Bremen's Market Square with the City Hall is popular with diners at summer nights

More information on Bremen:
www.bremen-tourismus.de/
english/bremen.cfm




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City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


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Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


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City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


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City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


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City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



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City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More



Bremen City Hall
By Gregor Gosciniak, German Editor

9 April 2005: Bremen City Hall, built between 1405 and 1408 after the northern German city had joined the Hanseatic League, is today considered the only German, and indeed European, city hall from the Middle Ages, which survived intact despite centuries of political and religious conflict and warfare. Thoughtful repair and maintenance have ensured that Bremen City Hall is today a unique example of authentic Gothic construction.

Most German city halls were heavily damaged or even destroyed during World War II. Fortunately, Bremen City Hall survived the war and has been fully preserved in its medieval state. The original functions of the building’s two floors have also been retained. The upper floor of the City Hall was reserved for events such as receptions and official functions, while the ground floor was used by the market traders, which made up a large part of Bremen’s population in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. This mix of use ensured that average citizens and those who governed Bremen kept in contact with each other.

The architecture and the sculptures of Bremen City Hall incorporate strong references to the origin and character of the city but they also depict the city council’s policies of self-government. Like many other German municipal centres built around the same time, Bremen City Hall was a manifestation of the growing self-confidence of the city council and its claim to civic powers. All over Germany, new city halls were build, or existing ones enlarged, to show the growing influence of civic authority at a time when royal rulers and the churches were the dominant institutions.

In front of Bremen’s City Hall stands the 5.5-metres high statue of ‘Roland’. Placed there in 1404, it is one of the tallest Roland statues, which were erected in market places all over central Europe as symbols of freedom and market rights. Roland, a historical figure, is thought to have been the paladin of European Emperor Charlemagne. He is credited as being the originator of the French ‘chanson de geste’ and other medieval and Renaissance epic poetry.

Bremen is one of Germany’s three city states, the other two being Hamburg and Berlin. Today, the City Hall and the Roland are proud symbols of Bremen’s autonomous status. The people of city refer to Roland as their Statue of Liberty.

In 2004, Bremen City Hall and the Roland were awarded World Heritage status, after a UNESCO report highlighted their “exceptional testimony to the civic autonomy and sovereignty, developed in the Holy Roman Empire”.



The Bremen Market Square with the City Hall and St Petri Cathedral


Introducing Bremen
Bremen was founded as a bishopric in 787. Later, in the Middle Ages, it became a city within the Hanseatic League. Other German cities in the League included Lübeck, Hamburg and Danzig (Gdansk).

During the 11th century Bremen was referred to as the ‘Rome of the North’. Between the 12th and 16th century the Hanseatic League dominated trade in the North and Baltic Seas. Bremen became a free imperial city in 1646. In 1815, by the terms of the Treaty of Vienna, which ended the Napoleonic Wars, the city of Bremen was designated a free state.

With an area of 400 square kilometres Bremen is the smallest state of the 16 German states. The state consists of the cities Bremen and Bremerhaven. The total population is about 680,000 people of which 550,000 live in Bremen. Bremen is the tenth largest town in Germany and is the second most important port.

The History of Bremen is 1200 years old and played a major role among the towns of the mediaeval Hanseatic League. It is historically evolved as a city republic in the tradition of a trading centre on witch patricians left their mark.
Source: Huelya Akguel and Meryem Ulndasdemir, Gesamtschule Bremen West