Culture & Art

Brimming with Culture in Bremen

I was traveling in Hogwarts Express from Oldenburg to Bremen like in a Harry Potter book from the platform 9¾ to Hogwarts. At least I felt like that. As a Potter head, Bremen was the closest to any city in Harry Potter that I’d experienced firsthand.

As we rode through the market place in Bremen, I felt like I’d entered my own beautiful and magical German Shangri-La. The tall castle like buildings were surreal. Neither was it something that could be captured through any high definition camera nor would I be able to give justice to the magic of the town but feelings into words are just what I have for you right now.

Already enchanted with the magic of the city, I was ecstatic to know that Bremen is famous for its fairytales. The most famous of them all was of the ‘Town Musicians of Bremen’. It is the story of a Donkey, Dog, Cat and Rooster who were mistreated by their owners because they were old. So, they fled to become town musicians in Bremen but circumstances land them in a shed of thieves where they wittily drive the thieves away from the shed and the animals start living there happily ever after in harmony, never actually ending up in Bremen to become musicians.

I was really excited to hear this anti-climactic fairytale, and so it seems are Bremen’s souvenir sellers. Most of shops have t-shirts, key bands, fridge magnets, bags, soft toys have the animals as their motif. There is also the Bremer Loch where you could hear the sound of the four animals when you put a coin in it. The fairytale meant so much more than just a story.

In the most famous statue of the Bremen Musicians, the Donkey has golden front hooves. It is believed that if you hold on tight with both hands on the two front golden hooves, and wish from your heart, all your wishes would come true. But if you hold on to one hoof and pose for a photo, the Bremen people have a personal joke. They say, ‘One donkey is holding the hoof of another donkey.’

On a two-hour guided tour of Bremen, our team of almost 25 people students were mesmerized by Bremen’s streets brimming with history and culture.

You can never get lost in Bremen because there is a silver nail driven into the ground all over town. The nails will guide anyone all around Bremen from the town hall, Böttcher Street, Shoelace Street, the Weser river banks to the town hall again. Each and every place we visited in Bremen had its own tales and significance.

The Rathaus is a historic building dating back to 1405 and designed by architect Gabriel von Seidel, and is enlisted in the UNESO World Heritage List. Different rooms in the town hall tells stories of the parties, trade agreements and meetings held there. Each and every room is beautiful inside out with magnificent furniture and architecture.


Near the Town Hall is a street called Böttcher Street dating to almost 1300’s. It was used by keg-makers and coopers, who mended the barrels they made. Böttcher itself means cooper in German. It was a small alley with mesmerizing art work and sculptures. I felt like a muggle walking along Diagon alley in Harry Potter entering the wizarding world. The bells at the House of the “Glockenspiel” was also chiming when we got there which added to the magic like the sound of china clinking on to one another.


Then came the ‘Shoelace Street’ in Schnoor. No, it was not named because shoe lace makers lived there. The street was so narrow with twist and turns just like someone dropped a shoelace, hence the name. It was like the small street that we see in fairy tales. It was so tiny and only one person could fit at a time. And it was like a portal to another land which was as fascinating as the rest of the city.

After a few minute walk, we were at the Weser River and walked from there to the marketplace which was bustling with tourists and visitors equally mesmerized as our group was. And like me, I saw them awestruck at the magical city of Bremen.

Reeti K.C.


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