The municipality and capital of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which is completely surrounded by the territory of Lower Saxony, currently has 557,000 inhabitants and is the eleventh largest city in Germany. Bremen is located on both sides of the Weser River and only about 60 kilometers from its mouth in the North Sea. In terms of area, Bremen’s urban area is one of the twenty largest cities in Germany. Bremen is particularly well known nationally and internationally for the Werder Bremen soccer club, the Bremen Town Musicians, and for its UNESCO World Heritage City Hall. Every year, especially in spring and summer, Bremen attracts thousands of culture-loving tourists, usually for a weekend.
Tip 1: Bremen Town Musicians
The Bremen Town Musicians are four fairy tale animals for which Bremen is known worldwide. The origins of the fairy tale lie in the Middle Ages and illustrate the importance of solidarity action of the weak (“lower animals”) in the group against the strong (formerly, for example, heraldic animals) and the victory of the united weak against any form of domination. In the 19th century the story around the Bremen Town Musicians was written down by the Brothers Grimm.
In the old town of Bremen, locals and tourists can find numerous monuments and representations that commemorate the Bremen Town Musicians. On the west side of the Town Hall (accessible by streetcar lines 2 and 3), interested visitors will find the most famous representation of the donkey, dog, cat and rooster in the entire city. The bronze sculpture was conceived in 1951 and was created by the artist Gerhard Marcks.
Tip 2: City Hall and Roland
The original Old Town Hall on the market square was built between 1405 and 1412. However, not much of the rather plain late Gothic brick building can be seen from the market side today. The Renaissance façade, which today gives the building its handsome appearance, was built between 1608 and 1614 by Lüder von Bentheim. Especially above the arcades on the market side, it is lavishly decorated with various depictions from ancient mythologies, which mix with Christian symbolism, symbols from the city of Bremen and other depictions in an unusual way.
Particularly worth seeing in Bremen is also the Roland statue erected in 1404 in front of the town hall directly on the market square. The statue is considered a landmark of the city and has been a listed building since 1973. The clothing and hairstyle of the statue suggest that the figure is to be interpreted as a free man of chivalrous lifestyle. The sword raised by him symbolizes the city jurisdiction as a typical badge of the knight. The shield with the eagle emblem of the empire is to be interpreted as a sign of Bremen’s long struggle for independence from the empire. In 2004, the Roland statue and the town hall were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tip 3: City Quarter Schnoor
The oldest district of Bremen, the Schnoor, attracts countless tourists every year, as it is a beautiful and listed part of the city, where even driving is prohibited. Artists, tradesmen and artisans have preserved their tradition, which has its origins in the Middle Ages, until today and live and work mainly in the Schnoor.
The district scores with original small stores and an unbeatable experience gastronomy and is especially popular with families. Narrow streets lined with beautiful old buildings, as well as imaginative fountains and sculptures invite you to take extensive walks in this quarter, where time seems to have stood still.
Tip 4: Space Tour
Bremen has been considered a center of science for around 100 years and is the German city where the most research is done on aerospace.
Anyone interested in how the crew of the ISS (International Space Station) communicates with Earth or who is keen to find out how food and water get to the ISS space station should definitely not miss a visit to the visitor center at Airbus Defense & Space in Bremen.
Here, guests can experience first-hand how the experts on the ground communicate with their colleagues in space and get lots of insider information from the friendly museum guides. There is also the opportunity to look over the shoulders of scientists as they go about their daily work.
Tip 5: Böttcherstraße
In the past, in the alley between the marketplace and the Weser, the barrel and cooper makers were located here, hence the name Böttcherstraße. The name has remained, only the craft and those who practiced it became fewer and fewer in the second half of the 19th century with the changes in the ports and finally disappeared altogether.
Since 1931 at the latest, however, the name Böttcherstrasse has been associated less with the smell of wood and the sound of hammer blows than with a very special, almost closed ensemble of houses. On a length of just over one hundred meters, museums, open arts and crafts workshops, retailers with rather upscale offerings, gastronomy and a hotel create a very special atmosphere between brick and sandstone buildings that is unique in Bremen. Due to its architecture, the street is one of the most frequented by tourists in the city.