Bremen in 838 words ...
“Come with us to Bremen, there’s no better place to be.” This is how the Bremen Town Musicians might sing the city’s praises today, immortalised as heroes of world literature in front of Bremen’s 600-year-old town hall, a World Heritage site. Here on the banks of the Weser river, the vision of urban living at its finest has become reality. A 20-minute walk is all it takes to cover the historical city centre. In Bremen, everything is just around the corner. Stroll downriver along the Schlachte Embankment to the newest district, Überseestadt, a captivating blend of industrial dockland architecture and a modern waterfront combining commerce, culture and riverside living. Or stroll upriver through Ostertor and into the Viertel district, the more bohemian part of Bremen, where people live life to the full.
Tolerant, authentic, daring, gregarious and kind – Bremen in the eyes of others
A recent nationwide study researched Bremen’s brand image as perceived elsewhere in Germany. It found that German people see Bremen not only as a ‘beautiful, historical city’, but also as ‘understated, reliable’ and ‘safe, stress-free and friendly’, with lots of opportunities for leisure pursuits. All this makes it the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday.
Bremen’s market square is at the heart of the city’s old town, which is one of the most beautiful in all of Germany. It comprises the town hall and Roland statue (a joint World Heritage site), St Peter’s Cathedral, the Schütting guildhall, historical gabled houses and the visually contrasting modern State Parliament (Haus der Bürgerschaft).
In true Hanseatic fashion, an understated tribute to the famous Bremen Town Musicians is tucked away beside the town hall. It is undoubtedly the most photographed site in Bremen.
The Viertel quarter, which is located right by the city’s old quarter, is the very essence of vibrant urban life. As well as a whole host of independent shops, it features cafés and restaurants offering international cuisine, clubs, artist studios and craft workshops, plus beautifully preserved terraced houses and grand homes.
Quintessential Bremen: like many major art or cultural projects, the 200-hectare Bürgerpark is privately funded, but open to the public. The city boasts a total of roughly 2,600 hectares of parks and green spaces, providing a haven for recreation and relaxation away from the daily bustle of a hard-working city.
Home to some 550,000 people, Bremen is the tenth-largest city in Germany. Together with its port Bremerhaven, it forms the smallest federal state in the country. It is a place of contrasts that likes to surprise visitors. Though it is a city of traditions with a 1,200-year history, a fairytale connection and a cosmopolitan outlook, Bremen is also a European centre for aerospace, a city of science and home to the Überseestadt district, one of the largest urban development projects in Europe.
Strength in numbers: THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS – RELOADED
When faced with a problem, just think like an old donkey. It’s all about having a vision, as demonstrated by the first of the Bremen Town Musicians, the donkey. At the start of his journey he has to make a rational assessment of his situation: I am facing a challenge and I must take action to overcome it – by having the courage to leave for pastures new.
So the donkey sets out to become a musician. On his travels he meets companions who share his misfortune and he persuades them to join him by explaining his vision of a better life in Bremen. And so, four completely different individuals come together to form a truly unique quartet. Along the way, the Bremen Town Musicians bravely overcome a number of trials, with each of them applying their unique strengths to the situation – that’s teamwork!
The intrepid quartet remains flexible and adapts its goal to the ever-changing circumstances. Though they don’t make it all the way to Bremen, they forge a new life together as a band of brothers. That’s why they still earn the right to call themselves the Bremen Town Musicians.
The ambition and the realism they show are attributes that truly encapsulate the city, and that are reflected in the old merchants’ motto inscribed on the guildhall: Buten un binnen, wagen un winnen (outside and in – venture and win). Rather than giving in to a seemingly unavoidable fate, let yourself be guided by courage and valour, pioneering spirit, and the joys of life. Whether you’re coming for business or leisure, a holiday or self-discovery, Bremen has everything you need to make your vision a reality.
And so the story of the Town Musicians perfectly captures the spirit of Bremen past and present. The original fable is found in one of the world’s most read and most translated German-language books, ‘Children’s and Household Tales’ by the Brothers Grimm. The statue of the donkey, dog, cat and rooster, created by sculptor Gerhard Marcks, stands proudly by the town hall that, together with the Roland statue, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The silhouette of these four animals has become an unmistakeable emblem of the city.
 Identitäts- und Imageanalyse der Stadtmarke Bremen [Analysis of the identity and image of the Bremen city brand], Professor Burmann, Chair of Innovative Brand Management (LiM), University of Bremen, 2013