Facts about Bremen

We found 24 facts about Bremen

A city of tolerance and opportunities

Bremen, a city on the Weser, is located a short distance from its mouth into the North Sea. Its hallmark and pride are the values it has been professing for centuries: tolerance, love of freedom, and openness to others. The city was made famous by the Brothers Grimm, and the characters from their fairy tale "The Musicians of Bremen" are one of the symbols of Bremen and proof that in Bremen you can always start life anew. The city is also watched over by a statue of Roland, whose presence guarantees the city's independence.

Bremen is a city located in northern Germany.

It is the capital of the smallest state of Bremen (a state - the highest-level administrative division in the Federal Republic of Germany), which also includes Bremerhaven, the largest city in Germany located on the North Sea.

It is the eleventh largest city in Germany and the second largest city in northern Germany, after Hamburg.

Together with Bremerhaven and Oldenburg, it belongs to one of the eleven metropolitan regions in Germany - the northwestern metropolitan region.

Bremen is the largest city on the Weser, the longest river flowing entirely in Germany.

It lies on both sides, approximately 60 km from its mouth into the North Sea.

Bremen is the fourth largest city in the Low German dialect region after Hamburg, Dortmund and Essen.

Low German or Low Saxon is a variety of West Germanic spoken mainly in northern Germany and the northeastern Netherlands. It is also spoken, to a lesser extent, in the German diaspora around the world.

Bremen - Free Hanseatic City of Bremen - is a port city, a large industrial and commercial center.

The port of Bremen, together with the port of Bremerhaven, is the second largest port in Germany (after Hamburg).

The airport (Flughafen Bremen "Hans Koschnick") is the 12th busiest airport in Germany.

It is an important cultural and economic center in northern Germany.

There are many historical galleries and museums in the city (including the Bremen Overseas Museum - a natural history and ethnographic museum).

The history of Bremen is 1200 years old.

For most of its existence, it was an independent city under the jurisdiction of the Confederation of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany. Bremen belonged to the Hanseatic League, which sought to monopolize trade in the North and Baltic Seas. To maintain its independence, the city was forced to fight against the Church's authority until the Reformation, and after the Thirty Years' War, against Sweden and the lords from the surrounding duchy of Bremen-Verden.

At the end of the 19th century, Bremen was incorporated by Prussia into the German Empire (Second Reich).

Thanks to the new anchorage and wharves in Bremerhaven, it became the main port of embarkation for German and Central European emigrants to the Americas, as well as the starting point for the developing colonial trade in Germany.

In 1857, the German transport company Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) was established in the city.

It has become one of the leading shipping companies in the world.

In the 20th century, Bremen, a liberal and socially democratic city, lost its autonomy under Hitler's rule.

World War II led to the destruction of approximately 2/3 of the city, which was restored after the end of the war. Bremen became one of the founding states of Germany.

The city area is approximately 38 km long and 16 km wide.

It lies approximately 50 km east of the city of Oldenburg, 110 km southwest of Hamburg, 120 km northwest of Hannover, 100 km north of Minden, and 105 km northeast of Osnabrück. Part of the territory of the port of Bremerhaven constitutes the enclave (territory surrounded by the territory of another city/state) of Bremen.

The city center is situated on the Weser dune.

Many of Bremen's sights are located in the Old Town, an oval area surrounded by the river to the southwest, and the Wallgraben, the former moats of the medieval city walls, to the northeast. The oldest part of the Old Town is the southeastern half, starting from the Marktplatz (Market Square) and ending in the Schnoor district.

In the Old Town there is a Gothic town hall from the 15th century with a facade in the Weser Renaissance style - it is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe.

It still serves as the seat of the mayor and president of the senate. The building was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. It is considered the most beautiful building of its type in Germany.

Inside the town hall, there is the city councilors' restaurant, Bremer Ratskeller - a restaurant with an original design and giant wine barrels. This is a local wine cellar that, since its establishment in 1405, has been storing and selling only German wines. With over 600 years of history, the Ratskeller of Bremen is one of the oldest wine cellars in Germany. Moreover, the oldest wine barrel in Germany is kept here - wine from Rüdesheim dating back to 1653. In one of its chambers, 12 of the oldest wines in the world are stored in original barrels. The selection of wine in the restaurant is supervised by the Ratskellermeister, a wine master. It is a prestigious and lifelong profession - since 1410, only 18 people have held it.

On the Bremen market square, between the town hall and the merchants' building (Schütting), there is a medieval statue of the knight Roland, made famous by the French chivalric epic "The Song of Roland".

It is considered one of the oldest Roland statues in Germany. It symbolizes the independence of the Hanseatic city of Bremen. Statues of Roland were placed in cities that had the right to free trade and their jurisdiction. They were also a manifestation of the independence of the townspeople from the church authorities. For the people of Bremen, this monument is what the Statue of Liberty is for the people of New York.

The statue has been restored many times. During the Allied air raids of World War II, when over 60 percent of Bremen's buildings were destroyed, the statue of Roland and the town hall survived thanks to the protection that had been erected earlier. During the last renovation in 1989, a box containing Nazi propaganda materials, which had been deposited there in 1938, was discovered inside the statue.

In 1983, Roland's head was replaced with a copy, and the original rested in the Focke-Museum. Then the statue was fenced with a decorative grate.

One of the Bremen legends is associated with the existence of the Roland statue.

According to her, Bremen will be a free and independent city as long as Roland stands in the market square and guards the city. Therefore, a faithful copy of the statue was to be located in the basement of the town hall to quickly replace the destroyed original in case of an emergency.

Between Roland's feet there is a figurine of a cripple, the hero of a local legend.

According to her, the graphic designer Emma von Lesum was to give the city as much land as the crippled man could walk around in one day. This peculiarly designated area is the current part of the town of Bürgerweide.

There are many copies of the Bremen Roland around the world.

One of them is an approximately 1.5-meter-high wooden copy located in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York, where it forms part of the pulpit. The copy was donated in 1890 by the city of Bremen to former residents who emigrated to the USA.

The Brazilian city of Rolandia, founded in 1932 by German settlers, owes its name to Roland of Bremen. Since 1957, it has had a copy of the statue, funded by Bremen coffee traders.

In 1970, the Japanese Atsuo Nishi built a faithful copy of the Roland of Bremen statue in his amusement park in Obihiro on the island of Hokkaido.

One of the symbols of the city is also the pyramid of animals - a bronze monument to the heroes of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, standing next to the city hall.

It is a monument to four animals: a donkey, a hunting dog, a cat, and a rooster, about which the beautiful fairy tale "The Musicians of Bremen" was created by the Grimm Brothers. The fairy tale tells that a peasant had a donkey, which after many years of work became old and lost its strength, and the peasant decided to get rid of it. The donkey, who was aware that death awaited him, decided to escape to Bremen to become a city musician there. On the way, the donkey was joined by an old dog, a disabled cat, and a rooster. Animals rejected by their owners decided to stick together. After a long walk, they finally reached a lonely hut, but to look inside, they had to create a pyramid: a donkey leaned its front paws against the wall of the hut, a dog jumped on its back, a cat jumped on the dog's back, and a rooster on the cat. Through the window, the animals saw robbers sitting at the banquet table. As future musicians, the animals decided to give a concert: the donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat meowed, and the rooster crowed. The robbers terrified that the house was haunted by ghosts, fled, and the animals took up residence in the cottage. They lived there happily ever after. And although they never reached Bremen, they became a symbol of this city, a city of tolerance and opportunity, where even old animals could start a new life. For the Bremen people, the joint action of animals is a symbol of civic solidarity, which they have cultivated and believed in for centuries.

The Bremen Town Musicians

Bremen briefly lost its independence twice.

The first time was during Napoleon's invasion in 1806. Napoleon then planned to take Roland's statue to the Louvre, but the inhabitants convinced him that the statue was too ugly.

The city's independence was taken away for the second time after World War II when the city found itself in the American occupation zone.

Traditional feasts are held in one of the town hall halls, the upper town hall with soaring Gothic windows and an impressive collection of replicas of merchant ships.

This feast tradition, which began in 1545, continues to this day. Every year, the Schaffermahlzeit takes place here, a banquet organized for merchants and sailors, considered to be the oldest banquet in the world.

The first cafes in this part of Europe were established in Bremen.

Bremen merchants monopolized the coffee trade. In the 17th century, in addition to importing it, they also started burning and packaging it. Currently, Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Eduscho, and Ronning have roasteries and factories here. The coffee tycoon was Ludwig Roselius, founder of the Kaffee HAG company, who is credited with inventing decaffeinated coffee.

In Bremen, in the Schnoor district, there is a house considered the smallest in the country.

It has an area of seven meters and in the past, it housed a chicken coop. In 2020, it was put up for sale for €77.777. It was bought by a German YouTuber.

As part of her farewell to the Chancellor's office, in November 2021, Angela Merkel visited the Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven.

Part of the Museum is the Emigration Museum, dedicated to the fate of 7 million Europeans, including Germans, who set off overseas from the local wharf. The new part of the exhibition talks about the wave of emigration to Europe, and it was this part that the Chancellor visited, saying, "What I appreciate about this museum is that it does not talk about the emigration of Germans or Syrians but about the fate and drama of an individual."

Bremen is a city very friendly to immigrants.

In 2015, all refugees who came to Bremen found help. The city has found accommodation for 2000 people, and the rest were taken in by the city's inhabitants.

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