Going to a Werder Bremen Game

by Brendan Harlan ’22

A while ago, before the COVID numbers were spiking, I was lucky enough to see a Werder Bremen soccer match.

Going to a Werder Bremen game was on my bucket list of things to do while in Bremen and I’m incredibly glad that I got the opportunity to see Werder play. Words cannot describe how crazy experiencing a Werder game was for me. I’ve been to Red Sox – Yankees games before, where there’s a certain level of excitement and tension amongst the fans, but the atmosphere at Weserstadion and the experience of being amongst diehard Fußball fans was incomparable.

 

Bremen was rated as the most bicycle-friendly major city!

As reported by the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, the German Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), awarded the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany according to ADFC, the General German Bicycle Club. Here, Bremen leads among cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, ahead of Hanover and Frankfurt.

For this ninth city comparison, the bicycle club examined 27 aspects such as acceptance as a road user, public bicycles or the feeling of safety. Around 230,000 people took part in an online survey. “I want cycling to become energy, enjoyment and joie de vivre much more often again,” said Scheuer.

The full article can be found here:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/menschen/bremen-als-fahrradfreundlichste-grossstadt-ausgezeichnet-17248124.html

Biking in Bremen 2019

by Jack Xia ’20

This is a verdict from a person who grew up in Beijing, a city of 20 million people. It is a recollection of my exchange semester at Bremen. To summarize, I want to show you how Bremen blossoms in different seasons. As the Germans say, there is no wrong weather, you’re wearing the wrong cloth.

Bremen was in its February winter when I arrived. The gloomy days and rainy weather definitely affected me in the early days. But I soon adapted after restocking my wardrobe with some wind breakers and rain proof jackets. I learned to compensate the rain with warm coffee or hot soup. Also, the weather makes studying inside GW2 and the Dickinson room more enjoyable because I appreciated the serenity much more. The mist and drizzle on the stone roads by the Roland statue add to Bremen’s charm as a romantic, fairy-tale city. The winter days passes slowly but surely. I noticed the sun sets at a later time too. Eventually the weather was warm enough that the flowers blossomed at the Botanika. I could walk to Rewe instead of biking. At one time, I woke up overheated because there was no air conditioning. In contrast to the weather, I had a much more predictable and reliable bike.

The relationship between my bike and myself would be best characterized as one of companionship. Our short but nonetheless unforgettable journey is one of love and pure enjoyment. And I have nothing but appreciation for it. My bike in the special army green livery has been more than forgiving. When I rode it back on a cold February day, it had a subtle presence of reliability and perseverance. Indeed, these are rare adjectives to be used for something as simple as a bicycle. But riding on that bike gave me a feeling of confidence and pureness, and I would trust it as a war horse. It’s that feeling when you get a used baseball glove or a pair of hockey skates from your dad or uncle; it wants you to use it, instead of treating it like a garage queen. Perhaps because of this sense of dependability, I decided to use my bike to its full potential. I had it serviced three times for tire and light change. Swapfiets is the Dutch company that I’ve rented my bike from for fifteen euros per month. It promotes the Danish love of bicycling through providing rental service in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Denmark. To standout and to relate to its Danish origin, Swapfiets’ bikes can be easily distinguished by the iconic front blue tire and the Dutch style bucket support on the front wheel. The word “Fiets” in Dutch means bicycle, which also rhymes with the English word “feet”. This self-explanatory name invites people to substitute their foot with bikes from the bike company.

In my humble opinion, biking in Bremen has been very enjoyable because of the relatively small size of the city. Tram 4 and 6 are the two trams that’s close to my WG. I follow number 6 to get to the inner city of Bremen and tram 4 to get to my gym. I usually follow the route to Schwachhauser Straße and turn left on Kirchbach Straße and with zigzagging in a community on to Fredrick Straße. My Thai boxing gym is located right by the station “Am Hulsberg”, so I follow this direction at least twice a week to train. At Carabao I became a friend to my trainer Julius, also a Uni Bremen student. We would talk about school, about our plans for future and just about anything and everything while we train. Being away from Germany, the good times of training in both English and German come back to my mind and remind me how Bremen has treated me so well.

Biking becomes even more enjoyable when it is a group activity. Together with Corson, James and Sandi, we explored so many parts of Bremen. We biked from the Osterdeich to the Westliches Hollerland. Eating out was also fun because we biked there together and back. While biking, I’ve learned that Bäckerei Otten has above the standard croissants, Eis Molin has amazing Nutella flavored ice creams and the Dim Sum Haus near the Hbf cures my lust for food from home. Some might expect Bremen to be homogenous in sense of culture. But I strongly disagree. The range of culinary experience one can find is surprising. To name a few, one can find authentic Greek, Turkish, Philipino and Afghani food.

