12 Best Things to Do in Bremerhaven, Germany (2021 Guide)

Bremerhaven is a harbor city located at the Northsea in the northwestern part of Germany.

Known for its market square and impressive lighthouses, Bremerhaven is located right at the river Weser at the sea. It’s indeed a maritime city, and you’ll get the chance to board a real submarine and visit several museums for the entire family. As the name suggests, the city is not far from Bremen, a larger city with fun things to do.

We found 12 of the most popular things to do in Bremerhaven according to tourists, let’s get on with it!

12. Pingelturm

Pingelturm Bremerhaven
Pingelturm (Tvabutzku1234/Wikimedia)

Also known as lighthouse Kaiserschleuse, it was built in 1900 by the director Rudolf and Rudloff. This unique structure is located east of the pier at the entrance to the Kaiserhafen in Bremerhaven. Standing at the height of 15m, the lighthouse is visible even from afar.

The structure being the most northerly lighthouse in the maritime city, it is a place everyone would reckon to visit. Carrying with it the historical importance, it has spectacular architecture made of red brick. A striking feature is the beacon with its external fog bell. The fog bell rings four times and operates even when it is foggy. It is an ideal spot for the tourist.

11. Bremerhaven Radar Tower

Bremerhaven Radar Tower
Bremerhaven Radar Tower (Bahnfrend/Wikimedia)

It is a radar tower that was built between 1962 and 1965. The 106 meters high reinforced concrete structure is located at the Bremerhaven Water and Shipping departments. In addition to its radar equipment, it also accommodates numerous transmitting plants for maritime radio purposes.

Through its majestic height and a 60-meter level viewing platform, the visitors will get the most extensive 360-degree scenic view of the city. The antennas, that receive the radar images and radio calls to the lighthouse are also installed here.

10. Alter Hafen (Old harbor)

Alter Hafen
Alter Hafen (Hannes Grobe/Wikimedia)

It means an old port. It was built under the incharge of Jacobus Johannes van Ronzelen between 1827 to 1830. Today, the Bremerhaven radio tower is roughly in place. The arched outer harbor to the old harbor has been preserved. As Shipping traffic steadily increased, the old port lost its function as an emigration port. In 1892 it was used as a fishing port but discontinued in 1935. Only its remnants lie in the German Maritime Museum. 

The restoration of the old quay in 1999 has led to the repair of some ships. Visitors may see some ships from the old harbor which are or were lying here: Bark Seute Deern, Whaler Rau IX, Schnellboot Kranich – P 6083, Haffkahn Emma, Submarine Wilhelm Bauer (ship, 1945), Concrete ship Paul Kossel, sailing Yacht Diva, Hydrofol WSS10. Besides, the lock of the old port is commemorated with text plaque and two memorial plaques by the Shipping History Society of Bremerhaven.

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9. Phänomenta

It means an exhibition on the law and phenomena of physics. There are four Phänomenta exhibitions in Germany- Bremerhaven , Flensburg , Lüdenscheid and in Peenemunde . Its basic concept is to make physics interesting for the children. The first Phanomenta was created at the University of Education in Flensburg. Phänomenta tries to take on the natural sciences and technology.

Once there, you will notice the many experiment stations that help children and young researchers carry out experiments themselves. There are information boards that assist in conducting the experiments and tells us the effects. It allows visitors to experiment with geothermal energy through its 5,500 meters deep salt cave. Plus, there are daily children hands-on activities in the children’s chemistry laboratory, and their birthday can also be celebrated in the “House of senses.” 

8. Historisches Museum Bremerhaven

Historisches Museum Bremerhaven
Historisches Museum Bremerhaven (Vulkan/Wikimedia)

This award-winning museum is located on the banks of Geeste. Formerly known as Morgenstern Museum, the museum presents the history of this beautiful city and its surroundings. Wolfgang Bendig designed the 4760-meter square new building. In this museum, one can time travel into the earliest traces of human life in the Elbe Weser triangle.

The bright and transparent interiors will enchant the visitors. It shows the city’s history as one of the largest emigration ports and deep-sea fishing and fishing industry. Besides, you can get access to various audio-visual programs, computer databases, films, and exhibitions regularly. Tourists can learn about the shipbuilding site, overseas port and port work, machine hall, walk-in harbor, and more. Also, the museum cinema is reminiscent of the 1950s.

Official website: www.historisches-museum-bremerhaven.de

7. Bürgermeister-Smidt-Gedächtniskirche

Bürgermeister-Smidt-Gedächtniskirche
Bürgermeister-Smidt-Gedächtniskirche (Mathiasroesel/Wikimedia)

Also known as Mayor Smidt Memorial Church, it was inaugurated in 1855 though construction continued till 1870. It belongs to a congregation of Uniate churches consisting of both Lutherans and reformed people. Due to the growing population, a decision was made to build a church. But the attempt failed due to its soft marshland. In 1853, construction started under Simon Lorschen; however, Louis Löschner completed it. Unfortunately, the church was burnt down during the second world war, but inaugurated as a memorial church.

Visitors can admire the classical neo-gothic architecture typical of churches in northern Germany. Notice the beautiful altar table and pulpit made of  Obernkirchen sandstone and the letters carved on the table “UBI SPIRITUS DOMINI IBI LIBERTAS” “Where the Spirit of the Lord works, there is freedom.” After renovation, what was once a three-nave is now a light single-nave church. Sandstone figures of Jesus of Nazareth and Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli on both sides were incorporated into the western portal. This historical memorial is a testament to the secular character of the church. 

