In Braunschweig you can enjoy the versatile offers of a historically-developed big city with the special charm of a vibrant city centre and green recreational oases. First documented in 1031, Braunschweig has developed since the 12th century under the strong influence of the Guelphs and the Hanseatic League. Today, Braunschweig is the largest town between Hanover and Berlin and has approx. 250,000 inhabitants. In the Lion City, a diverse cultural life with renowned museums, excellent theatre and concert events, art exhibitions and major sporting events awaits you. With its wide range of attractive shops and a multitude of restaurants, Braunschweig is also worth a visit as a popular shopping town.
Glory of the Guelphs and stronghold of the Hanseatic League
Braunschweig’s history is closely linked with that of the Guelphs. The Guelph Duke, Henry the Lion, declared Braunschweig his residence in the 12th century and developed it into one of the most important centres of commerce in Germany. In the year 1209 Braunschweig became the centre of Europe when it was named Emperor’s City ‘urbs regia’ under the German-Roman Guelph Emperor Otto IV., son of Henry the Lion. It turned into the setting of one of the most exciting episodes of the Middle Ages, the long lasting fight for the throne between the Staufers and the Guelphs.
Meet the Guelphs
The Guelph Duke Henry the Lion chose Braunschweig as his ducal residence in the 12th century. The Guelph dukes continued to leave their mark on Braunschweig into the 20th century, supporting in particular culture and science. One reminder of their legacy is the mighty lion statue on the Burgplatz. In the Knappensaal of Burg Dankwarderode, elements of the Guelph treasures from the Middle Ages can be viewed. In order to learn more about the history of the Guelphs in the 19th century, a visit to the Schlossmuseum in the rebuilt Residenzschloss, as well as the adventure tour with historic characters in Schloss Richmond, are extremely worthwhile.
Braunschweig and the Hanseatic League
Despite its location away from the major rivers and seas, Braunschweig was a founding member of the Hanseatic League and a so-called “Vorort”, a premier city in the Hanseatic League. Membership of the Hanseatic League significantly shaped the political and economic development of Braunschweig from the mid-13th century. Widely-travelled traders who brought their goods into the city and the merchants who settled here with their guilds lastingly formed the image of the City of Braunschweig. Even today, buildings reflect the wealth of the Lion City in the Hanseatic period, and visitors can embark on a journey through past times.
The wealth of the Hanseatic League is particularly apparent at the Altstadtmarkt (Old Town Square) with the Marienbrunnen (Maria Fountain), the Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall), the magnificent Altstadtrathaus (Old Town Hall) and the Martinikirche (church). From here, the journey continues to the Kohlmarkt, which presents itself with beautiful stone buildings with ornate portals. As soon as the sun comes out, numerous cosy cafés invite you to enjoy a coffee in the open air. The Alte Waage, a former storage and weighing house, is the largest and most imposing half-timbered building in the city.
Experience cultural treasures
The diverse history of the region from early history to the present awaits you at the Landesmuseum (State Museum) in Braunschweig. In order to experience works from Cranach, Rubens and Rembrandt as well as works from other great Masters, make your way to the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. In the resplendent Art Nouveau building of the Städtischen Museum (Municipal Museum) in Braunschweig, you can experience one of the largest collections of art and cultural history in Germany. The Braunschweig stage landscape offers a wide spectrum from classical plays through comedy and imaginative puppet theatre to contemporary dance performances. Numerous promoters promise you a diverse cultural programme throughout the entire year in the Lion City.
Poetic urban landscape
From the Middle Ages onwards the River Oker, within whose flowing waters the city nestles like an island, formed an important part of the city fortification. In the 19th century, villas were built there and parks created. A ring of green and water, an oasis of peace and nature arose around the city centre and still remains today – an almost poetic urban landscape, the likes of which are unlikely to be found elsewhere. Trips on the Oker are no longer an insider tip – they form an integral part of a visit to the Lion City and provide an unforgettable experience. Appealing destinations for walks or cycle tours include the Bürgerpark and the Prinzenpark, the various lakes close to the city as well as the European bird protection reserve in the district Riddagshausen.
Vibrant diversity in the shopping city
Mediaeval streets and buildings, impressive sights, numerous small boutiques, owner-run specialist shops, many international chain stores – and everything reachable within short distances. That is the city centre of Braunschweig. Within lively town squares, cosy cafés, bars and restaurants offer numerous possibilities to enjoy coffee, ice cream or a delicious lunch in the open air. Diverse markets, events and versatile cultural offers round out the city centre experience. The chance to shop in a special atmosphere awaits you on the Shopping Sunday weekends, which take place regularly and during which the sales people in the city centre present the latest trends within the framework of an extensive entertainment programme with numerous participation activities.