Bremen's Top 11
What shall I do first!? If you haven't been to Bremen before, you'll probably find yourself asking this question. Bremen has many attractions to offer its visitors – the Bremen Town Musicians and the UNESCO World Heritage town hall are certainly among the most popular. But did you know that Bremen is also a city of science? You can find out how astronauts live in the International Space Station or sit and tremble on the earthquake sofa at Universum Bremen. Or perhaps you would like to venture into the world of shipbuilding or explore the pretty narrow lanes of the Schnoor quarter? We have put together a list of eleven highlights that are not to be missed on a visit to the city …
These four fairytale animals are as much a part of Bremen as the river Weser, and you come across them wherever you wander in the old quarter. You can see the famous sculpture outside the town hall, hear the animals' voices coming out of the ground in front of the State Parliament building and visit the donkey's grave on Böttcherstrasse.
The 600-year-old town hall, whose Weser Renaissance-style facade was added in later years, and the Roland statue, erected in 1404, are our most precious cultural treasures. However, they are no longer our exclusive property: since 2004 they have been protected by UNESCO as a piece of world heritage for everyone to enjoy.
This pretty little quarter takes its name from the fact that its many old buildings line the narrow lanes like pearls on a string (Schnur in German). Nowhere else in Bremen do you find so many restaurants and cafés, arts & crafts boutiques and souvenir shops in such a small area as in the Schnoor – the oldest quarter of the city.
As soon as you turn into Böttcherstrasse, just south of the market square, you enter a whole world in the Expressionist style. This 110-metre-long architectural tour de force contains restaurants and cafés, handicraft shops, two museums and a carillon consisting of 30 Meissen porcelain bells.
Bremen's Kunsthalle gallery offers art lovers a truly impressive collection ranging from Old Masters to the latest media art. Its permanent display of prints and drawings is one of the most significant of its kind. The gallery has also consistently earned itself a widespread reputation for its temporary exhibitions.
Anyone looking for a break from all the highbrow culture should stroll down to the Schlachte promenade along the river Weser. Its numerous pubs and bars – many with outdoor seating areas – make a great place to chill out. An antiques and bric-a-brac market is held here every Saturday during the spring and summer months. In the run-up to Christmas the medieval atmosphere of the Schlachte-Zauber market gets everyone in the right mood for the festive season.
Visitors can explore Bremen's rich seafaring tradition on the Maritime Mile in the district of Vegesack, where Germany's first man-made harbour was built 400 years ago. The country's last fully-rigged sailing ship still afloat is anchored here, while the historical Spicarium harbour warehouse presents an interactive exhibition on shipbuilding, sailing, marine bionics and yacht design.
This area of Bremen offers chic waterfront lifestyle with a twist as the former docklands are transformed into the city's latest residential, retail and office development. Contemporary architecture contrasts with old warehouses directly opposite, while trendy bars and fascinating shops attract growing numbers of visitors.
Bremen is an innovative place – a fact that becomes clear as soon as you visit any one of the city's numerous exhibitions on science and technology. The Science Center at Universum Bremen explores deep inside the Earth, the Ethnological Museum takes you all the way around it, and the Botanika horticultural science centre puts it under the microscope to reveal the secret world of plants – particularly rhododendrons.
When it comes to innovation, Bremen is reaching for the stars as a leading aerospace centre. The engineers at Airbus build space transporters and rocket components. You can watch them at work and learn how astronauts live on the International Space Station, which is monitored by Airbus.
Just like the Bremen Town Musicians, the players of Werder Bremen football club are a top-notch team. The club has been Bundesliga champions on four occasions, has won the DFB Cup six times and has competed in the Champions League. If you come to watch them play you're sure to see top-class football entertainment – regardless of whether you support Werder or another team.