on the market square since 1404. His role model was a real knight and follower of Charlemagne. It is said that as long as the Roland stands, the city will remain free and independent. Like the historic town hall, the Roland statue is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To your right is the Schütting, today the seat of the Chamber of Commerce.
Recipe for success
In the Schütting, the house of the Bremen merchants, the fate of the economy has been steered for almost 600 years. The traditional motto of the merchants has lost none of its lusters: “Buten un binnen – wagen un winn”, which means: outside and inside – dare and win. In the Hanseatic era, trade and shipping made Bremen rich.
Under full sail
The Weser is Bremen’s waterway to the North Sea. It leads to Bremerhaven, 60 kilometers away. On their Hanseatic cogs, the merchants transported cloth and iron goods to north-eastern Europe and brought raw materials with them from there. 70 large and over 100 smaller towns joined the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages. Bremen has been one of the most important Hanseatic cities in Germany since 1358.
In the 17th century, architects created countless figures and reliefs from sandstone on the richly decorated town hall facade in the style of the Weser Renaissance. The Bremen key can also be seen there, which later becomes a motif in the city coat of arms. When the neighboring city of Hamburg prides itself on being the gateway to the world, the people of Bremen answer: maybe, but we have the key to it.
Every year, 100 captains, 100 merchants, and 100 guests sit together in the upper town hall for the traditional Schaffer meal. At the table, which is set up in the shape of Neptune’s trident, women were allowed to sit down as equal guests for the first time at the 471st Schaffermahlzeit on February 13, 2015. The oldest male bastion in Bremen has thus been conquered.
To know every trick in the book
A shipwreck moved a Bremen teacher 150 years ago so much that he founded the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked DGzRS. Thanks to generous donations, the sea rescuers are now available around the clock and in any weather. With a fleet of 60 sea rescue cruisers and sea rescue boats, they bring quick help to the North and Baltic Seas.
In the overseas port at the mouth of the Weser in the North Sea, 50 million tons of goods are handled in one of the largest container terminals in Europe. Bremerhaven wants to build on its tradition in passenger shipping with the Columbus Cruise Center for cruise ships. The Atlantic Hotel Sail City protrudes from the new skyline like a giant sail.
To new shores
The German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven tells of farewells and departures. Here, in the 19th and 20th centuries, over seven million people boarded ships that took them to the New World. Travelers from North and South America in particular can use extensive databases to trace the life stories of their ancestors who once emigrated.
The climate house is an eye-catcher in the new harbor district of Bremerhaven. Its outer shell consists of more than 4000 individual panes of glass. Inside, visitors can expect a trip around the world along the 8th degree of longitude east, past glaciers, through desert sand and tropical jungle to Antarctica. The consequences of climate change for people and nature can be felt up close.