Life in Germany

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This is a page about my year as an exchange student in Bremen, Germany.  Bremen is a sizable city with maybe 600,000 residents or so.  I studied here at the Universität Bremen during the 1995-1996 school year as an exchange student from the University of Maryland.  I studied during the day, went to parties at night, and traveled around the northern part of Germany in between.  I met people from all over the world, and uncovered the history, culture, and language of a region that is not so well-known outside of Germany.  This was a fantastic experience for me, and it awakened my interest in other languages and cultures, and inspired me to later teach English in Japan.

Bremen

Bremen is a beautiful, old port city in northwestern Germany, and lies on the North German Plain, about 100 kilometers from the North Sea coast.  It has a quaint town center, and has only 600,000 residents.  I studied in Bremen from October 1995 to July 1996, and the photos of Bremen on this page date from this time.  I have a special attachment to this city, because not only did I live there, some of my relatives also came from there.

St. Peter's Church and the House of the Citizens, downtown Bremen, Germany.
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St. Peter's Church and the House of the Citizens, downtown Bremen, Germany.
 

On the left is St. Peter’s Church, which was founded in the 8th Century by Charlemagne, and has survived many transformations as well as bombing.  On the right is the House of the Citizens, which is the Parliament for the State of Bremen (Hanseatic City of Bremen). Bremen is its own state in Germany.

Statue of Roland, the traditional guardian of Bremen.  Downtown Bremen, Germany.
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Statue of Roland, the traditional guardian of Bremen. Downtown Bremen, Germany.
 

Here is the statue of Roland, the semi-mythological figure of a man who is Bremen’s traditional guardian.  This character is actually based on a real man, who was one of Charlemagne’s closest aides.  He actually administered Bremen for some time.

Statue of the Bremen Town Musicians in downtown Bremen, Germany.
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Statue of the Bremen Town Musicians in downtown Bremen, Germany.
 

This is a statue of the Bremen Town Musicians, in Bremen’s city center.  These are the animal characters from the traditional fairy tale, who traveled to Bremen to become musicians, but got sidetracked on the way to stop some robbers and become heroes.

Glockenspiel with rotating pictures when the clock strikes.  Böttcherstraße, the old commerce district, downtown Bremen, Germany.
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Glockenspiel with rotating pictures when the clock strikes. Böttcherstraße, the old commerce district, downtown Bremen, Germany.
 

Böttcherstraße is Bremen’s old district for commerce, and has some buildings previously owned by powerful merchants.  This photo shows the Glockenspiel, a series of picture scenes that rotates around on a column when the clock strikes at a certain time in the afternoon.

Schnoorviertel in Bremen, Germany.
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Schnoorviertel in Bremen, Germany.
 

The Schnoorviertel is Bremen’s oldest neighborhood.  It was originally a fisherman’s neighborhood, founded directly on the banks of the Weser River.  Now it is a shopping district with very quaint cafés and shops, where the buildings are beautiful, and clustered closely together.

Villages Near Bremen

Northern German villages hold a particular charm all their own.  To this day, they are very quiet and idyllic, and a little bit closer to nature than the large cities.

Rothenburg an der Wümme is a village is situated on the River Wümme , about halfway between Bremen and Hamburg.

The River Wümme near the town Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, Germany, near Bremen.
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The River Wümme near the town Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, Germany, near Bremen.
Small village church, Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, near Bremen, Germany.
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Small village church, Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, near Bremen, Germany.
Market Square, Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, Germany, near Bremen.
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Market Square, Rothenburg an der Wümme, Niedersachsen, Germany, near Bremen.
 

Left to Right:  The Wümme River near Rothenburg; Small village church in Rothenburg; Rothenburg market square.

The village of Zeven is also between Bremen and Hamburg, and boasts a 12th Century convent, as well as a dense forest with paths that can be explored.

Old convent in Zeven (12th Century), Niedersachsen, in Northern Germany near Bremen.
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Old convent in Zeven (12th Century), Niedersachsen, in Northern Germany near Bremen.
Modern town Center in Zeven, Niedersachsen, near Bremen, Germany.
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Modern town Center in Zeven, Niedersachsen, near Bremen, Germany.
Forest path near Zeven, Niedersachsen, northern Germany, near Bremen.
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Forest path near Zeven, Niedersachsen, northern Germany, near Bremen.
 

Left to Right: Convent in Zeven; Zeven’s modern side; dense forest scene near Zeven.

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