General Information

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Bremen is the capital of the state of Bremen in NW Germany, on the Weser River. Known as the Free Hanse City of Bremen (German: Freie Hansestadt Bremen), it is Germany's largest port after Hamburg and is a commercial and industrial center trading in cotton, wool, tobacco, and copper. Traffic and transport facilities are well equipped and offer a lot of opportunities for private initiative and business. The cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven with their cultural heritage and their close location to the north sea are of high standard in living and leisure.

The state of Bremen. (1994 pop. 674,300), 156 sq mi (404 sq km), was formed in 1947 by combining Bremen and Bremerhaven. Founded in 1827, Bremerhaven today enjoys an enviable reputation among the seaports of the world. The largest German city on the North Sea coast has remained in the forefront of marine technology. While computers direct the handling of containers on the world's largest quay and leading-edge technologies are harnessed to the task of building ships, Bremerhaven is also the home port of Germany's windjammer fleet. Its maritime museum tells the thrilling story of ships and sea travel down the ages, and a series of magnificent old lighthouses stand as monuments to the city's proud maritime past.  Today Bremerhaven ranks as the largest fishing port of Europe, one of the continent's leading traditional shipbuilding complexes, a major seaport for world trade, a centre for scientific research, and an increasingly attractive and dynamic regional metropolis with a population of over 120,000.

The city's products include ships, aircraft, steel, machinery, electrical equipment, textiles, beer, and foodstuffs, particularly roasted coffee. In recent years Bremen has employed about half its workforce in commerce, transportation, and the service sector. The shipyard that was once its largest employer closed in 1996.

Bremen is Germany's oldest port city. It  joined the German Empire in 1871. After World War I, there was a short-lived (1918–19) socialist republic of Bremen. The city was badly damaged by bombs during World War II, but numerous historic monuments remain, including the Gothic city hall (1405–9); the statue of Roland, the medieval hero, which was erected in 1404 as a symbol of the city's freedom; the cathedral (begun 1043), a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles; and two noted churches—the Liebfrauenkirche (13th cent.) and the Johanneskirche (14th cent.). The city has a major art museum  (Die Kunsthalle) and a museum of overseas ethnology.