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Brunswick, Germany

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Brunswick (in German Braunschweig) is a city of 239,855 people (as of December 31, 2001), located in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located at the furthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser.

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The date and circumstances of the town's foundation are unknown. Legend says, that Brunswick was founded by Bruno II (died before 1017 AD), a saxonian count. A wik was a place, where merchants rested and stored their goods. Brunswick = Bruno's wik was an ideal resting-place, as it lay by a ford across the Oker River.

Brunswick Cathedral,
with Lion statue
Duke Henry the Lion (German: Heinrich der Löwe, born 1129/30, died 06.08.1195) made B. the capital of his state and built Brunswick Cathedral. He got so powerful that he dared to refuse military aid to emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, which led to his condemnation and fall.

Brunswick was a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th to the middle of the 17th century. In the 18th century Brunswick was not only a political, but also a cultural centre. Emilia Galotti by Lessing and Goethe's Faust were played for the first time in Brunswick.

Brunswick was a duchy until 1918, and afterwards a state within the Weimar Republic. It achieved an inglorious fame by making Adolf Hitler a German citizen, which allowed him to candidate for the German Reichstag and become leader of the state (Reichskanzler). Hitler was employed by the Brunswick State Government in February 1932 and thereby got the German citizenship.

During World War II Brunswick was severely destroyed by aerial attacks. The attack on October 15, 1944 destroyed most of the city of Brunswick, which consisted of timbered houses, and also most of the churches. Only Brunswick Cathedral, which was changed into a National shrine (German: Nationale Weihestätte) by the Nazi-Government, withstood the bombs. After the war, Brunswick Cathedral was turned into a Protestant church again.


  • Castle (built by Henry the Lion, 12th century)
  • Cathedral (built from 1173; Henry the Lion is buried here)
  • Altstadtmarkt ("old town market"), surrounded by the old town hall and the Martinikirche (church Saint Martin, 1195)
  • Aegidienkirche (church Saint Aegidius, 1115), with an adjoining monastery, which is today a museum


Brunswick has been an important industrial area. Today it is known for its University (website) (http://www.tu-braunschweig.de/) and research institutes, mainly the Federal Agricultural Research Centre (english website) (http://www.fal.de/en/) and the PTB, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, the national institute of natural and engineering sciences and the highest technical authority for metrology and physical safety engineering of the Federal Republic of Germany (english website) (http://www.ptb.de/en/).

Brunswick is famous for Till Eulenspiegel[?], a medieval mixture of a jester and a Robin Hood who played many practical jokes on its citizens. It also had - and still has - many breweries, and still a very peculiar kind of beer is made called Mumme, first quoted in 1390, a malt-extract that was shipped all over the world.

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