Town Musicians of Bremen
Visitors to the City of Bremen who enter the market place will discover, at the corner of the imposing town hall (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), four bronze animals standing one on top of the other: a donkey, a dog, a cat and a cockerel. This is the famous statue of the Town Musicians of Bremen (Bremer Stadtmusikanten), erected in 1953 by Gerhard Marcks to honour the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name. It has become a landmark of this Hanseatic city. Just like these animals, many people in search of a better life have also settled in this city on the River Weser.
Two cities, one land
Alongside Berlin and Hamburg, Bremen is one of Germany’s three city states, which means it is not just a city but also one of the 16 Bundesländer (federal states) of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Bundesland of Bremen, officially called the “Free Hanseatic City of Bremen” (“Freie Hansestadt Bremen”), in fact comprises two cities situated 60 km apart, which form an enclave within the Land of Lower Saxony. These are the City of Bremen itself and the City of Bremerhaven. Bremen is therefore a two‑city state. The origin of this unique structure in Germany stretches back to a time well before the founding of the Bundesland of Bremen in 1947. During the 19th century, the City of Bremen’s strong economic growth, along with the silting up of the river, meant that it needed a port at the mouth of the River Weser in the North Sea. To this end, a treaty was signed with the Kingdom of Hanover in 1827. And the present‑day City of Bremerhaven thus came into being.
A major port and a first‑class research centre
As one of the most important cities in the Hanseatic League (a confederation of northern European trading cities), Bremen has been a major port city since the Middle Ages. Measured by the total goods handled, Bremen is currently the second‑largest port in Germany, after Hamburg, as well as an industrial city comprising the food industry (Beck’s, Mondelez), shipbuilding (Lürssen), the automobile industry (Mercedes‑Benz) and aviation companies (Airbus Group). A Pilsner beer is brewed here that is famous throughout the world: Beckʼs. Bremen and Bremerhaven are also important German research centres, particularly for marine, polar and space research.
History within easy reach
In these port cities, with their special maritime flair, water plays a key role and this is also reflected in their cultural life. There are numerous museums dedicated to the history of the port of Bremen, such as the historic cotton warehouse “Speicher XI”, where visitors can discover 120 years of the port’s history in a very lively fashion. Contemporary eye‑witnesses bring to life their work in the port and at sea. You can handle historic exhibits, lift sacks, load a ship or learn how to tie sailor knots. A diverse range of cultural events also take place on the banks of the Weser.
To the state's official website: