Culture & Arts
Where does the city's oldest quarter get its name from? What makes Bremen's funfair so special? Discover new and unique insights into the city's culture.
NEXT STOP: OVERSEAS .
The Überseemuseum (‘overseas museum’) at the main train station is one of Europe’s biggest and most important museums of natural history and ethnology, with more than 100 years of tradition and comprehensive exhibitions.
MANY STRINGS TO ITS BOW
The Schnoor is a medieval quarter in the centre of Bremen. Winding alleyways and narrow streets retain the ambience of centuries gone by. This picturesque district takes its name from the main trade once practised here – the production of ropes and cables for the shipping industry. Schnoor is the old Low German word for ‘string’ or ‘rope’.
THEN: DOCKSIDE DRUDGERY, NOW : BEER GARDEN HEAVEN
The Schlachte embankment is Bremen’s answer to the Rhine river walks in Cologne and Düsseldorf. This 660-metre promenade is a great place to stroll along the Weser river, and its beer gardens and bars are particularly popular in summer.
BREMEN IN BLOOM
The Rhododendron Park in the Horn-Lehe district of Bremen covers an area of 46 hectares and contains more than 2,500 types of plant.
THE MAN OF GOOD MANNERS
The German writer and man of the Enlightenment Adolph Freiherr Knigge (1752-1796) spent the last years of his life in Bremen. He is buried in St. Petri Cathedral. His book ’On Human Relations’ is still erroneously regarded as a guide to correct behaviour. But Knigge’s work actually dealt more with sociological aspects than good manners.
ALL THE FUN OF THE FAIR
Bremen’s Freimarkt fair first took place in 1035. It is comparable to the Oktoberfest in Munich and is the biggest fair in northern Germany. By locals it is affectionately known as the ‘fifth season of the year’. Every year, the Freimarkt runs for 17 days in October on the Bürgerweide festival grounds and attracts more than four million visitors.
TOWN MUSICIANS RELOADED
The German Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra has been based in Bremen since 1992. It has gained worldwide acclaim in recent years, most notably for its renditions of the complete Beethoven symphonies.
NORTH GERMAN SAMBA
Europe’s biggest samba carnival parade is an annual highlight in Bremen’s calendar of events. A week before Shrove Tuesday, Samba dancers from
throughout Germany and its neighbouring countries bring a touch of Brazil to the city’s open-air stages.
Locals and visitors are never too far from nature in downtown Bremen, whether on the grassy ramparts that protected the city from invaders in the Middle Ages, at the shores of Lake Werdersee or along the Osterdeich promenade. All are just a short walk from the centre.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
Thanks to its outstanding acoustics, Die Glocke (the bell) enjoys a global reputation as a top-class concert hall. But the venue on Domsheide square in central Bremen also provides with its art deco auditoriums and foyer a worthy setting for readings, stand-up comedy and plays.
TRAINING SHIP GERMANY
This three-masted ship, delivered in 1927, was used as a merchant training
vessel and is Germany’s last intact fully-rigged sailing ship. Its sails are big
enough to cover half a football pitch. The ship is currently moored in Vegesack in northern Bremen.
BOLD AS BRASS
The Music Show of the Nations is the biggest indoor brass band concert in Europe, with around 600 people performing on stage. Since it was first held in 1965, brass bands and orchestras from over 70 countries have taken part.
Every summer, the La Strada international street circus festival transforms
the squares around the Roland statue, town hall and Bremen Town Musicians
into a huge open-air circus ring. Clowns, acrobats and dancers from all over the world show off their talents over one long weekend.
ART FOR ALL
In 1973, Bremen became the first city in Germany to display art in public spaces. From sculptures and murals to fantastic projections, there are so many different surprises in store for the observant visitor in Bremen city centre.
‘The Blue Rider’, ‘Monet and Camille’, ‘Paula in Paris’ and, most recently, ‘Edvard Munch – Mystery Behind The Canvas’ are all names of past art exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bremen, which was modernised in 2011 and reopened with new wings.
ART BY THE WATER
The Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, found at the western end of the Stadtwerder or Teerhof peninsula, is one of the biggest museums of contemporary art in Germany and also Europe’s first collectors’ museum.