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Bremen

This article is about the city in Germany. For other articles subjects named Bremen, see Bremen (disambiguation).


Bremen is a city in northern Germany (official name: Freie Hansestadt Bremen, referring to its membership in the medieval Hanseatic League) situated along the river Weser. Bremen is one of two towns belonging to the Bundesland of Bremen. Population: 547,000.

Table of contents

History

In the 8th century the troops of Charlemagne advanced to the Weser in order to christianise the tribes settling here. Bremen, which may have been an older settlement, became a bishopric; a deed claiming the town's foundation in 788 has now been recognised as a forgery, so the exact date is unknown. In the following centuries the bishops of Bremen were the driving force behind the Christianisation of Scandinavia.

In the 12th century the power of the archbishops was challenged by Henry the Lion. The duke was successful and became the factual ruler of the town. These events led to a civil government and a loss of clerical power. Bremen became a merchants' town, and its ships dominated the southern portions of the North Sea. This dominance ended, when the Hanseatic League, originally a trade alliance of the Baltic Sea only, expanded to the North Sea. In the early 14th century ships from Bremen acted as pirates to board hanseatic cogs. In order to avoid open war aldermen from Bremen went to the Hanseatic Council in Lübeck and agreed to becoming members of the league (1358).


The town hall (Rathaus).
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The main square (Market Square).
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The cathedral of St.Petri in Market Square.
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A swineherd and pigs in a Bremen
shopping street.

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Bremen remained a reluctant member of the Hanseatic League. The town demanded support for its wars against the chieftains of Frisia, who ruled the region around the Weser mouth, but they seldom joined campaigns in the Baltic Sea. In 1425 the conflict escalated, when the citizens burnt hanseatic documents on the market place. Bremen was expelled from the league in 1427. The consequences followed soon: the sudden loss of power led to territorial claims of neighbouring states (e.g. Oldenburg) and significant territorial losses.

On March 6, 1901 an assassin attempted to kill Wilhelm II of Germany here.

Sights

  • Town hall (1410); in front of the town hall there are the statues of Roland (1404) and of the Town Musicians (1953).
  • Cathedral St. Petri (13th century), with sculptures of Moses and David, Peter and Paul, and Charlemagne.
  • Liebfrauenkirche, oldest church of the town (11th century)
  • Martinikirche (St. Martin), church on the Weser bank (1229)
  • Schütting (1538), house of the merchants' guild
  • Schnoor, a medieval quarter with narrow streets and nostalgic pubs
  • Schlachte, the medieval harbour of Bremen (the modern port is some kilometres downstream)

Miscellaneous

Bremen has a large and famous university, and several high-tech industries have settled in the city. Many of Germany's space technology exports are manufactured in EADS Space Transportation facilities in Bremen, such as the Columbus module of the International Space Station, Europe's Arianespace rocket upper stages and many space probes and communication satellites. There is also a Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen, building the SL and SLK series of cars.

It is home of the soccer team SV Werder Bremen[?].

Bremen is famous for a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, the Town Musicians of Bremen.

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