Explore Bremen’s “in” scene: the Viertel
In Berlin there’s Prenzlauer Berg, in Hamburg the Schanze. But in Bremen? The hip place to be on the banks of the Weser is the “Viertel,” where subculture and the establishment rub elbows, creating a truly unique creative tension. The area abounds with specialty boutiques, cool cafes and traditional corner bars, but peace and quiet are not far away, either – just take a walk to the grassy Osterdeich dike and enjoy the scenic river view.
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The Viertel, Shopping and Design Center
Where it’s at: Artists, students, squatters – since the 1960s, the Viertel has been home to anyone in Bremen who was somehow “different,” a place where people could experiment with alternative lifestyles and political utopias. The area has kept its alternative, student-subculture atmosphere, but the signs of gentrification cannot be ignored. Today, expensive boutiques draw a completely different crowd to the streets around Ostertorsteinweg (known by locals as “O-Weg”). Long neglected before being taken over by squatters, the Altbremer houses, a type of residential architecture unique to Bremen, are all the rage today. In fact, you’re most likely to find teachers, ad executives or web designers living there.
Shop till you drop: These days, you can step out with confidence in the hip areas of any major city sporting the spoils of a shopping tour of the Viertel. In Glam! you’ll find the collections of many young designers and labels, such as EastBerlin, Save the Queen, and Drykorn. A couple of doors down, Bervery Boyer stocks hip brands like Michiko, Koshino and Schoolrag, and also offers fashion advice from a personal stylist. PROTOTYPE.Schumacher sells both vintage jewelry by famous designers and the owner’s original creations in styles ranging from burlesque to retro.
Glam!: Ostertorsteinweg 101, Tel.: +49-(0)421/794 24 25. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm. www.glam-fashionlounge.de. Beverly Boyer: Ostertorsteinweg 20, Tel.: +49-(0)421/7 87 55. Open: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm. PROTOTYPE.Schumacher: Ostertorsteinweg 62, Tel.: +49-(0)421/364 95 90. Open Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 11am-5pm. www.prototype-schumacher.com
Wilhelm Wagenfeld House/Bremen Design Center: There’s no better window on Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s work than the Viertel. The Bremen-born Bauhaus disciple was one of the most prominent pioneers of German industrial design, and a building named after him is located in the park occupying the site of Bremen’s ancient ramparts at the entrance to the Viertel. The Wilhelm Wagenfeld House contains the Bremen Design Center, which stages exhibitions, discussions and lectures about other 20th and 21st century designers.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus: Am Wall 209, Tel.: +49-(0)421/338 81 16. Open: Tue 3pm-9pm, Wed-Sun 10am-6pm (only exhibitions), closed Dec 24, 25 and 31. Admission: €3.50 (reduced €1.50). www.wwh-bremen.de
Bremen art museum, Breminale and Café Sand
Bremen art museum/
Lagerhaus cultural center: Coexistence, confrontation or acceptance? The Viertel reflects many different forms of culture in a very small space. The Kunsthalle art museum diagonally across from the Wilhelm Wagenfeld House showcases classical, bourgeois art. Wealthy Bremen merchant families founded an art association in the early 19th century and erected the first of the museum buildings in 1849. A cultural center of quite a different color opened in the early 1980s, the Lagerhaus (warehouse), a venue for exhibitions, concerts, readings and parties. The Lagerhaus has remained true to its original objective of providing a space for less traditional projects, initiatives and clubs.
Kunsthalle Bremen: Am Wall 207, Tel.: +49-(0)421/32 90 80. Open: Tues 10am-9pm, Wed-Sun 10am-6pm (temporarily closed for renovation and scheduled to reopen Aug 20, 2011). Admission: €6 (reduced €3). www.kunsthalle-bremen.de. Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus: Schildstraße 12-19, Tel.: +49-(0)421/701 00 00. Opening times and admission prices vary for each event. www.kulturzentrum-lagerhaus.de
Osterdeich/Breminale: Where the Viertel meets the Weser. The Osterdeich dike has protected the area from flooding since the late 19th century. In fact, without it the area could not have been developed. Today the dike doubles as a park that stretches for miles and in the summer is equally popular with the “in” crowd and sun worshippers alike, who come along to picnic, barbecue and make music – and once a year, to celebrate the Breminale, too. The motto of the five-day culture festival on the Osterdeich is “open-air and open to all,“ and its program jam-packed with concerts, readings, theater, dance, and performance art draws around 150,000 visitors a year.
Café Sand: Bars, cafés, pubs – quenching your thirst is simply a matter of deciding where to go. There are so many bars at the corner of Fehrfeldstraße and Humboldtstraße that the locals have dubbed it the “Bermuda Triangle.” You could easily get lost here after a couple of rounds … so not really be much sense in leaving the Viertel just for a drink. At least there wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Café Sand. Bremen’s only café boasting a beach, the typical German covered beach chairs and a beach volleyball court is located on the south bank of the Weser within sight of the Osterdeich – and easy to get to by ferry from there.
Café Sand: Strandweg 106, +49-(0)421/55 60 11. Open: daily from 10am. www.cafe-sand.de
Pictures: Silke Krause/Manuela Gangl/Titus Czerski/BTZ, Jens Weyers/WWH, PR