For more information about museum trips to Bremen and Bremerhaven
A fishing ship you could set sail on right away, a visit to the cinema like in the 1950s and works of art that want to turn reality upside down - sometimes museum visits are as exciting as life itself. There are many such museum experiences in Bremen and Bremerhaven, 10 of which we present here:
Table of contents
1. Looking at art in the Bremen Kunsthalle
2. Asking big questions at the German Maritime Museum
3. With the whole family to Bremen to the Focke Museum
4. On diving station with the submarine Wilhelm Bauer
5. Museum visit in the Böttcherstraße in Bremen
6. On the museum ship GERA in Bremerhaven
7. Broadening your horizons at the Weserburg in Bremen
8. Folklore in the open-air museum in Bremerhaven
9. Naturalistic art in the Overbeck Museum in Bremen
10. Visit to the cinema at the Historical Museum in Bremerhaven
Bremen's citizens have done quite a job: The Kunsthalle - founded in 1823 by residents of the city - is not only the oldest art association in Germany, but also one of the most important art museums in all of Europe. Anyone who pays a visit to the Kunsthalle, not far from Bremen's market square, has them all in view: the great masters of European art history (at least those of the last 700 years, which is quite a lot in terms of art history). And somehow the Kunsthalle manages to top works by Dürer, Picasso & Co: The heart of the collection is the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), which contains so many works (over 220,000!) that it is one of the most important graphic collections in Europe. Our tip: Visit the Kunsthalle online at any time. Exhibits have been virtually accessible via Google Art & Culture since 2013. Digital tours and workshops (also for children) can also be booked. You can plan your visit to the Kunsthalle by here.
Somehow you can never completely escape your own humanity. Not even in a museum where everything actually revolves around ships, water and the sea. After all, man invented ship technology and opened up and conquered new spaces with shipping. The exhibitions of the German Maritime Museum are therefore also dedicated to the very big questions of humanity - migration, globalization, conquest - which are just as topical today as they were in the Middle Ages, when the great surveying of the world began from the water. The heart of the museum is the cog: a wreck that set sail 600 years ago and is generally regarded as the best-preserved trading ship from the Middle Ages. To get to the museum here.
Why a small, red cloth ribbon, a pin, furniture or porcelain are exhibits in a museum? Because everyday objects like these say something about the way people lived and perceived the world around them at a certain time and place. The cloth ribbon dates back to the revolutionary years of 1918/1919, when workers used it to identify themselves as revolutionaries. The State Museum of Art and Cultural History, which consists of five buildings and a foam magazine, uses a whole smorgasbord of such exhibits to trace the everyday life of Bremen's peasants, workers and the rising bourgeoisie in the 19th century. And Bremen itself, a city with an impressive commercial and economic history, is also in focus. The museum looks back as far as the Middle Ages. By the way, the Focke Museum is perfect for the whole family: many exhibits, such as the old mill, invite visitors to participate and touch them. And the museum even has its own children's museum, where you can discover toys from the last 700 years. Go to the museum this way.
Admittedly, you shouldn't be claustrophobic when you enter the technical museum in the Wilhelm Bauer submarine. In any case, you can well imagine the cramped conditions during a mission: The submarine, which measures less than 8 meters in width, was occupied by 54 people. Hoses, pipes, iron revolving doors, control centers - somehow the interior of submarines looks like something out of a science fiction movie. The Wilhelm Bauer was launched in Hamburg shortly before the end of the war, but was never deployed. But she later served the German Navy as a test boat. Nevertheless, the exhibition tells of the horrors of submarine warfare, which was lost by the Germans in May 1943. Incidentally, today's museum boat with the type number ex U 2540 is a monument in the history of technology: submarines of this type, unlike predecessor models, could also travel fast under water and also spend the entire operational distance completely under water. The Wilhelm Bauer can be visited between March and November. You can find all info here.
In the middle of the winding Böttcherstrasse in Bremen, designed as a "Gesamtkunstwerk," there are two world-class museums that are impressive for their architecture alone. Whoever enters house number 6, a baroque patrician house and the oldest house on the street, finds himself in the rooms of the wealthy bourgeoisie of past centuries. Wallpaper from the High Baroque, elaborately carved wooden chests from the 17th century, heavy oak cabinets, a representative hallway - what you can see live and in color in the Ludwig Roselius Museum is otherwise only known from costume dramas. And then there is also high-ranking art! For example, that of the famous painter Lucas Cranach (meaning the elder), who paved the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance with his world-famous portrait of Martin Luther - and thus created a milestone in European art history. Other eye-catchers on Böttcherstrasse include the Paula Modersohn Becker Museum, the only museum devoted entirely to the famous artist and pioneer of modernism. Lovers of this movement will also be pleased to know that the museum's brick building has also been ennobled as a major work of Expressionist architecture. You can get all the information about the museums here.
