Bremen, one of Gemany’s three city states (along with Berlin and Hamburg), has a justified reputation for being among the country’s most outward-looking and hospitable places, with a population that strikes a good balance between style, earthiness and good living.
Nature is never far away here, but Bremen is better known for its fairy-tale character, unique expressionist quarter and one of Germany’s most exciting football teams. That nature would get its chance to win back a few urban patches did seem likely from the late 1960s, when the population, having peaked at over 600,000, began to decline. Something else happened, however, to clinch it: in 1979 Bremen was the first to elect Green Party candidates to its state parliament, unwittingly becoming the cradle of a Green movement worldwide. Today, it’s also one of Europe’s leaders in science and technology, home to Airbus’ Defence and Space headquarters and a major Mercedes Benz plant.
More populous than Hanover, Bremen scrapes in as Germany’s 10th largest city, but feels quite the contrary, offering a relaxed, unhurried lifestyle. Closer inspection reveals some vibrant districts with fine restaurants and fun bars, a selection of excellent museums, a beautiful Altstadt and some tall tales to complement its legitimate history – likely proof that the people of Bremen are also among Germany’s most gregarious.