6. Bremerhaven lighthouse

Simon Loschen Tower
Simon Loschen Tower (Jürgen Howaldt/Wikimedia)

It is one of the oldest lighthouses on the North Sea coast and a landmark in Bremerhaven. Also known as Simon Loschen Tower, it was built between 1853 and 1855 by Simon Loschen. It stands at 37 meters and was inaugurated in 1855. The lighthouse was a necessity with the coming of new harbors. Initially, the light was fuelled by petroleum but later electrified (1925) and automated in 1951.

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The tourist can marvel at the northern German brick Gothic-style architecture. The tower still serves as a rear light for the upstream range. Today It marks the mid-channel of a section of the River Weser along with the lower light. Visitors will notice another brick house next to the lighthouse that once served as quarters and service building until it was damaged during World War II. Make sure to visit the lock leading to the New Harbor, located just below the lighthouse.

5. Deutsches Schiffahrts Museum (DSM)

Deutsches Schiffahrts Museum
Deutsches Schiffahrts Museum (Uwe H. Friese/Wikimedia)

The German Maritime Museum, aka DSM, is a museum located in Bremerhaven. It was officially inaugurated on September 5, 1975 though works had started way earlier. DSM does not limit itself to exhibitions but has been renovated over time to extend its research areas further. Note that DSM was built to replace the Museum of Marine Science in Berlin. 

As you walk through the museum’s doors, one is sure to be glued to the artifacts collections, range of museum ships, buildings, varied programs, and exhibitions. One can also go through the dedicated archive and specialist library. Visitors shouldn’t miss the Bremen Cog (dated back to 1380), which has been preserved. Besides, other tourist attractions are type XXI U-boat Wilhelm Bauer, military shipping with the “Seehund” class submarine of 1945, industrial ships’ engines with engines and reactor control panel of the nuclear-powered vessel Otto Hahn of 1968, and many more.

Official website: www.dsm.museum

4. Wilhelm Bauer U-boat

Wilhelm Bauer U-boat
Wilhelm Bauer U-boat (Chris Jones/Wikimedia)

A Nazi Germany’s navy type XXI U-boat but today it is a museum ship in the Old harbor in Bremerhaven. Formerly U-2540, it was constructed by Blohm and Voss. Though it was completed just before the end of the second world war and commissioned, it never went on patrol. It was scuttled in 1945 but entered into service as a crew ship in 1970 and was finally discharged in 1983. Today it is owned by Wilhelm Bauer Technology Museum.

With this background and history, tourists can imagine and have a first-hand experience of the pressure under the war-time situation. This extensive museum ship of around 251 ft length could accommodate about 57 officers during that time. Visitors can be intrigued by the technologies of the time and the congestion faced by the officers underwater. Note that it has an imitation twin 30mm cannon.

3. German Emigration Center

German Emigration Center
German Emigration Center (Stahlkocher/Wikimedia)

This one-of-a-kind museum, dedicated to German emigrants, is situated in a historic site in the New Harbor. It opened its doors as the first museum to feature the history of migration on August 8, 2005. The museum was extended to add another wing that focuses on immigration. This thoughtful German Emigration Center has won the European Museum of the Year Award for its innovative exhibition concept in 2007.

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Visitors can get numerous emotions and feelings through recreated rooms and interactive exhibitions. The recreated rooms capture every action, starting from their farewell to their ship’s travel and entry into the new country. Being Europe’s largest theme museum about emigration, visitors can also search for their ancestors in the databases of immigration records provided by it. Plus, through its various stations, tourists can learn about the history of migration. One can also get an in-depth knowledge of the emigration process.

2. Bremerhaven Zoo

This small Zoo is located next to the river Weser at Willy-Brandt-Platz near the Great Lighthouse. Officially meaning Zoo by the sea, it specializes mainly in river animals and Nordic animals, except Chimpanzees, Pumas, and white-headed marmosets. It started in 1921 with some aquarium in the basement, later formed an animal cave, until the flood came and killed many animals. Thus, it was renovated in 1976 but opened only in 2004. Covering an area of 1.2 ha, it has around 292 animals of 56 species.

Fun Fact: The Zoo has homosexual Humboldt penguins!

Visitors will be amazed by its rocky landscape structure that houses varied animals- polar bears, northern gannet, cormorants, seals, sea lions, penguins, etc. The Zoo has enclosures without bars and visual accesses that help to monitor species both inland and water. Visitors can dive into the water and experience aquatic life at close range through a walk-in aquarium. A bonus is that it has an adventure playground facility for children, which is why it’s one of the best things to do in Bremerhaven.

1. Klimahaus Bremerhaven 8 ° Ost

Klimahaus Bremerhaven
Klimahaus Bremerhaven (Till F. Teenck/Wikimedia)

The ship-structured science exhibition center is located in the Old Harbor, and is the most popular thing to see in Bremerhaven. This 18,800-meter square museum was designed by Thomas Klumpp and operated by the Klimahaus operating company. Opened in June 2009, this climate museum helps educate the visitors on the diverse weather and climatic conditions across the continents. Interestingly, promoting sustainability, the museum does not cause Carbon dioxide emissions.

This is one of a kind museum that addresses the problem of climate change. Visitors can get the experience to virtually travel around the world along the eight-degree longitude meridian east across nine travel stations in 5 continents. On the “perspectives” exhibition area, visitors can learn about the climate’s past, present, and future effects. In the “opportunities” area, they are given the choice of action to reduce CO2 emissions. Note that there are three large aquariums to explore too!

Official website: www.klimahaus-bremerhaven.de