February 16, 2012

0125 GERMANY (Bremen) - Bremerhaven

Who controls the mouth of the River Weser on the North Sea controls the access to the Hanseatic port Bremen, located at 60 km south on the river, so this area was intensely disputed in the Middle Ages. Eventually in 1827 the city of Bremen bought those territories from the Kingdom of Hanover to retain its share of Germany's overseas trade. So was born Bremerhaven (i.e. Bremian Harbour), which become the second harbour for Bremen. Due to the trade with and emigration to North America, the port and the town grew quickly.

The Kingdom of Hanover didn’t give up and founded in 1845 a rival town next to Bremerhaven, called Geestemünde, which in 1924 formed, together with Lehe, the city of Wesermünde. In 1939 Bremerhaven was removed from Bremen's jurisdiction and became a part of Wesermünde, then a part of the Prussian Province of Hanover. As a key base of the Kriegsmarine, most of the city was destroyed in the Bombing of Bremen in WWII.

Wesermünde became a postwar enclave run by the United States within the British zone of northern Germany, and in 1947 the city was attached to Bundesland Bremen (Bremen Federal State) being named again Bremerhaven. Today it's therefore part of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (the smallest of Germany's 16 states, consisting only of the two cities, Bremen and Bremerhaven), which forms an enclave in Lower Saxony.

Columbus Center is a complex of buildings located on the east side of the Alter Hafen basin, which marks the transition from the old port area to the inner city. Built after the plans of the architect Peter Weber between 1975 and 1977, it comprises a two-storey car park, a two-storey shopping mall, about 70 retail stores and pubs, social amenities, a police station and a tourist office. There are also 3 apartment-towers (with a shape that suggests chimneys of a ship), which have a total of 555 private apartments.

In front of the Columbus Center is placed the memorial statue of Columbus, which symbolizes the manifold ties between Bremerhaven and the United States. The first memorial statue was donated by the German-American Johann Bernhard von Glahn who was born in Lehe, and later became wealthy in the USA. The art nouveau sculptor Professor Ludwig Habich created this piece of art, erected in Speckenbüttel Park in 1896. During WWI it was melted for to use the metal to the production of artillery projectiles. Luckily a plaster model was recovered in Darmstadt, so that in 1978 an art foundry was able to re-cast the sculpture.

Simon Loschen Leuchtturm (Simon Loschen Tower) is the oldest operative lighthouse on the mainland along Germany's North Sea shore and is counted among the city's landmarks. It was built between 1853 and 1855 in the style of northern German Brick Gothic at the northern side of the harbour's lock, using the plans of the architect Simon Loschen. It went operational in 1856. The fire was first lit by a gas flame, but it was electrified in 1925, and in 1951 was automated.

Founded in 1912 as public aquarium for North Sea ocean life, to which was added a zoo in 1928, Zoo am Meer (Zoo at the Sea) has been completely redesigned and rebuilt between 2000 and 2004. The artificial landscape hosts now a large number of birds, polar bears, penguins, chimpanzees, seals, sea lions and other, mainly nordic species. Located on land, but benefiting by a view of the ocean or through huge underwater windows, it open an entirely different dimensions for visitors: flying penguins, diving polar bears and majestically gliding seals.

Pingelturm (Caesar’s Lock East Light) is the most northerly lighthouse, located to the south of the entrance to the Kaiserschleuse (Caesar’s Lock) which leads to the Caesar’s Harbor and to the Connection Harbor. At its attractive architecture is added a external fog bell, which still operates. When it’s foggy it rings four times in rapid succession. The red brick building with a height of approximately 15 m, dating from the year 1900 and conceived by the harbour architect Rudloff, is easily recognizable from afar at the dyke.

Kaiserschleuse (Caesar’s Lock) was once the world's largest lock. Completed in 1897, it's one of two access routes to the side of the international seaport, and is not affected by the tide. Because of the modern demand from shipping, it has become too small for modern automobile carriers and has therefore reached to the end of its service life, both technically and economically. As a detail, the ship that can be seen in the picture is Chiquita Scandinavia, a refrigerated cargo ship built by a Chinese company, owned by a Swedish one, and sail under the Bahamas flag. 

Schaufenster Fischereihafen (Shop Window Fishery Harbor) is the historic part of Bremerhaven’s Fishery Harbor, with restaurants, cafés, bistros, pubs, maritime shops, the Forum Fischbahnhof with the seawater aquarium Atlanticum, the seafish cooking studio and many other attractions.Deutsches Auswandererhaus (German Emigration Center) is a museum opened in 2005 and dedicated to the history of German emigration (especially to the United States). It’s Europe's largest museum about this theme, and visitors can experience the emigration process through interactive exhibits.

About the stamps
The two stamps (one on the left, unfortunately ripped, showing the Post Tower in Bonn, and one on the right showing the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin) are variable value stamps (Automatenmarken in german). Designed by Johannes Graf, these stamps was issued on October 24, 2008.

Sender: Marco / JamPow (postcrossing) DE-1196922
Sent from Münster (Germany), on 10.01.2012

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