Officially, the FMS GERA, the museum ship, is part of the Historical Museum. Due to its special nature, it should be mentioned here individually. The fishing motor ship is namely the only floating deep-sea fishing museum in the whole of Germany. When you step on board, you get the feeling that you could start right away. The GERA is practically ready for action: Anyone looking at the kitchen equipment in the galley or the clothes in the cabins gets a vivid impression of life and work on the high seas. And if your imagination is not quite up to the task, the many photos and films are sure to help. By the way, the GERA, a side trawler built in 1959/60 (the trawl net was located on the side bulwark) is one of the last of its kind: shortly thereafter, this type of ship, which is used worldwide and is rich in tradition, was replaced by modern stern trawlers. Go to the museum here.
Art, especially since the modern era, has sought above all to explore and transcend boundaries, to sort out old thought patterns and to reveal new perspectives. Anyone who pays a visit to the Weserburg, the museum for modern art in Bremen, must therefore be prepared to start their journey home with fresh perspectives. And contemporary artists of course know that the medium is the message: that's why works in the Weserbug can not only be seen, but also heard and even smelled. The museum presents, for example, the large olfactory work Empire by Luca Vitone, which bears the "scent of power". I wonder if it smells anything like the scent from The Perfume. Our tip: borrow a work of art with the museum's "Art Takeaway" campaign and exhibit it in your own four walls, so to speak. You can also consume art from home via the museum podcast, which comes to you via all the popular streaming portals. Or why not take part in a (digital) art workshop? You can plan your (digital) visit here.
Geest, marsh and moor characterize the landscape of the Elbe-Weser triangle. And thus also the life of the local people, as the open-air museum in the Speckenbüttel Health Park proves. It is housed in the Geesthof, a Low German hall house built in the 17th century. Anyone standing in front of the open fireplace or in the Dözen, which are bedrooms and living quarters, can imagine what rural life must have been like in past centuries. The ensemble of buildings in the museum also includes: a barn and a sheepfold, which contain agricultural equipment, and a Moorkate, a bakehouse with a clay oven. Folklore is also present in the Marschenhaus, a reconstructed farm from the early 18th century, where today many handicrafts and farm implements tell of the life of farmers in the region. At the entrance to the park is a reconstructed mill based on a Dutch model. The special feature: This type of mill was already in use at the time of the Crusades, more than 8,000 years ago, first in the Mediterranean, then in northern Europe. By the way: Events take place in the park and in many of the rooms all year round. All info is available here.
One is a native of Bremen, the other moved to the artists' colony Worpswede in the north of Bremen for art (and for him). He was one of the most famous German landscape artists of the 19th century during his lifetime, she was his student and only became known for her art after her early death. We are talking about the artist couple Fritz Overbeck and Hermine Overbeck-Rohte, the protagonists of the art museum in Vegesack (by the way, the small museum was founded by the granddaughter of the two). Evening in the Moor, Ferry Frieda (according to museum directors the secret Mona Lisa from the collection), early spring - many of the pictures, mostly oil paintings, testify to the attachment to Worpswede, the beautiful village in the Teufelsmoor, and to life in the country. But also of their many journeys, to the German North Sea, for example, or to Switzerland, where another world opened up to them. By the way, the museum has many offers for children and young people. You can find all info here.
How the port of Bremen became Bremerhaven, a Bremen island in Hanoverian territory? And how Bremerhaven changed during the Weimar Republic, a world economic crisis and the turmoil of the Second World War? With its many permanent exhibitions on contemporary history in Bremerhaven and the region, this house is also a gateway to the past. And that is meant quite literally. Suddenly, visitors are standing in and in front of exhibits that bring the past to life: an air-raid shelter, an emergency kitchen, a shopping arcade. And a little later, visitors are seated in the rows of the "Lichtspielhaus," the museum cinema in the style of the 1950s. You plan your visit here.
Cover photo: A visitor in front of the painting Reclining Mother with Child by Paula Modersohn-Becker © freiraumfotografie / Museen Böttcherstraße
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