The story so far...

The Überseestadt in 2004 and today – a comparison

Since the early 2000s, the Überseestadt (“City Beyond the Seas”) has been under development in Bremen, measuring around 300 hectares in the former docklands to the right of the river Weser. A quarter is being created with vibrant spaces to work and live. But what has happened so far? The simple answer is “a whole lot”, and this can be seen most clearly by comparing two aerial photographs. We thought we’d do this and go through some of the changes from 2004 to 2016.

The pictures do look rather similar at first glance: The foreground has always been characterised by the striking presence of the yellow-red high-bay warehouse, the central Europahafen basin and several extended sheds, warehouses and storage facilities. If you take a second look, however, you’ll notice several differences between the aerial view of Bremen’s Überseestadt, captured in 2004, and the modern-day picture taken from a similar perspective in 2016. Some things are now missing in places, while new features can be seen in other areas and the water is now full of life again. Quite a lot has been done in the quarter over the past twelve years! If you put the pictures side by side, they make a sort of spot-the-difference puzzle. That’s exactly what we’ve done and found the changes described below. Who can find even more? Simply comment on our Facebook post to take part – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Die Überseestadt aus der Luft - 2004
Die Überseestadt aus der Luft - 2004 © Justus Grosse Projektentwicklung GmbH

Die Überseestadt aus der Luft - 2016
Die Überseestadt aus der Luft - 2016 © WFB / Studio B

  • The high-bay warehouse no longer displays the striking EduScho logo (2004), as it is now home to BLG Logistics Group AG & Co. KG (2016).
  • The warehouse formerly located to the left of the Weser by the railway bridge/Stephanibrücke (2004) is no longer there; Bremen’s highest office building now stands there, marking the entrance to the Überseestadt (2016). The Weser Tower is 80m high and was designed by the high-flying architect, Helmut Jahn, the man behind the Sony Center in Berlin and other impressive projects. The “Weser Quarter” is now also home to Bremen’s GOP variety theatre, a Steigenberger Hotel, a multi-storey car park, various restaurants and other office buildings.
  • What’s more, a street now runs between the high-bay warehouse and the Weser Tower: Eduard-Schopf-Allee (named after the founder of EduScho) hadn’t yet been built in 2004.
  • A new promenade has been in place since 2009, offering flood protection and making it possible for pedestrians and cyclists to reach the Überseestadt directly via the Schlachte along the Weser.
  • The Hilde Adolf Park (2016) practically goes from the Weser Tower to the end of the Europahafen, but it was nowhere to be seen in 2004.
  • The huge warehouse visible in 2004 has been replaced by people who come in summer to sit on the Europahafen’s steps and marvel at the glorious sunset (2016). The square located right at the end of the harbour basin is called Ludwig-Franzius-Platz, named after Bremen’s former Chief Planning Director. Franzius was responsible for many projects, including the construction of the Europahafen in 1888.
  • To the right of Hilde Adolf Park is the “Coffee Quarter” (2016) and  H. Siedentopf company base, located in EduScho’s former administration building. This was already there in 2004, but the “Eins” (“One”) building with its strikingly protruding triangular roof is brand new and was still under construction in 2016.
  • H. Siedentopf has redeveloped and renovated the coffee roastery located behind EduScho’s former administration building (2016), and companies have found new office spaces there.
  • The “Speicher I” warehouse can still be found by the north quays in the Europahafen (right-hand side). However, it has been renovated at great expense by Justus Grosse Projektentwicklung GmbH and now contains loft-like office spaces, retail outlets and event areas (2016).
  • And the listed warehouse has now been developed even further (2016): The port buildings beside the Europahafen quays offer space for offices, retail outlets and restaurants.
  • While only one barge can be seen by the quayside of the Europahafen basin in 2004, the area is now bustling with activity – particularly in summer. The marina (2016) offers attractive moorings for recreational craft, hobby boats and access to river cruise ships operated by Hal över. The “Alexander von Humboldt” barque lay at anchor there until autumn 2016, when it was moved to Bremen’s Schlachte promenade.
  • The “Schuppen 1” shed can still be found behind the port buildings and “Speicher I” warehouse at the Europahafen, but changes have been made to its exterior and – most noticeably – its interior. The 400-metre-long building used to be a storage space but now offers exclusive loft apartments with a view of the Europahafen and a garage right next to the living room on the first floor. It’s also become an automotive cultural centre with retailers selling everything from the world of cars, and the location also has modern office spaces and restaurants.
  • “Schuppen 1” is located in front of “Schuppen 3”, which hardly underwent any changes between 2004 and 2016. However, this all changed with the building’s first redevelopments in 2017.
  • The open space between “Schuppen 3” (2004) has now been developed: The 22-storey Landmark Tower (2016) joins offices and apartments as another of the Überseestadt’s many highlights. It’s a sort of archway to the Hafenkante quarter located further along the river Weser (2016), an area that was yet to be developed in 2004.
  • By 2004, Bremen’s wholesale market had already been built where the international seaport used to be. The seaport was filled in to create land for construction. There wasn’t much to be found behind the wholesale market in 2004, but new offices, apartments and an Überseepark have since been built (2016). The park has  skateboarding facilities and a playground.
  • The wholesale market still looks out onto the high-rise “Hafenhochhaus” as it did in 2004. However, there are now several completely new buildings to the left and right of the Hafenhochhaus (2016).
  • A pile of sand could still be seen in 2004 next to the former customs clearing facilities at the Hansator (roughly in the centre of the picture). Stadler bicycle merchants opened a new store there in 2016 but opted to keep the former customs building.

There will have been a lot more changes during the past twelve years of the Überseestadt’s development, but we think we’ve already highlighted a significant amount! If you find any more changes, share them with others on our  Facebookpage.