A majority of my experience is closely attached with my bike. I enjoy biking. I enjoy the breeze when I pedal. I enjoy my control of the bike. I am able to capture and remember the neighborhoods, as I bike past the buildings, the bus stops and the ice cream parlors. In the present days when efficiency is so emphasized and applauded for, to bike is somewhat against this philosophy and to be different. I also ride bicycles in Beijing, but only as a mean of transport. In Bremen, however, biking becomes enjoyable and entertaining. Therefore, I hope to use this blog as a way to reflect and commemorate my six months in Bremen, as my memories are inseparable with my swap Fiets. And I wish to say goodbye and thank you to Bremen from the bottom of my heart. Good morning and good night Bremen, I hope to visit you again very soon.

Day of the Fans at Werder Bremen

On Aug 3, 2019, in preparation for the new season, our soccer team Werder Bremen played a friendly vs. Premier League’s FC Everton – an unspectatcular 0:0. That meay sound a little lame, but considering the Toffees` team is worth 300 million and our green-white boys just one third of that, it puts things into perspective…

Otto Rehhagel, or, as the Greeks call him: “Rehacles”

The best came after the game anyway: At the Day of the Fans, we saw on stage some Werder legends, such as Per Mertesacker (defender, World Champion 2014), Otto Rehhagel (successful German coach, known for winning the European Cup with Greece in 2004), Thomas Schaaf (long-standing Bremen coach), and strikers Mario Basler, Ailton, Marco Bode, and Claudio Pizarro (who is both a legend and still playing at 41).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgf9ci-tz1Q

Eventually, the team for the coming season presented itself and gave autographs. Our student Sandi, though a devout Schalke fan, was very happy about an autograph and a quick chat with Bremen’s up-and-coming American striker talent Josh Sargent (once the second-best high school soccer player of the US):

Meeting a famous politician

by Dr. Janine Ludwig

On May 19, 2019, we had the great pleasure to visit Dr. Rudolf Seiters who had been the Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Head of the Office of the German Chancellery of the FRG under Helmut Kohl from April 1989 to November 1991. In this position, he successfully negotiated with the GDR government under Erich Honecker the passage of the East German refugees in the West German embassy in Prague to the Federal Republic of. He was responsible for diplomatic relations with several major East German governmental figures during the 1989 revolution (Honecker, Egon Krenz, Dr. Hans Modrow) and later involved in negotiating the contract for German Unification.

Dr. Seiters discussed the events of 1989/90 with our students and shared deep political insight into the highest positions at the time. We found him to be a wonderful person, who was able to convey serious historical information in a very compelling way. For instance, he described how he took over his position and all the files from Wolfgang Schäuble in April 1989 after being alerted about the most pressing issues – there was no mention of the GDR at the time. Nobody knew what was coming and how drastically things would change just a few months later. He also relayed the anecdote of how an employee asked him on the afternoon of November 9 whether he could leave early for his child’s birthday. He said, “Sure, nothing much will happen today anymore.” Little did he know that that night the Berlin Wall would fall. His honest and entertaining way of explaining political work from an insider’s perspective was most intriguing to our students – some of whom had already met former East German Head of State Dr. Hans Modrow and heard about many of the same political events from a West German perspective.

In 1991, Seiters became Minister of the Interior, a position from which he had to step back in 1993 because RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams shot himself in Bad Kleinen, although it was widely agreed that Seiters had done nothing wrong. From 1998 to 2002, Seiters was Vice President of the German Bundestag and until 2017 President of the German Red Cross.

It was a wonderful opportunity for us and very kind that Dr. Seiters and his wife, despite busy calendars, hosted us in their house in Papenburg, a small town roughly two hours away from Bremen. After that meeting, we visited the “Van Velen Complex,” a settlement of mostly tiny houses and cots from the 17th century – in a town that was built on dried marshland.

Please find a video in German here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeh_gdDtF6I

After that the long day, some of us went to see our beloved soccer team Werder Bremen who happened to play a friendly match that day against SC Blau-Weiß 94 Papenburg – on a small playing field that allowed us to see the likes of Claudio Pizarro, Max Kruse, and Josh Sargent close up.

