Bremen: Study where the town musicians live


Bremen has it all.  It’s a city for those who are looking for a metropolitan flair, but don’t want to get lost in the vast expanse of a metropolis. Bremen offers students the chance to pursue a degree in the latest and most innovative subjects of our time.  And there are countless ways to spend your free time in Bremen – enjoying nature, attending cultural events or simply going out. If you’re looking for everything in one city, Bremen is the place for you.

by Christoph Berger

Bremen at a glance


The Town Musicians of Bremen, Photo: DAAD/Hagenguth
The Town Musicians of Bremen, Photo: DAAD/Hagenguth
Bremen is a symbiosis of the past and future. On one hand, you can discover the historic city centre which had been a bustling bishopric and merchant city back in the eighth century. It also became famous for the Grimms’ fairy-tale “The Bremen Town Musicians”, in which the donkey urges the other animals to “come with us to Bremen”. On the other hand, Bremen has fully embraced the future. It has succeeded in attracting a large number of renowned corporations, service providers and research organisations to the city.
And passion is an integral part of the city, as well.  It’s especially palpable when Werder Bremen – the city’s first-league football team – plays at home. Everywhere you go in the city, you see the club’s colours of white and green. And with every win and loss, most of the city’s 550,000 inhabitants share in their club’s rollercoaster of emotion. 
The most famous animal inhabitants of the city got there own monument in 1953. The artist Gerhard Marcks created the bronze statue of the Bremen Town Musicians, which stands in front of the town hall. Donkey, dog, cat and rooster are the main characters in the Brothers Grimm fairytale. The four animals fled from their owners, as they wanted to kill them and headed for Bremen to become town musicians. By the way: Many people believe that touching the front legs of the donkey makes a wish come true. It's worth trying, isn't it?

Universities Overview


University of Bremen

Bremen University, Photo: Berger/DAAD
Bremen University, Photo: Berger/DAAD
Research is one of the top priorities at the University of Bremen. You notice it as soon as you arrive on campus. Situated in the middle of a technology park, the campus is surrounded by the headquarters of numerous companies and research institutes. It is also the site of the Bremen Science Center Universum.
Approximately 17,000 students are enrolled at the University of Bremen. There are 250 professors which offer instruction in more than 100 degree programmes in some 30 scientific disciplines. Three of its institutes – two graduate schools and one Excellence Cluster – are funded through the federal and state-financed Excellence Initiative, a programme that promotes only the most outstanding universities in Germany.

Bremen University of Applied Sciences
The Bremen University of Applied Sciences offers 69 different degree programmes in Engineering, Natural Sciences, Economics and Social Sciences to about 8,000 enrolled students. The university is centrally located in the Neustadt district of Bremen.

University of the Arts Bremen
The University of the Arts in Bremen contains both the college of arts and the college of music. This combination allows students to engage in interdisciplinary exchange in the areas of music, art and design. Approximately 900 students are enrolled and taught by 65 professors and over 200 lecturers.

Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences
Some 2,300 students are enrolled at the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. Although the university is small, its academic programmes are excellent. Between 40 and 80 applicants are admitted to each degree programme every year. The university also maintains close contacts to the industry and focuses on concrete, practical training in preparing graduates for the workforce.

In addition to these publicly funded universities, Bremen is also home to several private institutions, such as the Apollon University of Applied Sciences in Healthcare Management, the FOM University of Applied Sciences in Economics and Management and the Jacobs University Bremen.

Recreation in Bremen


'Das Viertel' area in Bremen, Photo: Berger/DAAD
'Das Viertel' area in Bremen, Photo: Berger/DAAD
If you want to have a good time in Bremen, the place to go is definitely “Das Viertel” (The Quarter). There, entire streets are lined with pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs and small shops in the eastern quarters of “Osttor” and “Steintor”. There’s something for everyone – and not only restaurants and nightlife. There are also numerous cultural venues throughout the city, for example, the Kunsthalle Bremen, das Wilhelm Wagenfeld House and the Gerhard Marcks  House, all situated in the park along Altenwall. That explains why the museum route is often called the “cultural mile”. The theatre at Goetheplatz and the Neue Schauspielhaus are situated right around the corner.
After a good dose of culture, you can sit down on the banks of the Weser River and relax. It’s especially fun in the summer – maybe at one of the beach bars? And since most places are centrally located, you can get around town easily by bike. It’s also nice that many city streets have specially marked bike paths.
Citizens' park, Photo: Berger/DAAD
Citizens' park, Photo: Berger/DAAD
For those of you who are in a rush to get back to nature, we recommend visiting the Bürgerpark. The 202-hectare park is located exactly between the city centre and the university. With paths stretching a total of 31.5 km, it’s a perfect place to go jogging.
Bremerhaven, the artists’ village Worpswede and Fischerhude are just a few places you could go for a day trip from Bremen.
The Studentenwerk Bremen operates nine halls of residence which offer accommodation to 1,720 students. The rent ranges from 190 to 245 euros per month. Most of the halls are located in close proximity to the university, which is very practical. Of course, that means you’re farther away from the city centre, but you can easily hop on your bike or take public transportation downtown whenever you want. From the university, it’s about a 20-minute bike ride to the city centre.
Renting a private room or flat is a little pricier. If you’re interested in this option, enquire at the room finding service at the Studentenwerk or check out one of the many flat-sharing sites on the Internet. The rental price for private rooms seldom exceeds 300 euros per month.

Interview with Alesia from Belarus


Alesia Kananchuk from Belarus is 28 years old. She has studied English and History and is now pursuing a master’s degree in Slavic Studies

Alesia, Photo: Berger/DAAD
Alesia, Photo: Berger/DAAD
Alesia, you come from Belarus. What brought you to Bremen?
I had actually planned on staying in Germany – in Hamburg – for only one year after completing my studies in Belarus. The reason I chose Hamburg is because some of my friends had been there and really liked it. But once I was in Hamburg, I decided to apply for admission to the degree programme in Integrated European Studies in Bremen – and got accepted. I liked Bremen the minute I got here.   It’s not too big, not too small – it makes you feel right at home. A lot of students live here and it’s not very far from Hamburg either. I’ve been in Germany since 2004 and I’m now working toward my master’s.

How do you like the university?
I like the degree programme. My professors and the other lecturers are always there for me when I need them. There’s an open and friendly atmosphere here. I also get along with German students very well, although my friends from Belarus sometimes complain that they have problems warming up to them. And the huge selection of sport courses at the university is something I also like a lot.

How do you like Bremen as a city?
I spend most of my time around the university – I also live at the student hall of residence nearby. But when I do go out, I usually go to the Viertel downtown.  I also like going to the Bürgerpark, which lies midway between the university and downtown. Another nice thing is that you can get to most places very easily by bike.

Have you taken any excursions to places in the surrounding region?
Yes. I’ve been to Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. I’ve also gone to the ocean a few times. Holland isn’t too far away either – you could easily go on a short holiday there if you wanted.

What is student life like in Bremen?
I work very hard at the university. And also have to pay for my studies on my own. In the beginning I worked part-time as a child caregiver, but now I’ve got a job as a student assistant at the university.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m now in my third semester of my master’s degree programme. So I’ve got my master’s thesis to write next semester. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do after that. I’ll either apply for admission to a doctoral programme or look for a job. Whatever I decide, I definitely want to stay in Germany. The thing is, I’ve got only one year after graduation to find a job – after that my residence permit is no longer valid.

Useful Links


International Office of Bremen University
The City's website in English
Student Union Bremen
Bremer - Bremens City Magazine with tips and infos on what's going on (in German only)

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