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Designated: 2023
Population: 569.396
Language: German


9 Facts about Bremen

Senator for Culture, Bremen
Contact Bremen



Bremen is with its UNESCO World Heritage ensemble an attractive old city with numerous museums, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutes and many vibrant city districts. The city has two colleges and two universities with a broad range of courses of studies that draws a large number of students.

Bremen is world famous for its Town Musicians a story first published in 1819 in the second edition of the Tales for Young and Old by the Brothers Grimm and which has since been translated into many languages, illustrated and adapted (by among others, Walt Disney in 1922). Existential topics like ageing, social injustice and migration, but also solidarity, tolerance and freedom are reckoned with in the fairytale; topics that never lose relevance and remain timelessly contemporary.

To further strengthen the core of Bremen’s brand and anchor the positive external image of the cosmopolitan, tolerant and colorful Hanseatic city, with a huge heart for culture and innovation, the opening of a “Stadtmusikanten- and Literaturhaus” in an old merchant house, not far from the market square, is slated for 2025 (also thanks to federal funding in the amount of 4.9 million) as an inner city flagship project with national reach.

The exhibit on the globally famous fairytale, which is part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, is intended to draw tourists, while the broad programme of the Literaturhaus aims to draw a varied, diverse and intercultural audience.

Broad cultural participation and the inclusion of all people and ethnic groups in cultural life is of great importance in Bremen. The City Library with its central library and 6 district libraries, a library bus and a branch at the correctional facility, has continuously developed into a consumption-free, low-treshold, lively adventure space offering a high-quality experience and multilayered options for encounters, learning and participating in culture that is attractive to many people, including various migrant communities.



Bremen has an impressive book festival landscape.

The literary week (LitWo) is the annual framework for the award ceremony of the Bremen Literature Prize in January. On the programme, there are readings, exhibitions, talks and special events for children and young people to address a wide audience.

Poetry on the road, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2024 and presents poetry in all its facets every spring (including slam poetry and, most recently in cooperation with the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival from Berlin, poetry film, etc.), has secured Bremen an important place in the international literary scene.


For some years now, Bremen reads! – The long night of literature and the book mile focuses once a year after summer break on the numerous bookstores and independent publishers in Bremen. In this context, readings, discussions and guided tours provide an insight into book production and marketing and turn the Balgequartier in Bremen into a small regional mini-book fair.

Prime Time – Crime Time, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017 under the organisational direction of the Bremen Crime Theatre, is the oldest German crime literature festival. It makes Bremen a meeting point for national and international crime authors every year.

As a Festival of Cross-Border Literature the globale° sees itself as part of the dialogue between cultures and presents every year in autumn authors with different cultural backgrounds. Thanks to clever choices of topics and the illustrious guests, the globale° succeeds in developing an enormous charisma. Since 2022, various representatives of the Cities of Literature have been invited every year to the festival to stimulate a productive exchange on new formats or important political debates.

In context of the application as a City of Literature, a new format of a Children’s and Young people’s book festival The Galaxy of Books was created in 2021. This festival makes it possible for children from 4 to 12 years old to roam the universe of stories every year. They can talk to the authors and to the astronauts and space engineers as two global players in space technology have their headquarters in Bremen – Astrium and OHB.

Besides this, there are many further small festivals and readings all year round, which enrich the literary life in Bremen as well.



A future goal of Bremen is the deepening of existing city partnerships and currently active cultural exchanges with other cities, especially being now part of the UCCN. It is the deep believe of Bremen, that the professional exchange of knowledge and ideas regarding examples of best practices will not only be inspiring for the whole literature scene, but also for the entire cultural scene. In addition, the participation in an international residency programme which has only existed in isolated cases in the literature field to date (INPUT-Writer/Artist-Residency at the University of Bremen etc.) already constitutes a major draw.

Bremen also hopes to establish a global network via the UCCN with other creative areas like music, media arts, film and design, scenes that are as highly represented as the literature scene in Bremen and which interact with the literature scene in some cases in cross-media formats.

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