 

Here is a short video of a corner kick from that match:

Bremen for Runners

by Ben Soder ’19

Bürgerpark

Getting Started: Bremen is quite a nice city for running. The fields to the north of the city, the Bürgerpark, and trails along the Weser are great scenic places to train. Additionally, you will never share a busy road with cars, given the great biking/waking infrastructure in the city. All in all, you can’t go wrong running in Bremen!

 

 

Here are links to some good runs from the apartments on Spittaler Strasse:

5 miles through Blockland: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200125871

Run to the 1 mile race course in the Burger Park (soft surfaces): https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200129711

10 mile run through Bremen: https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200133767

Stadtwaldsee (lake with great swimming): https://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/2200135885

These are some good starting points that will lead to areas of Bremen that are definitely worth exploring. One of my favorite things to do while abroad in Bremen was to find new places to run. Don’t be fooled when you step off your train or bus when you first get to Bremen… There is much more to the city than the Hauptbahnhof!

 

Cross Country/Track in Germany:

Now, the previously mentioned routes are great and all, but you will get very bored out there running alone. There is no track or cross-country program affiliated with the University of Bremen. Instead of running for the University, you will have to join a club if you want to join a formal team. Of all the clubs in Bremen, your best option is ATS-Buntentor. Marian Skalecki coaches a competitive group cross country and track runners. For further information, visit the Buntentor website (https://www.atsbuntentor.de/sportangebot/laufen.html) and/or contact Marian (Director Ludwig has the email address). The German Cross-Country season starts in October, so if you would like to compete, it is recommended that you come in with at least some summer base training and join the team immediately when you get to Bremen in late September/early October. This club is not only a place to train and compete, but also a great place to work on your German skills and meet some awesome people!

Besides, the Bremer Nachtlauf (Bremen Night Run) happens every May – a great, friendly, fun event. Dickinson students have joined and ran 5 or 10 k through the city center. Up-to-date infos on other running competitions in Bremen and vicinity can be found here: http://www.runme.de/wettkaempfe/bremen/

 

Wir sind Werder Bremen!

by Helen Schlimm

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Ira, Carol, Phoebe, Helen (fr. left t. right)

I don’t believe that a true German study abroad experience would be complete without attending a real soccer game and finding oneself in the middle of the beautiful madness that is this nation’s most beloved sport. The spirits were certainly high, and the stakes were even higher at the recent Werder Bremen game against Stuttgart, with a loss guaranteeing a drop into the second league for Bremen. Despite signs protesting Monday-evening games, excitement, tension and anticipation amongst the green and white fans filled the entire stadium. The next 90 minutes were action-packed, astonishing and thrilling as Werder flattened Stuttgart 6-2, and no Bremer could have been happier! Strangers were hugging strangers, everybody was cheering, chanting, singing and proudly holding their Werder scarves high! It was such an incredible atmosphere and a really fun game of Fußball to follow. The entire city was united by this win in that stadium, and it was so exciting to be a part of the soccer culture that is so fundamentally German. Werder Bremen Olé! Lebenslang grün-weiß!

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“Stoppen” – from left to right: Janine Ludwig (under the “O”), Ira (under the left “P”), Carol (betw. the “Ps”) Phoebe (under the right “P”), Helen (under the “E”)

P.S.: Eventually, in the very last game of the season, on May 14, 2016, Werder secured its continuance in the 1st league / Erste Bundesliga (“Klassenerhalt”) by winning 1:0 against Frankfurt. Hooray! “Nie mehr Zweite Liga!”

Fußball: Dickinson-in-Bremen at the Weser Stadium

Helen and Ira

On February 27, Dickinson-in-Bremen went to see Werder Bremen play against Darmstadt 98 (an ascender from the second league). Let’s say, the game was a little unfortunate – only a draw of 2:2… But we had fun nonetheless!

For the last couple of seasons, Werder has been having a somewhat bad streak in the German league called Bundesliga: Right now, we are on the so-called relegation spot, which means # 16 of 18 teams. The last two teams will be directly relegated into the second league (in exchange for their top two), and the 16th will battle the 3rd of the second league. Of course, we do not plan on doing that, but stay in the first league for sure. After all, Werder Bremen has a long history and tradition in the Bundesliga and is, in fact, the second best team in the all-time table!

"Lebenslang Grün-Weiß"

“Lebenslang Grün-Weiß.” The green # 14 is our beloved Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro.

Bremer Nachtlauf

On May 23, nine of the ten current Dickinson-in-Bremen students decided to form a team together with Verena and former Dickinsonian Julie King (Class of 2012) to run a 5K through Bremen’s city cenFoto01ter. Read here, what some of the students had to say about the run.

Margaret:
The Bremer Nachtlauf was the first time I’ve ever run a 5K, and I simply couldn’t have imagined a better experience! The start/finish line was located right in the magnificent city center, directly before the Town Hall and St. Petri Dom Cathedral, and the route of the run took us through the city center streets and directly along the banks of the Weser river. It was a wonderful experience I won’t soon forget to run that great route with people lining the streets and cheering us on. Definitely a highlight from this semester abroad in Bremen!

Sean:

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Anna and Sean

The Bremen Nachtlauf was a great treat, especially considering I hadn’t run a proper race in nearly 5 years. Despite my long hiatus, I was quite pleased with my overall performance – at roughly 24:30, the time was not my best but also far from my worst. I was also shocked at how stereotypically German the event was: At the finish line we were given not only the usual fresh fruit and water, but also beer and Apfelschorle, two immensely German staples. Overall it was an amazingly rewarding and fun experience.

 

Devon:

Nachlauf_Devon

Devon finishing strong


The Bremer Nachtlauf was my first 5k or any sort of running event of any sort, but it certainly proved to be a lot of fun. I saw parts of the city I never had and a very certain ethos from those around me. I felt very together with the other racers, and while we weren’t running for any cause other than fun, it certainly made me feel like I belonged.

 

Anna:
Running together in the Nachtlauf was really fun. Even though I’ve been here for 7 months, I still discovered a few new parts of Bremen on the run!

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Anna exhausted, but happy

Joan: I’m so happy to have taken part in the Nachtlauf. It was great running through Bremen with everyone and having people cheer us on!

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Danette with green pants

Danette:
I was a bit apprehensive when I decided to sign up for this 5K as I hate running, but I wasn’t going to cave on the motto of my year abroad: “Do not say no to anything within reason”. Certainly, a 5K was within reason and so I had to say yes. I really do hate running, I get bored quickly and my thoughts tend to wander, but I talked with Joan and since we were in about the same physical condition we decided to run the race together. It was great having someone to run with since we were able to chat and keep each other company. I will admit, I complained a bit (well a lot) before the race and probably during, I’m not sure you’d have to ask Joan. But I am so glad I ran it. It was a great sense of accomplishment and I can finally check running a 5K off my bucket list.

Shuwei:

Nachtlauf_Shuwei

Shuwei at the finish

“Stadtlauf” in Bremen is really about people, males and females, young and old, all getting together and enjoy sport. The running itself is therefore very enjoyable, the music, the atmosphere, and the beautiful scenery over Weser river along the way. It’s definitely one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had here in Bremen.

 

Janie:
On May 23, the Dickinson in Bremen students completed the “City Run” through the streets of Bremen.  Although I really enjoy running and used to run cross country, I was actually a bit nervous: this 5K run was my first “official” 5K run and I had only trained very minimally for it.  Despite that, before the run began, the atmosphere in the city was really exciting and the weather was perfect.  During the run, I almost had to stop twice due to my asthma.  But I did not give up and instead ran the entire time!  My time of completion was around 32 minutes – I was really proud of myself.  After the run there were apples, bananas, juice, and beer for all participants, for which I was very grateful.  It was really fun to run with the other Dickinsonians as a “team” and I would definitely recommend this event to the future Dickinsonians who will study in Bremen.

 

What the World Cup Means

by Andrew Shuman ’11

As with many Americans, indeed, many more than Europeans may expect, I’ve played soccer nearly my entire life – since I was five, to be exact. As such, I’ve been a fan of the game for a very long time, starting with 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, when I got up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the final, where the Germans and their immortal keeper, Oliver Kahn, previously next to unbeatable in the tournament, lost to Brazil and Ronaldo. Arguably, those two players, Ronaldo and Kahn, are the best striker and goalkeeper of all time, respectively. That epic matchup, which ended 2-0 for Brazil, one of the goals coming following Kahn’s only error of the tournament, got me hooked on the international game. From the Champions League, in which Europe’s top club teams compete, to the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships, I don’t think I’ve missed a televised game if I could help it.

Being here in Germany for the 2010 World Cup and having just seen the die Mannschaft (literally, ‘the team’) crush archrivals England at a public viewing yesterday, though, has given me a real appreciation for the meaning of international football here in Europe. The World Cup and the Euro are far more than simple spectacles of sport; the national teams embody the histories and identities of entire nations.

Soccer is an inextricable part of Germany’s past, and, unlike the World Cup history of the United States, Germany’s history of participation in the tournament is riddled with momentous victories and defeats that came at defining moments in the history of the nation itself. Those moments have been indelibly etched upon the national conscience of the German people and that history gives added meaning to classic matchups like Germany vs. England. It’s obvious to everyone, of course, that two world wars fought between the two nations, as much as it is politically correct not to acknowledge it, play a role. However, the fact that England’s only World Cup victory in 1966 came against West Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium in London and the fact that the English have caved under pressure and lost to the Germans in two penalty shootouts on the international stage in the 90’s provide just as much of a backdrop. The looming quarterfinal matchup with Argentina, for instance, is far more than a game between, arguably, the two best teams in the tournament so far; it’s a rematch of the quarterfinal of the 06 World Cup, where Jens Lehmann saved 2 Argentine penalty kicks to put the Germans through, a rematch of the 1990 World Cup Final, where an Andreas Brehme penalty give the Germans their 3rd World Cup victory against the Argentineans, and a rematch of the 1986 final, where the greats of the German game, names like Lothar Matthäus, Karl Heinz Rummenigge, and Rudi Völler lost out to Diego Maradona and Argentina. Almost every matchup has that historical dimension and undertone, and, if I had to pick one thing only, I’d say that’s the biggest missing element from the World Cup experience from an American viewpoint. Hopefully, one day we can develop a storied World Cup history, to the point where a USA v. England matchup isn’t just presented as a ‘second American Revolution’, but as round two, or even three, of a matchup that has already delivered truly classic World Cup games.

Moreover, football has, at times, taken on a far greater role than that of a mere sport in German history. The German’s first World Cup victory in 1954, during the depression and disillusionment of the post WWII years, inspired and helped to heal a downtrodden nation, creating, to some extent, a new, positive national identity free from the ghosts of the Nazis. In German, the 1954 victory is known as “Das Wunder von Bern”- The Miracle of Bern, since the underdog German team beat the Hungarians in the final, a team considered nearly immortal and unbeatable. Germany’s third World Cup victory in 1990 came just as West and East Germany, so long divided, were coming together at long last as a reunified Germany, and die Mannschaft’s win over Argentina crowned that triumphant moment in German history.

This World Cup, regardless of whether the Germans can win the 4th star or not, I think the very makeup and playing style of the German team speaks volumes about German society and it’s development over the last few decades. A cursory glance at the German roster reveals that many of the players don’t exactly have names that seem ‘typically Germany’, and it is indeed true that the team is made up of many players from a diverse immigrant background. Lukas Podolski and Miro Klose, for instance, are of Polish heritage, as their names betray. Sami Khedira is of Tunisian extraction. Mesut Ozil is of Turkish lineage, Cacau is a nationalized Brazilian, and Jerome Boateng is half German, half Ghanaian. Ignorantly, I think, many people jibe that this German team isn’t really German at all. Sure it is. The jingoist assumption that to be ‘German’ means having blonde hair and blue eyes and having a last name like Schweinsteiger or Mertesacker no longer has a place in modern German society, and, for their part, I think the Germans are rightfully proud of the diversity and tolerance the national team reflects in their society.  What’s wrong with a new German national identity, one that stresses the nation’s willingness to accept immigrants and people from all sorts of different backgrounds and consider them just as much a part of Germany as any others? Nothing.  The new, ethnically diverse identity of the national team has, it seems, coincided with a radical change in the teams of style of play. Gone are the days of the stereotypically dour, efficient, and stout playing style of the German teams of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. The team we’re seeing in the 2010 World Cup is young, vibrant, fast, aggressive, and they combine and move the ball around the field at the speed of light, often times catching opponents flat footed for a counter-attack goal (England, Australia). Thirty years ago, such a free flowing style of play would have been unthinkable from a German side. As the Germans say, these guys have Spielfreude.

The World Cup doesn’t have to, and indeed should not have, the jingoistic undertone of ‘pure’ races of men from different nations having at each other on a grass field to see which race is the best at putting a ball between two posts. The players on the national team represent the people back home- their friends, families, fans, and supporters- as well as the youth football system that made them into the players they are. In that sense, then, if Podolski, Klose, Ozil, Khedira, and Boateng were all born and raised in Germany, how do their ancestries or last names make them any less worthy of representing Germany in the World Cup than Bastian Schweinsteiger or Holger Badstuber? As Americans who live in a society that is defined by its diversity, we should, I think, appreciate how open German society has become.