• Germany edition
 
My Germany - Bremen
'I love the independent spirit in Bremen'
Photo: Hannah Cleaver

'I love the independent spirit in Bremen'

Published: 14 Feb 2013 07:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2013 07:32 GMT+01:00

Get The Local flavour of Germany with our series offering an insider's take on their home town. This week, Kirsty Dawes shows us her Bremen.

The 39-year-old South African head of concerts and tours for The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen made the Hanseatic city-state home four years ago.

What do you like most about Bremen?

I came here for work, and immediately liked it so much more than Frankfurt where I had lived before. It's a very green, alternative, human rights oriented city. I live in the area known as das Viertel, which I love.

It all took a while to feel like home but now it certainly is. It's small and manageable. There is a population of, last time I looked, about 650,000 including Bremerhaven. I love the independent spirit of the people in Bremen. There is a North German politeness - a friendly way of being. There is a saying about the difference between Bremen and Hamburg that says in Bremen you wear your fur on the inside of your coat while in Hamburg you wear it on the outside.

I love the stretch from the Marktplatz to the Viertel, there's a pretty little park along the old city wall. And particularly the Rathaus which has got to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Germany. It's beautiful inside too. And then one goes past the theatre and there is this tumble of colourful shops.

And in the Viertel there is a mixture of people, from the chic ladies with little dogs to students and the guy who lives on the streets and sweeps up the area. All sitting in a café together.

And what are the worst aspects of Bremen?

It is a little bit of a small town for me. I find the city centre completely overrun on Saturday mornings, full of tourists and shoppers. You can barely walk down Sögestrasse and that stresses me out.

The public transport is a catastrophe at night - during the day there are trams and buses, but nothing much moves after midnight and because of my work I often come home late. There is a women's taxi service which is cheaper for women to encourage us to take taxis rather than walk.

It is a great place but it's hard to get anywhere. If you fly just about anywhere you have to change which doubles prices and environmental impact. With a train you're in Hamburg in an hour which is ok.

For me as an English-speaker it is irritating that all the cinemas show dubbed films - apart from the sneak preview on Mondays, where you don't know in advance what the film is, but it is always in its original version.

How would you design a perfect weekend in Bremen?

I might be biased but the Kammerphilharmonie is really good. You should also go and have a look at the Rathaus, a typical piece of Weser renaissance and it is also a Unesco world heritage piece. I always find the craftsmanship there inspiring. As a South African in Germany I see it is as the epitome of high European culture.

Many tourists seem to get stuck in the Rathaus square but they should really head out a little more. Go into the Viertel and the Bürgerpark, which has a great history.

Is Bremen a friendly place to be a foreigner?

Germany and immigrants is strange anyhow. But here people are open and interested. It is a Ryanair destination - there are also a lot of Americans working here, at the opera house for example. I have always felt very welcome here. I thought I would never get over Berlin, but now I'm always delighted to get home here after being there for a weekend.

Your secret tips for visitors?

My favourite lunch place is the Schnoorkrämerei - it is a little grocery shop like in a village, where you can buy everything from custard powder and spaghetti to magazines and ice cream. It's run by a German woman and her Italian husband. They make lunch every day.

You have to call and let them know if you're coming and if you're too late you don't get anything. But it's like having your dad cooking at the back and it tastes better for that. They have a fixed dish each day of the week and the coffee is amazing.

And one thing people should do that might not be in the guide books?

My favourite running or walking route is lovely, you can find countryside in the middle of the city. Five minutes from where I live you can hop onto a little ferry which will take you to an island in the middle of the Weser River. You can walk all the way through the allotments, which are a mixture of German correctness and wilder ones with roses and artichokes all mixed up.

Or you go further in and through to fields. I was totally exhausted one day and sat down there on the dyke there for a bit - the next thing I knew it was three hours later. There is a grassy bank where you can sit and watch the boats - smaller ones and canoes. If you walk through the allotments you can see the big barges.

Want your hometown featured on My Germany? Contact us at: news@thelocal.de

Interview conducted by Hannah Cleaver.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:55 February 19, 2013 by neunElf
" It's a very green, alternative, human rights oriented city."

Also a very financially broken city that relies on money from the conservative south to fund their left wing fantasies!
Today's headlines
German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates her victory over Australia's Sam Stosur with teammates after their match in the Fed Cup semi-final. AFP Photo: Patrick Hamilton

German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance

Angelique Kerber put Germany into their first Fed Cup final in 22 years with a fighting victory over Australia's Samantha Stosur in the semi-final in Brisbane on Sunday. READ () »

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU
EU commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger pictured in Luxembourg in 2013. AFP Photo: Georges Gobet

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU

EU energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has urged Germany to make use of shale gas options and added that the he saw no danger of Europe's access to Russian gas falling victim to possible economic sanctions in the standoff over Ukraine. READ () »

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,056
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd